Did you know that one of the first cooperatives, perhaps worldwide...

Τα Αμπελάκια της Θεσσαλίας Τα Αμπελάκια της Θεσσαλίας
... was the Common Fellowship and Brotherhood of the Ampelacians of Thessaly?

Ambelakia in Thessaly was a self-governed community, on the slopes of Mount Kissavos, granted with privileges that allowed the development of cottage industries for the processing, production, dying and trade of excellent quality threads. Their only obligation was the payment of the annual taxes to the central authority.

Ambelakia flourished during the second half of the 18th c., thanks to a pioneering business cooperative formed by its citizens. Its members were bound together socially and financially. Annual profits were distributed proportionally after the deduction of money intended for communal projects. Their aim was the wellbeing of the inhabitants as well as their cultural and moral advancement. Economic progress and contact with the main Western centers turned Ambelakia into the cultural center of the region.

"The Common Company and Brotherhood of Ampelakia" was organized in an excellent manner. Félix Beaujour, consul of France in Thessaloniki, who lived for several months in Ampelakia and studied the organization of the Fellowship, writes:

"Les règlements qu’ on donna a la nouvelle compagnie furent rédigés par des gens sages. Jamais société ne fut établie sur des principes plus économiques, et jamais moins de mains ne s’ entremirent pour roules un aussi gros volume d’ affaires. Tout fut réglé, tout fut calcule avec une sagesse qui n’ a jamais eu de modelés" ("The rules and regulations of this new company were set by wise men... Never before has a company been formed on more solid financial bases, never before have fewer hands intervened to handle such a large number of cases. Everything was calculated with such wisdom, which had never been seen before"). Felix, baron de Beaujour, Tableau du commerce de la Grèce, Formée d' après une année moyenne, depuis 1787 jusqu' en 1797; / par Felix-Beaujour, ex-consul en Grèce. V. 1)

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