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Re: Youannou- Zoe, Antonny and Katina early 1900's
Posted by: nana hadji (ID *****4568) Date: March 30, 2006 at 09:13:59
In Reply to: Re: Youannou- Zoe, Antonny and Katina early 1900's by lia seaton of 500

Greeks have always been associated with Alexandria. But in modern times, Mohamed Ali's ( born in 1769 ) accession to power proved a powerful influence in attracting a Greek community. Mohamed Ali, Pasha of Egypt, Syria and Arabia, was born in Greece. When the Greek revolution against the Turkish started in 1821, whilst he opposed the movement of the Greeks, he did not imitate their massacre. No Greek subject in Egypt was molested, and those who fled to that country ( mostly from the islands and mountainous mainland Greece ) were protected. He stood by them and took pleasure in their advancement and success in trade, industry and various crafts.

Alexandria became an international commercial centre. A new port was built and a canal linking Alexandria with the Nile, and this enabled handling the shipping of large quantities of grains and cotton. He opened Egypt to French and English companies, and large numbers of Greeks, Italians, Armenians and Lebanese flocked into Alexandria, attracted by its booming economy.

The first official Greek community of that period was founded in Alexandria, in 1843. Schools were set up, hospitals, churches and other institutions mostly thanks to donations from prominent families. Traders, businessmen, philanthropists and artists moved among the cosmopolitan society of Alexandria. From these humble beginnings, the Greek community, numbering about 140.000 persons, went on to become, at its peak, the largest and most influential minority in Egypt, with a record of outstanding cultural and commercial achievement lasting some 160 years.

In 1958 the Greek community in Alexandria flees Nasser's regime and their properties are nationalized. During the 1950s, after WW2 and the Greek Civil War,there is a massive emigration of Greeks to West Germany, the United States, Australia, Canada, and other countries.

The total number of Greeks in Egypt amounts, today, to 3000 persons.Many of the businesses, clubs, hospitals and schools have closed. Alexandria is the Seat of the Orthodox Patriarchate, responsible for orthodox Christians throughout the African continent. In fact, my friend's uncle, an Orthodox Christian priest, used to live in Egypt for many years before he was murdered by persons unknown. Also my neighbour was born in Egypt and she lived there all her life before she was forced to live.

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