The Casdagli Family

The Casdagli family is ethnically Greek with a Turkish surname, which derives from a mountain in Anatolia called Kazdaği – literally meaning Goose Mountain, also known by the Ancient Greeks as the fabled Mount Ida. The big geese that nested around the Kazdaği Mountain became an important symbol to the Casdagli family.

The first identified member of the Casdagli family was Nicholas Casdagli born in the late 1700s in the Ottoman Empire, not far from the mountain that gives the family its name. By the early 1800s Nicholas had established a trading and shipping company in Alexandria, Odessa and Smyrna.

An established family of Hellenic merchants, the Casdaglis were primarily involved with the Russian grain trade until the disrupture caused by the Crimean war, Emmanuel Casdagli, the grandson of Nicholas Casdagli decided to reorient the family business. Their interests also included shipping, tobacco and Arabian horse breeding.

Based in Alexandria, Egypt and Manchester, England, the Casdaglis would now concentrate on textiles, shipping raw Egyptian cotton fibre to English mills and in return transporting manufactured cotton piece good to Egypt. Manchester, popularly known as “Cottonpolis” was ever-hungry for raw cotton to feed the looms, and this would lead to a century or so of prosperity for the family firm, Emmanuel Casdagli & Sons.

The successful journey came to a sudden end during the Suez Crisis in 1956 when among other British citizens the Casdagli family was expelled from Egypt. The business was kept going from the UK until finally in 1964, after over a century of profitable trading, Emmanuel Casdagli & Sons closed for good. Almost all members of the extended family now live in England, and almost all were born there.