Battle of Doliana

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The Battle of Doliana took place during the Greek War of Independence, on May 18, 1821.

Background

The Greek War of Independence broke out - officially - on March 25, 1821. The city of Tripolis in Arcadia, central Peloponnesus, became a prime objective of the Greek revolutionary army and was besieged early in the war.

The Turkish army within the city sought to alieviate the pressure by sending a force outside the Tripolis city walls to engage the Greeks in the open. On May 12, 1821, the Battle of Valtetsi was fought. It ended in failure for the Turkish army which next sought to assault the Greek camp at Vervena with a force of 6,000 men.

The Battle

The Turkish army met up with a Greek force of 200 men under Nikitas Stamatelopoulos, better known as "Nikitaras". The Greeks, though outnumbered, managed to knock out the Turkish artillery and spread panic among their enemies who left 300 dead on the battlefield and much booty. Nikitaras, who had up to that point lived in the shadow of his uncle Theodoros Kolokotronis, earned a name for himself and the nickname "Tourkofagos" (Turk-eater). Legend has it that after the battle his sword had became stuck to his hand and could not be removed.

Significance

The Battle of Doliana was a big morale booster for the irregular Greek army. It marked the last time the besieged Turkish army left Tripolis and it opened the way for the fall of that city and the firm establishment of the independence movement in the Peloponnese.