Mustapha Khaznadar

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Mustapha Khaznadar
Mustapha Khaznadar 1846.jpg
A portrait of Mustapha Khaznadar in 1846 by Charles-Philippe Larivière.
Grand Vizier of Tunisia
In office
1837 – October 22, 1873
Preceded by Rashid al-Shakir Sahib al-Taba'a
Succeeded by Hayreddin Pasha
Personal details
Born (1817-08-03)August 3, 1817
Died July 26, 1878(1878-07-26) (aged 60)
Spouse(s) Princess Lalla Kalthoum

Mustapha Khaznadar (مصطفى خزندار, 1878–1817), was Prime Minister of the Beylik of Tunis from 1837 to 1873.[1][2] He was one of the most influential people in modern Tunisian history.[3]


Early life[edit]

Mustapha Khaznadar was born of Greek ancestry[1][3][4][5][6] as Georgios Kalkias Stravelakis[4][7][8] on the island of Chios in 1817.[7][9][10] In January 1822, rebels from the neighboring islands of Samos arrived on Chios and declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman sultan soon sent an army of ~40,000 to the island of Chios, where roughly 52,000 Greek inhabitants were massacred and tens of thousands of women and children were taken into slavery.[11][12] During the Chios massacre, Georgios's father the sailor Stephanis Kalkias Stravelakis was killed, Georgios along with his brother Yannis were captured and sold into slavery by the Ottomans.[10] He was then taken to Smyrna and then Constantinople, where he was sold as a slave to an envoy of the Husainid Dynasty

Religious conversion and political career[edit]

A painting of Mustapha Khaznadar and his son and a photograph of an elderly Mustapha Khaznadar during his career as Prime Minister of the Beylik of Tunis.

Stravelakis as a slave was converted to Islam and was given the name Mustafa[10] and was raised in the family by Mustapha Bey, then by his son Ahmad I Bey[5] while he was still crown prince. Initially, he worked as the prince's private treasurer before becoming Ahmad I Bey's treasurer (khaznadar).[5] He managed to climb to the highest offices of the Tunisian state and married Princess Lalla Kalthoum in 1839 and was promoted to lieutenant-general of the army, made bey in 1840 and then president of the Grand Council from 1862 to 1878. In 1864, Mustapha Khaznadar then Prime Minister attempted to squeeze more taxes out of the Tunisian peasants, the countryside rebelled and rose in the Mejba Revolt, nearly overthrowing the regime, however the government was swift to act and ultimately suppressed the uprising through a combination of brutality and guile.[13] Mustafa Khaznadar retained memories of his Greek origin[14] and contact with his native Greece, even sending ten thousand riyals from the state treasury to pay for his two Greek nephews he was educating in Paris.[15] Khaznadar died in 1878 and is buried in the mausoleum of Tourbet el Bey, in the heart of the Medina of Tunis.

See also[edit]




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  • Simon, Reeva S.; Mattar, Philip; Bulliet, Richard W. (1996). Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, Volume 2. Macmillan Reference USA. ISBN 0-02-897062-4. 
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  • Tūnisī, Khayr al-Dīn; Brown, Leon Carl (1967). The Surest Path: The Political Treatise of a Nineteenth-century Muslim Statesman. Harvard University Press. OCLC 683802. 
  • Ziadeh, Nicola A. (1962). Origins of Nationalism in Tunisia. Librarie du Liban. OCLC 3062278.