Grigorii Andreevich Spiridov

Spiridov, Grigorii Andreevich

 

Born 1713; died Apr. 8 (19), 1790, in Moscow. Russian naval commander and admiral (1769).

The son of a soldier, Spiridov joined the navy in 1723 and became an officer in 1733. Beginning in 1741 he commanded various ships in the Baltic Fleet. During the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63, at the siege of the fortress of Kolberg (Kolobrzeg), he commanded a landing detachment of 2,000 men. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1762 and commanded the squadron that provided liaison with the Russian army in Prussia. Spiridov became chief commanding officer of the port of Revel (Tallinn) in 1764 and of Kronstadt in 1766.

During the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74, he commanded the squadron dispatched in the summer of 1769 from the Baltic to the Mediterranean to help the Greeks against the Turks (seeARCHIPELAGO EXPEDITIONS OF THE RUSSIAN FLEET). In early 1770 he directed the capture of Mistra (Sparta), Arcadia, and Navarino (Pylos), with the assistance of a landing force. On June 24 (July 5), 1770, a Russian squadron nominally commanded by Count A. G. Orlov, with an advance guard commanded by Spiridov, attacked the Turkish fleet in Chios Channel and forced the Turks to take cover in the harbor of Çeşme. On the night of June 25 (July 6), in the battle of Çeşme, the Russian squadron, under the actual command of Spiridov and S. K. Greig, destroyed the Turkish fleet and established supremacy in the Aegean Sea. From 1771 to 1773 Spiridov commanded the Russian fleet in the Aegean.

Because the victory over the Turks was undeservedly attributed to Orlov, Spiridov retired in 1774.

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