Canaris, Or Kanaris, Constantine, a Greek naval officer and statesman, born in the island of Ipsara about 1790. At the outbreak of the revolution of 1821 he was captain of a merchant vessel. Shortly after the devastation of the island of Scio by the Turks, he followed the fleet of the Greeks under Miaulis with two fire ships to the harbor of that island (June, 1822), and succeeded in attaching them to the vessels of the capudan pasha and capudan bey, of which the one, lighted up at the time in celebration of the Ramadan, was blown up with thousands of men, and the other scarcely escaped as a wreck. In November, 1822, he performed a similar exploit in the harbor of Tenedos, which saved the Greek fleet from destruction. He revenged the Turkish cruelties on his native island by a new victory at Samos, near the promontory of Mycale, Aug. 17,1824, which saved the island of Samos from the fate of Scio and Ipsara. But his bold attempt to burn the Turkish fleet in the harbor of Alexandria, where it lay ready to take the troops of Mehemet Ali to the Morea, was baffled by contrary winds at the moment of execution (Aug. 4, 1825). He was placed in command of the frigate Hellas -sent from America, was elected in 1827 representative of Ipsara in the national congress at Castri, and in 1828 was appointed commander of Mo-nemvasia, and subsequently of a naval squadron.
After the assassination of Capo d'Istria, in 1831, he retired to Syra, but afterward reentered the navy with the rank of captain. Under King Otho he served from 1846 as admiral, senator, president of the council, and minister of marine, till 1855, when he resigned. In the spring of 1858, disgusted with the conduct of the government, he sent back to it all his orders and commissions, resolved thenceforth to be only a private citizen. In 1861 he refused a pension of 12,000 francs and declined the grade of vice admiral. Returning to public life, he was made prime minister, Jan. 26, 1862. He was prominent in the provisional government of 1863, and was a member of the deputation sent to Copenhagen to offer the throne to Prince George. In March and April, 1864, he was minister of marine and president of the council, and again from August, 1864, to March 14, 1865.