Printing Houses in Revolutionary Greece: Kalamata – Corinth (1821 – 1822)

Printing was one of the most potent weapons the revolutionaries had at their disposal in 1821-1827. Six printing houses were established in the liberated regions of Greece, with the intent of supporting the struggle for liberty, and followed the seat of the Administration wherever it was transferred: Kalamata – Corinth, Missolonghi, Psara, Hydra, Athens, and Nafplion. Their operation was always connected with political and military developments.

In fact, three printing houses were established in administrative centers. The philhellenes’ contributions in funds and expertise proved invaluable to setting them up. Of the six printing houses, that of Kalamata was perhaps the most closely associated with the revolutionaries’ management of printed information. Alexandros Ypsilantis had proclamations of the revolution printed at the Greek printing house in Iasi, while his brother Demetrios Ypsilantis brought a printing press from Trieste to Kalamata, which he installed in an abandoned mosque near the gate of the fortress of the city. Its operation was brief. It was overseen by Konstantinos Tombras and Apostolos Nikolaidis from Kydonies, two printers who travelled to the Peloponnese from Psara, where they had sought refuge after the Turkish sack of their hometown.
In late 1821, the First National Assembly ratified the first Greek Constitution at Epidaurus and elected a government led by Alexandros Mavrokordatos, based in Corinth. Accordingly, the printing press was transferred there and continued to operate under Tombras and his assistants, eventually being supplemented with a second press from Livorno. The expedition of Dramalis and the Turkish conquest of Corinth put an end to the printing house in 1822.
The first Greek newspaper, the Greek Salpinx (Σάλπιγξ Ελληνική) was printed in Kalamata. Its director, Theokletos Pharmakidis, resigned his post in protest over ongoing censorship after only three issues (1, 5, 20, August 1821). The Corinth printing house issued the first printed edition of the first Constitution of Greece (the Provisional Regime, Προσωρινόν Πολίτευμα) in 1822, in addition to thirty widely circulated broadsides.