Pavlos Melas

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Pavlos Melas (Greek: Παύλος Μελάς) (born March 29, 1870 in Marseille - died 1904) was an officer of the Greek Army, and he was among the first who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia. Melas, with the cooperation of Ion Dragoumis, deputy Consul of Greece in Monastiri (now Bitola) whose sister, Natalia, he had married and Germanos Karavangelis, bishop of Kastoria tried to raise money for the economic support of Greek efforts in Macedonia. But after the rise of Bulgarian efforts and especially after the Ilinden uprising, which was organised by the Bulgarians he decided to enter Macedonia in June, 1904, under the alias "Petros Dedes", to assess the situation and to see if there is any possibility of establishing a military unit to fight the Bulgarians.

In July, 1904 under the alias Captain Mikis Zezas, he reentered Macedonia with a small unit of about 35 men and fought against the Bulgarian units of VMRO until October 13, 1904 when he was killed by the Turks in the village Statista.

After his death, Greek efforts became more intense, resulting in the interception of Bulgarian efforts, specially in West and Central Macedonia, which composed part of Greece, after the Balkan Wars.

He is considered to be a symbol of Greek Struggle for Macedonia and many of his personal belongings can be seen in the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki and Pavlos Melas Museum in Kastoria.

In his honour, the village of Statista was renamed "Pavlos Melas".

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