Giovanni Di Nicoḷ Pappaffy (1792-1886)

Business Man, philanthropist

Born in Thessalonika (Greece), decided to settle in Malta in 1810, where he set up his business as sole importer of wheat, a very lucrative business when the British forces were actively engaged in wars against Napoleon. He was sent by the British to Greece at the time that these were involved in their war of liberation against the Turks, who were eventually defeated by a combined British/French/Russian force in 1827

Pappaffy is best known in the history of Maltese migration for the provision of the "Pappaffy Fund" set up with money left in his will after his death. His aim was to help young people with some education to emigrate and try their luck abroad. Applicants to the fund had to be Maltese nationals, male, single, aged between 18-24 years. They had to be fluent in two of the following languages: English, French, or Greek, and had to have some knowledge or arithmetic and calligraphy. Moreover, they had to show that they had no other means of obtaining financial help.

While these restrictive conditions ruled out the majority of potential migrants, there were several successful applicants who benefited from this fund. Already, by 1913 eleven young applicants were helped to emigrate to Winnipeg (Canada), Sydney, Detroit, San Francisco, Melbourne and Mombasa in East Africa. By 1961, 554 had benefited from this fund to emigrate to Australia, USA, UK and Canada.

He was married to Carmen Micallef, and after her death, to Vincenza Aquilina, both of whom were Maltese. He died at the age of 94 years, of which 76 years were spent in Malta. He was buried at Ta' Braxia cemetery, in the area reserved for those of the Orthodox faith.

[For further information see: Profiles in Maltese Migration by Fr Lawrence E. Attard, 2003, PEG, Malta]

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