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Sursock

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Title: Sursock  
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Subject: Beirut, Jezreel Valley, Achrafieh, Sursock House, Bustros family, Rue Sursock, Lady Cochrane Sursock
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Sursock

The Sursocks are a Greek Orthodox family from the Lebanon. They are one of Beirut's aristocratic Christian families, along with the: Bustros, Dagher, Ferneini, Araman and Trad families.

Family History

The Sursock family made their money as traders,[1] and then became landowners. For many decades, they were also Lebanon's leading business family. As business partners of the Otis Elevator Company, they were successful industrialists and played a key role in the developing manufacture of elevators.[2]

According to Lady Cochrane Sursock, the name is a corruption of Κυριε Ισαακ ("Kyrie Isaac", meaning Lord Isaac), and the family left Constantinople at its fall in 1453, settling near Jbail.[3]

Michel Sursock gained considerable notoriety during the great famine in the First World War, for hoarding grain and for speculating on the supply. He refused to sell the grain - worth 40 piastres in peacetime - for less than 250 piastres, even to feed starving school-children. [4]

The legacy of Nicolas Sursock was rather more public-spirited: he bequeathed his home, Sursock House, to become a museum of art, the Sursock Museum.

Family Lands

Beirut

Rue Sursock, in the Achrafieh district of Beirut, is named after the family, which owned many palatial homes on the street, such as Sursock House. In 1918, the Sursock family financed the building of the Beirut Hippodrome.[5]

Jezreel Valley

In addition to owning land in Lebanon, the Sursock family owned more than 60,000 acres (240 km²) in the Vale of Esdraelon, the Jezreel Valley, in Palestine.[6] In 1906, the Sursock family sold the land in Palestine, for a sum believed to be nearly three quarters of a million pounds, to the Jewish National Fund.[7] In a controversial move, the Arab tenants of the villages were evicted by the family, to allow the Jewish settlers to move in.[8]

Notable family members


References

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