Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Batumi & the Rothschild-funded Batumi-Tiflis-Baku railway

In 1878, Batumi was annexed by the Russian Empire in accordance with Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (ratified on March 23). Occupied by the Russians on August 28, 1878, the town was declared a free port until 1886. It functioned as a center of a special military district until being incorporated in the Government of Kutaisi on June 12, 1883. Finally, on June 1, 1903, with the Okrug of Artvin, it was established as the region (oblast) of Batumi placed under the direct control of the General Government of Georgia.

The expansion of Batumi began in 1883 with the construction of the Batumi-Tiflis-Baku railway completed in 1900 by the finishing of the Baku-Batumi pipe-line. Henceforth Batumi became the chief Russian oil port in the Black Sea. The town expanded to an extraordinary extent and the population increased very rapidly: 8,671 inhabitants in 1882, and 12,000 in 1889. By 1902 there were 16,000 in the port, 1000 worked in the refinery for Baron Rothschild's Caspian and Black Sea oil company.

The Rothschilds loaned the money to complete the Batumi-Tiflis-Baku railway

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