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‘Helping the Greeks help themselves. Hellenes and Philhellenes in the 19th century between humanitarianism and speculation’

Strand Campus , London

23 Mar Greek flag Part of Modern Greek Studies Seminar Series 2019-2020

By Maria Christina Chatziioannou, (PhD in Modern History)

Director, Institute Historical Research / NHRF

Economic news, communicated from Greek political institutions and the foreign press to Greek newspapers and journals, offered a sense of community and shared identity to the insurgent Greeks during their struggle for independence in the 1820s. This route of information poses many issues from a historical standpoint, but, concerning the issue of public loans, we confront the question of how we can historicize the economic news related to them from two different periods. The first period presented in this paper covers the Greek Revolution of 1821, when the War of Independence was financed by private philhellenic contributions, with the pursuit of public loans (1824, 1825) being something new. The second period covers the last decade of the 19th century, when the Greek-Turkish war of 1893 created the conditions and the need for financing military expenditure in combination with pre-existing public infrastructure expenses. The main argument of the lecture will be built around the story that shaped the transformation of public opinion in Greece from philhellenism to foreign dependency.

Maria Christina Chatziioannou studied modern history at the University of Athens (B.A. and PhD) and the Università di Sapienza, Rome (M.A.). She is Director of the Institute for Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation since 2019. She has published in the area of social and economic history, on topics ranging from the history of merchant houses and retail trade to Greek sovereign debt, among others.

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