Extract

Our Man in Trabzon

Sir Denis Wright

Today Trabzon’s pretty red-tiled timber houses have been replaced by concrete hotels; packhorses and persimmon trees have made way for taxis and tarmac. Sir Denis Wright, vice consul here during the Second World War, looks back with affection over his unforgettable years in this once-isolated Black Sea Port. Photographs by Simon Upton

In 1830 the British government, anxious then as now to promote exports, established a consulate in Trabzon. This was their quick response to the opening the previous year of the Turkish Black Sea ports to foreign shipping, under the terms of the Russo-Turkish Treaty of Adrianople (Edirne).

Hitherto British merchants trading with northern Persia had preferred the Georgian Black Sea ports of Redout Kale and Poti for the onward forwarding of their goods via Tiflis to Tabriz, then Persia’s main commercial centre. But the ancient caravan track from Trabzon through Erzurum to Tabriz was considerably shorter than the difficult trans-Caucasian route, and had the additional advantage of running entirely through friendly Ottoman territory at this time of strained Anglo-Russian relations.

Thus it was that in 1830 James Brant, already established as a merchant in Izmir, was appointed vice consul in Trabzon, on a salary of £200 a year and with the declared objective of “the making of Trebizond a depot for the Persian trade”.

Sir Denis Wright died in May 2005

To read the full article, purchase Issue 12

Issue 12, 1997 Black Sea Issue
£30.00 / $41.58 / 158.27 TL
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 12
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Buy the issue
Issue 12, 1997 Black Sea Issue
£30.00 / $41.58 / 158.27 TL
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