Yiorgos Caralambo

Yiorgos Caralambo

Yiorgos Caralambo

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Yiorgos (or George) Caralambo (? - September 2, 1913) was a camel driver hired by US Army in 1856 for the Camel Corps experiment in the Southwest. The camels were to be tested for use in transportation across the "Great American Desert."


Caralambo, who was of Greek ancestry, was living in Smyrna, Turkey, when he was selected for the Camel Corps. The American government hired eight camel drivers from Asia Minor to tend for the animals.Caralambo and the other camel drivers arrived at the Port of Indianola in Lavaca County, Texas with their animals on the USS Supply. In Steven Dean Pastis' article "Go West Greek George," the eight men are identified: Caralambo, Hadji Ali (later known as Philip Tedro), Mimico Teodora (Mico), Hadjiatis Yannaco (Long Tom), Anastasio Coralli (Short Tom), Michelo Georgios, Yanni IIIato and Giorgios Costi.

The United States had purchased a total of 33 camels: 3 in Tunis, 9 in Egypt, and 21 in Smyrna. The Camel Corps hauled supplies to build the Butterfield Overland Stage Route from St. Louis, Missouri to Los Angeles. The route was completed by September 1858.

Through his service in the Camel Corps, Greek George met Major Henry Hancock, a Harvard trained lawyer and wealthy Los Angeles landowner. Hancock was so impressed by Caralambo's dedication that he wanted to employ him privately to drive camels...
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