Principality of Achaea

Principality of Achaea

1205–1432
The Latin Empire with its vassals and the Greek successor states after the partition of the Byzantine Empire, c. 1204. The borders are very uncertain.
The Latin Empire with its vassals and the Greek successor states after the partition of the Byzantine Empire, c. 1204. The borders are very uncertain.
StatusClient state*
CapitalAndravida (1205-1249)
Mystras (1249-1261)
Common languagesFrench officially,
Greek popularly
Religion
Roman Catholic,
Greek Orthodox popularly
GovernmentFeudal monarchy
Prince 
Historical eraMiddle Ages
1204
1205
1259
• Angevin takeover
1278
• Absorbed in Despotate of the Morea
1432
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Byzantine Empire under the Angelos dynasty
Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty
Today part of Greece
* The principality was a client state of, in order, the Latin Emperors at Constantinople, the Angevins of the Kingdom of Naples

The Principality of Achaea or of the Morea was one of the three vassal states of the Latin Empire which replaced the Byzantine Empire after the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.[1] It became a vassal of the Kingdom of Thessalonica, along with the Duchy of Athens, until Thessalonica was captured by Theodore, the despot of Epirus, in 1224. After this, Achaea became for a while the dominant power in Greece.

Foundation

Achaea was founded in 1205 by William of Champlitte and Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, who undertook to conquer the Peloponnese on behalf of Boniface of Montferrat, King of Thessalonica. With a force of no more than 100 knights and 500 foot soldiers, they took Achaea and Elis, and after defeating the local Greeks in the Battle of the Olive Grove of Koundouros, became masters of the Morea. The victory was decisive, and after the battle all resistance from the locals was limited to a few forts, that continued to hold out. The fort of Araklovon[2] in Elis, was defended by Doxapatres Boutsaras and withstood the attacks until 1213, when the garrison finally surrendered. The fort of Monemvasia, and the castles of Argos, Nauplia and Corinth under Leo Sgouros held out until his suicide in 1208. By 1212, these too had been conquered, and organized as the lordship of Argos and Nauplia, and only Monemvasia continued to hold out until 1248. William of Champlitte ruled Achaea until he departed for France to assume an inheritance, but died on the way there in 1209. He was succeeded by Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, who ruled until his own death in 1219.