Armenians in Egypt

The Google Map plots the main Armenian communities in Egypt. The two previous blog posts have looked at the cities of Alexandria and Cairo, giving extracts of Armenian names from a French-language directory of 1930.

For completeness, a list of Armenian businesses in Mansoura, Port Said, Suez and Zagazig – the other cities of Egypt included in the 1930 trade directory – is given below.

The list includes some of the big Armenian cigarette companies in Egypt. These firms were all family-run and Armenian-managed but employed mostly local Egyptian labour. They tended to differ from the international and Greek cigarette manufacturers by focusing, initially at least, on inexpensive non-luxury cigarettes and tobacco for the domestic market within Egypt and Sudan. In declining order of significance, the Armenian cigarette manufacturers in Egypt were as follows:

1. Matossian. Separate businesses were set up by brothers Hovhannes in Alexandria in 1882 and Garabed in Cairo in 1886. They went into partnership in 1896 and were incorporated in 1899. Later, factories were opened in Giza and Zagazig. Subsequently, the controlling brothers Jacques, Joseph and Victor Matossian merged the company with British American Tobacco in 1927 but continued to operate as before. 3,000 employees circa 1930.

2. Melkonian. This company started in retail but moved into wholesale and manufacturing. The Melkonian brothers’ earliest factories were in Zagazig (circa 1883/84) and Faiyum (1888); later, factories opened in Alexandria, Aswan and Cairo. Producer of the Maden brand.

3. Gamsaragan. This was another family firm set up by brothers, which continued to operate under its own name (as Yervant Gamsaragan & Co) despite acquisition by British American Tobacco. Producer of the Abu-Najma and Delta brands. 1,300 employees circa 1930.

4. Ipekian. The founder Kevork Ipekian’s business was acquired by Maspero Brothers in 1924 but continued to operate under its own name.

Armenian businesses in Mansoura, Port Said, Suez and Zagazig in 1930:

Avatis, M, rue Colmar, Suez, bookseller & stationer
Daggian, Joseph, Chantecler Cinema, rue Abbas, Suez, cinema
Dajian, Joseph, rue Abbas, Suez, hosiery
Dayan, Isaac Kh., PO Box 54, Mansoura, manufacturer
Djebedjian, brothers, rue Ismail, Mansoura, cigarette manufacturers
Djerahian, V, Suez, agent for A I Mantacheff & Co, petroleum
Djerahian, Vahe, rue Mohafz, Suez, sales representative
Gamsaragan, A, Suez, cigarette manufacturer
Gamsaragan, A, rue Abbas, Zagazig, cigarette manufacturer
Hagop, J, rue Colmar, Suez, dentist
Ipekian, Kevork, rue Memphis 3, Port Said, cigarette manufacturer
Isajjian, Joseph, rue Abbas, Suez, confection
Matossian, -, Société Anonyme des Tabacs & Cigarettes, rue Colmar, Suez, tobacco manufacturer
Matossian, -, Société Anonyme des Tabacs & Cigarettes, rue el-Montazah, Zagazig, tobacco manufacturer
Melkonian, K & G, rue Abbas, Zagazig, tobacco manufacturers
Mihranian, Hagop, Suez, dentist
Ourphalian, Rupin, rue de la Moudirieh 4, Zagazig, oculist
Papasian & Co., rue Eugenie, Port Said, gramophones, pianos & musical instruments
Partoghian, Minas, rue Mahkama Kadima, Zagazig, doctor, genito-urinary & venereal specialist
Paschayan, V G, rue Babel, Port Said, butter merchant
Sandalian, O, Zagazig, agent for A I Mantacheff & Co, mineral oils & petroleum
Sarkis, -, rue du Tribunal Mixte, Mansoura, printer