Before the Greek War of Independence, under the Ottoman name of "Tripoliçe", it was one of the Ottoman administrative centers in the Peloponnese (the Morea Eyalet, often called "pashalik of Tripolitsa") and had large Muslim and Jewish populations. Tripolis was one of the main targets of the Greek insurgents in the Greek War of Independence, who stormed it on 17 October 1821, following the bloody Siege of Tripolitsa, and exterminated the Muslim and Jewish populations in revenge. Ibrahim Pasha retook the city on June 22, 1825, after it had been abandoned by the Greeks. Before he evacuatied the Peloponnese in early 1828, he destroyed the city and tore down its walls.
After the independent Greek state was established in 1830, Tripoli was rebuilt and was developed as one of the main cities of the Kingdom of Greece, serving as the capital of the Arcadia district. During the 19th and the 20th centuries the city emerged to be the administrative, economic, commercial and transportation center of central and south Peloponnese.
The Siege of Tripolitsa or the Fall of Tripolitsa to Greek rebels in the summer of 1821 marked an early victory in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, which had begun earlier in that year.It is further notorious for the massacre of its Muslim and Jewish population — the Massacre of Tripolitsa, which occurred after the city's fall to the Greek forces. As historian of the war W. Alison Phillips noted, "the other atrocities of Greeks paled before the awful scenes which followed the storming of Tripolitza".
Situated in the middle of Peloponnese, Tripolitsa was the pre-eminent town in southern Greece, as well as the administrative centre for Ottoman rule in the Peloponnese, thus making it an important target for the Greek revolutionaries. Many rich Turks and Jews lived there, together with Ottoman refugees driven there by the outbreak of the revolt, escaping massacres in the country's southern districts. It was also a potent symbol for revenge, its Greek population having been massacred by the Ottoman forces in the past: the latest of such events, a few months earlier, following the failed rebellion at Moldavia in early 1821; previous massacres of the town's Greeks occurred in 1715 (during the Ottoman reconquest of the Morea) and on Holy Monday, 29 March 1770, after the failed Orlov Revolt. The de facto commander in chief of the Greek forces, Theodoros Kolokotronis, now focussed on the capital of the province. He set up fortified camps in the surrounding places, establishing several headquarters under the command of his captain Anagnostaras in the nearby villages, notably Zarachova, Piana, Dimitsana and Stemnitsa, where local peasants provided his men with food and supplies. In addition, a fresh and compact force of Maniot troops under Petros Mavromichalis, the Bey of Mani, arrived and camped at Valtetsi so as to take part in the final assault to the Ottoman capital of Morea. The Turk-Albanian garrison was reinforced in May by some troops and cavalry sent by Hursid Pasha from the north, led by the Kehayabey Mustafa.The rebels' decisive victory in the Battle of Valtetsi and several other victorious clashes in Doliana and Vervaina, meant that the Greek revolutionaries had effective control over the majority of the areas in the Central and Southern Peloponnese.
Although the siege had been going on for several months, its progress was slow, as the Greeks were unable to maintain a tight blockade and were often scattered by sorties of Turkish cavalry. However, conditions were worsening inside the walls for scarcity of food and potable water. Taking advantage of this, Kolokotronis began quiet negotiations with the leaders of the besieged, aiming at an orderly capitulation. He wisely convinced the Albanian contingent led by Elmas Bey to make a separate agreement for safe passage to Argos, thereby greatly reducing the strength of the defenders. The deal itself was guaranteed by Dimitrios Plapoutas, the renowned Koliopoulos. The city was taken before the 2,500 Albanian had departed, but still they had a safe passage out of the Peloponnese a few days after the fall.Greek leaders were in constant contact with the Ottoman defenders in negotiations, but without much coordination. The successive petitions of the remaining Ottoman defenders for a truce were, in the end, regarded by the besiegers as a temporizing ruse, in an ultimately hopeless anticipation of Ottoman reinforcements. In anticipation of the fall of the city, by September 22, about 20,000 Greeks had gathered around it. On September 23, the Greek army broke in through a blind spot in the walls, and the town was completely overrun quickly. The fortified citadel in it surrendered three days later for lack of water.
MASSACRE OF CIVILIANS
In the three days following the capture of the city, Muslim and Jewish inhabitants of Tripolitsa were exterminated. The total number of Muslims killed during the sack was estimated by Thomas Gordon, who arrived in the city shortly after its fall, at 8,000. Beyond the 2,500 Albanian troops vouched for in advance; a tiny contingent of Turkish cavalry escaping to Nauplion; a few women who were taken as slaves; along with the harem of Hurshid Pasha; and a few notable Turks held for ransom were spared.
The massacre at Tripolitsa was the final and largest in a sequence of massacres against Muslims in the Peloponnese during the first months of the revolt. Historians estimate that upwards of twenty thousand Muslim men, women and children were killed during this time, often with the exhortation of the local clergy. Steven Bowman believes that, although the Jews were murdered, they were not targeted specifically, in fact: "Such a tragedy seems to be more a side-effect of the butchering of the Turks of Tripolis, the last Ottoman stronghold in the South where the Jews had taken refuge from the fighting, than a specific action against Jews per se." During the siege, eight Greek Orthodox prelates of Peloponnese were incarcerated inside the city, and five of them died before the fall.
The capture of the city of Tripolis had a salutary effect in the morale of the revolutionaries. After this event, Greeks saw that their way towards victory was possible, the entire Peloponnese bearing hardly any trace of Ottomans anymore.On the other hand, it also marked the first strong point of discord in a previously apparently cohesive force, since the atrocities committed during the siege were at the time strongly decried and criticized by some Phanariote figures of the Greek War of Independence such as Dimitrios Ypsilantis and Alexandros Mavrokordatos,. The residual bitterness over the ultimate disposition of the spoils, along with generalized anarchy following the fall of the city, emphasized the divergent perspectives between the Peloponessian chieftains (military faction) and the intellectual mentors of the uprising (political faction). In time, these would develop into an internal conflict, and, later on, civil wars, within the same struggle for independence.