Ioannis Kapodistrias (Corfu 1776-Nafplio 1831) is a personality of great importance not only for Greek, but also for Russian and indeed European history, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Corfiot aristocrat, scholar and patriot, European diplomat, Greek politician: all different facets which define the identity of the first Governor of the newly established Greek state. In his hometown, Corfu, Kapodistrias was involved in the administration of the short-lived Septinsular Republic and was initiated in politics.
At the same time, as a man of letters, he was keeping up with the scientific and philosophical discussions of his era, showing simultaneously his practical interest in the renaissance of Hellenism through culture. Having served as a member of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years, he actively participated in the most important developments of European politics. Following the Greek Revolution, he was asked to return to Greece and serve as first Governor, setting the foundations of a democratic state, albeit in an era of kings and emperors.
Within this frame, the study of his life and work significantly contributes to the understanding of a volatile era, marked by revolutions and wars, territorial and social reclassifications, intense ideological and political confrontations, as well as sudden and unexpected compromises. However, the career of the “familiar-unknown” Ioannis Kapodistrias and, accordingly, the conditions that formed it, the people with whom he cooperated, the contradictions that characterized him, the heritage he bequeathed, have not been yet fully studied. His life can be seen as an invaluable tool not only for the understanding of the first, quite crucial, period of the history of the modern Greek state, but also for the study of the European diplomatic scene, of which he was a prominent member.