Foundation and Name
At the same location where Pyrgos is placed today, the Ancient city Dyspontio is located. On the outskirts of Pyrgos there was the ancient city Letrina, from which it had also taken its name as Municipality Letrinon up to the Decade 1980. The name of the city emanates from the tower that had been manufactured, in 1512, in the place of the Courthouse (Eparcheion) by the bey of the wider region Georgios Tsernotas. At the period of the Venetian domination Pyrgos was an intermediate station of passing merchants going to Zakynthos. Various sources refer to a city of 5000 residents. Since the Descent of the Lalas, the toponym “Pyrgos” finally prevailed. Never before 1778, since when there are official documents and contracts of Georgios Avgerinos, does history report the name “Pyrgos”.
At the period of Ottoman domination Pyrgos had a special treatment because of the tax privileges, which the provost Georgios Avgerinos had managed to gain. The city of Pyrgos was of exceptional significance for the Turks because they used various Greek interpreters in order to develop their commercial activities. Turks did not live in Pyrgos apart from Zapiti and certain Turkish families that flanked him. The first settlers were Vilaetaioi and Acholoi. Later newer settlers came, from Krestena, Krestenites, from Dibri the Stefanopoulos, Bergaioi, Theodoridides, Psimenaioi, Sotiropouloi, Pieraioi and from Kalavryta Dimakopouloi and Theocharopouloi.During the Orlov there were individual uprisings and as a result the Turks began to entrust the provosts even more. Therefore, on the eve of the Revolution of 1821 there was obvious concern among the Greeks. Nevertheless, the frame of confidence created by the Greek provosts with their aghas, did not allow the Turks to be informed about the intentions of the Greeks. It is worth mentioning the most important provosts who played an important role in the organization of the local society at the pre-revolutionary period, such as: A. Gkikas, M. Giannopoulos, St. Manolopoulos, I. Micheal, A. Avgerinos, D. Deacon, G. Mitzou, L. Krestenitis, Acholos, X. Vilaetis, A. Staikopoulos and A. Fotopoulos..
The residents of Pyrgos were from the first that declared the war against the Turks. On 29th March the chieftain of Pyrgos, Charalampos Vilaetis, raised the Greek flag and roused the residents to revolt against the Turks. Pyrgos was not found unprepared at the critical moment, since a lot of spawns of important families of Pyrgos had joined the Friendly Company (Filiki Etaireia) aiming at the preparation of the Revolution. The city witnessed a big destruction in November 1825 when Impraim with his army walked against the unfortified city of Pyrgos. The general Koliopoulos, who was in charge for the protection of Pyrgos, did not manage to arrive in time with his army, and as a result there was the absolute destruction of Pyrgos. On 11th February 1826 the enemies with leader Nteli Achmet invaded in Pyrgos and confiscated all the supplies and the animals they found. Important personalities of Pyrgos had undertaken its representation at the National Assemblies, such as: Panagiotis Acholos, Agamemnon Avgerinos, Nikolaos Vilaetis and Lykourgos Krestenitis. Also the region of Pyrgos had elected leading personalities of the Revolution as: Petros and Georgios Mitzos, Charalampos Vilaetis and Dionysios Deacon. Special reference should be done for the Metropolit of Olena, Filaretos, who was arrested by the Turks on the eve of the explosion of the Revolution and was led to Tripolis where he died with a martyr death.
During Kapodistrias (1828-1831)
After the Revolution, Pyrgos was announced capital of Province Ilidas. .The first mayor of Pyrgos was named Syllaidopoulos. The population had perceptibly decreased while its big part was consisted of islanders. The general situation of the city was dreadful since ruined homes were everywhere. This is the reason why the city elders of Pyrgos, on 26th July 1830, asked for the mission of an architect in order to draft the city. Also, with concise processes, the Public House was manufactured with government expenses. During the period of Kapodistrias a lot of revolts took place with the family Kresteniti as protagonists. The climax of the revolutionary movements came when the Special Commissioner of Ilia, Anagnostopoulos, arrested Lykourgos Krestenitis as mutineer.
The King Othon visited Pyrgos two times during his reign. The first visit took place on 27th October 1833 and the second, which was with Amalia, on 8 th May 1840. The unrest and revolts were not unusual nor at this time. In 1840 the farmers aroused against the King with the abolishion of taxation of their products as main demand. Although the demand seems utopian, we should realize that up to then the residents of Ilia did not pay taxes because of the favorable treatment from their Turkish Aghas. Nevertheless, the government suppressed the rebellion by sending military battalion in Pyrgos and the constitution of a temporary court martial chaired by Mr. Bitumen. The second chronologically, and more important, revolt happened in May 1848 when Lysandros Vilaetis captured Pyrgos with about 80 followers and overthrew the local authorities. The participation of people was limited because of the failed results of previous revolutions. This resulted in the rapid advance of government forces who also suppressed the movement. The leader of the revolt in Pyrgos, Lysandros Vilaetis, fled with 11 followers to English held Zakynthos where immunity was requested. In 1849 amnesty was given to the renegades. During the period 1851-1855 the growth of raisins was so great, that thegovernment introduced the Tax Office in Pyrgos, so that taxes from the income of tradesmen and farmers are more easily collected.