Born in a prison in Constantinople in May 1771 AD, daughter of a Greek captain who had taken part in the failed Orlov Revolt, Laskarina Pinotsi had rebellion in her blood. Raised in obscurity on the island of Spetses, she would marry twice, the second time to the wealthy merchant and captain Dimitrios Bouboulis, who had the misfortune to get killed by Algerian pirates in 1811. Inheriting the trading business and family fortune, she used the money to build and outfit warships, including the 'Agamemnon,' one of the largest in the Mediterranean. Eventually she had an imposing fleet of eight.
Following an attempt by the Ottomans to confiscate her holdings – avoided only through the intervention of the Russian government in thanks for her dead husband’s service to the Czars during the recent Turko-Russian War – Laskarina supposedly joined the Filiki Etaireia, an underground movement preparing for the violent overthrow of Ottoman rule. On March 13, 1821, twelve days before the start of the Greek War of Independence, Bouboulina was the first to raise the revolutionary flag over Spetses and took her ships to sea. In the ensuing conflict, she commanded her fleet at the blockades of Nafplion and Pylos, and took part in the victorious assault on the fortress at Monemvasia. She thus played a key role in the creation of the new Greek state.
But freedom brought only political discord and a civil war in 1824. Her outspoken disgust at this brought her arrest – twice – and eventual banishment to Spetses. Bitter and with her fortune depleted, Bouboulina retreated from it all … only to be fatally shot during a feud with the Koutsis family after her son had eloped with one of their daughters. Thus an ignominious end for the heroine.