Constantine I of Greece Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1868 - 1923 *** Full Name: Constantine I of Greece *** Occupation: King of Greece *** Date of Birth: Constantine I of Greece was born on August 2nd 1868 *** Place of Birth: Constantine I of Greece was born in Athens, Greece *** Family background: His father was King George I and his mother Olga Constantinovna of Russia. He was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church *** Early life and childhood: He grew up with his siblings, Prince George, Prince Nicholas, Princess Maria, Princess Olga, Prince Andrew and Prince Christopher *** Education: Constantine I of Greece would have received the best possible education from such tutors as Ioannis Pantazidis, Vasileios Lakonas and Constantine Paparrigopoulos***
Constantine I of Greece Fact 1: Constantine I of Greece was born on August 2nd 1868 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 2: When he was born the crowds outside the palace kept shouting Constantine as this was the name they felt should be for the future King of Greece.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 3: When he was born he automatically became the Duke of Sparta.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 4: In October of 1882 he joined the Hellenic Military Academy.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 5: When he graduated from there he went to Berlin to continue his military education and then would serve in the German Imperial Guard.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 6: He also attended Heidelberg and Leipzig where he studied business and political science.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 7: By 1890 he had been promoted to Major General and would assume command of the 3rd Army Headquarters in Athens.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 8: During 1895 Constantine would ultimately be the cause of the resignation of Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis. Street protesters against tax policies were broken up on orders from Constantine when he ordered his gendarmeries and army forces to break of the protest. The Prime Minister felt this was an intervention by the Prince and as such requested that King speak to his son. The King saw his son’s intervention as part of his military duty and as such of no political significance and told the Prime Minister so. The result was in the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 9: Theodoros Deligiannis succeeded as Prime Minister and drew a line under the incident.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 10: The monarchs popularity took a hit when during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 ended in defeat. Calls were made for reforms within the army and that the Royal princes, in particular Constantine, as well as his brothers, be removed from the military. Although there would be removed after the Goudi coup in 1909, several months later they would be reinstated by the new Prime Minister.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 11: Constantine would be appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Greek Army of Thessaly in 1912. During the first Balkan War the Greek’s were able to outmaneuver the Turkish and so were able to lead them to a quick surrender.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 12: In March the following year, the King was assassinated by Alexandros Schinas, an anarchist in Thessaloniki and Constantine succeeded him to the throne of Greece.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 13: Around this time the Bulgarians were attempting to claim Greek and Serbian territory and between the Greek’s and Serbian they came to an arrangement to defend against the Bulgarians.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 14: Further victories against Bulgaria, who were simultaneously being hit by the Turks gave Constantine’s popularity a further boost.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 15: As World War I approached, Kaiser Wilhelm attempted to bring Greece in on the German-Austrian side while the Allies obviously wanted Greece to join the allies.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 16: King Constantine felt it best for Greece to remain neutral based on his belief that that was what was best for his country.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 17: The Greek Prime Minister Venizelos would with backing from the French and British force Constantine from the throne of Greece in 1817 however, he maintained his popularity in certain parts of Greece among his people.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 18: Constantine’s personal views lay with the Germans and his wife Sophie’s brother Wilhelm II and although many thought Sophie herself would back her brother, she in fact was on the side of the British, much influenced by her mother. The Prime Minister of Greece at the time was also trying his hardest to get Constantine to join the allies but failed to the detriment of his position.Constantine I of Greece Fact 19: As ex-Prime Minister, Venizelos established the provisional revolutionary government which would declare against the Central Powers who were in fact the Germans.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 20: Under enormous pressure to pick a side but unable to do so, he fled Greece for Switzerland and because his first born son had served in the Germany armed forces he left his son Alexander to take his place as King.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 21: Constantine would be called upon to return to his country after his son died in 1920, although his return would be short lived.
Constantine I of Greece Fact 22: By 1923 he would again go into exile in Italy where four months later Constantine I of Greece died on January 11th 1923 aged fifty four years.
Influence and Legacy of Constantine I of Greece: It could be said his military career was by far more successful than his reign as King of Greece. He excelled at his duty to his country as the head of the armed forces. However, it could also be said that rather than take his country into a war where he felt his sympathies lay with the Germans but his people sided with the Allies, he chose instead to abdicate his responsibilities to his second son.
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