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The town is of great historic importance to Greece as it was here that the war for independence against 350 years of Turkish occupation began. On 17th March 1821, a banner was raised and allegiance sworn under the motto “Victory or Death” by the various Maniat clan leaders assembled. They then marched to Kardamyli and on to Kalamata. The seven-year struggle had begun. In recognition of this role, the town was renamed Areopolis after Ares, the god of war, in 1836. Previously it had been known by its Slavic name, Tsimova.


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