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Martin Leake

Municipality of Argos

The English captain William Martin Leake travelled around Greece for five years, during the wars of Napoleon (1804-1810) in a secret military and diplomatic mission. It was then that Greece was a country of strategic importance for England, which was a thalassocrat as wella s for Bonaparte, in the framework of the wild antagonism for the probable dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the financial control of East Mediterranean.
On the 16th of February 1806 the English traveler began his second trip to Morias. Patrai, Gastouni, Tripolis, Argolis. The whole road of Achladokampos was paved.
When he arrived at Argos, he discovered that there was a serious discomposure between the Greek protégés of the Foreign Forces, especially Russia. The pasha had asked for the fortune of all beratlides and fermanlides (some kind of dignitaries) to be recorded and asked them to stay with their consuls. The aspect that the rule aimed mainly at people from Hydra and Spetses was widespread. In these islands 50% of the rich merchants and ship owners had retained Russian protection. Their ships carried wheat under the Russian flag in the Mediterranean with the exchange of colony products and wines. A group of non protected Greeks from these islands, claiming low taxes and other privileges of their compatriots, who were protected and dealt with the Franks, referred to the Gate (the sultan) and protested for the inequalities and the instigations of their antagonists. The traveler says that province (“vilaeti”) of Argos was the benefice of a sultana and it had been disembarrassed from the obligation to offer accommodation to the tourists for many years. Even pashas who passed from the plain had to stand outside the city to change their horses. These privileges had attracted many wealthy Greek people to Argos. But during Leake’s travel these privileges had been abolished and the city suffered a lot and mainly it suffered from the brassy and unlawful Turks of Nafplion.
The adjacent Anapli (Nafplion) was in decadence. Until 1790 it was the headquarters of the pasha of Morias and all the Agas were gathered there, while in Argos, all the Greek dignitaries met. Thus, Nafplion had become a Turkish capital, while Argos was the Greek one. But with the conveyance of the Pasha’s headquarters to Tripolitsa in 1791 and the terrible epidemic that followed, the decadence began. Anapli was depopulated. In 1806 only some Agas had stayed.

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