Compiled by Jirair Tutunjian
Posted by Nayiri Abrahamian
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Haig Patigian

Haig Patigian, born in Van (1876), was a famous American sculptor whose work is in the White House, the Congress, and all over San Francisco. He created more San Francisco statues than anyone else. Among his works in San Francisco is the Abraham Lincoln statue at the city hall, Monument to Volunteer Firemen on Columbus Avenue, and General Pershing in Golden Gate Park. Patigian was largely self-taught. He died in 1950.

The Greek millionaire and Aivazovsky seascapes

Taki, the Greek millionaire and high society member, inherited a dozen Aivazovsky seascapes from his father. He donated one of them to raise money for the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. He still has ten more of the Armenian painter’s canvases.c

Western fiction depicts Armenians as artists

The tradition in Western fiction to depict Armenians as artists is demonstrated in Richard Davy’s “The Sultan and his Subjects” (1907): “Of all the peoples who inhabit those regions, the Armenians are certainly the most remarkable. When all the surrounding tribes were lost in the intellectual sloth of barbarism, the Armenians possessed a literature.”  Meanwhile in Arthur Koestler’s “The Age of Longing” (1951) the dominant character is an extraordinary Armenian cobbler called “Grandfather Arin,” who though illiterate, is an active “member of the Hunchagist, the secret society which aimed at the resurrection of a free, independent Armenia.”

An Armenian rebuilt the Nilometer

Vartan (Wardan al-Rumi al Armani) was the standard bearer of the Arab armies at the Battle of Alexandria in 641. During the battle he also saved the life of Amr Ibn al-‘As, the commander of the army. Another prominent Armenian in Egypt was Al-Amir Ali Ibn Abu el Haram al Armani, the governor of Egypt (841-849). Thirty years later another Armenian (Ibn Khatib al-Farghani) rebuilt the Nilometer which measured the annual rise and fall of the Nile.

Composer Foad al-Zahery

Foad al-Zahery (real name Foad Garabit Panosian) is Egypt’s most prolific movie music composer. He has composed the music of more than 350 movies.

Armenians Serving in the Balkan Wars

In 1909, after the proclamation of the Ottoman Constitution, Armenians and other Christians demanded the right to be recruited and to serve with equal rights in the Ottoman Army. According to the law, adopted by the Ottoman parliament, all nationalities of the Ottoman Empire were to be conscripted. A lot of Armenian teenagers entered the “Harbiye” (Ottoman Military College) and served in the Balkan Wars and during the early years of WWI—before they were eliminated by the Turks.

Armenian provision suppliers of the Ottoman Army

The main provision suppliers of the Ottoman Army were Armenian merchants who for centuries met the needs of the army and filled its food reserves. Among these provisioners were Hovhannes Bey Khanazat, Abraham Chelebi Abroian, Haji Ohan Yeghechian, and many others.

Armenian soldiers saved Ottoman Military Minister Enver Pasha

Armenian soldiers saved Ottoman Military Minister Enver Pasha from being taken prisoner by the Russians on the Sarikamish front. Enver sent a letter of gratitude to Archbishop Zaven Der-Yeghiayan, the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul. The defeat at Sarikamish became the pretext to blame Armenian soldiers of treachery. On Feb. 12, 1915 Enver Pasha signed the order to disarm Armenian soldiers to force them become “amel tabouri” (labor battalions) and “hamal tabouri” (porter battalions). This was followed by their isolation and disarmament of Armenian officers. Enver later followed these with the order to eliminate all Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army.

First Printing Press in Palestine

The Armenian Church introduced the first (1833) printing press to Palestine.

Napoleon's Donation to Armenian St. Nicholas Church in Jaffa

In 1799 when Napoleon invaded Palestine, the Armenian St. Nicholas Church in Jaffa functioned as a hospital for French soldiers. The soldiers had fallen ill with plague during the siege of Jaffa. Napoleon showed his gratitude toward the monks of St. Nicholas by donating to them half a dozen chasubles, vestments worn by the Western churches. These were reputedly made from Napoleon’s tent. They were sent from Jaffa to the St. James Monastery treasury in Jerusalem.

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