Born on the island of Psara was well aquainted with the sea and its ways from an early age. He caused much destruction to the Turkish navy particularly blowing up their ships at Chios, Tenendos, Mytilene and Samos in 1824.
He also made a daring pre-emptive strike to disrupt Mehmet Ali's preperations for attacking Greece from Alexandria where his fire whips were unfortunately foiled by the unfavorable wind. Kanaris became one of the major heros of the Naval aspect of the revolutionary struggle and entered politcs opposing King Otto after the revolution. He was elected to ministerial positions several times and also became Prime Minister. History remembers him as a a brave, civic minded and modest man.