Joseph (Hovsep) Emin, A Founder of the Armenian National Movement

Joseph (Hovsep) Emin, A Founder of the Armenian National Movement

“His ambition has always been to see his countrymen free, which he hopes to be the wish of every honest man.” - Joseph Emin, about himself

Who he was

Joseph Emin had decided that his calling was the liberation of Armenia. He dedicated his life to petitioning for the freedom of Armenia and, although he did not see it in his lifetime, he was one of the founders of a movement that led to the reestablishment of an Armenian state. 

Born in Persia in 1726, Emin came from an Armenian merchant family. As an adult, he moved to Calcutta, India, where his father had moved. However, he was convinced that the merchant life was not for him and embarked on his lifelong journey that led him around the world. But before he could start his one-man lobbying activities, he joined various militaries so he could learn how to fight.

Emin spent the next several years in England, befriending individuals like Edmund Burke and petitioning them to support the cause of Armenian national liberation. It was an impressive feat given the fact that he was an absolute foreigner in Europe without any ties. His unfailing insistence on achieving his goal led him to the halls of power. 

After realizing he was not able to convince the English, he traveled to Russia and Georgia, where he tried to convince leaders in those countries to join his cause. Again, he failed.

Returning to Calcutta, he tried to secure the support of rich Armenian merchants, but as a result of their tepid response, he resigned himself to writing the story of his many years abroad singularly fighting for Armenian liberation. The book was titled “The Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin.” 

Interesting fact

Even though Emin’s book was autobiographical, he wrote it in third person. 

Learn more about him

The Life and Adventures of Joseph Emin

Joseph Emin - 100 Years, 100 Facts