12 Union With Greece

History of Zante

British rule still held firm on Zakynthos and the other Eptanissos islands, however, not only during the revolution, liberation and the establishment of the young Greek State. It was Britain's formal recognition of Free Greece, albeit within the Iimited boundaries, imposed by the Great Powers, which heralded the start of new persistent struggles by the island peoples.

Their first step was to succeed in securing certain reforms of the constitution. The removal of censorship and the grant of a number of civil rights permitted the formation of three political parties on Zakynthos: the Radicals , the Reformers, and the Plutocrats. The Radical s represented the broad and progressive layers of the people, and had a s their main objective the banishment of the English protectors and the union of the Ionian islands with Greece. The Reformers were more moderate, and merely advocated improved government under the English. The Plutocrats were the tools of the English. They formed the English-Ionian Association, and were known by their opponents as The
Fiends, or The Retrogrades.

The proportion of representatives voted into the Ionian Parliament by the first free elections of 28 February 1850 was a direct reflection of popular sentiment: 30 Radicals , 6 Plutocrats, and 4 Reformers.

Although the English and their associates began a reign of persecution, dismissals, banishments and other measures of blackmail, Member of Parliament loannis Tipaldos-Kapeletos proposed on 2 December 1851 that the Ionian Parliament should vote on the union of the Eptanissos islands with Greece. Tough reprisals from the English followed this proposal, but the ethnic passions and determination of the people couid no longer be held in check. Their struggles were now coordinated by the dynamic and fearless Member of Parliament and leader of the Radicals, Konstantfnos Lombardos.

Notwithstanding ail the delays and obstacles the reactionary Powers could contrive, the struggle of the Eptanissos isles for freedom were finally vindicated. On 5 June 1863 a treaty was signed in London by England, France and Russia, under which England had to abandon her status as protector power of the castle of Zakynthos, and the people jubilantly celebrated their union with Greece.