Winius, Andries Dionyszoon

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(16051662), merchant and factory owner.

Known in Russia as Andrei Denisovich Vinius, Andries Winius was born in Amsterdam in 1605 and died in Russia in 1662. His parents were Dionysius Tjerckszoon Winius and Maritgen Andriesdochter Vekemans. He married Geertruyd van Rijn in 1628 and had three children: Andreas, Maria, and Matthias.

Winius began to trade in Russia in 1627. He was granted a patent (zhalovannaya gramota ) for trade in the Russian interior in 1631 and exported 100,000 chetverti of Treasury grain the same year. In 1632 Winius, together with his brother Abraham and his partner Julius Willeken, were authorized to build an iron mill in the Tula district. The partners admitted Peter Marselis and Thomas de Swaen to their company and were given a ten-year monopoly on iron and weapons production. The water-driven Tula works was the first industrial iron producer in Russia.

Following a petition, Winius received a new patent in 1634 for trade, with improved conditions, and was appointed gost (privileged merchant). In the same year, Winius moved with his family to Moscow. The Tula partnership appears to have disintegrated by 1638; in 1639 Winius and Marselis, together with Thielman Akkema, became the holders of the charter of privilege. The new arrangement lasted until 1647, by which time a serious conflict arose between Winius and his partners. In 1648 Marselis and Akkema took control of the ironworks. Winius, in contrast, withdrew from iron production altogether. The same year, he petitioned to become a Russian subject. As compensation for his losses in Tula, Winius was granted a monopoly on tar production and trade, which he held between 1649 and 1654. He enjoyed the exclusive right to produce tar in the Northern Dvina and Sukhona valleys.

In 1652 Winius and his second wife, Gertrud Meyer (married in 1648), converted to Orthodoxy and became Russian subjects. In 1653 Winius and Ivan Yeremeyev Marsov were dispatched by the tsar to the Netherlands to acquire weapons, munitions, and woollen cloth for uniforms, as well as to hire military officers for service in the Muscovite army. They sold Treasury grain and potash to finance these purchases. Winius returned to Russia in 1654. He served as a diplomatic representative of the Russian government in the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany.

Winius's eldest son Andreas (known as Andrei Andreyevich Vinius) served as an interpreter at the Diplomatic Chancellery as of 1664. He was sent to France, Spain, and England for diplomatic service from 1672 to 1674. He served in the Apothecary Chancellery from 1677 to 1689. He was ennobled in 1685 and headed the diplomatic postal service thereafter. Deputy head of the Diplomatic Chancellery from 1689 to 1695, he was appointed Duma Secretary in 1695. He headed the Siberian Chancellery from 1697 to 1703 and the Artillery Chancellery as of 1701, and built iron mills on the Urals. He was dismissed from government service in 1703 for embezzlement and delay in supplying the army. He escaped to the Netherlands in 1706 but, pardoned by Peter I, returned to Russia in 1708. He translated foreign books about military matters and technology and was an important bibliophile and art collector. He died in 1717.

See also: foreign trade; gosti; merchants


Fuhrmann, Joseph T. (1972). The Origins of Capitalism in Russia: Industry and Progress in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.

Jarmo T. Kotilaine