The revolts by unliberated Greeks, usually without any hope of achieving Union with the Greek state, were a political feature in almost every decade. The most significant ones in terms of frequency, outcome, diplomatic and political results, as well as tragic bloody incidents, were the Cretan revolts.
During the 1833-98 period, the first reaction against Egyptian occupation started with an unarmed demonstration against Mehmet Ali's tax policy, which took place at Mournies, Cydonia, on 20th September 1833. The assembly sent a report to the Powers, asking for protection. This revolt failed completely and the forty-one people responsible for it were hanged.
In 1841, at a critical point in the Eastern Question, the revolts of the Chairetis brothers and Vassiloyiorgis broke out simultaneously on 22nd February with proclamations in favour of freedom and notes to the kings of the Powers. During the same period, the scholar Emmanuel Vyvilakes issued Crete's first revolutionary newspaper entitled Radamanthos.
This revolt ended the cycle which started with the 1821 Revolution.
After 1856, when the imperial decree was issued, revolts were directed against the enforcement of privileges and regulations conceded by the Kapi. In the first of these, the revolt of Mavrogenis (April-June 1858), the Cretans achieved the issue of the firman of 7th July 1858, which allowed the carrying of arms and the setting up of eldermen in the capitals of the three departments.
After a long period of silence, the Cretans reacted to the arbitrariness of the general commandant by sending notes to the Sultan and the Powers. Despite the unfavourable international atmosphere, the Cretans proceeded to armed revolt. The rebels were reinforced by Greek and European groups, mostly volunteer supporters of Garibaldi, officers of the Greek army who had abandoned their positions, and semi-conspiratorial unions and committees of support. The rebel military forces were definitely smaller than the Turco-Egyptian ones, and lacked coordination under a single administration, something which Colonel Panos Koroneos failed to organize on his arrival in September 1866.
In November, Kostis Yamboudakes caused an explosion at the powder magazine of the monastery of Arkadion, and all mutineers and civilians who had been kept there were buried inside, along with the besiegers. This incident provoked sympathy and a strong wave of support in Europe, with its echoes of Kougi and Missolonghi.
This favourable attitude towards the Ottoman Empire was soon reversed when it started winning battles. The revolt leaders, cut off from Greece, under the Kapi threats of war and the pressure of the Powers, were killed, persecuted or surrendered. In 1869, the revolt ended and the only benefit produced was the Organic Law of 1868.
The prohibitions of the 'Organic Law' led to the constitution of the Pancretan Revolutionary Assembly in 1878, but once more the only benefit of the revolt was the 'Halepa Chart' (1878), mostly a result of the diplomatic game in Berlin. In 1889 the unfortunate declaration of the Union by the Party of Army Officers led to the cancellation of the Chart and to a period of terrorism against Christians.
The last revolt of the century began with much more realistic goals: the foundation of the Post-Political Reform Committee and the passing of the note of Manousos Koundouros, on 3rd September 1895, asking that Crete be declared an autonomous government, subjected through taxation to the Sultan. The situation seemed to relax somewhat with the 'New Organism' of August 1896. But the dispatch of Greek armed forces at the beginning of 1897 changed the picture. Apart from the Kapi and the Cretans, the Greek state and the Powers were also involved in the waging of war. The unfortunate war at Thessaly (8th April-8th May 1897) signalled the temporary end of Greek claims to Union.
The maximalist demand of the Union was abandoned and the Cretans accepted the solution of declaring the island an Autonomous Principality under Prince George, who disembarked on Souda, as High Commissioner, on 9th December 1898.