Gerondoudis Family

The Gerontoudis family comes from the village of KONTIAS in Lemnos (at least 7 generations) and also owns real estate in the village.
The children of Christoforos Gerontoudis of Marinos (1830-1889) George, Leonidas and Nikitas, left as immigrants in 1875 and settled in Alexandria, Egypt, for a better future (since Lemnos was enslaved to the Turks until 1912).
From 1875 to 1882 the three brothers had opened a general store in Alexandria and were happy.
The Urabi Uprising, also known as the Urabi Revolution (Arabic: الثورة العرابية), was a nationalist uprising in Egypt from 1879 to 1882. It was led by and named for Colonel Ahmed Urabi (also spelled Orabi and Arabi). His aim was to depose the Khedive Tewfik Pasha and end British and French influence in the country. The uprising ended with the British bombing of Alexandria and the invasion of the country, which left it under foreign control until after World War II.

Political unrest erupted in the streets of Alexandria in 1882. The rioters attacked Greek, Maltese and Italian companies and street battles broke out. About fifty Europeans and 250 Egyptians were killed. The exact cause of the uprising is uncertain. Both Khedive and ‘Urabi have been blamed for starting it, but there is no evidence to support either claim.

One of the Greek companies that was in danger of being completely destroyed during the unrest was a Greek old age Home. The store of the three brothers was not in danger, since it was in another neighborhood. However, a messenger came and asked for help for the elderly from the older brother Georgios, who was known for his strength and the leader of the Greeks in the area. Because the three of them wanted to go together, George locked Nikitas, who was the youngest, in a small store room with a security door and took the yataghans and ran to the old age home, with his second brother Leonidas. The enraged Egyptians were too many. Eyewitnesses testified that George killed 30 Egyptians until he broke his yataghan. Then the mob chained him and finally cut his body into two pieces with a large saw. The Old Age Home was saved, because soldiers came and the hostilities stopped.
Leonidas was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Nikitas was rescued by a cousin, who went and opened the store and found him unconscious, as he did not even drink water for three days. The cousin sent Nikitas to Asmara in Eritrea (Abyssinia) to another relative, to be away and to forget in time the great evil that befell his brothers. Abyssinia was an Italian colony. Nikitas was very hardworking and smart. When he was well, his brother Leonidas also came to Asmara and the two brothers worked together.

In 1889 Christoforos Gerontoudis (son of Marinos Gerontoudis) who lived in Kondias, decided to visit his two sons in Asmara. First stop is Egypt. From there he had to cross the Sudanese border with Ethiopia. Unfortunately for him, that day he met the “Dervishes”, who were fighting against the soldiers and was killed before he reached Asmara at the age of 59.

In 1891 Nikitas Gerontoudis brought craftsmen from Lemnos (the master builder was Charalambos Achilias) and built the first stone house in Asmara. He then built a Church and a Greek school in Asmara and was president and then honorary president of the Greek Community for 30 years. The Italian Governor of the region proclaimed him “Founder of Asmara”.

Nikitas managed after several years (in 1897) to go on vacation to Lemnos, where he met Chrysanthi, the daughter of the shipowner Constantinos Makras and after marrying her, they left together for Asmara.

The greatest trade that Nikitas made was: a) the export to Italy of several thousand tons of cattle skins. b) A Large tobacco factory. It had three large English-made machines and two German machines with a German engineer and 600 workers.
In 1935 Italy declared war on Abyssinia. Two years later (1937), the dictator Mussolini canceled the monopoly of the factory’s products and ordered the confiscation of all the properties of all non-Italian citizens. So, all the members of the Gerontoudis family left Asmara and the headquarters in Genoa and returned to Greece.
In 1939 Nikitas Gerontoudis had come to Athens to visit the doctors. He was staying in a hotel in Akti Miaouli in Piraeus. He caught up and met his first grandson, Christoforos Gerontoudis of Leonidas, who was then 11 months old. Unfortunately, he died after a few days at the hotel, due to a heart attack. He was 76 years old.
Nikitas Gerontoudis’ first son, George, had settled in Rhodes many years before the family left Abyssinia and Italy and made his own family. The son of Georgios Gerontoudis was named Nikitas.

For the summary of the biography of the author Leonidas Gerontoudis of Nikitas, please click here.

Gerondoudis Family - 7 Generations

  Name Wife Chronology Occupation Place of residence Children
1 ATHANASIOS GERONDOUDIS —- 1750-1830 Olive Oil Press Kondias village-Lemnos Marinos
2 MARINOS A. GERONDOUDIS —- 1800-1870 Agriculture-planted many poplars Kondias village-Lemnos Christoforos
3 CHRISTOFOROS M. GERONDOUDIS —- 1830-1889 Businessman Kondias village-Lemnos Georgios-Leonidas-Nikitas
4 NIKITAS C. GERONDOUDIS CHRYSANTHI 1859-1939 Businessman-mainly tobacco products Greece-Egypt-Abyssinia Georgios-Christoforos-Leonidas-Elisabet and Nikolaos
5 LEONIDAS N. GERONDOUDIS MARIA 1903-1991 Merchant-Journalist-Writer Abyssinia-Greece-Italy Christoforos-Chrysanthi-Evangelia-Pavlina-Niki-Aliki
6 CHRISTOFOROS L. GERONDOUDIS MELPOMENI 1938- Merchant Marine Captain-Businessman Greece-South Africa Leonidas-Maria-Elena
7 LEONIDAS C. GERONDOUDIS   1972- Businessman South Africa-Greece