Greek commemorative 2 euro coins 2013 - 100th Anniversary of the Union of Crete with Greece
Description: The inner part of the coin depicts Cretan rebels raising the Greek flag, a symbolic representation of Crete’s struggle for Union with Greece. On the upper side, in circular sense and with capital letters the name of the issuing country ‘Hellenic Republic’ in Greek. Underneath the words: ‘100 years of the union of Crete with Greece’ in Greek. On the right: ‘1913-2013’ and the monogram of the Greek Mint. In exergue, ‘ΣΤΑΜ’ (monogram of the author G. Stamatopoulos). The coin’s outer ring depicts the 12 stars of the European flag.
Reverse: left from the coin centre face value: 2, on the right inscription: EURO; in the background of the inscription a map of Europe; in the background of the map vertically six parallel lines ending on both sides with five-pointed stars (the reverse is common for all euro coins)
Issuing volume: 754,000 coins
Date of issue: 1 October 2013
Face value: 2 euro
Diameter: 25.75 mm
Thickness: 2.2 mm
Weight: 8.5 gr
Composition: BiAlloy (Nk/Ng), ring Cupronickel (75% copper - 25% nickel clad on nickel core), center Nickel brass (75% copper - 20% zinc - 5% nickel).
€2 Edge Inscription: The Greek €2 coin edge inscription is 'EΛΛHNIKH ΔHMOKPATIA' (Hellenic Republic), followed by a star:
Mint Location: Μέντα της Ελλάδας (Mint of Greece), in Athens, Greece.
Mint Marks: Mintmark of the Athens mint: a stylized acanthus leaf. Located just inside the upper left of the inner circle.
National Identification: Text: 'ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ'; (Hellenic Republic) Local long form of Greece.
On December 1, 2013, it was the 100th anniversary of the union of Crete with Greece. It was on a Sunday, the 1st of December, 1913 that the Greek flag was raised on top of the fortress of Firka, on the western side of the harbour of Chania, in front of the King of Hellenes, Constantine, the Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos and a tearful, emotional and enthusiastic crowd of proud Cretans. The struggle to reach to that moment had been a bloody and very long one. As the plaque at the location says:
TURKISH OCCUPATION OF CRETE
1669 – 1913
267 YEARS, 7 MONTHS, 7 DAYS
YEARS OF AGONY
From the middle of 1908 certain events started unfolding that were to have a significant impact on the situation in Crete. Firstly the Turkish opposition movement, known as the “Young Turks” won power in July that year. On 5 October the Bulgarians taking advantage of the confused situation in Turkey they proclaimed their full independence annexing at the same time the eastern part of Macedonia. Next day the Austro-Hungarian Empire unilaterally annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina. The outrage about those events in both Athens and Crete was unprecedented, with public demonstrations condemning those actions and demanding immediate union of Crete with Greece.
In Crete events moved very fast, with public meetings passing resolutions declaring the immediate annexation of Crete to Greece. On 6 October the Cretan Assembly passed a resolution forming an interim government to govern the island in the name of the king of the Hellenes, under the laws of the Greek state, until such time as the king of the Hellenes was ready to assume control of the island himself. The Cretan flag was lowered and in its place the blue and white flag of Greece was to be hoisted at the fort of Firka in Chania. The Greek government, although in full support of the moves in Crete, refrained from officially recognising the action of the Cretan Assembly, as it firstly wanted the full support of the Great Powers.
The Great Powers appeared to be accepting the developments in Crete but the Young Turks were demanding that the Greek government disavow the Cretan moves. The Great Powers were not prepared to aggravate the delicate diplomatic situation with the new government of the Young Turks and following insistent complaints from the Turks they demanded from the Cretan government that the Greek flag be lowered from the fort of Firka. Finally, when they saw that there was no intention by the Cretan government to obey to this instruction, they landed a military detachment at Chania and cut down the flagpole with the Greek flag.
The situation remained unresolved for a while. The Greek government was overthrown by a coup d’etat by a group of young military officers that had formed a “Military League” and who had forced the Greek Prime Minister to resign. Recognising that they lacked political expertise they invited Venizelos to join them as their political advisor. Venizelos being ready to join the Greek political scene accepted the invitation and joined them in January 1910. At the next elections in September he was elected to the Greek Assembly and by October 1910 he was the new Prime Minister of Greece. In the meanwhile Crete was going through a number of changes with its interim governments while at the same time Greece was unwilling to proceed to recognise the annexation of Crete, as it was trying to avoid any open conflict with either the Great Powers or Turkey. Venizelos’ refusal to accept any participation of Cretan representatives in the Greek Assembly led to an other uprising in Crete in January 1912
The start of the first Balkan War against Turkey in October 1912 was the catalyst to this difficult situation. The Greek Assembly immediately invited the deputies of the Cretan Assembly to join the Greek Assembly, as a first step towards full annexation. The defeat of Turkey and the Treaty of London on 30 May 1913 provided amongst others for Turkey to relinquish her title to Crete. In a separate treaty between Turkey and Greece, signed on 1 November 1913, the Sultan renounced all claims over Crete, thus ratifying the annexation of Crete to Greece. One month later, on 1 December 1913, the Greek flag was flying again on a new flagpole at the fort of Firka, in front of the King of the Hellenes Constantine, the Prime Minister of a united Greek nation, the Cretan Elefterios Venizelos and an ecstatic and tearful Cretan crowd. They had all been waiting for that moment for 267 years, 7 months and 7 days.