History PREVEZA (Prefecture) EPIRUS - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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History (1)


Historical survey

  The Prefecture of Preveza lies on the SW part of Epirus, having north the Prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia, east and southeast the Prefecture of Arta, west the Ionian Sea and south the Amvrakikos gulf. Its capital has the same name, this is, city of Preveza, and it is situated at the entrance of the Amvrakikos gulf. From the ancient years, settlements and cities were formed here by the Thesprotians, the Cassopians, and the Molossians (which were three out of the 14 races of Epirus). Efira (or Kihyros), Cassopi, Elatria, Nikopolis etc., these are cities whose ruins today - or their names - remind us of them.
  There is not much historical information about the very ancient years Neolithic Age (6000-3000 B.C.), The Age of Copper (3000-1500 B.C.), the Mycenaean Age (1500-1100 B.C.) - during which Epirus was already part of the civilized Greece, until the Geometric Age (1100-800 B.C.) and the Archaic Age (800-500 B.C.) - during which the Corinthians predominated and even founded colonies in Epirus. After that, the Molossians, under the reign of Tharipas, ruled the whole of Epirus and were spread towards the sea (sea-alliance of Athens 4th century B.C.). After then, Alexander the First the Macedonian (343 B.C., brother of Olympia, wife of Philippos the Second), eventually a period of Democracy was established (around 234 B.C. by the Thesprotians).
  In the year 168 B.C. the Romans, taking revenge on Pyrros - who at that time was in an expedition against Italy - destroyed 70 of the most eminent cities of Epirus (among them Cassopi etc.), sold 150.000 inhabitants of Epirus as slaves and turned Epirus into a Roman colony. After the Roman conquest, the conquest of the Byzantine Empire (Ioustinianus) followed with Nikopolis being one of the biggest episcopical headquarters of Christianity. A great number of cities of Epirus - Nikopolis was one of them - were destroyed by the Gothic incursions (550). During 10th century Nikopolis was destroyed by the Bulgarian incursion and was finally left deserted. After the capture of Constantinople by the Latins, the domain of Epirus was established - a self-contained Greek State - by Michael A´ Angelos Komninos Doukas (his father Ioannis was Duke of the Vetus of Nikopolis). In the 14th century Epirus came under the sovereign Stefanos Doussan, leader of the Serbs and then the Florentians (Charles A´ Tokkos etc.).
  In the 15th century almost all Epirus was ruled by the Turks (10 Oct. 1431 Ioannina, 24 March 1449 Arta etc.). In the year 1463 the Venetians followed (they had already ruled Sagiada, Parga etc.). A treaty between the Turks and the Venetians in the year of 1499 acknowledged the conquest of Cephallonia and Preveza to the Venetians - the later as well as Avlon - being the base of the Turk admiral Hairedin Barbarossa, during the 16th century. In 1684 the Venetians (Fr. Morozini) conquered Arta and Preveza, which they gave to the Turks in 1700 and they once again recognized the sovereignty of the Venetians (1717) over Vouthroto and Preveza. In 1798 Ali-Passas conquered Preveza (from the French, who in their turn took Preveza from the Venetians, a year ago).
  The following year Vonitsa, Vouthroto, Parga and Preveza were recognized as a "Democratic State" under the protection of the Sublime Port.
  However, Ali-Passas in 1805 conquered Vonitsa and Preveza again and in 1819 Parga (which was under the protection of the English, who sold Parga to him).
  After the defeat an death of Ali-Passas, in 1820, Epirus remained under the protection of the Sultan.
  A part of Epirus was liberated in 1881, but Preveza and its Prefecture remained under the Turkish occupation till 1912 (Balkan War I), when it was liberated by the Greek army.
  After the victorious Balkan wars in 1912-13, the Asia Minor Expedition and its destruction took place, as a result of which there was a great number of immigrants. The Prefecture of Preveza and the town itself became the new home for many Greeks who were uprooted. New villages and district were built up and developed vigorously. The country was sorely tried during World War II and it was too high a price for all that bloodshed. The town of Preveza was awarded the Military Cross of high rank because "its citizens showed the essential resistance and enthusiasm, helping the military forces and setting the example of self-sacrifice throughout all the army operations and put themselves into danger day and night over the 96 bombardments". The citizens showed the same patriotism and self-sacrifice throughout the Italian and German Occupation (1941-1944) by taking part in the resistance movement (EDES-EOEA, EAM-ELAS) by taking action against the conqueror. Unfortunately the division and the passion and animosity that were stirred up during the Liberation Movement led to horrible bloodsheds (Parginoskala, Dalamani). However those difficult years have long gone away, the suffering has been forgotten and our country advances to progress.
This text (extract) is cited July 2003 from the Prefecture of Preveza tourist pamphlet.

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