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Hardoon, Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn)

(494 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
Silas Aaron (Ṣāliḥ Hārūn) Hardoon was born in Baghdad around 1851 and emigrated with his father to Bombay in 1865. He worked for David Sassoon & Company (see Sassoon Family) in Hong Kong from 1870 to 1874, then moved on to the International Settlement of Shanghai, where he at first held a lowly job. Although he had no formal education, his exceptional business acumen enabled him to become a partner and manager of E. D. Sassoon and Company (1890–1911). He branched out, dealing mainly in property. When he died his estate, which included most…

Kadoorie Family

(1,287 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
The Kadoorie (Khaḍḍūrī) family has long played a major role in the economy of the southeastern China coast and of Hong Kong, which partly thanks to their contributions grew in the course of a century from a small provincial colony to a world financial center. In Baghdad, where the family originated, the Kadoories were “merchant farmers” in an era when livestock was an important medium of exchange. Members of the family were among the Baghdadi commercial pioneers who founded Jewish enclaves in trading ports in the Far East in the mid-nineteenth century. Ellis (1865–1922), later Sir Ell…

Hong Kong

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
The island of  Hong Kong, at the mouth of the Pearl River on the southeastern coast of China, was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Nanking (1842) following the First Opium War, and was expanded by the acquisition of Kowloon on the mainland (1862) and the adjacent area (1898), together known as the New Territories. Since 1997 the former British colony of Hong Kong has been a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. The colony grew steadily as a central distribution point for East-West trade, and came to have a substantial community of Baghdadi Jew…

Shanghai, China

(1,430 words)

Author(s): Maisie Meyer
Shanghai, the largest city and principal port of China, at the confluence of the Whangpoo (Huangpu) River (a branch of the Yangtze) and Woosung (Suzhou) Creek,  attracted Jews, among other foreigners, after it was opened to foreign trade by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 following the First Opium War. The city came to have a considerable community of Baghdadi Jews (in this context “Baghdadi” encompasses Arabic-speaking Jews from Baghdad, Basra, and other parts of the Ottoman Empire and from Cairo…