Ioannis Kolettis

Ioannis Kolettis (Greek: Ἰωάννης Κωλέττης; died 17 September 1847)[2] was a Greek politician who played a significant role in Greek affairs from the Greek War of Independence through the early years of the Greek Kingdom, including as Minister to France and serving twice as Prime Minister.

Ioannis Kolettis
Ἰωάννης Κωλέττης
Johannes Collettis Minister of the interior and member of the executive body in Greece - Friedel Adam De - 1832.jpg
Prime Minister of Greece
In office
12 June 1834 – 1 June 1835
MonarchOtto I
Preceded byAlexandros Mavrokordatos
Succeeded byGraf von Armansperg
In office
18 August 1844 – 17 September 1847
Preceded byAlexandros Mavrokordatos
Succeeded byKitsos Tzavelas
Personal details
Born1773 or 1774
Syrrako, Ioannina Eyalet, Ottoman Empire
Died17 September 1847[1] (aged 73-74)
Athens, Kingdom of Greece
Resting placeFirst Cemetery of Athens (Section 2)
Political partyFrench Party
Alma materUniversity of Pisa
AwardsOrder of the Redeemer Ribbon bar.svg Order of the Redeemer
Military service
Battles/warsGreek War of Independence

Early lifeEdit

Kolettis was an Aromanian, with a strong Greek ethnic identity.[3] He was born in Syrrako, Epirus and played a leading role in the political life of the Greek state in the 1830s and 1840s. Kolettis studied medicine in Pisa, Italy and was influenced by the Carbonari movement and started planning his return to Epirus in order to participate in Greece's independence struggles.

In 1813, he settled at Ioannina, where he served as a doctor and after gaining standing he was recruited as the personal doctor of Ali Pasa's son, Muqtar Pasa. He remained in Ioannina till March 1821, when he entered Filiki Eteria and left for Syrrako, together with chieftain Raggos, in order to spread the revolution into Central Greece (Rumeli), but his efforts quickly failed because of the rapid reaction of the Ottoman army. Kolettis was the leader of the pro-French party and based his power on his relations with the leaders of Central Greece but also on his ability to eliminate his adversaries by acting behind the scenes.

Greek War of IndependenceEdit

Ioannis Kolettis by Dominique Papety.

In the First Greek National Assembly, at Epidavros, he participated as the representative of Epirus and in January 1822 he became Minister of Internal Affairs. After the Second Greek National Assembly, at Astros in May 1823 he was appointed sub-prefect of Euboea and managed to remove Turkish troops off the island. At the same time, he continued his political activities, resulting in his election as member of the Legislative Body (Νομοθετικόν), a position that he held till 1826.

At the end of 1824, during the civil war between the rebel factions, he was in charge of the Roumeliot (Central Greece) party and defeated the Moreot or Peloponnesian party, which opposed the Kountouriotis government. Nonetheless, in the Third Greek National Assembly, he supported the Peloponnesian party and with its support was assigned to train troops from Thessaly and Macedonia, with the aim of destroying Ottoman resource depots at Atalanti. However, the whole operation failed because of his inexperience in military affairs, which ruined his reputation.

Political career after 1821Edit

When Ioannis Kapodistrias landed at Nafplio in January 1828 as governor, he was appointed as governor of Samos and later, in July 1829 as Minister of Defense. In October 1831, Kapodistrias was assassinated; in the ensuing civil war, which lasted until 1832, Kolettis was once again leader of the Roumeliot Party. He tried, along with Theodoros Kolokotronis and Augustinos Kapodistrias to form a government but due to severe disagreements the coalition was dissolved. To assume leadership after 1821, he is considered responsible for the death of a great Greek Independence Hero, Odysseus Androutsos, and also responsible for the separation ("divide and conquer") of a legendary couple of the Greek Independence: Prince Demetrios Ypsilantis and Manto Mavrogenous.

Political career during Otto's reignEdit

Until Otto of Greece reached adulthood, Kolettis was Minister of the Navy and Minister of Defense. In 1835, he was sent to France as the ambassador where he created connections with French politicians and intellectuals. He returned to Greece after the coup that broke out in Athens in September 1843, which forced King Otto to grant a constitution and Kolettis took part in the subsequent Constitutional Assembly. To contest the elections in 1844, he formed a party, the French Party (Γαλλικό Κόμμα) and together with Andreas Metaxas, leader of the Russian Party formed a government. When Metaxas resigned, he became Prime Minister and served as such until his death in 1847. He is credited with conceiving the Megali Idea or "Great Idea" which became the core of Greek foreign policy until the early 20th century.


  1. ^ Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
  2. ^ Note: Greece officially adopted the Gregorian calendar on 16 February 1923 (which became 1 March). All dates prior to that, unless specifically denoted, are Old Style.
  3. ^ Richard Clogg (12 December 2013). A Concise History of Greece. p. 47. ISBN 9781107032897. Ioannis Kolettis, a Hellenised Vlach.
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece
12 June 1834 – 1 June 1835
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Greece
18 August 1844 – 17 September 1847
Succeeded by