George Manuk (Manuk Gevorgyan) was one of the most successful businessmen in the Dutch East Indies of the 18th century. The Dutch East Indies included the islands of the Malay Archipelago and the western part of the island of New Guinea.
Manuk Gevorgyan was born into an Armenian family in New Julfa (Persia) in 1763 (1767).
Since youth, Gevorgyan has been engaged in trade. After the formation of the Dutch East Indies in 1800, he began to actively invest in the development of trade routes with the new colonial territories of the Netherlands which were rich in oil reserves and minerals.
The Armenian entrepreneur has concluded numerous deals with companies in the Dutch East Indies, a territory considered the “pearl in the crown of the Dutch colonial empire.”
At the beginning of the 19th century, George Manuk rented the entire southeast of the island of Java (now Indonesia) and founded tea plantations on it.
Soon, George Manuk became one of the richest entrepreneurs in the East Indies. According to various sources, he has several times lent money to the Dutch government.
The Armenian businessman died in 1827. George Manuk did not have direct heirs, and all his property – about five million guilders – went to his sisters and nephew.
Part of his property was by his will directed to the maintenance of Armenian schools in Calcutta and Madras and several Armenian churches in Jerusalem and New Julfa.