Kitries – Historic Records

Kitries is a seaside historic village of Messinia or Mesinian Mani which fell under the province of Oitylos of the Perfecture of Lakonia. It lies on the northeast side, in the heart of the Messinian Gulf, located 15 kilometers southeast of the city of Kalamata. Today, it falls under the local community of Doloi, Messinia and counts about 100 inhabitants. Back in 1928 it counted 53 inhabitants. It is a historic fishing village whose inhabitants’ main occupation is fishery. Actually, the local fishermen supply “Mimis” tavern with fresh, local fish.

Historic records

While under Turkish Rule, Kitries served as the base of operations of the Beys of Mani and it was the most significant port of the Messinian Gulf, haven of Zarnata where imports and exports of the wider region were carried out. Kitries was also the place where the same-title, historic “Treaty of Kitries” was signed in 1819 with which the big families of Mavromichalides, Grigorianoi and Troupakides swore each other peace, amity and power unity for the forthcoming revolution of 1821. Moreover, here, in March 1821 Petrobey Mavromichalis took on leadership of the Spartan powers following a decision reached by the warlords and captains that gathered together.

The family roots of the Mavromichalis family originate from Eastern Thrace. Some of the Mavromichalis family members settled in Andrianoupoli while others settled in Mani. Mavromichalis family that settled in Mani was named after one of their ancestors whose name was Michalis. He was left orphan at a very young age and since orphans in Mani were called “mavra” (black), he got to be called Mavromichalis.

Ilias Katsakos Mavromichalis was born in Mani. His father Ioannis Katsis Mavromichalis was Petrobey Mavromichalis’ brother. Ioannis Katsis Mavromichalis was well-known for his manly looks and he had such a great influence on Mani that its people called him “the King”. It is actually rumored that when reign was taken away from Theodorobey Grigorakis, Kapoudan Pasha initially offered bey rule to Katsis. Yet, he rejected the offer claiming that he has an older brother who, according to the Lakonian customs, he ought to respect. Thus, leadership was given to Petrobey.

During the struggle Katsis did not show any warlike or political mentality. That is, while his brothers Petrobey, Kyriakoulis, Konstantinos and Antonis moved throughout Greece, he stayed in Mani governing the area and managing family issues. Only at the beginning of the Revolution did he act during siege of the Methoni castles, Koroni and during the invasion of Ibrahim in Peloponisos and he took over the recruitment management and financial services of the defensive military camp in Fourtzala (Thouria), Messinia.

However, instead of the father it was the son Ilias who stood on the battlefront who according to a habit of Mani was called Katsakos (son of Katsis) and so that he could be differentiated by his first cousin Ilias, the great Bezante-Ilia, son of Petrobey who died heroically in Karystos. After the explosion of the Revolution Ilias Katsakos Mavromichalis as the leader of the laconian army being only twenty years old, seemed to be rearranging the already collapsed seige of Koroni which had recently failed.