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Nikolaos Plastiras (1883 - 1953) was a general of the Greek army. He is known as "O Mavros Cavalares" ("The Black Horseman"). He was born on November 4, 1883 , in Karditsa, Greece. His parents came from Morfovouni (old name = Vounesi), a village in the Agrafa region which is located in the northwestern part of Thessaly in mainland Greece.
During the botched war with Turkey from 1921-1923, General Plastiras was responsible for arresting the Greek army's retreat and stabilising the front in Thrace along the Evros River. His stance is considered heroic since it helped save the lives of large masses of Anatolian Greeks and Armenians. After the war he had six royalist generals and politicians who were held responsible for the defeat court-marshalled and executed. Plastiras also forced Greece's King Constantine I to leave the country in 1923. Plastiras help to lay the groundwork for the 1st Hellenic Republic . These actions gave him widespread fame for being one of the few republican officers in the Greek army.
General Plastiras was even admired by his greatest enemy, Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk). At the end of the war, negotiations took place regarding the exchange of peoples between Greece and the newly formed Republic of Turkey. Ataturk is quoted telling Plastiras, "I gave gold and you gave me copper."
Plastiras governed Greece as a prime minister for three terms in 1945, 1951 and 1952. During his tenure Plastiras oversaw construction of the dam at the Tavropos (Megdovas ) River. Additionally, Plastiras helped to construct a man-made lake. Today the lake and dam both bear his name. (Lake of Tavropos = Lake Plastiras (Limni Plastiras) ). The majority of the work on these two projects was performed by the residents of the Agrafa themselves, known as Agrafiotes. The dam is a key factor in the modernization of Greece. The electricity it produces supplies nearly all of mainland Greece north of the Pelleponese. Lake Plastiras provides a year-round source of water for the people of the Agrafa and an irrigation source to the farmers in the plains of Thessaly. General Plastiras' investment in his native region has tranformed the Agrafa, once one of the poorest and most isolated areas of Greece, into a bustling tourist hub with scenic views which rival the Alpine regions in western Europe.
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