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Biographies and activity    EN


Available sources on the economic life of Constanţa does not allow too many such examples of commercial families, due to several factors, the first related to the several wars which affected the Black Sea port and led to the fall of such entrepreneurial examples. Constanţa started to develop after 1878 and especially after the construction of the Cernavodă Bridge in 1895. The emergence of commercial tradition and the fate of the entrepreneurial families in Constanţa were stopped in 1916, when the entire province of Dobrudja was occupied by the Central Powers, and most economic initiatives were interrupted and resumed after World War One. Another situation is that of sons of influential Armenian commercial families, such as Zambaccian and Damadian, who did not inherit the mercantile talents of their parents, but excelled in other professions (arts in these cases). For other personalities, such as Tache Manicatide, Nisim Erusalmi, Solomon Iaphet, Gheorghe Sapatino, V. P. Mourelis, the Erusalmis, the Locmanians etc., some of the “pioneers” of Constanţa’s economic development, information is so scarce that it does not allow us to construct such biographies. The two cases below are among those which can be better documented.

The Manissalian brothers

K. Manisalian was born in Constantinople in 1875, and he established his company at Constanţa in late 19th century, where the family moved due to the persecutions against Armenians. The commercial house was extremely large, with a capital of 20 million lei, four branches and 12 agencies. By 1909 the company of the Manissalian brothers was one of the largest in commercial enterprises in Constanţa. It was led by Greggin and Kevorc Manissalian, the eldest brother, and it exported each year more than 500 steamers of grain and wool. Other two members of the family, Garbis and Grigore, were settled at Paris, where the family company had a large branch. The problems started after the two brothers from Paris died in a car crash, and the company went bankrupt. During the interwar period, the company moved to Bucharest, being led by Armenag, Kevork and Ovanes or Onik Manissalian. After the bankruptcy of the company, Kevork and his son Onik were arrested [1].

The Alléon family

Jean Gerard Amédee Alléon was a member of an important family of Constantinopolitan bankers. Thus, his father, Jacques Alléon, was involved in the establishment of the bank of Constantinople in 1843. Jean Gerard Amédée Alléon was born in 1838 at Büyükdere, where the family had several estates. He came to Constanţa about 1880–1881 together with an architect, and invested in landed estates and in the construction and restoration of several buildings in the central part of the new city. Thus, by the 1890s he owned eight buildings in Constanţa, and was one of the wealthiest inhabitants. He was a passionate ornithologist and entomologist, and the area of Dobrudja provided him with many species to research. Amédée Alléon died in 1904 and his properties were inherited by his son, Abel Alléon, and his relatives. The inheritors sold all his properties in Constanţa to the Dacia – România Insurance Company [2].


[1] Păuleanu, Doina, Constanţa. Aventura unui proiect european (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003), 182–183; Eadem, Constanţa. Spectacolul modernităţii târziu. 1878–1928 (Constanţa: Muzeului de Artă Constanţa, 2005), vol. I, 319–320.

[2] Păuleanu, Constanţa. Aventura, 118–119, 249-253, 261; Constantin Cheramidoglu, “Amédée Alléon – un savant francez la Constanţa”, Noema, 11 (2012), 389–397.


Cheramidoglu, Constantin, “Amédée Alléon – un savant francez la Constanţa” [Amédée Alléon – A French Scholar at Constanţa], Noema, 11 (2012), 389–397.

Păuleanu, Doina, Constanţa. Aventura unui proiect european [Constanţa. The Adventure of a European Project] (Constanţa: Ex Ponto, 2003).

Păuleanu, Doina, Constanţa. Spectacolul modernităţii târziu. 1878–1928 [Constanţa. The Show of Late Modernity. 1878–1917] (Constanţa: Muzeului de Artă Constanţa, 2005).