Statue of Bouboulina watching over the Isle of Spetses.

Statue of Bouboulina watching over the Isle of Spetses.

Laskarina Bouboulina (1771—1825 CE) was born in the Ottoman Empire. She participated in the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Her father, Stavrianos Pinotsis, was a naval captain who was arrested by the Turkish for participating in the failed Orlof Revolution against the Ottomans. As he was dying in prison, her mother visited him and gave birth to Laskarina in the process. After her birth, she and her mother returned to the island of Hydra, where she was raised until they moved to the isle of Spetses when her mother remarried. At the age of 17, she married Demetrios Yannouzas, and had at least two sons with him. He was killed by pirates during a naval battle. In 1801, she married Demetrios Bouboulis, and he was killed in the same way in 1811. She inherited quite a large fortune from both her husbands in land, ships, and money. In the five years that followed, she increased her fortune by investment and other careful commercial projects.

In 1816 the Ottoman Empire wanted to confiscate her fortune, as she was the widow of a presumed traitor. She went to Constantinople and met with a Russian pro-Greek ambassador, who sent her to Crimea for her protection. While in Constantinople, she was allegedly invited to join Filiki Etaireia, an organization that was preparing for a revolution. After her return to Spetses from Crimea, she bought artillery for the cause. Back on the island, she built a warship for the cause, naming it the “Agamemnon”. When the Ottomans became suspicious of this venture, she paid them off.

On the 3rd of April, 1821, the islands joined forces for the revolution and became a part of the fight. Bouboulina commandeered six ships, and oversaw naval blockades. She participated in the battle that ended with the capture of Monemvasia and Pylos. On September 11th, 1821, she oversaw the fall of the Ottoman city Tripolis. Here, she met and became friends with the rebel general, Theodoros Kolokotronis. Later, their children Eleni Bouboulina and Panos Kolokotronis would marry.

In November 1822, as thanks for her help in the fight for independence, she received a plot of land from the newly minted Greek government. She had spent all of her money on the war effort, and she had nothing left to her name.

Peace was not kept for long, however, as two opposing Greek factions disagreed, causing the Second Greek Civil War in 1824. Her friend, General Kolokotronis was arrested, and when she asked for his release, she was arrested and exiled.

She was killed in 1825, by a bullet wound to her head, presumably fired by the angry father of her daughter-in-law (who had eloped with her son).