Capo D'Istria, Or Capodistiias, a noble family, connected with the early history of the modern Greek kingdom. I. John Anthony, count of Capo d'Istria, born in Corfu about 1780, assassinated at Nauplia, Oct. 9, 1831. He was educated for a physician, but entered upon apolitical career. When the Ionian Islands became a vassal state of Turkey, under British and Russian protection, Capo d'Istria filled several public stations, from 1802 to 1807. The islands having been returned to France by the treaty of Tilsit, he accepted a place in the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, and was employed in many diplomatic missions. In 1816 he was appointed secretary of foreign affairs in Russia. In 1819 he visited his native country in order to sound the popular feeling. The results of his visit were stated by him in a pamphlet, in which he endeavored to demonstrate that it was the province of absolute governments to educate the people for the enjoyment of freedom. This doctrine was not palatable to the leaders of the Greek insurrection, and the movement begun by them in 1821 was disavowed by Russia. Capo d'Istria lost his office in 1822, and went to Switzerland, where he succeeded in regaining the confidence of the Greek leaders.
With the consent of the British ministry and the Russian government, he was elected president or regent of Greece by the national convention assembled at Damala in 1827. Before assuming the government he went to St. Petersburg, where, it is generally believed, he received secret instructions from the Russian government. He landed at Nauplia in January, 1828, and for a very short time commanded ' the confidence of the people; but instead of fulfilling his pledge to form a great national army and repulse the Turkish army under Ibrahim Pasha, he left the defence of the country to foreign diplomacy, promulgated a code of laws of the utmost severity, opposed the election of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg to the throne of Greece, and seemed to have no other object in view except to prepare Greece for Russian annexation. The island of Hydra became the seat of a violent opposition against his measures as early as 1829. In consequence of the French revolution of 1830, insurrectionary movements broke out which only Russian assistance enabled him to suppress.
But at last he was stabbed by the brothers Constantine and George Mavromichalis, as he was entering the church of St. Spiridion. II. Yiaro, eldest brother of the preceding, died in 1842. He was originally a jurist in Corfu, and in 1828 became a member of the Panhellenic organization, in the department of war and the marine, and was soon after appointed governor of the western Sporades, where he became obnoxious to the people, who called him Viaro Pasha. Nevertheless his brother intrusted him with the formation of a new code of laws. In 1831, in consequence of the popular feeling against him, he was removed from office. III. Augustine, brother of the preceding, born in 1778, died in Corfu in 1857. He was appointed by his brother military and political chief of continental Greece in 1829. Two of the foremost leaders, Gen. Church and Demetrius Ypsilanti, absolutely refused to recognize his authority. After the assassination of his brother he assumed the government as chairman of the board of regency, and was elected president by the national convention assembled at Argos in December, 1831. The Russian government assured him of its sympathies, and he was recognized by the London conference of the allied powers.
A few weeks later the opposition became so powerful that the great powers retracted their former action and compelled him to resign. He left Greece for St. Petersburg, April 13,1832, taking the corpse of his brother with him.