Ioannis DaskalogiannisChania Airport
1722 or 1730
|Died||17 June 1771 (age 40–49)|
Heraklion, Crete, Ottoman Empire
Ioannis Vlachos or Daskalogiannis (1725 – 17th June 1771) was a Greek fighter.
In spring of 1770, and while the war between Russia and Turkey was in progress (1768-1774), there was a rebellion outbreak in several places of Greece against the Ottomans, incited by Russia. The rebellions were organized by the close associates of the empress Aikaterini the second, the Orlof brothers and that is the reason why they are known as “Orlofika”. The leader of the rebellion in Sfakia in Crete (1770-1771) was Ioannis Vlachos or Daskalogiannis.
Ioannis Vlachos was born in Ano Poli in Sfakia, probably in 1725. Having gained a lot of money in trade, his father managed to send him to study abroad. That is why Ioannis Vlachos, as an educated person, was given the nickname Daskalogiannis (“daskalos” in Greak means teacher) and with this name stayed in history.
In February of 1770, after the arrival of the Russian forces in Mani, Daskalogiannis, who in the meanwhile had come in contact with the Orlof brothers, send some hundreds of people from Sfakia to help the rebels in Peloponnesus. A little later, in spring in the same year, a rebellion broke out in Sfakia and Daskalogiannis was put in charge. More specifically, in April 1770, after they had collected provisions and ammunition, and had barricaded crucial passages in the mountains, the people of Sfakia sent away the tax collector who went to collect the head tax. Then, they attacked and killed several Ottomans who lived in the lowland and took their properties, forcing the rest to seek shelter in the nearby fortresses. The first attack against the Muslims of Crete in Easter of 1770, was considered to be a symbolic move associated with the Messianic faith of the enslaved Orthodox people who believed that their race would be set free from the Turks one day. In addition, a myth had been formed, which said that every Easter the Angels celebrate Easter in the temple- mosque of Hagia Sophia.
At that time the pashas of Crete, after an order issued by the sultan, organized a military force of 15.000 men in order to attack the rebels. However, before the Ottoman military forces start their operations, two clergymen were sent to the people of Sfakia in order to convince them to surrender, but Daskalogiannis rejected the offer. The Ottomans managed, with the aid of the artillery to conquer crucial points, owned by the rebels and some villages, where they slaughtered and looted the people. Then the rebels under the guidance of Daskalogiannis fled to the tops of the mountains in areas inaccessible to the Ottomans and started the guerilla warfare.
The guerilla warfare –continued until the end of winter when both sides were in predicament. So, in March 1771, the people in Sfakia suggested stopping the conflicts under the condition that they would be given amnesty. The Ottoman side accepted the proposal under the following terms: To pay the head tax «per capita» and not like they used to do in the past «flat rate», to release the Ottoman prisoners and the people in Sfakia not to provide supplies to the military vessels sailing around Crete. Additionally, they imposed bans associated with clothes, the erection of churches and towers and removed the judicial power from the communal rulers. But, they primarily demanded to hand over and punish the people who started the rebellion.
So, Daskalogiannis was handed over, among his comrades to the Ottomans in Chandaka and was imprisoned. It is said that Daskalogiannis surrendered after receiving a letter from his brother, who was imprisoned by the Ottomans, in which he assured him about the intentions of the Pasha and told him to go to Chandaka. On the 17th June 1771, Daskalogiannis was either skinned or hanged. All his comrades were executed along him.
In honor of Daskalogiannis, his name was given to the airport of Chania, and a statue of him has been placed in his hometown. His bust has been placed in a central point in the city of Heraclion ( the city where he was tortured and killed) and his name has been given to a central square of the city, next to “Eleftheria” square, one of the most central squares in the city. Another bust of him has been placed to a square, which has had his name since 1957, and is located in Peristeri, Athens.