This Day in the Law
January 15

Demetrius Ypsilantis Elected President of First Greek Assembly (1822)

On January 15, 1822, Demetrius Ypsilantis was elected president of the newly formed Greek legislative assembly in their fight for independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire. His election marked a turning point in Greek history and law, even though he would step down from the Greek presidency around one-year after he was elected.

The Greeks had been subject to the Ottomans for over 350 years since the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The Greeks tried numerous times to fight for their independence, but were never successful. Then, in 1821 the Greek Revolution began, and Demetrius’s brother, Alexander Ypsilantis, led the Greeks to victory and independence was finally granted through the Treaty of Constantinople in 1832.

The Greeks were the very first people to fight against the Ottoman Empire and win their independent sovereignty. Many wealthy Americans and Europeans also fought or gave financial aid to the Greeks in their struggle for independence. The city of Ypsilanti, Michigan is named after Demetrius Ypsilantis, and a bust of him stands between a Greek and US flag at the base of the Ypsilanti Water Tower.