Laskarina Bouboulina was from the island of Hydra but was actually born in the prison of Constantinople, where her mother was visiting her dying father, Stavrianos Pinotsis, who had been imprisoned by the Turks because of his participation in the Peloponnesian revolution of 1769-70. After her father's death she moved to Hydra for fours years and then to Spetses when her mother remarried a Spetsiot captain, Dimitrios Lazarou-Orlof. Bouboulina grew up with a love of the sea, marrying two sea-captains who both died, leaving her a lot of money. Through wise investments she increased her worth and bought several ships, including the Agememnon, the largest warship in the 1821 revolution against the Turks. Bouboulina became a member of the underground organization, Filiki Etairia (Friendly Society) organizing and preparing the Greeks for the revolution against the Turks, the only woman in this organization. On March 13th 1821, twelve days before the official beginning of the War of Independence, the first revolutionary flag was actually raised on the island of Spetses by Laskarina Bouboulina. On April 3rd Spetses revolted, followed by the islands of Hydra and Psara with a total of over 300 ships between them. Bouboulina and her fleet of 8 ships sailed to Nafplion and took part in the seige of the impregnable fortress there. Her later attack on Monemvasia managed to capture that fortress. She took part in the blockade of Pylos and brought supplies to the revolutionairies by sea. She became friends with Theodoros Kolokotronis and was considered an equal with the rest of the generals when planning strategy. In the first two years of the war she spent almost all of her fortune paying the crew of her ships and supplying a small army of Spetsiotis with food, weapons and ammunition. Following the war she lived in the capital of the new Greek state, the town of Nafplion until the Greeks broke into factions and began to fight each other. She was arrested twice and finally expelled back to Spetses. Her fortune depleted and bitter with the Greek politicians who had squandered all they had gained from the Turks by fighting amongst themslves, Bouboulina died on 22nd May 1825, shot in a dispute with the Koutsis family after her son had eloped with one of their daughters. Bouboulina became a national hero, one of the first women to play a major role in a revolution. Without her and her ships the Greeks might not have gained their independence.
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