The first journalist in Greece
Occupation: Doctor, Publisher
The Swiss philhellene, John Jacob Meyer (December 30, 1798 – April 4, 1826), was a great patriot of Greece and internationally recognised as the pioneer of Greek journalism and publisher of the newspaper “Greek Chronicles”, the first printed newspaper of the greek freedom movement against the Ottoman Empire, which was published in rebellious Missolonghi.
A doctor for all the wounded in Missolonghi
John Jacob Meyer, born in Zurich in 1798, was an upper-middle-class pharmacist with a deep interest in the movement for Greek Independence in 1821. Liberal, active and adventurous as a character, Meyer presented himself as a physician and surgeon to the Philhellenes’ Committee of Bern and came to Greece in the first months of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire in order to help with the medical care of the Greek fighters. Ηe joined the greek freedom movement against the Ottomans after moving to Missolonghi in 1822. After he was baptized an Orthodox Christian, he got married to Altana Inglezou and they had two children. His full integration into the Greek society was highly appreciated by the notables of Missolonghi, so he quickly became one of the reputable citizens of the city. He helped the greek rebels by offering medical care in a small hospital, which he set up with a German doctor. He also contributed to the spread of the ideas of the Revolution by publishing the newspaper ‘’Greek Chronicles’’. In this newspaper, announcements of the Greek Administration, internal and external news and translated extracts about the Greek Revolution from European and American newspapers were published. Meyer was killed along with his wife and children, as well as, their maidservant Sanna, amongst the mass of Greeks who, at 2 o’clock in the night, started the Exodus and the heroic sacrifice for freedom.
Meyer used his newspaper in order to express his political ideas about democracy, monarchy, freedom and he published poetry as well. Although he didn’t like him very much, Meyer published “Greek Chronicles” with the help of Lord Byron. Today the archive of this newspaper is found at the Library of the Greek Parliament.