The Amiras were a powerful class of Armenian commercial, industrial and professional elites in the Ottoman capital between the 18th and 19th centuries. They ran the treasure, mint, and armament factories, built palaces, mosques, and public buildings, and operated many monopolies. Because of their unique position, they had good relations with Ottoman Sultans and administrators, and played an important role in the development of the Armenian millet. They ensured the well-being of the Armenian Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem, and several Amiras became great patrons of Art and education. Some even rose to prominence and distinguished themselves in Egypt, a nominal vassal of the Ottoman Empire.
Pascal Carmont’s The Amiras: Lords of Ottoman Armenia is a sympathetic portrayal based on written sources and the author’s—a descendant himself—contacts with their descendants.