Where: Greek Centre, Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Lecturer: Dr Nick Dallas
Cotton may appear as an unassuming commodity but it was the commodity that drove the Industrial Revolution. In the 19th century Ottoman Egypt aligned its modernization drive with the expansion of cotton cultivation.
Greek entrepreneurs played key roles in every stage of the cotton process; many made fabulous fortunes while others were pioneer innovators.
However the protagonist in all these developments was Muhammad Ali, the Kavala-born Ottoman ruler of Egypt in the first half of the 19th century. Cotton was the cash crop he targeted to raise funds to finance his imperial ambitions and to transform Egyptian economy and society. Muhammad Ali actively encouraged Greeks and other foreigners to settle in Egypt aware of their business acumen and commercial prowess.
Well known Egyptian Greek families like Tositsas, Averoff, Benaki, Choremi, Cassavetes, Kartalis, Zervoudakis, Salvagos and many others benefited immensely from their involvement in Egypt’s cotton industry. Most of them also become important benefactors donating large amounts for the building of schools, academies, hospitals and institutions in both Egypt and Greece. Others like Sakellarides, Papaheimonas, Psihas and the Voltos brothers were pioneers in developing improved cotton seed varieties.
Nick Dallas has a multi-discipline background which spans across chemistry, political science and economics. His numerous academic interests include economic history, globalization issues and climate science.
Presently he is the national sales manager for Professional and Vocational Education at McGraw-Hill Australia, a global learning science company.
He has been on the GOCMV’s Board of Management since 2012 and takes an active interest in all of the Community’s education initiatives.
We'd like to thank the following donors: EEAMA (League of Greeks from Egypt and the Middle East).
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