submitted by Peter Vanges on 04.06.2006
Chpt 49, Peter Vanges', Kythera, A History of the island and its people 1993.
Book, Available: The Kytherian Association of Australia
P. O. Box A203
Sydney South, NSW 1235
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As previously mentioned, there had been numerous attacks on Kythera, with many Kytherians being taken as slaves to the markets of North Africa. Most did not live long enough to return. Others lived in slavery but were fortunate enough to be owned by compassionate masters who eventually freed them and they were able to return to Kythera. Some were repurchased and repatriated to tell of places they lived on the African continent. In later years, some Kytherians voluntarily left the island to settle in Africa and Egypt.
As early as 1800, Egypt had accommodated a small number of Kytherians. Family members of those already there arrived to seek a better life, as did some refugees from Asia Minor. The community of Alexandria had a history of successful Kytherians who became well-established with thriving businesses and trades. The families of Coroneos, Katrakis, Raptakis, Koronis, Vanges, Mazarakis, Alifieris and Delaveris were amongst them. Officially the Kytherian Brotherhood of Alexandria was established in February 1877, with Peter Coroneos amongst its foundation members. The 1907 census revealed that 32,450 Greeks were living in Alexandria and by the end of World War II it was estimated that the Greeks in Egypt
numbered between 100,000 and 150,000. For the Kytherians in Egypt, wealth and its accompanying lifestyle provided opportunities never before presented. Amongst other Greeks some Kytherians became known as the cotton aristocracy of Egypt’’.
The Kytherians of Egypt soon began to feel at home in this new land and created a very successful community with traditional Greek culture and values. In 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser was elected President of Egypt. Nasser was a very shrewd politician manoeuvring Egyptian policies through a difficult diplomatic period and a war with the British, French and the Israelis primarily over the Suez Canal. The new found Egyptian nationalism made life less pleasant for the Europeans in Egypt. The Greek community gradually started to thin out as many began to return to Greece or migrate to America and Australia. Today only a handful of Kytherians still live in Egypt and even fewer in other parts of Africa. Scattered all over the continent, especially in Egypt, the surviving churches, schools, universities, hospitals and clubs are in evidence today and a tribute to the prosperity of those Kytherians who for a time had prospered in their “adopted” African homelands.
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