A stunning mural of Laskarina Bouboulina, the heroic figure from the Greek War of Independence, now graces the streets of Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay.
The painting of the heroine of the Greek Revolution is found at the entrance of the Tsakos Industrias Navales shipyard.
Bouboulina Mural in Uruguay
Founded by Greek captain Panagiotis Tsakos in the 1970s, the Tsakos Group is one of the most influential names in shipping in Uruguay and in all of Latin America.
In addition to shipping, the Tsakos Group, particularly the Maria Tsakos Foundation, is dedicated to promoting philanthropy and Hellenism.
The Foundation is the center of the Greek Diaspora community in Uruguay, which is small but vibrant. It is also recognized as a kind of “Department of the Greek Language” by the Greek Ministry of Education, making the foundation a hub of Greek language education in the community.
In addition to the language, the Maria Tsakos Foundation also provides free lessons in Greek history, culture, dance, cooking, and other subjects to thousands of students.
The Foundation commissioned the painting of the mural of Bouboulina as part of its mission to promote Hellenism.
A pioneer ahead of her time
One of the most renowned heroines of the Greek War of Independence, Bouboulina was a patriot to her last breath.
Born in May of 1771 in a prison in Constantinople, she continued to lead a most extraordinary and untraditional life for her times.
She was married twice and inherited a fortune due to her marriages. There are reports that in 1819 Bouboulina joined the “Filiki Etaireia” (Society of Friends), the underground organization preparing to facilitate a revolution against Ottoman rule to liberate Greece.
Bouboulina went on to become a Greek naval commander in the Greek War of Independence, when on March 13, 1821 she raised a Greek flag which was based on the flag of the Comnenus dynasty of Byzantine emperors on the mast of her ship.
She then led her fleet of eight ships to Nafplio, where she started a naval blockade of the city.
Her wealth and fortune came in handy as she spent most of her own riches to supply ammunition and food for sailors and soldiers under her command.
She would go on to participate in other naval blockades and the capture of Monemvasia and Pylos.
During the Battle of Argos, Bouboulina’s eldest son was heroically killed in battle. After the fall of the city to the Greek forces, she sent word back to Spetses where she reportedly stated: “…my son is dead, but Argos is ours.”
There are also accounts of the great warrior by some philhellenes who met Bouboulina during their travels in Greece.
Olivier Voutier states that she laughed wholeheartedly when she was told how beautiful they imagined her in Paris.
Another, Taitbout de Marigny, wrote that he met her in her house on Spetses, a few months before she was killed. She was apparently baking her own cookies – paximadia – out of fear of being poisoned.
In 1825, however, she was killed on the balcony of her house on Spetses during a family feud by an unknown assassin.