The Grimaldi Family and the Knights of Malta

The Knights of Malta have taken our dear cousin’s ship and has presently stated that he shall be sent into slavery. Because of this, our dearest cousin has petitioned for our consul to present evidence that he was taken captive in a manner that is not within the legal sphere of the Knights of Malta. I have advised our consul to present the forthwith evidence to the Tribunale degli Armamenti. Our dearest cousin states that he was within sight of land that was until recently held by our Venetian brethren. The consul has assured us that our dearest cousin, with our ship and invested goods, were within the borders of the Venetian state because the war was not over at that time. 
Further recollection of the procedural and evidentiary rules of the Tribunale reminds us that because our dearest cousin is of the Christian faith, he was not supposed to be threatened by the Knights of Malta. The priest of his parish has sent a notarized letter with our consul stating that our dearest cousin is of the Christian faith as were his parents and their parents before. He is also part of a community that worships in the manner prescribed by the Pope, and has never faltered in his faith nor has he been tempted by the Muslims in the Ottoman Empire in his travels through the Eastern Mediterranean. The Knights of Malta should find this evidence sufficient and release our dear cousin at once.
Our family will be petitioning the Pope because this act by his mercenaries of the sea has caused our family much grief and heartache while we wait for word on the condition of our dear cousin. Not only has our dear cousin suffered under the hands of a supposed Christian organization, our goods have been left to falter in the hull of his ship and this has caused our family to lose a large investment.
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Family Puigcérda and the Knights of Malta

The Puigcerdà family’s trading connections with the Greek Vergis family has
again seen complications, and unfortunately loss of profits due to the corsairs of Malta.1  In 1718, a ship with members of our family and the Vergis merchant family was taken by the Maltese near the island of Tinos in the Aegean. Our Greek friends again tried to explain that they were fellow Christians to the Maltese, but to no avail.2  With the war between the Venetians and Ottomans not yet finished, the Vergis family also claimed that Tinos still belonged to the Venetians. However, the Tribunale degli Armamenti took the opposite view, claiming that the island in fact belonged to the Ottomans. Furthermore, the Tribunale claimed that ships engaging in any sort of trade with the Turks were legitimate targets.3  Thus, the Tribunale would ultimately rule in favor of their corsairs, and our cargo would be lost. This incident has inflicted quite a financial blow on both our family and the Vergis merchants.
1 Molly Greene, Catholic Pirates and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 38.
2 Greene, 190.
3 Greene, 192.

Family ben David and the Knights of Malta

To whom it may concern,
During the previous war with the Venetian State of the Sea, one of our shipping vessels was boarded and the goods seized by the Knights of Malta. The ship was off of the coast of then Venetian controlled Tinos, and not subject to the Knights attacks against Ottoman subjects.  Clearly these Knights were operating against their own rules and saw this war as an opportunity to gain money at the expense of their Christian brethren. While we are not Christian, it is insulting none the less that these pirates did not adhere to their own rules and confiscated the items aboard. The captain of the ship identified himself as a Jewish merchant from Cairo, a relative of mine. However, as he was operating in Christian territory, he should have been immune from the pirates attack. The case speaks for itself at the barbarous nature of these pirates and how opportunistic they are. Several witnesses’ statements have been gathered to corroborate the story of the captain who is attempting to have his goods returned.  These pirates must be held accountable for their actions and it is up to the Ottoman state and the state of Malta to ensure that they see justice served. If these men are allowed to continue operating free from oversight then there are far greater issues than just piracy at foot. These men prey on helpless merchants who are simply trying to make a living. The goods stolen were being sent from Cairo and the money that would have been made would have helped our family greatly. My relative who lost his goods was forced to abandon his home until compensation can be made; he and his family are living with us until he can be back on his feet. These pirates are damaging more than just financial standing amongst their victims.

The Grimaldi Family and the Greek Mediterranean

It has come to my attention, while reviewing the entries in the family banking records, that the merchant we have been in recent trade negotiations with had brought upon this family a legal issue in the form of a lawsuit. The records indicate that our dearest uncle had loaned the merchant money for his travels through our region to trade with the Ottoman Empire. However, this merchant failed to return to the great city of Genoa with goods, a return of payment, or even a ship to speak of. For this, our family sued the merchant on three accounts: one, that said merchant had allowed his ship to be detained by the Knights of Malta; two, that the merchant did not disclose that his Orthodox religion was reason to be detained by the Knights of Malta; and three, the lawsuit was brought under the pretenses that our great Grimaldi family had right to bring the merchant to suit under the law of the Knights of Malta as the ship was captured in their territory and our great family has members in the Knights of Malta.  This merchant should not be trusted under any circumstances. Our great family placed our trust in his word some twenty years ago, however, our family has decided to only lend money to those of our faith as only those people can be trusted under the Christian faith. If it were not for our glorious cousin, crusading for God with the Knights of Malta, this family would have had no hope of ever seeing our investment brought home to Genoa. It is only through our dearest cousin that the lawsuit could be negotiated in our favor and our investment returned with compensation for the troubles we incurred trying to navigate the legal system of the Knights of
Malta.

The Puigcerdà Family and the Greek Mediterranean

The Puigcerdà family has been trading salt to the eastern Mediterranean since the
sixteenth century through our Jewish connections in Livorno, as well as to the Venetians through the Greek Vergis family from Corfu.1 Indeed, these trade connections have proved quite profitable for our family; and in the case of our Greek partners, have led a number of individuals from our family to travel with the Vergis merchant family to the east. However, the raiding and taking of ships on the sea has caused some complications in recent years. For example, in 1600, while traveling with members of the Vergis family on the Ionian Sea, a young man from the Puigcerdà family became entangled in legal disputes when the Knights of Malta seized the ship he was aboard. Despite the fact that both the Vergis family and the Puigcerdà man pleaded for fair treatment because of their Christian faith and connections to the Venetians, the Maltese claimed that there was no indicator that the ship belonged to Venice. Thankfully, being subjects of Venice, the Vergis family was able to get the republic to impose a sequestro on the Maltese; ultimately forcing them to compensate the Vergis family for their losses.2 If it was not for the Vergis family’s claims to Venice, the Puigcerdà family too may have lost a great deal of profit from this ordeal with the Maltese
1 Molly Greene, Catholic Pirates and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 38.
2 Greene, 65-66.

 

Family ben David and the Greek Mediterranean

To whom it may concern, Our family has had their share of hardships, but we have had a run of good luck recently. My uncle was working on a Greek merchant ship that was boarded off the coast of Egypt by Maltese pirates. The captain was a Greek and was treated rather harshly by the pirates. These pirates term themselves Knights, but they only have honor in their legal system. After they seized all of the merchant’s good they released my uncle and left them adrift. He was able to get save passageback to Alexandria on another ship working with our family who happened by. My uncle and the Greek captain of the ship were able to bring the case to the Tribunale degli Armamenti and seeing that the Knights had acted to aggressively towards a fellow Christian, the captain, theywere able to receive compensation. This is indeed a good day for our family and we are looking forward for my uncle’s return to Alexandria to resume his normal business.  Business is hard enough as it is without these piratical raids off the coast. The Maltese pirates spend most of their time raiding off of Egypt, this is very detrimental to our business, but with this victory our family, at least, might see some reprieve and have a chance to flourish once again uninterrupted by the pirates. Work can continue and the trade will allow us to move up through the world.

Family Puigcerdà 2 1715

Since roughly 1250, the Genoese have been involved in the salt trade both in
Crete, and especially here in Ibiza.1 Thus, we the Puigcerdà family have had some
familiarity with the salt trade on that island to the east for some time now. Though, with
the strength of Venice in the Eastern Mediterranean, Genoa’s influence in Crete’s
salt trade has never been very strong.2 However, the Genoese haven’t been the only
vehicle for connection between Ibiza and Crete; and we Ibicencos are aware of recent
events on Crete. For example, through our Jewish connections on the Island, we have
learned that since the Ottoman take over of Crete from the Venetians in 1669, the
new Muslim rulers have allowed both Jews and Christians in Candia the right to
buy property in order to repopulate the largely disserted city. For our Jewish
friends on Crete, this is quite a change considering their forced concentration into
Jewish quarters under the rule of the Venetians.3 Our Jewish connections on Crete
also bring news of the island’s salt trade, which has also come under the umbrella of
Ottoman influence with their taking of the smaller island of Spinalonga in 1715.4
Along with this, the Ottoman janissaries have a monopoly on the salt trade in 

Candia, reaping all the profits for themselves.5 Clearly, the recent conquests by the
Ottomans have brought some changes to Crete and its salt trade.
1 Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2002), ch. 6.
2 “The Importance of Salt,” University of California, Davis, May 1999, http://mygeologypage.ucdavis.edu/cowen/~gel115/salt.html, accessed 29 March 2016.
3 Molly Greene, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000), 85-86.
4 “Spinalonga,” (6 March 2016) Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinalonga#Ottoman_rule, accessed 29 March 2016.

5 Greene, 103.