In 1820, at the age of 20, already a very experienced soldier, he became the "Lieutenant" (Greek: Πρωτοπαλλήκαρον) of Markos Botsaris, (Greek: Μάρκος Μπότσαρης). During the Greek War of Independence, he took part in the battles around Messolongi under the command of his older brother Konstantinos Zappas, and by 1824, he rose to the rank of "Brigadier General", (Greek Language: Ταξίαρχος).
Some time after the Greek Revolution, (about 1830), he abandoned everything he owned and moved to Veria and soon after left Greece altogether and settled in Bucharest. Eventually, after a few years of hard work, he became one of the largest land owners in Romania. About 1835, he invited his cousin Konstantinos Zappas to come and work for him.
In 1856, he raised funds to finance his idea of Annual Exhibitions to be held in Athens, in order to present and exhibit Greek knowledge in the fields of agriculture and manufacturing industry. The Organising committee was called "The Olympic Commission", Evangelos Zappas was one of the first individuals to dream of the resurrection of the Olympic Games. In his will, he left everything he owned in Romania to the commission, under the proviso that the commission will contribute 1:1 and spend the money to organize the exhibitions as well as to give prices to those who excel.