Ein echter Bourbaki

Manoli Vourvahis ist ein direkter Nachfahre von General Charles-Denis Bourbaki. Er besuchte uns im Mai 2019 und erzählte uns (auf Englisch) über seine bewegte Familiengeschichte:

So the Vourvahis surname is not very old (1669) as my family is a historic family from the Sfakia region of the island of Crete (Greece).  The original surname of my family is "Skordylis" however in 1669, my ancestor was the leader of people of this region of Greece and an ally of the Venetians as the Turks conquered the island of Crete.  Given the leadership role of my ancestor, the Turkish commander-in-chief called him by the nickname "VOURBAH" out of respect from the Turkish words  VOUR = FRONT AND BAH = HEAD as the headman of the people as we would say today, and this honorary nickname remained for future generations as the family’s surname was renamed from this point forward.  As such, any person with the surname VOURVAHIS or the variation VOURVAHAKIS are relatives. Most of the family still live on the island of Crete but some, like myself, moved to other countries such as USA, Australia, Germany, and even very few in France.

For example, Captain Sotirios Vourvahis, the Grandfather of General Charles -Denis Bourbaki (Vourvahis), lived in the region of Sfakia and made trips on a boat between Sfakia and Malta transferring supplies to the rebellious people of Sfakia to fight against the Turks.  On one of his trips he was arrested by the English Navy and surrendered to the Turks. He was imprisoned for his patriotic action in a prison in Istanbul for five years.   Following his release from Turkish prison, he was forced to relocated and settle on the Greek Island of Kefalonia to avoid the revolution occurring in Sfakia, Crete following his release from Turkish prison.   It is my understanding that Sotirios Vourvahis had a connection with Napoleon and crossed the Mediterranean with his sailboat and met with his Napoleon's brother-in-law.  Sotirios sent a message from Marseilles to Egypt about Napoleon, who warned him (the Napoleon's brother-in-law) to come back because they were preparing a counter-revolution.  Napoleon appreciated the help of Sotirios Vourvahis and gave his family French citizenship and shortly thereafter moved to France. 

The son of Sotirios Vourvahis, Dionysios Vourvahis (also known in France as Constantin Denis Bourbaki) attended the French officers' school at Fontainebleau where he graduated in 1804 and quickly reached the rank of Colonel.  He fought Napoleon's side from Spain to Poland and injured three times.  Below is a photo of him and Napoleon (printed in issue of Figaro newspaper in France in February 1925) during the temporary exile of Napoleon to Elba (an island near Tuscany, Italy).  Following the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821, he decided to go back to Greece in 1826 and in 1827 led a group against the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Kamatero in the Greek War of Independence where he was captured and beheadedand with his head and sword being sent to the Ottoman Sultan.  Vourvahis street in Kamatero as well as Vourvahis street in Kefalonia is named after Dionysios Vourvahis (also known as Constantin Denis Bourbaki) in honor of his heroic death. 

The son of Dionysios Vourvahis (also known as Constantin Denis Bourbaki) named Charles Denis Bourbaki went on to become a famous general in the French Army.  I will stop here since I assume you probably know more than I do on the history of General Charles Denis Bourbaki than I do. 

Weitere Infos auf der Vourvahis Famlienwebsite (GR): 

Info über den Namen Bourbaki/Vourvahis auf Deutsch:

Der Nachname "Bourbaki" (auf griechisch ausgesprochen Βούρβαχης) stammt eigentlich von "Vourvahis". Dieser geht wiederum zurück auf den tapferen Kampf Venedigs im Krieg um Kreta (1669). Er wurde einem Wiederstandskämpfer und Vorfahren General Bourbakis anerkennd von seinem türkischen Widersacher verliehen und bedeutet VOUR= Vor und BAH = Kopf, was soviel heisst wie Stirn, also "Jemandem die Stirn bieten". Seither nennt sich dieser Zweig der Familie – die ursprünglich Skordylis hiess – stolz Vourvahis/Bourbaki.


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