Panayotis D. Cangelaris - Greek Diplomat and Collector
 

"THE WESTERN THRACE AUTONOMOUS GOVERNMENT "MUHTARIYET" ISSUE (1913)"

 Philatelic Exhibit
1pi type II "Muhtariyet" with safety mark on cover tied Gumuldjina, with transit bilingual meter stamp CONSTANTINOPLE Oct. 19, 1913 (on reverse) and arrival PARIS R.P. ETRANGER Oct. 24, 1913 cds
To view the exhibit online, please click here
 

This exhibit is part of Panayotis D. Cangelaris Greek and New Territories stamps collection.  He started collecting these stamps in the early '60s, just after his family settled permanently in Greece.  Since 1966, parts of this collection were presented to the public at national, international and world philatelic exhibitions (competitive or not) at which he showed the following exhibits:  Greek Social Providence Stamps (1966) in one frame at the youth philately class, Greek Issues of Thrace 1920 (since 1966) in (three to) five frames at the youth and traditional philately classes, Varieties on Greek Stamps (since 1977) in five (to eight) frames at the traditional philately class, The Glory Issue of Greece (1945) (since 2007) and this one (since 2009) in one frame each at the traditional philately class (one frame).

Western Thrace 1913

Following the Hellenic Army’s evacuation from Western Thrace in compliance to the Treaty of Bucharest (August 10, 1913) that awarded the region to Bulgaria, local inhabitants (Greek, Armenian, Jew and Muslim) joined forces and revolted (between August 16 and 19), occupied the cities of Gumuldjina (now Komotini) on August 31 and Isketche (now Xanthi) the following day (September 1) as well as the port of Dedeagatch (now Alexandroupolis) on September 3.  They then declared the short lived (Provisional later Autonomous) Government of Western Thrace, with Gumuldjina as its capital.  The Treaty of Constantinople (September 29), concluded only between Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (who left the local insurgents unprotected), removed the last obstacles and the Bulgarian Army entered the region (October 25-30, 1913), thus leading to the Autonomous Government’s end.

The Provisional Government consisted of the militaries Hadji Selim Samy Bey and Suleiman Askeri Bey, the civilians Reshid Bey, Raif Effendi and Hafous Salih Effendi (later senator of the Hellenic Republic), the Greek vicar general of the Bishopric of Maronia Nicodimos (later metropolitan of Grevena), the Armenian Migirditch Tabakian and the Jew Yaka Cassavi.  Hafous Gali (later member of the Hellenic Parliament) was named Secretary of State, while the Military Command was given to Eshref Bey Kushchubasi.  The latter was the initiator of the issuing of the Autonomous Government’s overprints (on Ottoman, Greek and Bulgarian stamps and stationery), as well as of these stamps.  He was an intelligent and highly educated Circassian military, who later commanded the Ottoman Forces in Libya (1914) assisted by his brother Hadji Selim Samy Bey, Mustafa Kemal Pasha and Emver Pasha.  He subsequently (1916) directed the massacres, deportations and forced marches against Greeks and Armenians (he admitted more than a million “purified” with an estimate of half a million killed) and was sent to the Hejaz, where he was captured during the Arab Revolt (1917).  After the war in Asia Minor (1919-1922) he disagreed with Kemal Atatürk and settled in the Island of Crete (Greece) to finally pass his last years at a very old age in his native Smyrna (now Izmir).

The change of the inscription (from “Provisional Government” to “Autonomous Government”) was due to the fear of eventual confusion and insecurity among the population.  The stamps were died by local engraver Halil Oglou Ali Moullah.  These same values were also printed on envelopes of different sizes and qualities and were sold either mint or pre-franked with negative Post and Telegraph Office cancels of the cities of Gumuldjina, Isketche and Dedeagatch.  They were issued between September 8 and October 6, 1913, in sixteen different printings.

Three types of ungummed and imperforate stamps were printed, some with a red circle (in Gumuldjina) or oval (in Dedeagatch) safety mark (1 piastre equalled 40 paras):

Type I:  1pi blue and 2pi violet with the “Provisional Government” inscription (large size)
Type II:  1pi blue and 2pi violet with the “Autonomous Government” inscription (large size)
Type III:  1pi violet, 10pa red and 20pa blue with the “Autonomous Government” inscription (small size)

 

To view the exhibit online, please click here

The Western Thrace Autonomous Government "Muhtariyet"Issue (1913) Philatelic Exhibit Online View

To view a related article, please click:

Gumuldjina 1913

 

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