Family and migration : the Mavromatis’ enterprises and networks



August 25, 2013


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Meltem Toksöz, « Family and migration : the Mavromatis’ enterprises and networks », Cahiers de la Méditerranée, ID : 10.4000/cdlm.5754


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Abstract En Fr

The small locality of Mersin, in Southeastern Anatolia, was transformed from a natural quay into the ‘spatial expression’ of Cilicia’s human and geographical opening to the Eastern Mediterranean. This was first and foremost a story of migration and settlement. From the 1860s to the 1890s, nomads and migrants amply relied on the interest of both the central state and foreign capital, and raised the region’s strength in cotton production and exports to almost autonomous levels. At the time of increasing commercialization of agriculture and cotton from the increasingly sedentarized plain to industrial Europe, Mersin was founded by immigrants coming from different parts of the Empire such as Beirut, Syria, Central Anatolia, Cyprus and the Aegean Islands. Mersin became a cosmopolitan place in the region and was the hub of the regional economy. The port-town became the final destination for the trade networks of the hinterland, and the starting point in the foreign trade network. This was largely made possible thanks to migrant merchant families that not only affected the port-town and Çukurova, but also connected Eastern Anatolia with Istanbul, the Mediterranean world and the world at large. One of these families, the Mavromatis, developed great wealth at the regional level, through specific patterns of exchange as well as concrete practices of property. The linkage between the Mavromatis’ family network and the changing regional dynamics demonstrate clearly the complexity of the scales of these relations in the chronological and spatial analysis of Ottoman transformations in the 19th century.

L’article porte sur les Mavromatis installés à Mersin, ville portuaire d’Anatolie en pleine expansion dans la seconde moitié du xixe siècle. Complétant une étude déjà publiée sur cette famille, à laquelle l’auteur ajoute l’exploitation d’archives consulaires et d’entretiens auprès de la famille, cet article retrace les étapes de l’ascension de la famille, qui en deux générations, devient l’une des plus importantes de la ville. C’est parce qu’ils parviennent à mobiliser à échelle régionale des solidarités commerciales façonnées ailleurs mais adaptées aux conditions locales, notamment aux débouchés offerts par l’exploitation de la plaine de la Çukorova, que les Mavromatis devancent la plupart des familles venues d’ailleurs dans l’Empire, de Beyrouth, de Syrie, d’Anatolie centrale, de Chypre ou des îles égéennes, au point de devenir des intermédiaires indispensables entre l’économie agraire de l’arrière-pays et le développement des infrastructures portuaires.

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