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Eleftherios Venizelos

Personal data
Date of birth23 August 1864
Place of birthMournies, Crete, Ottoman Empire
(now Eleftherios Venizelos, Crete, Greece)
Date of death18 March 1936(age 71)
Place of deathParis, France
Political partyLiberal Party
SpouseMaria Katelouzou (1891-1894)
Elena Skylitsi (1921-1936)
RelationsConstantine Mitsotakis (nephew)
ChildrenKyriakos Venizelos
Sophoklis Venizelos
Alma materNational and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Member of Parliament
ReligionGreek Orthodoxy
Prime Minister of Greece
In office6 October 1910 - 25 February 1915
MonarchGeorge I
Constantine I
Succeeded byDimitrios Gounaris
Preceded byStephanos Dragoumis
In office10 August 1915 - 24 September 1915
MonarchConstantine I
Succeeded byAlexandros Zaimis
Preceded byDimitrios Gounaris
In office14 June 1917 - 4 November 1920
Succeeded byDimitrios Rallis
Preceded byAlexandros Zaimis
In office24 January 1924 - 19 February 1924
MonarchGeorge II
Succeeded byGeorgios Kafantaris
Preceded byStylianos Gonatas
In office4 July 1928 - 26 May 1932
PresidentPavlos Kountouriotis
Alexandros Zaimis
Succeeded byAlexandros Papanastasiou
Preceded byAlexandros Zaimis
In office5 June 1932 - 4 November 1932
PresidentAlexandros Zaimis
Succeeded byPanagis Tsaldaris
Preceded byAlexandros Papanastasiou
In office16 January 1933 - 6 March 1933
PresidentAlexandros Zaimis
Succeeded byAlexandros Othonaios
Preceded byPanagis Tsaldaris
Prime Minister of the Cretan State
In office2 May 1910 - 6 October 1910
Preceded byAlexandros Zaimis (as High Commissioner)
Minister of Justice and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Cretan State
In office1908 - 1910

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Eleftherios Venizelos (full name Elefthérios Kyriákou Venizélos, Greek: Ἐλευθέριος Κυριάκου Βενιζέλος; -elelefˈθerios ciriˈaku veniˈzelospron; 23 August 1864 - 18 March 1936) was an eminent Greek revolutionary, a prominent and illustrious statesman as well as a charismatic leader in the early 20th century. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece and served from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932. Venizelos had such profound influence on the internal and external affairs of Greece that he is credited with being "the maker of modern Greece", and he is still widely known as the "Ethnarch".

His first entry into the international scene was with his significant role in the autonomy of the Cretan State and later in the union of Crete with Greece. Soon, he was invited to Greece to resolve the political deadlock and became the country's Prime Minister. Not only did he initiate constitutional and economic reforms that set the basis for the modernization of Greek society, but also reorganized both army and navy in preparation of future conflicts. Before the Balkan Wars of 1912 1913, Venizelos' catalytic role helped gain Greece entrance to the Balkan League, an alliance of the Balkan states against Ottoman Turkey. Through his diplomatic acumen, Greece doubled her area and population with the liberation of Macedonia, Epirus, and the rest of the Aegean islands.

In World War I (1914 1918), he brought Greece on the side of the Allies, further expanding the Greek borders. However, his pro-Allied foreign policy brought him in direct conflict with the monarchy, causing the National Schism. The Schism polarized the population between the royalists and Venizelists and the struggle for power between the two groups afflicted the political and social life of Greece for decades. Following the Allied victory, Venizelos secured new territorial gains, especially in Anatolia, coming close to realize the Megali Idea. Despite his achievements, Venizelos was defeated in the 1920 General Election, which contributed to the eventual Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). Venizelos, in self-imposed exile, represented Greece in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, and the agreement of a mutual exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.

In his subsequent periods in office Venizelos succeeded in restoring normal relations with Greece's neighbors and expanded his constitutional and economical reforms. In 1935 Venizelos resurfaced out of retirement to support a military coup and its failure severely weakened the Second Hellenic Republic, the republic he had created.

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