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Making Business in Salonica from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek Nation-State: The Allatini Family’s Investments in Mining Enterprises

Faire des affaires à Salonique de l’Empire ottoman à l’État-nation grec : les investissements dans des entreprises minières de la famille Allatini
Domna Iordanidou

Résumés

L’objectif de cette étude est de contribuer à l’historiographie des activités minières en mettant l’accent sur les entreprises minières de la famille Allatini, une famille de Juifs sépharades qui s’étaient installés de longue date dans le port florissant de Leghorn (en italien Livorno) avant de déménager dans la ville ottomane de Selânik (en grec Thessalonique) autour de 1800. Leurs activités financières étaient intimement liées à la situation politique, aux disputes territoriales en cours concernant la région et à l’annexion finale de Salonique à l’État grec, ce qui a affecté le développement de leur stratégie d’affaires et l'industrie minière naissante de l’époque. L’examen des entreprises minières des Allatini éclaire la transition d'une entité politique à une autre : de l’Empire ottoman à l’État-nation grec moderne.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 The city of so many names – Selânik, Salonique, Solun, Thessaloniki or Salonica – was also known as (...)
  • 2 Cf. Hekimoglou Evangelos, Geōrgiadou-Tsimino Kirkē, Hē historia tēs epiheirimatikothtas stē Thessal (...)
  • 3 Part of this article consists of material selected during the preparation of my PhD thesis, Ta meta (...)
  • 4 Cf. Samara Anastasia, Industrial Heritage as a Catalyst for Urban Regeneration in Thessaloniki, unp (...)

1Whoever is familiar with Salonica’s topography,1 is definitely also familiar with the family name Allatini.2 The name means “il Latino,” the Latin.3 It is everywhere in Salonica, naming the Allatini Villa, the nowadays prefecture premises; the Allatini Mills that call desperately for a restoration project;4 the Allatini Tiles and Brick Factory in ruin; the house of the family in the center of Salonica, which became the (now former) premises of the Banque de Salonique, and so on.

  • 5 On the history of Leghorn’s Jewish merchant colony (nazione ebrea), cf. Bregoli Francesca, Mediterr (...)
  • 6 Cf. Plessis Alain, 1985, Régents et gouverneurs de la Banque de France, Genève, Librairie Dotz, 198 (...)
  • 7 The Italian consul in Thessaloniki in 1892 reported that among the richest and most accredited bank (...)

2Lazaro Allatini arrived in Salonica most likely in 1802 from Leghorn (Livorno, Italy), where the Jewish Sephardi community, having been granted privileges, thrived.5 The history of this eminent family in Salonica begins with Lazaro’s son Moïse Allatini (1809-1882) who had studied medicine in Italy (Pisa), following family tradition. Nevertheless, after his father’s death, Moïse did not exercise his profession; he returned to Salonica and took charge of the family business. In 1857, a company was formed under the name “Darblay jeune, Allatini et Cie” with the intention to upgrade and develop the flour milling industry in the Ottoman Empire.6 In this enterprise, the Modianos, the other eminent Jewish family of Salonica, also appeared as partners. The above-mentioned company built a steam-powered flour mill in Salonica – presumably the very first of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean. A few years later, this very lucrative enterprise passed totally to Allatinis’ hands and was transformed into the major asset of a Société Anonyme that was created later. The flour mill establishment was constructed ex novo, after a devastating fire that broke out in the end of the nineteenth century. Moïse along with his two brothers, Dario and Salomon and other members of prominent Salonican Jewish families, with whom they were related through marital bonds and business associations – more specifically the Misrachis, the Morpurgos and the Fernandez – were involved in almost every aspect of the economic life of the city. It should be mentioned, for instance, that they owned extensive land properties, as did the Modianos, and they were involved in money lending as well.7

  • 8 Molho Rena, Oi Evraioitēs Thessalonikēs 1856-1919. Mia idiaiterē koinotēta [The Jews of Salonica, 1 (...)
  • 9 Nevertheless, the Italian counselor at the city-port of Kavala in his report on the national and fo (...)
  • 10 Moïse Allatini was granted the honor of Official of the Ordine della Corona d’ Italia. Cf. Gazzetta (...)
  • 11 On the endeavors of Moise Allatini along with members of other elite Jewish families to modernize t (...)

3The Allatinis were also known as great philanthropists – especially Moïse, who attended the needs not only of the destitute members of the Jewish community,8 but of the Italian community as well.9 The Allatini family maintained an affinity for Italy. They remained subjects of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Italian: Granducato di Toscana), and subsequently of the Kingdom of Italy,10 until some of them emigrated further abroad – from Salonica – for commercial reasons. Some members of the family changed their citizenship status. The Allatini took care even of the educational needs of the wider Jewish community, founding schools and establishing close relationships with the AIU (Alliance Israélite Universelle).11

  • 12 For more details on these two journals cf. Guillon Hélène, Le Journal de Salonique. Un périodique j (...)

4In the spirit of modernization, we can perceive even Moïse Allatini’s interest in the first ever journal in the Giudeo-Spanish language (Ladino) published in Salonica: La Epoka. Later Moïse also sponsored the first Francophone newspaper of the city, Journal de Salonique.12 They were both owned and edited initially by Bezalel Saadi Levy and inherited later by one of his sons, Sam Saadi Levy.

  • 13 Dumont Paul 1980, “La structure sociale de la communauté juive de Salonique à la fin du dix-neuvièm (...)

5Paul Dumont defines as “multinationals” the enterprises, run not only by the Allatini family, but also other commercial companies led by Jews in Salonica during the last years of the nineteenth century. There is some merit in this description. For example, it was generally known that “Fratelli Allatini” disposed of branches in London, Marseille and Vienna, and Journal de Salonique published articles regarding the Allatinis’ business trips to Vienna, in order to obtain new technical knowledge.13 Nevertheless, I cannot agree with Dumont’s idea that these enterprises operated in the secure haven of commerce activities and did not take greater risks.

6This article will fully demonstrate that the Allatini were particularly audacious as entrepreneurs. Mining activities were connected with both industrial and commercial activities and these enterprises involved definitely both high risk and expectations of high profit. This is the field in which the Allatinis surpassed all the other Jewish capitalists of the city. It is argued with high certainty that the correspondent of the Revue Commerciale du Levant, the monthly review of the French Chamber of Commerce in Costantinople, is referring to them in the text that follows:

  • 14 Astima M., “Notes sur la Macédoine,” Revue commerciale du Levant. Bulletin mensuel de la Chambre de (...)

 Un des points importants pour l’avenir de la contrée [la Macédoine] c’est l’exploitation de ses mines. Jusqu’ ici une seule maison de Salonique a osé destiner une partie de ses fonds à ce genre d’affaires, l’essai a été excellent et pourrait servir d'encouragement pour les intéressés…14

7The Allatinis in this precise occasion, competing with their counterparts in Europe, started investing in the Ottoman Empire. First, they invested in government bonds, and then in utilities and mining. This argument will be further analysed in due course. But what was the reason that obliged the article’s author not to mention the name of the family?

8Heretofore, the Allatinis’ mining activities have been overlooked by researchers. Undoubtedly, the many lucrative businesses of the family, which have sparked interest, such as the flourmill, the tiles and brick factory, the bank (Banque de Salonique), the tobacco factory, the brewery, the silk factory and others, are important. But the Allatinis’ name is also woven intrinsically into the mining history of Greece, as I discovered while doing research for my PhD thesis, Mines in Northern Greece, 1912-1940. It would be a grave omission to overlook the first years of mining activity in the zone and not to take into consideration the continuities and disruptions that emerge from a focus on a particular family.

  • 15 Cf. Kaplitzoglou Elenē, “Archeio Allatini” [The Allatini Archive], no 5, May 2005, p. 11-34. A Mast (...)

9The available sources are going to be presented first. Unfortunately, the Allatinis’ archive is now inaccessible. Part of it was held on the premises of the Allatini Flour Mill in Sindos, in the outskirts of Salonica, before the bankruptcy of the last successor company.15 This gap will be filled by using extensively other sources. First of all, the Ottoman archives constitute a great source, as they have been studied by many scholars and the results have been published in English or French. Peace treaties, explanatory documents, surveys regarding Ottoman mining, consular papers, and local press are scrutinized as well. Furthermore, a lot of archives regarding the period of the annexation of Salonica to the Greek state were perused for the purpose of this paper. The archive of Epitheōrēsē Metalleiōn Voreiou Ellados [Directorate of Mines of Northern Greece, EMBE from now on], which I consulted in two different locations: Genika Archeia tou Kratous – Historiko Archeio Makedonias [General State Archives of Greece – Historical Archives of Macedonia (Thessaloniki), GAK-IAM from now on] and also the archive of the Directorate itself in its premises (ΕΜΒΕ). Another valuable resource has been Historiko Arheiotēs Ethnikēs Trapezastēs Ellados [Historical Archive of the National Bank of Greece, HA-NBG from now on].

Political entities and their mining policies

10Two different political entities, one empire and one nation-state, will be presented. Therefore the basic principles and relative legislation pertaining to the mining enterprises in each entity will also be given in a succinct way. For the transition period, regulations emanating from international peace treaties will be examined.

The OttomanEmpire

  • 16 Pamuk Şevket, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 1820-1913: Trade, Investment and Producti (...)
  • 17 Cf. Findley Carter Vaughn, “The Tanzimat,” in Reşat Kasaba (ed.), The Cambridge History of Turkey, (...)

11According to Şevket Pamuk, the Ottoman Empire experienced colonialism as rivalry among the European Countries, through various commercial treaties.16 During the nineteenth century, the Anglo-Ottoman Balta-Limanı Treaty (1838), the Edict of Gülhane (1839) and the Hatt-i-Humayun (1856) were followed by the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 and the whole period is known as “Tanzimat” from the Arabic word meaning “reforms.” Through all of these events, the Ottoman elite tried to come to an agreement with European powers.17 During this time, a great amount of capital was invested by the European industrialized countries in the “periphery.” Capital was directed along two paths: 1) immediate investments to private enterprises and 2) bank loans to the governments. Most of the first kind of investment was directed to the transportation system – mainly railroads – or ports. A relatively small amount was directed to mining enterprises, due to the existence of high demand – on behalf of the industrialized countries – for raw materials.

  • 18 Cf. Murphey Rhoads, 1986, “Ma’din: Mineral Exploitation in the Ottoman Empire”, in Encyclopaedia of (...)

12Mines in the Ottoman classical period – from the beginnings of the fourteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century – belonged to the sultan. In reality, they were administered by persons and regulated by imperial decrees (kanunnameler). In the late years of the Ottoman Empire, according to the historian Rhoads Murphey,18 the principal characteristic of the mining industry in the Ottoman Empire was the existence of foreign investors.

  • 19 A very clear exposé of this situation regarding British mining interests in Western Anatolia we can (...)
  • 20 Tok Alaaddin, The Ottoman Mining Sector in the Age of Capitalism: An Analysis of State-Capital Rela (...)
  • 21 On the group of the bankers of Galata cf. Exertzoglou Haris, Prosarmostikotēta kai politikē omoyene (...)

13Changes in the administration of mining can be dated to the Land Code of 1858, and to the first Ottoman legislation on mines that dates to 1861. Initially, both of these pieces of legislation prevented foreigners from owning mines, but this regulation was revised post hoc, more specifically in 1869, when the above-mentioned law on Mines was amended. According to the 1869 law, based on the French Law on Mines of 1810, foreigners could obtain concessions on mines alone or in partnership with Ottoman subjects. But it seems that foreign subjects usually obtained a mining concession with their embassy’s intervention or through the intercession of an Ottoman subject who pulled the right strings.19 The law underwent considerable amendments several times: in 1886, 1901 and 1906.20 Finally, when the profit became quite considerable, mining joint-stock companies appeared. The first in absoluto mining joint-stock company of the Empire was a company whose aim was the exploitation of a lignite mine near Siroz (in Greek: Serres), run by a group of Greek bankers of Galata (Constantinople) in 1871.21

Transition period

  • 22 Israel Fred L. (ed.), Major Peace Treaties of Modern History, 1647–1967, vol. 2, New York, Chelsea (...)

14The Treaty Peace of London (17/30 May 1913) – signed among Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire on the other – following the London Conference of 1913, dealt with the territorial adjustments arising out of the conclusion of the First Balkan War. In Article 6, the concerned parties accepted that an international commission would be gathered in Paris to address any problematic financial cases after the end of the war. 22

  • 23 Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Commission financière des affaires balkaniques. Procès-verbaux d (...)
  • 24 Ibid., p. 85-86.

15The commission took action and its acts were soon published.23 Four sub-commissions were formed and the third one treated Ottoman concessions to persons. The Ottoman Empire initially presented a list with all the contracts and concessions given to foreign citizens or companies; this list was enriched later with two more lists concerning specifically mining concessions. One of these two lists contained mining concessions that had been issued before the beginning of the war and the second one treated those that needed ratification because they had been issued on a later date. The French delegates drew the attention of the commission to the case of the Société des Mines de Kassandra – a company that was connected to the Allatinis. Finally they suggested that in the case of mining concessions in the newly annexed Ottoman lands should be followed either the Greek or the French legislation.24 That proposal – and in general any proposal – was never approved, because the First World War began soon afterwards.

  • 25 On the concessions and the Treaty of Lausanne, cf. Teyssaire Jean, “Les concessions et le Traité de (...)

16The First World War came to an end regarding Greece not with the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, as was the case of the other Allies and Germany, but with the Treaty of Lausanne (24 July 1923) that also arranged the Compulsory Populations Exchange between Greece and Turkey.25 According to Article 9 of a Protocol regarding some concessions in the Ottoman Empire to foreign citizens or companies – signed the same date as the above-mentioned Treaty –, the successor state that inherited after the war the soil of the Ottoman Empire inherited even the rights and obligations against the concessionaires that were held previously by the Ottoman government.

The Greek nation-state

  • 26 N. ΓΦΚΔ’ (L. 3524/1909)/FEK (Fyllotēs Efimerida stēs Kyvernēseōs), [Official Gazzette from now on] (...)

17Greece had already existed as an independent state for several decades, prior to the annexation of Macedonia. The first Greek Mining Law dates to 1861, the same year that the first Ottoman Mining Law was issued. In 1910, after a military coup d’état (Goudì, 1909), a new Mining Code was promulgated for purposes of modernization.26 This codification was next replaced in 1973.

  • 27 This legislation had circulated as an extrait of the journal Levant Herald: Règlement des Mines san (...)
  • 28 Elias Gounaris initially obtained his degree as a civil engineer from the National Technical Univer (...)
  • 29 Gounaris Elias, “Hē Metalleftikē kinēsis tēs Ellados kata to 1913” [Mining Situation in Greece duri (...)

18Τhe Greek government irrefutably held in high consideration the mines that came into its possession after the Balkan Wars. Suffice it to mention the publication of a translation of the 1906 Ottoman legislation on mines shortly after the end of the First Balkan War.27 This translation from French into Greek was the work of a single man, Elias Gounaris, a civil and mining engineer and a public servant.28 In a published report regarding Greece’s annual mining activities in 1913, Gounaris mentions four mines in the newly acquired zone of Macedonia.29

  • 30 Official Gazette 41/A/2.3.1913 (article 14).
  • 31 Official Gazette 78/A/29.3.1914.
  • 32 Official Gazette, 403/A/30.12.1914.

19A lot of legal actions had to be taken to solve the problem of the mines in the so-called Nées Chōres [New Provinces], meaning the areas annexed to the Greek state, as a consequence of the Balkan Wars. Shortly after the end of the First Balkan War, a law was promulgated that prohibited any kind of transaction regarding mines in the newly acquired zones for a period of two years.30 Indeed, time was needed to activate the legislation: the new Mining Code, issued in 1910, had not been fully effective even in Palaia Ellada [Old Greece]. In 1914, the Greek Parliament promulgated a law about the ratification of mining concessions that were valid, according to legislative acts prior to the Mining Code of 1910.31 The Dioikitiko Dikastērio Metalleiōn [Administrative Court of Mines] was instituted to adjudicate the pending cases regarding mining concessions. Just before the end of 1914, three laws regarding the mining concessions and the expansion of the Greek legislation to the New Provinces were promulgated.32

  • 33 Raktivan K.D., Eggrafa kai sēmeiōseis ek tēs prōtēs Ellēnikēs Dioikēseōs tēs Makedonias (1912-1913) (...)
  • 34 Ypouryeio Ethnikēs Oikonomias, Diefthinsis tēs Ypiresias tōn Metalleiōn, Parahōrēseis Metalleiōn, t (...)

20In the New Provinces, the first announcement about the need for owners of Ottoman mining concessions to present legal documentation to the Greek authorities appeared in the newspaper Makedonia of Salonica on 19 December 1912. In response, Constantine Raktivan, a Minister and representative of the Greek government in Salonica claimed that all the mining concessions of the “late regime” had been taken under consideration and that the mines were in full operation. He further insisted, surely exaggerating, that the “only negative aspect” of the mining situation regarding the prohibition on issuing new concessions!33 In 1916, during First World War, Gounaris published the firmans (final concessions issued by the sultan) about mines and also the provisional permits of mineral research about quarries – that were accepted as valid by the Greek administration.34 Of course, regions not yet adjudicated at this time to the Greek state were omitted (e.g. Western Thrace).

Mining operations and the Allatini family

  • 35 As the stocks of this company were issued in the Paris Stock Market, I found extremely useful the f (...)
  • 36 Cf. Akarlı, Growth and Retardation in the Ottoman Economy, op. cit., p. 237. The Italian citizens w (...)

21Moïse, Dario and Salomon Allatini – the three male heirs of Lazaro Allatini – formed a company around 1836, under the name of “Fratelli Allatini–Salonicco.” The statute this firm cannot be further traced. As far as it is known, they were engaged in wheat commerce, ship charter, and transport and commodity insurances. The main characteristic of this company was its great variety of capital investments. They invested their capital along with that of other Jewish families in a series of industries. These main investments of the Allatinis – including the mill and the tiles and brick factory – merged into a new joint-stock company, the Société Anonyme Ottomane Industrielle et Commerciale de Salonique (inc. 17.1.1898).35 The mines, however, appear to have remained under Fratelli Allatini-Salonicco until at least 1911, when (during the Italo-Ottoman War) the leading members of the family – along with members of the Modiano family – left Salonica on 1 December 1911 with a morning train heading to Paris.36 They left behind as representative in all their transactions, Moïse Morpurgo, with whom they were related.

The AlşarMine, Tikveş

  • 37 The Sabbateans of Salonica are followers of Sabbetai Sevi. Sabbetai Sevi, also known as Tzvi of Izm (...)
  • 38 Cf. Akyalçın Kaya Dilek, “Entrepreneurial Networks in the Ottoman Empire: The Case of Osman Inayet, (...)

22In her research on the Sabbateans of Salonica,37 Dilek Akyalçın Kaya discovered an extended network of agents in the mining history of the region around Salonica associated with the Allatinis.38

  • 39 Osman Inayet Effendi, first drogman of the Royal Consulate of Spain was nominated consul manager of (...)
  • 40 Mustafa Fazıl was a man of a different kind. While Osman Inayet obtained the firman in order to sel (...)
  • 41 E.G., “Statistique des mines pour l’année 1323 [14.3.1907-13.3.1908],” Revue commerciale du Levant, (...)
  • 42 Cf. Serbia, Handbooks prepared under the direction of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, (...)

23The first known concession she describes was near the village Rüşden in the region Tikveş, northwest of Salonica (today Northern Macedonia) and not far from the Greek-Serbian border established after the Balkan Wars. In 1882, Baron Frederic de Charneaud, a British citizen in partnership with Lazaridi, the chancelier and later drogman (interpreter) of the Italian Consulate in Salonica, applied for and obtained a mineral license for a mine of antimony and arsenic in the above-mentioned locality. Subsequently, Osman Inayet39 and Mustafa Fazıl,40 acting as mediators, obtained the sultan’s firman (the final concession), as Charneaud, due to reasons involving national security, was not considered loyal enough to receive a concession. Later, Inayet and Fazıl sold the concession to the Allatini brothers who had acted in the first place as guarantors to Osman Inayet. The mine that appears in the Ottoman Census of Mines of 1907-190841 (two concessions, one for antimony and the other for arsenic under the name of Fratelli Allatini in the year 1889) was known under the name of Allšar or Allchar. The first part of the acronym refers to ALLatini. The second part refers either to CHARtaux, a French engineer who investigated the depositor to CHARneau, a partner of the Allatini brothers in this enterprise. This concession appears as well in the informative pamphlets that were initially issued in the spring of 1917 to provide information to the British delegates in preparation for the Peace Conference following the First World War; they were published in 1920.42 This particular mine will not be further analyzed in this paper, as its location never constituted part of the Greek state. Initially it belonged to Serbia and later to Northern Macedonia. It is worth mentioning that it is famous hitherto for its unique mineral deposits of thallium.

“Société des Mines de Kassandra,” Chalkidiki

  • 43 The statute of this company [translated in Greek] can be viewed in the Historical Archives of the N (...)
  • 44 For this company which had her actions placed in Paris Bourse in 1898, cf. https://dfih.fr/issuers/ (...)
  • 45 Cf. Kordellas Andreas, O metalleftikos ploutos kai ai alykai tēs Ellados ypo geologikēn, statistikē (...)
  • 46 Cf. Akyalçın, “Entrepreneurial Networks,” art. cit., p. 271.

24Osman Inayet is also related to another mining enterprise of the Allatinis, that is, the joint-stock company of Mines of Kassandra (Société des Mines de Kassandra) which was founded in 1893 by a) Giambattista Serpieri, merchant and industrialist, inhabitant of Rome; b) Fratelli Allatini, inhabitants of Salonica; c) Enrico Misrachi, merchant, inhabitant of Salonica and d) Banque de Constantinople.43 Giambattista Serpieri was the Italian who founded the Compagnie Française des Mines du Laurium (CFML).44 According to Andrea Kordellas, a Greek mining engineer who was the first to perceive the value of the Laurium Mines, just before the formation of the company in 1893 the exploitation of the Kassandra Mines had been exercised by the Laurium Grec or Société des Usines de Laurium45 for a number of years. Osman Inayet transferred his concessions in other mines – in the area of Kassandra – to the Allatinis’ partner, Banque de Costantinople.46 It is highly probable that the concession Dilek Akyalçın Kaya is referring to is the one in Izvoros (today Stratoniki), the only one that is mentioned in the statutory chart of the company as belonging to the Banque de Costantinople. She states very accurately:

  • 47 Ibid, p. 271-272.

Thus, he [Osman Inayet] did not prefer to engage in the exploitation operations himself but he transferred his rights every time he obtained one. Osman Inayet considered this economic activity as an enterprise in itself and he was less concerned with the mine exploitation, but more with the obtaining authorization for exploitation of mines and selling it to other people.47

  • 48 Tok, The Ottoman Mining Sector, op. cit., p. 90.

25This way of transaction seems to be a frequent pattern. As Alaaddin Tok states: “Mining concessions became commodities which could be bought and sold, instead of being documents that showed government’s approval of mining operations.”48

  • 49 Cf. Pech E., Manuel des sociétés anonymes fonctionnant en Turquie, Paris, 1906, p. 138-140.
  • 50 JdS, 2 novembre 1896, 3 novembre 1898, 9 décembre 1899 (engineers Isaac Fernandez and Rouffier), 5  (...)
  • 51 JdS, 31 août 1905.
  • 52 JdS, 30 décembre 1907, 18 mai 1908, 21 mai 1908.
  • 53 Cf. Binda, “Mines and Minerals,” art. cit., p. 1508.

26In 1906 the president of the Administrative Board was Edoardo Allatini; his brother Lazaro was a member of the same Board.49 Through the pages of Journal de Salonique, we trace the Allatinis’ frequent visits to the mines in Kassandra.50 In 1905 two advertisements appeared in the same journal, offering work to a Greek and French language teacher for the company’s boys’ and girls’ elementary school and to a pharmacist. The persons cited to be contacted, regarding these advertisements, were Fratelli Allatini.51 This company was considered as one of the most technologically advanced mining companies of the Eastern Mediterranean during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and its stocks were in high demand.52 In 1911, according to a report of the US vice-consul of Salonica, 1.500 men, mostly Greeks, were employed to extract iron pyrite.53

  • 54 Lugeon Maurice, 1914, “Cristaux géants de pyrite de la Chalcidique (Grèce),” Bulletin de la Société (...)
  • 55 Papastefanaki Leda, Hēfleva tis gēs. Ta metalleia tēs Elladas, 19os-20os aiōnas [The Earth’s Veins. (...)

27In addition, the Kassandra Mines had sparked an immense interest among academics, a fact that further demonstrates the mines’ significance as an asset. Just some months after the annexation of the zone to the Greek state, a renowned professor from the University of Lausanne visited the area, documented his visit with a number of photographs, and received some rocks of remarkable size as a very touching souvenir from the mine’s director, Panagiotis Kounas.54 During the First World War this was one of the very few mines in Greece that continued production – to satisfy orders emanating from the French War Ministry.55

  • 56 Cf. HA-NBG, 1-34-1-17, 1-40-9-204.
  • 57 AA. VV., Anonymē Hellēnikē Etairia Chimikōn Proiontōn kai Lipasmatōn (1909-1993) [Société Anonyme H (...)
  • 58 Approval of the leasing of six mining concessions, Royal Decree 2.11.1921 (Official Gazette, 214/A/ (...)
  • 59 Cf. HA-NBG, 1-34-1-16.

28Nevertheless, the situation was not very promising, as the company had passed to the Greek state and its shareholders in Paris were in distress. Finally in 1920 a new company, Greek this time, appeared on the scene. It was called Etairia Ekmetallefseōs Metalleiōn Kassandras [Société d’exploitation des Mines de Kassandra].56 It was a sister-company of the Anonymē Hellēnikē Etairia Chimikōn Proiontōn kai Lipasmatōn [Société Anonyme Hellénique des Engrais et des Produits Chimiques] that was incorporated in 1909.57 Etairia Ekmetallefseōs Metalleiōn Kassandras leased the mines of the Société des Mines de Kassandra58 for a duration of 60 years under certain terms outlined in a contract that was validated by the prime minister. In 1922, the initial (Ottoman) company obtained Greek nationality.59 Finally, in 1927, a merger between the Société des Mines de Kassandra and the former Ottoman, later Greek company occurred and the mines became the property of the Société Anonyme Hellénique des Engrais et des Produits Chimiques. Since that time, Kassandra Mines constituted a very important asset until Société Anonyme Hellénique des Engrais closed in the late twentieth century.

The quarries of magnesite in Yerakini, Chalkidiki

29One among the differences between the two mining legislations, the Ottoman and the Greek, was the way they treated a certain mineral called magnesite (magnesium oxide). The first treated it as an ore out of quarry, while for the latter it was a mineral. As an ore, the Ottoman government granted licenses for the extraction of magnesite for 7-55 years and a final concession was not required. Halit Selim Effendi obtained magnesite concessions in Chalkidiki, transferred them to the Fratelli Allatini, and then again in 1911 (as Allatinis’ representative) transferred them to the Société Anonyme Industrielle et Commerciale de Salonique. However, it is highly unlikely that the last transaction was accepted by the competent authorities (Firman n. 9, Salonica, Kassandra, Galatista). Two more concessions appear on the list of the Ministry of National Economy (Mining Concessions) as granted to Fratelli Allatini in 1908 and later transferred by Halit Selim, who acted as their proxy in the above-mentioned “Société” the same day (Firmans nn. 12 and 13, Salonica, Kassandra and Vavdos). Another concession was granted to Salvator Nehama during 1910. He transferred it to Moïse Morpurgo in 1911; as mentioned before, Halit Selim transferred the concession to the “Société” on the same day (Firman n. 15, Salonica, Kassandra, Vavdos). The next one was granted to Moïse Morpurgo in 1911 and Halit Selim on the same day transferred the concession to the “Société” (Firman n. 16, Salonica, Kassandra, Vavdos).

  • 60 On Hıfzı Bey Effendi who, being a high rank official of the Ottoman army after the Greek-Ottoman Wa (...)

30Τhe quarries that were really exploited by Fratelli Allatini are mostly known under their name or as the Yerakini Mines (location: 76 km from Salonica). During the early 1900s they were known as “Rachi Vigla,” “Samaradiko” and “Kokkinopetra.” Samuel Juda Yeni had obtained the concession during 1899 and 1900. Regarding the mine “Samaradiko,” there was a pending lawsuit, between the neighbor Kaymakam Hıfzı Bey Effendi60 and Moïse Morpurgo in 1899 (Firmans nn. 20, 21, 22, Salonica, Kassandra, Polygyros, concessions for either 35 or 5 years).

  • 61 GAK-IAM/EMBE, f. 132 (3.10.1914). Leopold Arthur Millet (? - Limni, Euboea, (Greece), 3.11.1930), w (...)
  • 62 JdS, 16 avril 1896 (assists on the commerce of Kassandra mines’ mineral), 5 juillet 1897 (in inspec (...)
  • 63 According to the report of L. A. Millet mentioned in a previous note, a small company was formed in (...)
  • 64 Cf. Papastefanaki, Hē fleva tēs gēs, op. cit., p. 103, 105, 107, 108, 152, 157, 158, 160. His archi (...)
  • 65 Ibid., p. 78-79.

31The story of the exploitation of these last three licenses for the Yerakini Mines is narrated by the mining engineer in charge, later head of the Mining Service in Northern Greece (Directorate of Mines of the II Area), Nikolaos Roussakis, a graduate of the École des Mines de Paris.61 According to his report, the discovery occurred in 1896-1897, during one of the regular inspections of the mining engineer of the vilayet of Salonica, Ohannes Marcarian.62 At that time, according to Ottoman law, a civil servant or members of his family could not obtain a mining concession in the place where he served. So, Marcarian formed a secret partnership with Samuel Juda Yeni, a merchant of the city, and the latter obtained the license. It seems that Marcarian was transferred to Makri in Asia Minor, but then he resigned and returned to the city, where he was involved in this enterprise, while the Allatinis provided the capital. The whole operation was administrated by Sam Carasso.63 There were two licenses issued under the name of Juda Yeni. They began the exploitation in 1905 and in 1914; when Roussakis performed his inspection, the operation was experiencing a period of stagnation due to lack of capital. They were expecting to continue their commerce as soon as the war ended. The situation changed shortly afterwards, when during the same year, the engineer John Lambrinidēs,64 who held a degree from the École Speciale des Arts et Manufactures et des Mines de Liège in Belgium arrived in Yerakini and was employed by the company. During the First World War, the enterprise continued its operations due to a contract with the British War Ministry and the whole operation was coordinated by Sam Carasso in Salonica, who had an extensive network of agents of global range, specialized in the commerce of magnesite.65 Lambrinidēs is the “eminence grise” of the Greek magnesite and a pioneer mining engineer, who started the exploitation and commerce of the majority of the magnesite sites in Greece.

  • 66 On this company cf. Gounaris Elias, “Hē ekmetallefsis tou lefkolithou en Elladi” [The Exploitation (...)
  • 67 Cf. Dagkas Alexandre, Recherches sur l’histoire sociale de la Grèce du Nord : le mouvement des ouvr (...)
  • 68 Exact copy of the contract by the notary of Salonica, George Diamantopoulos (n. 3529/1922) was foun (...)

32The YerakiniMines were sold to the Anglo-Greek Magnesite Company Ltd. in 1922,66 possibly after the intercession of a Dutch company.67 In the contract of this concession,68 another party appears: the heirs of a certain Abraham Sciaky: Edward A. Sciaky, Max A. Sciaky and Samuel A. Sciaky (it could be speculated that Abraham Sciaky was a silent partner). Another noteworthy fact is that M. Morpurgo acts on behalf of himself and on behalf of the company Allatini-Marseille and not the Fratelli Allatini-Salonicco. The Anglo-Greek Magnesite Company Ltd. probably stopped its activities during the Second World War and in 1958 the quarries were sold to John Lambrinidēs, the engineer mentioned previously, and his son-in-law George Portolos, husband of Lambrinidēs’s daughter Fofo. Today, Dimitri Portolos, grandson of John Lambrinidēs, stands as CEO in the Administrative Board of the Grecian Magnesite Mining Industrial Shipping and Commercial S.A. Τhis company is still flourishing.

Chromium mines

  • 69 “Nouvelles de Turquie,” Revue Commerciale du Levant, no 96, mars 1895, p. 185. On the Zachos’ famil (...)
  • 70 Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 839.
  • 71 E.G., “Statistique des mines,” art. cit., p. 693.
  • 72 Binda, “Mines and Minerals,” art. cit., p. 1509.

33The discovery of magnesite usually follows the identification of chromium deposits. Just before the discovery of the magnesite deposits in Chalkidiki, the Allatini Brothers acquired a chromium mine in the district of Kozani (Sfilçe; today Cromion, 126 km west of Salonica), vilayet of Monastir. The firman was issued in the name of Athanasios Zachos, a merchant and teacher of the city of Siatista, brother of Dimitri Zachos, the Allatinis’ representative in Vellesa (today Veles in Northern Macedonia).69 Zachos, who had obtained the mine in 1894, transferred the possession to Fratelli Allatini in 1896.70 In the 1907-1908 official survey of the Ottoman mines, the mine was registered as not being under exploitation.71 In a consular report dated 1911, it is stated that there were three veins of good ore visible, but in the current state they did not seem of great importance. Another vein of low-grade chromium had been exploited and 2.000 tons had already been extracted. The mineral arrived in Caraferia (today Veria) by horseback and then it was sent by sea to Salonica.72

  • 73 EMBE, M161, 171, 174.

34In 1914, the firman was submitted by the Allatinis to the Ministry of National Economy. In 1919 a family member asked for a copy of this firman, as a lot of documents were destroyed during the devastating fire of 1917 that affected a large part of the city. These details are known from a statement made by the Inspector of Mines of Northern Greece, N. Roussakis, in 1937, when the Minister of National Economy called the heirs of the company to produce their legal documentation because a third party had submitted an application asking for final concession.73 The 1937 documents make clear that the company [Fratelli Allatini-Salonicco] had been dissolved and was under liquidation. EMBE had invited to present themselves in front of the Service, the merchants Salvator Juda Nehama and George Salvator Nehama, as representatives of Andrea Guido Allatini and Giorgio Lazaro Allatini. The Nehamas resided in Salonica; the Allatinis were Italian and British citizens, respectively, but both resided in Skopje and were considered heirs of the deceased members of the above-mentioned company. The Allatinis had paid land taxes to the Greek state until 1936 and according to the expansion of the Greek mining legislation even to the New Provinces, their rights of possession were still intact. It seems that in 1938 the above-mentioned Allatinis came to Greece to present themselves in front of the authorities (Second Degree of the Administrative Court of Mines), as a contested mine was given to the civil engineer Sotirios Papasotiriou, who had claimed it since 1936 and used to operate it as well, even before the final deliberation of the court. In 1942 he – S. Papasotiriou – obtained the final concession. The first mine in question – the one claimed by the heirs of Fratelli Allatini, firman n. 1 Kozani – was declared of public utility definitely in 1963.

  • 74 Cf. Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 828; Tok, The Ottoman Mining Sector, op. cit., p. 77.
  • 75 Cf. Official Gazette, 73/A/5.4.1938.

35The Allatinis also claimed the ownership of another chromium mine. It was situated in Yerakinovo, province of Vodena (today Edessa, Prefecture of Pella). The concession, dated to 1891, was given to Mustafa Fazıl, the lawyer of Osman Inayet, Refik Recep, another dönme, co-founder of the Terakki School of Salonica, Dimitri Gheorgiou and Ibrahim Nazmi Effendi.74 The firman was produced to the Greek authorities by the Fratelli Allatini. In 1938, Dimitri Gheorgiou, who lived in Edessa, was evicted because he had not paid the taxes since 1925.75 In 1939, the mine was declared of public utility.

  • 76 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, The Iron and Steel Industries of Europe, ed. by C (...)
  • 77 According to Hekimoglou, in 1895 Roberto Allatini, head of the Allatini maison in London was consid (...)

36Τhe presence of the two Allatini family members in Skopje could be linked to their interest in the chromium mines located nearby. The Allatinis had created Allatini Mines Ltd. in 1927,76 a company based in London that exploited a chromium mine located in Orasje (20 km northwest of Skopje) and an enrichment plant that was established by the German firm Krupp later in 1929 in the nearby Raduša. It was managed by the Trans-European Company Ltd., whose principal business was investment dealing and managing funds, relating to East African Goldfields in the 1930s.77

Mines in Kavalla and Drama

  • 78 Auguste Viquesnel (1800-1867), member of the Société Géologique de France, in his work Voyage dans (...)
  • 79 According to the US counsel in 1911 two deposits had been found – a “pocket” of manganic oxide and (...)
  • 80 Official Gazette, 295/A/29.8.1915.

37Fratelli Allatini were interested in other mines near Drama and Kavalla. This time the mineral extracted was manganese. Their middleman was once again Ohannes Marcarian, accompanied this time by Juda Jahiel. The first mine was situated by the village Guredjik (Granitēs)78 and the concession was made to a certain Petros Exakoustos, employee of the Ottoman Tobacco Co. in Constantinople in 1890, and regarded plumbic argentite. It was passed to Fratelli Allatini on 21 August 1891.79 They turned it over to the Greek state in 1915.80

  • 81 GAK-ΙΑΜ, Archive of the Banque d’Orient, f. 2 (concerning years 1906-1908).
  • 82 Isaac Jahiel, Abraham’s son, is reported as an exporter of minerals from the areas of Salonica and (...)
  • 83 Adolphe Wix was well known to the readers of the JdS. Cf. JdS, 4 mai 1899 (Wix had been living in K (...)
  • 84 Cf. Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 818.
  • 85 “Nouvelles de Turquie,” op. cit. Dimitri Zachos, agent of the Allatini Co. in Uskub, obtained the c (...)
  • 86 L.D. 2.12.1927 in the name of A. Jahiel.

38The second mine that attracted their attention, called Tartana, produced manganese. It was located near the city of Drama as well. Fratelli Allatini had been the guarantors of Marcarian to the Banque d’Orient – a bank created under the auspices of the National Bank of Greece in 1904 and merged with the latter in 1932 – in order for Marcarian to obtain a loan.81 Marcarian’s quote was 62% and the rest belonged to Abraham Jahiel.82 They pawned the extracted mineral to be delivered to the quay belonging to Jahiel in Salonica, just in front of the city’s gas factory. This mine did not require a concession, but only a mineral license. A firman concerning this mine was produced by Adolphe Wix von Zsolnay (1866-1932),83 a Hungarian of Jewish descent. He had been the general director in Kavalla of the tobacco firm Herzog et Cie. since 1890 (he had arrived from Budapest a year earlier), and served as the honorary consul of Germany and Austro-Hungary in Kavalla and later in Salonica. He claimed that the firman had been given to him by the first concessionaire.84 According to documents of the Allatini archive, Marcarian and Jahiel had been in partnership, not only with the Allatinis, but also with Adolphe Wix. They had undertaken the exploitation of chromium mines in the vilayet of Kosovo, villages Raducha85 and Geranza (near the border between Kosovo and Monastir, today Northern Macedonia) in 1900. As the operation did not prove lucrative, they transferred the mines to the Ottoman Ministry of Forests and Mines. Wix let a part of the Tartana mine to be exploited by Marcarian, but the latter resigned soon afterwards. Nevertheless, Marcarian and Jahiel obtained the final concession of Tartana in 1927 by the Greek authorities.86 After Marcarian’s death in Paris, it was leased by Marcarian’s heirs to a British engineer in 1936.

Conclusions

39The Allatinis entered the mining business in the 1880s, as far as it is known. Being bankers and having a large network of family members in European capitals, it is easy to understand why they decided to enter the mining business. In that particular historical moment, it must have appeared extremely rewarding. In this business we can individuate three concentric circles: 1. The European financial and industrial groups involved in mining businesses; 2. The Allatinis as their intermediaries in Ottoman Macedonia; and 3. A group of persons – from the entourage of the Allatinis – of different racial and social extraction who manifest “talent” in “concession hunting” using as their Ottoman citizenship as their bigger asset. I think we should call this third group “facilitators.”

40Their first mining enterprise was most likely a mine that was named partially after them in today’s Northern Macedonia (Allchar). They were also founding members and main shareholders of the Société des Mines de Kassandra in the nearby Chalkidiki. They used to visit these mines very often and they acted in fact as the representatives of the other shareholders. The mines known under their name were also situated in Chalkidiki (Allatini or Yerakini Mines). They obtained licenses or concessions in different places in Western or Eastern (today Greek) Macedonia taking advantage of a large network of acquaintances – including two or three dönmes, one Armenian engineer, one Greek merchant. This group, with the exception of Juda Jahiel and Juda Yeni, themselves Jewish merchants, were not involved in the commerce of minerals. They did have other incomes – Inayet was a drogman and Marcarianwas a state employee. The Allatinis did not pay for the mines’ expenses from the Banque de Salonique, the multinational where they were actionists and members of the Administrative Board. As far as we know, they preferred the Banque d’Orient, a Greek bank, for these transactions. They proceeded with the exploitation of only some of the mines – not all of them.

41In 1911, most members of the Allatini family abandoned Salonica, fearing expulsion from the Ottomans, as they had never changed their Italian citizenship. They left behind them as their representative, one of their relatives, Moïse Morpurgo. When the Yerakini concessions were sold to the Anglo-Greek Magnesite Co. in 1922, Moïse Morpurgo signed as proxy for the Allatini Frères – Marseille. However, the heirs of the initial Fratelli Allatini-Salonicco claimed a certain chromium mine in the district of Kozani (Western Macedonia) till the year 1939. They had continued to pay the soil taxes for all these years. The Mining Court removed their petition and the mine was finally declared of public utility in 1963. Mining business was lucrative for the Allatinis and they attained great profits out of them, using a large network of local agents (regarding mining concessions) and global merchants (regarding sales).

42In relation to the Allatinis’ behavior during the annexation of the area to the Greek state, it can be deduced from the currently available documentation that they tried to get rid of their investments in mines during the last years of the Ottoman Empire, mostly by selling them to other investors. It is highly probable that they took under serious consideration the fact that, at that point, the conditions in Salonica had changed. Salonica was no longer the only export port for the entire hinterland of Macedonia that at this phase belonged to three different states. As long as no trace of family members’ memoirs is available, regarding their projects in this decade, 1913-1923, no kind of assumptions about their attitude after the political change – and the change of borders – can be made.

43The only exception that stands out is a chromium mine in today’s Northern Macedonia. They created on purpose a Limited Company based in London. This time it bore their name: Allatini Mines Ltd. No more secrets! Risk assessment this time was favorable at least regarding the institutional framework. They were in Britain, some of them had acquired the British citizenship and probably the British legal system was appearing much safer than the one they had left behind in the Ottoman Empire. But this company’s story exceeds the limits of the present article.

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Notes

1 The city of so many names – Selânik, Salonique, Solun, Thessaloniki or Salonica – was also known as “Jerusalem of the Balkans” due to its huge Jewish Sephardic community. On the term “Jerusalem of the Balkans”, which seems to be an invention of the early twentieth century, see Naar Devin E., Jewish Salonica between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2016, p. 224-225.

2 Cf. Hekimoglou Evangelos, Geōrgiadou-Tsimino Kirkē, Hē historia tēs epiheirimatikothtas stē Thessalonikē, t. IIa, Hē Othōmanikē periodos [The History of Entrepreneurship in Salonica, vol. IIa, The Ottoman Period], Thessaloniki, Politistikē Etairia Epiheirimatiōn Voreiou Ellados, 2004, p. 290-295; Gregoriou, Alexandros, “Hē Thessalonikē tōn Allatini (1776-1911)” [Allatini’s Salonica (1776-1911)], in Thessalonikē History Center, Thessalonikē. Epetērida tou Istorikou Kentrou Thessalonikēs [Thessaloniki. Scientific Yearbook of the Thessaloniki History Center, Municipality of Thessalonikē], vol. 7, Thessaloniki, 2008, p. 137-192; Kavala Maria, Hekimoglou E., “Oi epiheiriseis Allatini kai hē metavasē apo to polyethniko perivallon stēn topikē diastasē (1836-1926)” [The Allatini Enterprises and the Transition from a Multi-Ethnic Environment to a Local Dimension (1838-1926)], in Lee Sarafi, Irene Lagani, Despina Papadimitriou, Maria Spiliotopoulou (eds), Depictions of European History. Papers Dedicated to Prokopis Papastratis, Athens, Vivliorama, 2021, p. 151-163; Hekimoglou E., The “Immortal Allatini.” Ancestors and Relatives of Noémie Allatini-Bloch (1860-1928), Thessaloniki, Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki and Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, 2012; Kavala M., Hekimoglou E., “Hē Oikogeneia Allatini. Apo tēn Italia stēn Othomanikē Thessalonikē” [The Allatini Family. From Italy to Ottoman Salonica], Documento, 12 May 2019, p. 38-40. On the family’s entrepreneurial strategies, cf. Meron Orly C., Jewish Entrepreneurship in Salonica, 1912-1940. An Ethnic Economy in Transition, Brighton-Portland-Toronto, Sussex Academic Press, 2011, p. 25-27.

3 Part of this article consists of material selected during the preparation of my PhD thesis, Ta metalleia stin Voreia Ellada, 1912-1940 [Mines in Northern Greece, 1912-1940], Department of History and Archeology of the University of Ioannina, 2021. Also part of this research was communicated in the paper “Fratelli Allatini: Mining Enterprises in Ottoman Macedonia,” 15th International Congress of Ottoman Social and Economic History (ICOSEH), Zagreb, 11-15 July 2022. I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of Balkanologie for their careful reading and their particularly useful comments.

4 Cf. Samara Anastasia, Industrial Heritage as a Catalyst for Urban Regeneration in Thessaloniki, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Lincoln, 2020. The “industrial heritage” is Allatini Flour Mills.

5 On the history of Leghorn’s Jewish merchant colony (nazione ebrea), cf. Bregoli Francesca, Mediterranean Enlightenment. Livornese Jews, Tuscan Culture and Eighteenth-Century Reform, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2014. On the specific issue of the Italian Jews who migrated to the “Levante,” cf. Milano Attilio, Storia degli ebrei italiani nel Levante [History of the Italian Jews in the Levant], Saonara, Il Prato, 2019 [1949].

6 Cf. Plessis Alain, 1985, Régents et gouverneurs de la Banque de France, Genève, Librairie Dotz, 1985, p. 357.

7 The Italian consul in Thessaloniki in 1892 reported that among the richest and most accredited bankers and merchants in the Ottoman Empire were the company of the Fratelli Allatini and Saoul Modiano. Cf. R. Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Emigrazione e Colonie. Rapporti dei RR. Agenti diplomatici e consolari [Emigration and Colonies. Diplomatic and consular agents’ reports], Rome, Tipografia dell’Unione cooperativa editrice, 1893, p. 518. Later, Eliot Grinell Mears in his book Modern Turkey: A politico-economic interpretation, 1908-1923 inclusive…, New York, Macmillan, 1924, p. 92, wrote: “There were a few [Jewish] families that had already won a great name in the political and financial circles and had contributed on many occasions to the sustaining of the country’s [Turkey’s] credit by advancing sums of money to the official treasury. Most of them were connected with prominent European families. Such were the Camondos and Carmonas in Constantinople; the Allatinis, Fernandez and Morpourgos in Salonica; …” See, Mears Eliot Grinnell, in his book Modern Turkey: A Politico-Economic Interpretation, 1908-1923 inclusive…, New York, Macmillan, 1924, p. 92. For a general view over the last period of the Ottoman Salonica using European and Ottoman sources, cf. Akarlı Ahmet Orhun, Growth and Retardation in the Ottoman Economy: The Case of Ottoman Selanik, 1876-1912, unpublished PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2001.

8 Molho Rena, Oi Evraioitēs Thessalonikēs 1856-1919. Mia idiaiterē koinotēta [The Jews of Salonica, 1856-1919. An Extraordinary Community], Athens, Patakis, 2014.

9 Nevertheless, the Italian counselor at the city-port of Kavala in his report on the national and foreign navigation through the port during the year 1879 states : “I fratelli Allatini, come Casa italiana, potrebbero dar lavoro ai nostri bastimenti ma caricando essi più specialmente tabacchi per la Regia Austro-Ungarica, questa esige che nel noleggiare i bastimenti, essi diano la preferenza a quelli di bandiera Austriaca [Allatini brothers, in their quality of Italian commercial house, could employ our (meaning Italian) vessels but as they mostly transport tobacco for the Austro-Ungarians they are obliged to prefer containers that carry the Austrian flag]; “Rapporto sulla Navigazione Estera e Nazionale sull’ Importazione ed Esportazione del Porto di Cavalla durante l’anno 1879 del Cav. Dr. Stanislao PECCHIOLI, R. Agente Consolare a Cavalla Trasmesso dal Cav. F. nobile LAMBERTENGHI, R. Console a Salonicco (Marzo 1880)” [Report on the foreign and national navigation regarding the import-export activities in the port of Kavala during the year 1879 by Cav. Dr. Stanislao PECCHIOLI, R. Consular agent in Kavala via the Salonica’s R. consul, Cav. F. nobile LAMBERTENGHI], Bollettino Consolare Commerciale, vol. 16, n° 1, 1880, p. 260.

10 Moïse Allatini was granted the honor of Official of the Ordine della Corona d’ Italia. Cf. Gazzetta Ufficiale, no 185, 8.8.1882.

11 On the endeavors of Moise Allatini along with members of other elite Jewish families to modernize the educational system of the Salonican Jews, cf. Naar Devin E., Jewish Salonica, op. cit., p. 146-147.

12 For more details on these two journals cf. Guillon Hélène, Le Journal de Salonique. Un périodique juif dans l’Empire ottoman (1895-1911), Paris, Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2013. In this article I intend to use often the Journal de Salonique [JdS from now on].

13 Dumont Paul 1980, “La structure sociale de la communauté juive de Salonique à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle,” Revue historique, vol. 263, no 2, 1980, p. 351-393, and more specifically p. 375.

14 Astima M., “Notes sur la Macédoine,” Revue commerciale du Levant. Bulletin mensuel de la Chambre de Commerce française de Constantinople [Revue commerciale du Levant from now on], no 111, juin 1896, p. 25-30. Emphasis is mine.

15 Cf. Kaplitzoglou Elenē, “Archeio Allatini” [The Allatini Archive], no 5, May 2005, p. 11-34. A Master’s thesis at the University of Macedonia in Salonica based on this material was compiled by Sofia Asimopoulou who was kind enough to provide me with copies of some documents concerning the mining enterprises of the company. Asimopoulou Sofia, Hē epiheirisē Allatini: Ptyhes apo tēn epiheirimatikotēta tēsThessalonikēs sto prōto miso tou 20ou aiōna [The Allatini Enterprise: Facets of Salonica’s enterprises in the First Half of the 20th Century], unpublished Master’s thesis, Thessaloniki, University of Macedonia, Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, 2014.

16 Pamuk Şevket, The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism, 1820-1913: Trade, Investment and Production, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1987.

17 Cf. Findley Carter Vaughn, “The Tanzimat,” in Reşat Kasaba (ed.), The Cambridge History of Turkey, vol. 4, Turkey in the Modern World, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008, p. 9-37.

18 Cf. Murphey Rhoads, 1986, “Ma’din: Mineral Exploitation in the Ottoman Empire”, in Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 5, Leiden, Brill, p. 973-985.

19 A very clear exposé of this situation regarding British mining interests in Western Anatolia we can find in Kurmuș Orhan, The Role of British Capital in the Economic Development of Western Anatolia, unpublished PhD, University College London, 1974, p. 216-243.

20 Tok Alaaddin, The Ottoman Mining Sector in the Age of Capitalism: An Analysis of State-Capital Relations (1850-1908), Master’s thesis, Boğazici University, Istanbul, 2010.

21 On the group of the bankers of Galata cf. Exertzoglou Haris, Prosarmostikotēta kai politikē omoyeneiakōn kefalaiōn. Ellēnes trapezites stēn Kōnstantinoupolē: to katastēma “Zarifis-Zafeiropoulos,” 1871-1881 [Adaptability and Politics of Diaspora Capitals. Greek Bankers in Constantinople: The Maison “Zarifis-Zafiropoulos,” 1871-1881], Athens, Idryma Erevnas kai Paideiastēs Emporikēs Trapezas tēs Ellados, 1989; Galani Katerina, “The Galata Bankers and the International Banking of the Greek Business Group in the Nineteenth Century,” in Eldem Edhem, Laiou Sophia, Kechriotis Vanghelis (eds.), The Economic and Social Development of the Port-Cities of the Southern Black Sea Coast and Hinterland. Late 18th-Beginning of the 20th Century, Black Sea History Project Working Papers, no 5, 2017, p. 45-78.

22 Israel Fred L. (ed.), Major Peace Treaties of Modern History, 1647–1967, vol. 2, New York, Chelsea House Publishers, 1967, p. 1011-1012.

23 Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Commission financière des affaires balkaniques. Procès-verbaux des séances plénières et rapports présentés au nom des divers comités. Première session. 4 juin-18 juillet 1913, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1913.

24 Ibid., p. 85-86.

25 On the concessions and the Treaty of Lausanne, cf. Teyssaire Jean, “Les concessions et le Traité de Lausanne,” Revue générale de droit international public, vol. 35, Paris, Pedone, 1928, p. 447-465.

26 N. ΓΦΚΔ’ (L. 3524/1909)/FEK (Fyllotēs Efimerida stēs Kyvernēseōs), [Official Gazzette from now on] 11/A/13.1.1910.

27 This legislation had circulated as an extrait of the journal Levant Herald: Règlement des Mines sanctionné par Iradé Impérial, Constantinople, Levant Herald, 1907. And after that, Ministry of National Economy, Othomanikē Nomothesia: nomos peri metalleiōntēs 26 Martiou 1906-14 Sef. 1324 [Ottoman Legislation: Mining Law of 26 March 1906–14 Sec. 1324], ed. by Elias Gounaris, Athens, Imprimerie nationale, 1913. For the mining laws in the Ottoman Empire, cf. Turkey in Europe, handbooks prepared under the Direction of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, no 16, London, H.M. Stationery Office, 1920, p. 98-100.

28 Elias Gounaris initially obtained his degree as a civil engineer from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He later completed his studies as a mining engineer in Liège, Belgium. He was employed as mineralogist at the Ministry of National Economy (1908-1910) and later as Inspector of Mines (1910-1917). He subsequently taught the course on Mineralogy at NTUA (1918-1951). On Elias Gounaris, cf. Papastefanaki Leda, “Mining Engineers, Industrial Modernization and Politics in Greece, 1870-1940,” The Historical Review/La revue historique, vol. 13, 2016, p. 71-115.

29 Gounaris Elias, “Hē Metalleftikē kinēsis tēs Ellados kata to 1913” [Mining Situation in Greece during 1913], Archimedes, Athens, January 1915, p. 7-12, 23.

30 Official Gazette 41/A/2.3.1913 (article 14).

31 Official Gazette 78/A/29.3.1914.

32 Official Gazette, 403/A/30.12.1914.

33 Raktivan K.D., Eggrafa kai sēmeiōseis ek tēs prōtēs Ellēnikēs Dioikēseōs tēs Makedonias (1912-1913). Epimeleia I. Th. Dēmara [Documents and Notes Regarding the first Greek Administration of Macedonia (1912-1913): Studies by I. Th. Dimaras], Thessaloniki, Etaireia Makedonikōn Spoudōn, 1951, p. 65-70.

34 Ypouryeio Ethnikēs Oikonomias, Diefthinsis tēs Ypiresias tōn Metalleiōn, Parahōrēseis Metalleiōn, t. II, Eptanēsos – Peloponnēsos – Kyklades kai Nees Hōres [Ministry of National Economy, Directorate of the Mines’ Service, Mining Concessions, vol. 2, Ionian Islands – Peloponnese – Cyclades and New Provinces], Athens, 1916 [Mining Concessions from now on].

35 As the stocks of this company were issued in the Paris Stock Market, I found extremely useful the following database: DFIH= Data for Financial History – A Comprehensive Database on the French Stock Markets since 1795, https://dfih.fr/issuers/10107 (accessed in April 2023).

36 Cf. Akarlı, Growth and Retardation in the Ottoman Economy, op. cit., p. 237. The Italian citizens were officially expelled after a while from the Ottoman Empire. Cf. DLorentiis Daniela, “Italiani espulsi dall’ impero ottomano. Il fondo ‘Contenzioso’ del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (1911-1913),” in Francesco Altamura (ed.), Puglia e Grande Guerra. Tra dimensione adriatica e fronte interno: fonti e ricerche [Apulia and the Great War. Between the Adriatic Dimension and the Home Front: Sources and Researches], Nardò, BESA MUCI, 2017, p. 44-63.

37 The Sabbateans of Salonica are followers of Sabbetai Sevi. Sabbetai Sevi, also known as Tzvi of Izmir, was a Jew who presented himself as a Messiah but later converted to Islam under the threat of the death penalty. Some of his followers (most of them resided at that time in Izmir and Salonica) followed him in this path although they maintained some of the Jewish rituals. Members of his sect were largely known as dönme, meaning “convert.”

38 Cf. Akyalçın Kaya Dilek, “Entrepreneurial Networks in the Ottoman Empire: The Case of Osman Inayet,” Proceedings of the Center for Economic History Research, Varna, no 5, 2020, p. 265-279. In her article, Akyalçın Kaya discusses the previous literature on Ottoman entrepreneurship and the legal and economic transformations that took place in the Empire in the long nineteenth century.

39 Osman Inayet Effendi, first drogman of the Royal Consulate of Spain was nominated consul manager of the above-mentioned consulate during the period 1898-1907. Probably it was in this office that he first met Frederic Charnaud who, according to Akyalçın Kaya, was the Spanish consular manager during 1897-1898. In 1909, Inayet was elected member of the Board of Administration of the Chamber of Commerce of Salonica. Cf. JdS, 21 mai 1901, 12 décembre 1907, 23 mars 1908.

40 Mustafa Fazıl was a man of a different kind. While Osman Inayet obtained the firman in order to sell it, Fazıl seems to have been attached to a concession for a chromium mine that he got (in 1909) in the suburbs of Salonica. In 1939, he claimed ownership against the National Bank of Greece, which was responsible for the property of exchanged Muslims after 1923, even though the decision of the Administrative Court of Mines meant that he no longer held rights to it. Cf. EMBE, M31.

41 E.G., “Statistique des mines pour l’année 1323 [14.3.1907-13.3.1908],” Revue commerciale du Levant, no 284, novembre 1910, p. 675-693. In this mining census, the Allatinis appear to have obtained 6 mining concessions.

42 Cf. Serbia, Handbooks prepared under the direction of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, no 20, London, H.M. Stationery Office, 1920, p. 91, and more extensively in Macedonia, Handbooks prepared under the direction of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, no 21, London, H.M. Stationery Office, p. 69, 72-73. In a previous report of the US vice-consul of Salonica we read: “Allshar mine, in the Caza of Tikfesh, 30 miles from Krivolak. Not much work has been done, but enough to show sufficient ore to warrant its further development and a quality ranging from 50 to 52 per cent chrome. During 1906 over 300 tons of ore were extracted.” Cf. Binda John L. [vice-consul in Saloniki, Turkey], “Mines and Minerals of Macedonia,” Daily Consular and Trade Reports, Washington, D.C., 13 December 1911, p. 1509. See also, Blažo Boev et. al., “Allchar Mineral Assemblage,” Geologica Macedonica, vol. 15-16, 2001-2002, p. 1-23.

43 The statute of this company [translated in Greek] can be viewed in the Historical Archives of the National Bank of Greece. HA-NBG, 1-34-1-16. In this statute, 8 concessions are mentioned.

44 For this company which had her actions placed in Paris Bourse in 1898, cf. https://dfih.fr/issuers/2256. Serpieri being an Italian citizen in his controversy with the Greek government over the Laurium Mines involved both the Italian and the French governments in the case.

45 Cf. Kordellas Andreas, O metalleftikos ploutos kai ai alykai tēs Ellados ypo geologikēn, statistikēn kai istorikēn epopsin exetazomena [Greece’s mineral wealth and salt pits under a geological, statistical and historical point of view], Athens, Sakellariou, 1902, p. 64. On the company Société des Usines du Laurium, cf. https://dfih.fr/issuers/3284.

46 Cf. Akyalçın, “Entrepreneurial Networks,” art. cit., p. 271.

47 Ibid, p. 271-272.

48 Tok, The Ottoman Mining Sector, op. cit., p. 90.

49 Cf. Pech E., Manuel des sociétés anonymes fonctionnant en Turquie, Paris, 1906, p. 138-140.

50 JdS, 2 novembre 1896, 3 novembre 1898, 9 décembre 1899 (engineers Isaac Fernandez and Rouffier), 5 juillet 1900, 19 juillet 1900, 17 juin 1901.

51 JdS, 31 août 1905.

52 JdS, 30 décembre 1907, 18 mai 1908, 21 mai 1908.

53 Cf. Binda, “Mines and Minerals,” art. cit., p. 1508.

54 Lugeon Maurice, 1914, “Cristaux géants de pyrite de la Chalcidique (Grèce),” Bulletin de la Société vaudoise des sciences naturelles, vol. 50, no 13-14, p. 18-22.

55 Papastefanaki Leda, Hēfleva tis gēs. Ta metalleia tēs Elladas, 19os-20os aiōnas [The Earth’s Veins. The Mines of Greece, 19th-20th Centuries], Athens, Vivliorama, 2017, p. 79.

56 Cf. HA-NBG, 1-34-1-17, 1-40-9-204.

57 AA. VV., Anonymē Hellēnikē Etairia Chimikōn Proiontōn kai Lipasmatōn (1909-1993) [Société Anonyme Hellénique des Engrais et des Produits Chimiques (1909-1993)], Athens, Politistiko Idryma Omilou Peiraiōs, 2007.

58 Approval of the leasing of six mining concessions, Royal Decree 2.11.1921 (Official Gazette, 214/A/6.11.1921).

59 Cf. HA-NBG, 1-34-1-16.

60 On Hıfzı Bey Effendi who, being a high rank official of the Ottoman army after the Greek-Ottoman War of 1897, established himself as military commandant in Salonica, cf. Akarlı, Growth and Retardation, op. cit., p. 162, 172, as well as Ellēniko Laografiko kai Istoriko Archeio – Morfōtiko Idryma tis EthnikēsTrapezēs [Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive of the Cultural Institute of the National Bank (of Greece)], known as ELIA-MIET, Archive of John Lambrinidēs, F. 4.5 – Mines of Yerakini – Old notary deeds (1917-1957).

61 GAK-IAM/EMBE, f. 132 (3.10.1914). Leopold Arthur Millet (? - Limni, Euboea, (Greece), 3.11.1930), who was an engineer of the Anglo-Greek Magnesite Co. Ltd., narrates a slightly different story in his report to the company dating 11 April 1922. According to him, the discovery dates to 1888, when a lease for the exploitation of chromium mines was delivered to Kirkor Effendi Pascalian (?-Salonica, 30.12.1903), Director of the Civil List in the city of Salonica and later Imperial Commissioner of the works to the port of the city. He extracted ore for almost ten years. Pascalian is frequently mentioned in the pages of JdS. The continuation is identical to the narration of Roussakis. Cf. Archive “Grecian Magnesite” and Papastefanaki, Hē fleva tēs gēs, op. cit., p. 82.

62 JdS, 16 avril 1896 (assists on the commerce of Kassandra mines’ mineral), 5 juillet 1897 (in inspection to Monastir), 8 juillet 1897 (gets engaged), 21 octobre 1897 (returns from Istanbul), 11 juillet 1898 (announcement of his placement to Makri, in the province of Aydin; replaced by Habartzoun Effendi), 3 novembre 1898 (announcement of his wedding to the niece of the vilayet’s chief engineer), 25 juin 1903 (member of the elected Administrative Board of Salonica’s Armenian community).

63 According to the report of L. A. Millet mentioned in a previous note, a small company was formed in 1899 by S. Yeni and O. Marcarian for a term of four years. In November 1904, S. Carasso with Fratelli Allatini leased the concessions from the above-mentioned partners for a term of nine years, paying a royalty of 1,30 francs (gold value) for every ton extracted. Then, in the first days of January 1910, a company was formed by Fratelli Allatini, Carasso, Yeni and Marcarian and they had been exploiting the property since that time. This thesis is corroborated by a document in the Allatini archive, where we found mention of a contract that stated a partnership between Marcarian, S. Juda Yeni and Fratelli Allatini (25 January 1910). Afterwards, Moise Morpurgo, the Fratelli Allatini’s proxy submitted regularly to Marcarian and Yeni every year the accounts of the company with special detailed annexes. In one of these communications, Morpurgo informed them about the fee they were obliged to pay to Hifzi Bey (1 fr./ton), while they were waiting for a final resolution by a Greek court.

64 Cf. Papastefanaki, Hē fleva tēs gēs, op. cit., p. 103, 105, 107, 108, 152, 157, 158, 160. His archive has been donated by his grandson, Dimitri Portolos to ELIA-MIET. Cf. also here note 62.

65 Ibid., p. 78-79.

66 On this company cf. Gounaris Elias, “Hē ekmetallefsis tou lefkolithou en Elladi” [The Exploitation of Magnesite in Greece], Archimedes, vol. 16, no 1, 1915, p. 1-7. Cf. as well Official Gazette, 4/A/7.1.1905 (The Greek Kingdom Recognized the Company and its Statute in Order to be Operative in Greece).

67 Cf. Dagkas Alexandre, Recherches sur l’histoire sociale de la Grèce du Nord : le mouvement des ouvriers du tabac, 1918-1928, Paris, Association Pierre Belon, 2003, p. 219.

68 Exact copy of the contract by the notary of Salonica, George Diamantopoulos (n. 3529/1922) was found in the Allatini archive. It was validated with a Royal Decree (Official Gazette, 61/A/8.3.1923).

69 “Nouvelles de Turquie,” Revue Commerciale du Levant, no 96, mars 1895, p. 185. On the Zachos’ family, cf. ZYGOURĒS Filippos, Istorika sēmeiōmata peri Siatistēs kai laografika aftēs [Historical Notes about Siatista and Folklore Studies on It], Siatista, Art Graphic, 2010, p. 505.

70 Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 839.

71 E.G., “Statistique des mines,” art. cit., p. 693.

72 Binda, “Mines and Minerals,” art. cit., p. 1509.

73 EMBE, M161, 171, 174.

74 Cf. Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 828; Tok, The Ottoman Mining Sector, op. cit., p. 77.

75 Cf. Official Gazette, 73/A/5.4.1938.

76 U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, The Iron and Steel Industries of Europe, ed. by Charles W. Wright, Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939. The ore was exported via the port of Salonica. During the Second World War, the mine and the adjacent metallurgy was taken over by the Germans. Allatini Mines Ltd. underwent voluntary liquidation in 1958.

77 According to Hekimoglou, in 1895 Roberto Allatini, head of the Allatini maison in London was considered the greatest shareholder of the Eastern Investment Co., which exploited mines in South Africa. The branch of the Allatini family in France (Guido Allatini and Andrea Allatini, who had founded a mining company) on the other hand in 1918 got the concession of a lignite mine in Southern France. Cf. “Lois, Décrets et Arrêtés concernant les mines, carrières, sources d’eaux minérales, chemins de fer en exploitation, etc. – Décret, du 2 juillet 1918, autorisant la cession de la concession des mines de lignite de la MATTE (Hérault),”Annales des Mines, 1918, Paris, p. 266-267. Guido Allatini was elected president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Marseille. Le Temps, 15 janvier 1902, 19 octobre 1903.

78 Auguste Viquesnel (1800-1867), member of the Société Géologique de France, in his work Voyage dans la Turquie d’Europe. Description physique et géologique de la Thrace, 1868, vol. 2, Paris, Arthus Bertrand, p. 300, 380, 384, mentions that in Guredjik there were traces of old pits, and when he visited the place there was a new entrepreneur who was conducting mineral research. Viquesnel concluded that the new entrepreneur was ignorant and that his endeavors were in vain. According to a priest-miner Viquesnel encountered, there were not only granite deposits (for which the village was named), but also other types of mineral, especially white and yellow iron pyrites.

79 According to the US counsel in 1911 two deposits had been found – a “pocket” of manganic oxide and a vein of plumbic sulphate antimony, copper and iron. There had been 800 tons of manganese extracted by surface mining and there are traces of other deposits that need tunneling.

80 Official Gazette, 295/A/29.8.1915.

81 GAK-ΙΑΜ, Archive of the Banque d’Orient, f. 2 (concerning years 1906-1908).

82 Isaac Jahiel, Abraham’s son, is reported as an exporter of minerals from the areas of Salonica and Izmir in the International Exposition of 1910 in Bruxelles. Cf. Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles, Catalogue général officiel de la Section ottomane, Bruxelles, Imprimerie scientifique, 1910, p. 15.

83 Adolphe Wix was well known to the readers of the JdS. Cf. JdS, 4 mai 1899 (Wix had been living in Kavala for 10 years and he was considered the Charles Allatini of Kavala!), 7 septembre 1899, 2 septembre 1901, 29 septembre 1902 (Wix arrived in Salonica and among the personalities who paid him a visit was Ohannes Effendi), 29 août 1907, 28 octobre 1910.

84 Cf. Mining Concessions, op. cit., p. 818.

85 “Nouvelles de Turquie,” op. cit. Dimitri Zachos, agent of the Allatini Co. in Uskub, obtained the concession of a chromium mine in Padovichta (Raducha?) of Kosovo. The US vice-consul of Salonica claimed that the quality of the minerals at this mineways was excellent but the exploitation was not constant during the preceding 15 years due to underground streams that necessitated steam pumps. The ore was transported to Uskub by wagons. This was the mine of interest for the Allatini Mines Ltd. In the years before the creation of the above-mentioned company, the Allatinis tried to sell their mining rights to an Austro-Hungarian group and even turned to a group of Italian investors before they decided to create the company. Cf. Archivio del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (AMAE), Archivio dell’ Ufficio del Coordinamento Economico, anno 1924-25, Jugoslavia, Sottoclasse 4-f.26 and AMAE, Archivio degli affari commerciali, anno 1926, Jugoslavia, Sottocl. 4-f.42.

86 L.D. 2.12.1927 in the name of A. Jahiel.

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Domna Iordanidou, « Making Business in Salonica from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek Nation-State: The Allatini Family’s Investments in Mining Enterprises »Balkanologie [En ligne], Vol. 17 n° 2 | 2022, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2022, consulté le 15 juin 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/balkanologie/4391 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/balkanologie.4391

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Domna Iordanidou

PhD in Economic and Social History
General State Archives – Historical Archives of Macedonia (Thessaloniki)

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