Manto Mavrogenous

Μαντώ_Μαυρογένους._Εγχρωμο_χαρακτικό

Manto Mavrogenous, a heroine of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829), was one of the few women who excelled in the war. She was baptised as Magdalene and she was born into a wealthy Greek family, in Trieste, in 1796. Her father, Nicholas Mafrogennis, was a merchant from the Cyclades, and her mother was a Mykonian noble woman named Zacharatos Antonios Hatzis Bati.  She was multilingual and kept the records of her husband's commercial activities. Her father also was a member of the Filiki Eteria, a secret society of the 19th Century, of which she became an active member in 1820.

With the outbreak of the Greek Revolution she left Tinos, where she had been living after her father's death in 1818, and moved to Mykonos where she led the rebellion of the island against the Turks. With ships, two of which she had equipped with her own expenses, she pursued the pirates who were ravaging the Cyclades.  Later on, she fought several battles in Pelion, in Fthiotida and Livadia. Due to her financial support, her actions in general, as well as her letters to the philhellenic countries of France and England, she became legendary in Europe.  Her portrait was printed and published in 1827 all over Europe.

For her involvement in the war effort, she was commended by Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of the newly Greek state. She was given the honorary rank of General – her being the only woman to achieve such a status- and was offered a residence in the first capital of Greece, Nafplio. In 1825, when she lived in Nafplio, with her resources having been drained due to the war she was forced to sell her family’s property, to the Cycladic Isalnds.

The breach of faith of Dimitris Ypsiladis’ promise to marry her, the poverty she had suffered and her violent removal from Nafplio in 1826, under the command of Ioannis  Kolettis, were severe blows to the heroine.  Therefore, she returned to Mykonos after the revolution and after a few years died in Paros, very poor and forgotten.