The cosmopolitan nature of Trieste played a pivotal role in the multi-layered story of the great project of cutting through the Isthmus of Suez and, as a result, in the revolution brought about in the nineteenth century by the opening of the canal. In more recent years, the New Silk Road project via Suez has made the former Austrian city one of its European docking points, thus reaffirming the joint role of Trieste and Suez in linking the two shores of the Mediterranean. This is just the latest stage of a story that started in 1719, when Charles VI granted Trieste the status of porto franco (free port), fostering its ambitions to become the principal centre for trade in the Adriatic Sea, as well as for relations with the Levant; the Imperial Privileged Oriental Company was founded in the same year. Trieste’s role in international commerce was further enhanced in 1843, when the Austrian Chancellor, Prince von Metternich, suggested that the city should become a hub for trade with the East Indies through the Adriatic route; shortly afterwards, the local Chamber of Commerce backed a mission to the Levant to investigate the convenience of transporting goods via Suez. This chapter investigates Trieste’s role in the great expansion in world trade of the time, including the role played by a dynamic entrepreneurial class, the creation of financial service companies such as Assicurazioni Generali (1831) and the founding of the Austrian Lloyd shipping company (1833), as well as the commitment of several individuals to establishing solid connections with Egypt, following in the footsteps of the enigmatic businessman Antonio Faraone (‘Pharaoh’) Cassis at the end of the eighteenth century. It was from Trieste that Archduke Maximilian sought to set up cooperation between the Lloyd shipping company and the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez. Subsequently, Baron Pasquale Revoltella, once appointed vice-president of the Company, took charge of the sale of shares, bought the Austrian share on behalf of the imperial government—the largest private part after that of Mohamed Sa’id—and eventually visited Egypt in 1861–1862, leaving an interesting account of his journey. Maximilian, Revoltella, and Ferdinand de Lesseps met in Trieste on 23 February 1859 and discussed how the Mediterranean might be connected to the Red Sea under the auspices of a trading genius: three features which Pietro Magni rendered allegorically in his marble sculpture entitled The Cutting of the Isthmus of Suez, located today in the Revoltella Museum in Trieste. The aim of this contribution is to retrace the steps of these protagonists and witnesses of the Suez enterprise, including the renowned explorer Sir Richard Burton, appointed British consul in Trieste in 1872.

Modaffari, G. (2022). The Trieste-Suez Connection: How Businessmen and Explorers Reshaped the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. In B. Curli (a cura di), Italy and the Suez Canal, from the Mid-nineteenth Century to the Cold War. A Mediterranean History (pp. 143-158). Cham : Palgrave Macmillan [10.1007/978-3-030-88255-6_9].

The Trieste-Suez Connection: How Businessmen and Explorers Reshaped the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Modaffari, G
2022

Abstract

The cosmopolitan nature of Trieste played a pivotal role in the multi-layered story of the great project of cutting through the Isthmus of Suez and, as a result, in the revolution brought about in the nineteenth century by the opening of the canal. In more recent years, the New Silk Road project via Suez has made the former Austrian city one of its European docking points, thus reaffirming the joint role of Trieste and Suez in linking the two shores of the Mediterranean. This is just the latest stage of a story that started in 1719, when Charles VI granted Trieste the status of porto franco (free port), fostering its ambitions to become the principal centre for trade in the Adriatic Sea, as well as for relations with the Levant; the Imperial Privileged Oriental Company was founded in the same year. Trieste’s role in international commerce was further enhanced in 1843, when the Austrian Chancellor, Prince von Metternich, suggested that the city should become a hub for trade with the East Indies through the Adriatic route; shortly afterwards, the local Chamber of Commerce backed a mission to the Levant to investigate the convenience of transporting goods via Suez. This chapter investigates Trieste’s role in the great expansion in world trade of the time, including the role played by a dynamic entrepreneurial class, the creation of financial service companies such as Assicurazioni Generali (1831) and the founding of the Austrian Lloyd shipping company (1833), as well as the commitment of several individuals to establishing solid connections with Egypt, following in the footsteps of the enigmatic businessman Antonio Faraone (‘Pharaoh’) Cassis at the end of the eighteenth century. It was from Trieste that Archduke Maximilian sought to set up cooperation between the Lloyd shipping company and the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez. Subsequently, Baron Pasquale Revoltella, once appointed vice-president of the Company, took charge of the sale of shares, bought the Austrian share on behalf of the imperial government—the largest private part after that of Mohamed Sa’id—and eventually visited Egypt in 1861–1862, leaving an interesting account of his journey. Maximilian, Revoltella, and Ferdinand de Lesseps met in Trieste on 23 February 1859 and discussed how the Mediterranean might be connected to the Red Sea under the auspices of a trading genius: three features which Pietro Magni rendered allegorically in his marble sculpture entitled The Cutting of the Isthmus of Suez, located today in the Revoltella Museum in Trieste. The aim of this contribution is to retrace the steps of these protagonists and witnesses of the Suez enterprise, including the renowned explorer Sir Richard Burton, appointed British consul in Trieste in 1872.
No
Scientifica
Capitolo o saggio
Trieste, Mediterranean Sea, Austrian Empire, Businessman, Explorers
English
Italy and the Suez Canal, from the Mid-nineteenth Century to the Cold War. A Mediterranean History
978-3-030-88254-9
Online ISBN 978-3-030-88255-6
Modaffari, G. (2022). The Trieste-Suez Connection: How Businessmen and Explorers Reshaped the Mediterranean in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. In B. Curli (a cura di), Italy and the Suez Canal, from the Mid-nineteenth Century to the Cold War. A Mediterranean History (pp. 143-158). Cham : Palgrave Macmillan [10.1007/978-3-030-88255-6_9].
Modaffari, G
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/382300
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