Born in Mournies, Chania on August 23, 1864, Eleftherios Venizelos served seven times as Greece’s prime minister. For most people, he was viewed as the country’s most important politician because he expanded Greek borders and brought Constitutional reforms that modernized Greece. Others believe he was responsible for dividing the Greek people.
In 1866 Venizelos’ family was exiled to Kythera because his father, Kyriakos, had taken part in the Cretan Revolution. They then fled to Syros, where the young Eleftherios went to school.
Although his father intended for him to become a merchant, Eleftherios studied at the Law School of Athens, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1886. In 1887 he returned to Chania and began to practice law while he entered the island’s political arena.
That year, he published the newspaper Lefka Ori and was elected an MP representing Kydonia. However, the Turkish rulers soon dissolved the Greek Parliament.
Eleftherios Venizelos fought for union of Greece and Crete
In the 1897 Cretan Revolution, Venizelos was especially active, establishing the revolutionary camp of Akrotiri. On August 25, 1897, Venizelos made a petition to the Great Powers for the Union of Crete with the rest of Greece. Ultimately, what he achieved was to declare Crete an autonomous state, with Prince George II as High Commissioner.