mobilis; movable or motile
Calouste Gulbenkian was born March 23, 1869 in what is now Istanbul, Turkey. His father was deeply involved in oil import/export. After Calouste’s education in Armenian and French schools, he studied at Robert College in Istanbul and King’s College in London, earning a degree in petroleum engineering. Following his father’s footsteps, he started his own oil operations business in 1895. The next year he fled the Armenian Massacres and formed a network of wealthy and influential contacts in Egypt. He then moved to London and conducted business deals with the aid of his contacts. He arranged mergers and developed multiple oil companies, most notably the Iraq Petroleum Company. His role in the development of that company and others resulted in his nickname, “Mr. Five Percent.” The retention of five percent of the shares of companies he handled fueled his massive acquisition of wealth. As a billionaire, he owned several homes and amassed a huge art collection. He also donated millions of dollars, mainly to Armenian establishments. He was a benefactor to churches, hospitals, a library, and to settlements for refugees from the Armenian Genocide. Gulbenkian spent the last thirteen years of his life in Lisbon, Portugal, and willed a large portion of his fortune to the establishment of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation there. The Foundation promotes arts, charity, education, and science throughout the world. Much of Calouste’s art is housed at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. At his death in 1955 he was reportedly the world’s richest man.
Calouste Gulbenkian. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 27, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calouste_Gulbenkian.
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. (2019). Last Years in Lisbon. Retrieved January 27, 2019 from https://gulbenkian.pt/en/the-foundation/calouste-sarkis-gulbenkian/last-years-in-lisbon/.
Conlin, J. (2019) Mr. Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the World’s Richest Man. [Kindle Editions version]. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com.