Constantin Ardeleanu: ‘Foreign migrant communities in the Danubian ports of Brăila and Galaţi (1829-1914)’
New publication by Constantin Ardeleanu, ‘Foreign migrant communities in the Danubian ports of Brăila and Galaţi (1829-1914)’ in the vol. Olga Katsiardi-Hering and Maria A. Stassinopoulou (eds.), Across the Danube. Southeastern Europeans and Their Travelling Identities (17th–19th C.), Brill, 2016.
The article by Constantin Ardeleanu discusses the context in which the Danubian outlets of Brăila and Galaţi became the centres of a rapid economic development, and how this growth was reflected in demographic terms. The two settlements are regarded as laboratories of analysis of internal and foreign migration patterns. The author presents several phases of migration, which were not the result of official, state-controlled colonisation, but the consequence of how different ethnic, religious or cultural communities responded to the attractive economic opportunities provided by the two cities. Migrants (Greeks, Armenians, Italians, Bulgarians, Jews, Lipovans, etc.) filled available empty room of a society that lacked a native bourgeoisie and where the social and cultural background of the local population did not allow them to fulfil the economic and social roles imposed by the fast transition towards a capitalist economy. These communities found their place in the Danubian ports, but competition among them or with the growing Romanian urban class strengthened, especially after a visible emergence of nationalism for all these peoples and for the Romanian majority. Thus, Brăila was a veritable second fatherland for the Greeks, just as Galaţi was a birthplace of active Zionism.