Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aristotle Onassis

36 years ago (and one day) is when the richest Greek died. Aristotle Onassis was born in Smyrni in Asia Minor (today Izmir in Turkey) on the 20th of January 1906. Aristotle studied at the Evangelic School of Smyrni and helped his father with the cigarette business. After the Asia Minor war and catastrophe he relocated to Athens with his family where he worked as an usher at the newspaper  "Eleftheros Logos". After a year he travelled with a tanker to Napoli, Italy, and from there he headed of to Argentina. 

In Buenos Aires, whilst knowing English and French, he worked at a call centre called United Telecom. After five years collecting his money and opening a cigarette factory he made a small fortune. In 1928 he helped the Greek government to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Argentina, which made him General Consul. Slowly but steadily he expanded to the shipping industry and in 1932 he bought his first tanker, giving it the name Kallirroi. 
During the Second World War the Allied Nations used his tankers and ships. Many were destroyed. With the money he received from the insurance he bought 17 tankers, hotels, casinos and theatres in Monte Carlo. In 1950 he published a series of articles concerning shipping. In 1957 he founded Olympic Airways, flying to all five continents. 
In 1946 he married Tina Livanou and gave birth to Christina and Alexandros, but in 1960 they got divorced. That was the period where he was going out with Maria Callas, who he did not marry. However he did marry Jacqueline Kennedy, President Kennedy's widow. 
However not everything was easy and magical for one of the richest men in history. In 1973 he was informed that his son was seriously injured after a plane crash, whilst he was flying it. Seeing that there was no hope for his son he said.." My life has no meaning anymore...". After his death his daughter, during a troubled period in her life, was found dead in her bath in Buenos Aires.
Today Aristotle's wealth has passed down to his grand-daughter, Athina, who is Christina's daughter, making her one of the wealthiest women in the world. 

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