1798-1923 - Khedive
By virtue of all his up-to-date all encompassing reforms, Muhammad Ali is truly considered the founder of Modern Egypt. He encouraged and sponsored men of learning, scientists and artists. He built a powerful army as well as a military academy. A ship building industry was started in Boulaq, Cairo together with a shipyard in Alexandria.
He specially attended to the administration of government affairs. During the first half of the 19th Century, a full-scale economic revival was in full swing. Special attention was given to agriculture and irrigation, where barrages, dams and canals were built. In industry, Muhammad Ali adopted a policy of dispensing with foreign-made products, and creating national factories and plants to meet the needs of the army and the public. In trade, he sought to provide security for internal trade routes and create a foreign trade fleet. During his reign, trade flourished.
At the same time, Muhammad Ali was enthusiastically interested in spreading education to cater government manpower needs. Schools of various levels and specialties were built and educational missions were sent to Europe to transfer modern sciences to Egypt.
After his death, Muhammad Ali’s successors tried their best to follow his suit by attempting to catch up with European civilization. During the reign of Khedive Ismail, Egypt witnessed an awakening administrative reform, while agriculture, industry, construction and architecture prospered. Most notable of his achievements was the establishment of the Opera House, railroads and the Suez Canal which was opened to international navigation in 1869.
Thus, the 19th Century was one of enlightenment, rediscovery of the Egyptian power system and development of human wealth. By the end of the century, Egypt witnessed many revolts against the foreign intervention.
The nationalist movement grew stronger and several popular revolts took place. However, the Orabi Revolution (1882 AD) ended up with Egypt being occupied and declared a protectorate by Britain in 1914. Accordingly, Egypt officially broke off from Ottoman suzerainty.
Mohamed Ali Pasha
He was appointed as the Ottoman Sultan’s Viceroy, Egypt’s Governor on May 17, 1805; ruled Egypt till September 1848; and died in Alexandria on August 2nd 1849 and was buried in his mosque in the Citadel.
Mohammad Ali was born in 1769 in Kavala, a small Macedonian seaport on the coast of the Aegean Sea in what is known now by Greece. As a young man he got involved in the military service and married a rich divorced woman who gave birth to Ibrahim, Tosson and Ismail. Mohammad Ali then became fully involved in tobacco trading from which he made good money.
When the Sublime Porte mobilized its armies to fight the French invaders, under Napoleon Bonaparte, Mohammad Ali rejoined the military and went to Egypt as part of an expeditionary force to oppose the French. Mohammad Ali arrived to Egypt in 1801 as an adjutant to the head battalion. Being competent, he was promoted to higher ranks, and when the French left Egypt, he was already well connected with Egypt’s new ruler, Khurasan Pasha.
Supported by the Egyptian people, Mohammad Ali became the Ottoman Sultan’s Viceroy in May 1805. In July of the same year he was officially appointed by the Sublime Porte as Egypt’s Governor. Mohammad Ali exterminated the Mamluks, the former ruling oligarchy, in the famous Citadel massacre of 1811. Mohammad Ali sent his army to the Hijaz and took it over. He also took over Nubia, the Crete Island, Palestine and the Levant. These military victories caused the Ottoman Empire along with other European countries with interests in the region to stand against him.
They met in London in July 1840 and signed a treaty according to which Mohammad Ali’s powers were undermined and limited only to ruling Egypt and Sudan. According to this agreement Mohammad Ali and his family were granted the hereditary right to rule Egypt and Sudan with the rule of succession to the eldest male in the family given that Egypt remains a part of the Ottoman Empire and that it pays an annual tribute (jizya) to the Ottoman Sultan. In addition, the size of the Egyptian army was limited to 18,000 soldiers, and Egypt was not allowed to rebuild its maritime arsenal.
In 1848, Mohammad Ali became sick and a decree was issued assigning his son Ibrahim Pasha to rule Egypt. He died in 1849.
Ibrahim Pasha, Son of Mohamed Ali
The eldest son of Mohammad Ali, he was born in 1789. He took over Egypt’s rule by a decree from the Sublime Porte in March, 1848 due to his father’s sickness. He stayed only seven months and half in rule, as he died on November 10, 1948. He led Egypt’s expedition to Hijaz and crushed the Wahabi Revolution in 1816. He led the Egyptian army in suppressing the Greek revolutionists against Turkey; led the Egyptian army in capturing Palestine and the Levant between 1832 and 1833. He won the crucial battle between the Egyptians and the Turks in Nazib in 1839, but the European countries forced him to withdraw from all the areas that he captured.
Abbas Helmy I (the son of Ahmed Tosson Pasha Mohammad Ali’s son)
Abbas Helmy I (the son of Ahmed Tosson Pasha Mohammad Ali’s son) Governed Egypt from November 10, 1848 to July 13 (check on web), 1854. He was born in 1813 in Jeddah and was brought up in Egypt. Being the grandson of Mohammad Ali, he succeeded his uncle Ibrahim Pasha in ruling Egypt in 1848. During his rule, the army and the navy deteriorated and a lot of schools and educational institutes were shut down. He lived lavishly and was far from being devoted to state affairs and the corresponding duties. He remained in charge for almost five years and was assassinated in his palace in Banha in July 1854.
Mohammad Saiid Pasha (son of Mohammad Ali)
Mohammad Saiid Pasha (son of Mohammad Ali) Governed Egypt from July 14 1854 till his death in January 18, 1863.
Khedeve Ismael, Son of Ibrahim Pasha
He was the Governor and then the Khedive of Egypt from January 19, 1863 to June 26, 1879. He was born in 1830. When his predecessor Saiid died, Ismail was the eldest male in the family and accordingly Egypt’s rule passed to him. He displayed some of his grandfather’s, Mohammad Ali, enthusiasm for modernization and tried as well to be independent from the Ottoman administration through currying favor with and bribing those of influence; that was how Ismail obtained the approval of the Sultan on establishing the succession by primogeniture in his own line and gained the title of Khedive in 1867.
Ismail strove against slave trade in Sudan, expanded Egypt’s properties in Africa, and inaugurated the Suez Canal for international navigation; however, during his reign, Egypt’s debts increased greatly which led to the interference of England and France in Egypt’s internal affairs under the allegation of protecting their interests. Ismail’s poor financial policy led to his isolation in 1879 by Sultan Abd El-Hamid II, under the pressure of England and France, who appointed his son Tawfik Pasha as the Khedive of Egypt. Ismail died in 1895 and was buried in Cairo.
Khedeve Mohmed Tawfik, Son of Ismail Pasha
Governed Egypt from June 26, 1879 to January 7, 1892. He was born in 1852 and succeeded his father Ismail as khedive to Egypt in 1879 before the bilateral inspection of Britain and France on Egypt’s financial situation. During his reign, Orabi Revolution, the first revolution in modern Egypt led by Ahmed Orabi, erupted in February 1881, and then the incidence of Abdeen Palace in September 1881. In 1882, Britain occupied Egypt and Egypt occupied Sudan in 1884/5. Tawfik died in 1892.
Khedeve Abbas Helmy II
The son of Khedive Tawfiq, he was born in 1874. He ruled from January 8, 1892 till September 19, 1914. He was deposed by the British due to his reform policy and his tendency to fight the British occupation. The British dethroned him in December 1914 and declared Egypt a British protectorate.
The strategic value of Egypt to Britain grew following the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 as the country now provided the main trade route to and from India. Britain assumed control of Egypt in 1882, although the country remained nominally a part of the Ottoman Empire. A flashpoint occurred at the outbreak of the Great War. The Ottomans supported the Central Powers, as did Abbas II Hilmi Bey, the last Khedive of Egypt. Abbas, who had had an occasionally fractious relationship with the British since coming to power in 1892, also endorsed an attack on the Suez Canal. The British Government responded in December 1914 by declaring Egypt a British protectorate, deposing Abbas and installing in his place his uncle, Husayn Kamil. Kamil was given the title of Sultan of Egypt, the first time that the term had been used since the Ottoman conquest of the country in 1517. The real power in Egypt nevertheless lay with the British High Commissioner.
He was still at college in Vienna when the sudden death of his father raised him to the Khedivate, and he was barely of age according to Egyptian law; which required an age of eighteen for succession to the throne. For some time he did not cooperate very cordially with the United Kingdom, whose army had occupied Egypt in 1882. As he was young and eager to exercise his new power, he resented the interference of the British Agent and Consul General in Cairo, Sir Evelyn Baring, later made Lord Cromer. At the outset of his reign, Khedive Abbas surrounded himself with a coterie of European advisers who opposed the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan and encouraged the young Khedive to challenge Cromer by replacing his ailing prime minister with a nationalist. At Cromer's behest, Lord Rosebery, the British Foreign Secretary, sent him a letter stating that the Khedive was obliged to consult the British Consul on such issues as Cabinet appointments.
In January 1894 Abbas, while on an inspection tour of Egyptian army installations near the southern border, as Mahdists were still in control of Sudan, made public remarks disparaging the Egyptian army units commanded by British officers. The British commander of the Egyptian army, Sir Herbert Kitchener, immediately offered to resign. Cromer strongly supported Kitchener and pressed the Khedive and Prime Minister to retract the Khedive's criticisms of the British officers. From that time on, Abbas no longer publicly opposed the British, but secretly created, supported, and sustained the nationalist movement, which came to be led by Mustafa Kamil. As Kamil's energies were increasingly aimed at winning popular support for a National Party, Khedive Abbas publicly distanced himself from the Nationalists.
In time he came to accept British counsels. In 1899 British diplomat Alfred Mitchell-Innes was appointed Under-Secretary of State for Finance in Egypt, and in 1900 Abbas paid a second visit to Britain, during which he frankly acknowledged the great good the British had done in Egypt, and declared himself ready to follow their advice and to cooperate with the British officials administering Egyptian and Sudanese affairs. The establishment of a sound system of native justice, the great remission of taxation, the reconquest of Sudan, the inauguration of the substantial irrigation works at Aswan, and the increase of cheap, sound education, each received his formal approval. He displayed more interest in agriculture than in statecraft. His farm of cattle and horses at Qubbah, near Cairo, was a model for scientific agriculture in Egypt, and he created a similar establishment at Muntazah, near Alexandria. He married the Princess Ikbal Hanem and had several children. Muhammad Abdul Mun'im, the heir apparent, was born on 20 February 1899.
His relations with Cromer's successor, Sir Eldon Gorst, were excellent, and they co-operated in appointing the cabinets headed by Butrus Ghali in 1908 and Muhammad Sa'id in 1910 and in checking the power of the Nationalist Party. The appointment of Kitchener to succeed Gorst in 1911 displeased Abbas, and relations between him and the British deteriorated. Kitchener often complained about "that wicked little Khedive" and wanted to depose him.
The Times described Kamil as ‘a true patriot’, who ‘considered it the duty of all patriotic Egyptians to cooperate loyally with the Occupying Power’ (The Times, 10 October 1917). The paper further stated that the British administrators of Egypt ‘recognized the extreme value of his sound and disinterested counsel’ (The Times, 10 October 1917). Within Egypt itself there were those who opposed him; Kamil survived two assassination attempts in 1915, and died of natural causes in 1917
Kamil’s son, Prince Kamal al-Din Husayn, refused to succeed him. A character in Naguib Mahfouz’s novel Palace Walk exclaims ‘What a fine man Prince Kamal al-Din Husayn is! Do you know what he did? He refused to ascend the throne of his late father so long as the British are in charge’ (Mahfouz, 1990, 12). Kamil’s brother, Ahmed Fuad, succeeded in his place. The Times said of this new ruler that there is ‘a confident expectation that he will follow the wise and patriotic example of his distinguished brother’ (The Times, 10 October 1917).
Following the conclusion of the war Egypt remained in control of the British. At the Imperial Conference of Prime Ministers in 1921 it was declared that ‘the Empire could survive anything else but not the loss of its main artery’ (Balfour-Paul, 2001, 498). However, Egypt was the most politically advanced country in the Middle East and there was a strong nationalist movement. In 1922 Britain’s wartime protectorate was revoked and Egypt was declared a ‘sovereign independent’ country. Under these conditions Britain retained control over defence, imperial communications and the Sudan. Fuad now adopted a different title: he became known as the King of Egypt and Sudan.
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