Institute of History of Ukraine of the NAS of Ukraine
The south of Ukraine at the end of XVIII — beginning of XIX century becomes
one of the most important world trade centers of agricultural products. One of the
factors that contributed to this was the development of the ports in such cities as
Odesa, Mykolaiv, Mariupol, Berdiansk, and Tahanroh. Driven by the possibility of
receiving surplus profits, the merchants from different countries settled there and
founded powerful export-import enterprises. Among those merchants, there were numerous
immigrants from the Greek island Chios, in particular Avgerino. The residents
of Chios concentrated enormous capital in their hands, and for decades they controlled
the whole Mediterranean trade of southern Ukrainian and Bessarabian ports.
Unfortunately, the business activity of merchants of Avgerino family is underresearched.
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide the prosopographic
portrait of several generations of Avgerino family that resided in Tahanroh and
played significant role in all spheres of life of this trade centre and port city in
the south of Ukraine.
Using the archive documents, majority of which are put into scientific circulation
for the first time, we described the social status of Avgerino family, its place
in the history of Tahanroh, investigated the processes of social adaptation of the
family representatives and their national self-identity. The research methodology is based on the principles of historicism, scientific cognition, objectivity, and interdisciplinarity. The paper uses the following general historical methods: inductive and deductive, retrospective, structural and systemic, as well as the research tools adopted from related disciplines and areas (genealogy, prosopography, biophysics, cultural studies, sociology, etc.).
It was concluded that the change in the world trade business environment had
impacted the destiny of the Avegrino family. While some members of the family
left the territories of the Russian empire, continuing their business activity abroad,
the others acquired Russian citizenship and disengaged from economic activity,
entered the government service, concentrated land resources in their hands, were
elected to civil posts, or devoted their life to charity. The matrimonial policy of
family representatives changed as well. Traditional marriages with representatives
of Chios aristocracy were substituted by the marriages with representatives
of multinational merchants and nobility of the Russian empire that accelerated
the process of social adaptation and cultural assimilation.
Keywords: Tahanroh, the Avgerinos, Chios, guild, merchant, honorary citizen