Prime Minister Harilaos Trikoupis addresses the Greek Parliament

Harilaos Trikoupis

Harilaos Trikoupis was a great politician on and off during the period 1850-1890. He is founder of the Greek modern state. He built the first railway lines, which are still in use in Peloponessos. He is behind the first industrial ventures and is considered the father of modern Greece. The son of a diplomat and well known historian Spyridon Trikoupis, Harilaos lived in London for 15 years and served in his father's embassy. He represented Greece in the 1864 Greek constitutional convention. he negotiated the first traty between Greece and her neighbors, the 1867 trety of alliance with Prince Michael of Serbia which was the beginning of a long friendship with Serbia that continues to this day. Imprisoned by King George the I for an article which blamed the monarchy for giving power to minority governments, the king eventually relented and power was given to the majority. In 1882 after getting a majority for himself in parliament Trikoupis began on his program of modernizing, getting overseas investors, and opened the Corinth Canal, a major feat of engineering. He modernized the military and attempted to diminish the power of the Greek bureaucracy. His dream was to build a bridge joining the Peloponessos to the mainland. This was eventually built in 2004, joining Rio to Antirio and was named after him. Sadly like many great Greek leaders his efforts were under appreciated in his own lifetime and he spent his final years in exile in France. The painting is of a session of the Parliament, with Harilaos Trikoupis at the podium, at the end of the 19th century, by N. Orlof.

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