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British Imperialism in Egypt
Transcript of British Imperialism in Egypt
Egypt in 1750...
Because of its optimal position on the Mediterranean, Egypt enjoyed trade with much of Europe; however, this trade was limited to certain ports in 1750. During this time, Egypt was also considered part of the Ottoman Empire and had been for many years. While Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire; much of the political power lay in the hands of the Mamelukes, who remained powerful even until 1811.
Motives for Imperialism...
Surprisingly, Napoleon entered Egypt with motives besides imperialism. Napoleon lead French troops into Egypt as part of his Mediterranean Campaign of 1798, and occupied the area until 1801. During his occupation of Egypt, Napoleon intended to protect French trade interests and prevent Britain from making its way into India. Napoleon’s goals were never met but his introduction of modern science into Egypt lead Egypt to become contemporary and industrial society. The potential this “new Egypt” held, greatly interested Britain. Especially after the defeat of Napoleon, Britain yearned to capture Egypt and secure a swift route to India.
Long Term Effects of British Imperialism...
After Egypt gained independence a new constitution was created in 1923. In 1924 the Wafd party won majority of the seats in Parliament and continued to be the prominent part until the 1950’s. The Egyptian struggle for independence later become known as the first nonviolent mass protest in the modern Middle East. Although at first their independence was limited by 1936, Egypt signed the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty requiring Britain to withdraw all troops from Egypt except the Suez Canal which was evacuated by 1949. During WW II Britain used Egypt as a base for their troops and allied operations. This caused anti British, nationalist feelings to grow and led to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. In this revolution the Egyptian Monarchy was overthrown eliminating the presence of British troops and establishing the Republic of Egypt.
British Control in
Following Napoleon, a fierce power struggle emerged amongst local elites. From this power struggle Muhammad Ali, a military general, gained power of Egypt and broke away from the Ottoman Empire in 1820, after effectively building a militaristically strong and industrious Egypt. As Egypt became stronger and stronger, it even threatened to take over Istanbul which would topple the Ottoman Empire, Britain began to pay special attention to this previously weak country as it could now potentially destroy the global economy. Britain intervened and supported the weakening Ottoman empire, fearing dangerous Russian expansion. Muhammad ruled Egypt until 1882 when the British and French worked together to put down nationalist opposition to European rule, they were successful and began the official British occupation of Egypt. Lord Cromer accepted the job or reforming the country's finances; commencing the steady replacement of Egyptian Bureaucrats with Europeans.
In 1875, the British government bought most of the shares of the Suez Canal. This allowed Britain economic power in Egypt, as well as allowing Britain to quickly move goods between India and Europe. Furthermore, in 1885 during the Berlin Conference, Britain effectively laid claim to Egypt. Following the Berlin Conference, Britain began to fill the government with Europeans and introduce new policies that would benefit the British and make Egypt a commercial destination. Merchants and crafters were heavily taxed and local commerce dwindled. Egypt quickly gave almost all economic power to the British, this is depicted by the “Law of Liquidation” of 1880, which directed almost 50% of Egyptian revenue to Britain.
Road to Independence...
The Suez Canal
"From Cape to Cairo"
During their time in Egypt, British imperialists adjusted agriculture to meet British needs, for example cotton became a cash crop that would be sold, made into a finished product, and then resold back into Egypt for a higher price. By this method, Britain held almost all of Egypt's economic power. While Egypt continued to have an Egyptian figurehead, the real power of the country was given to Lord Cromer. As Egypt became more and more commercial, many immigrants began to enter the country in hope of finding work, causing the number of immigrants to grow exponentially. One of the most memorable aspects of British imperialism in Egypt is the rapid industrialization and modernization of the country. A prime example of Egypt's modernization is the suez canal as well as the railroads built to move raw materials. After riots against British financial control, Britain claimed Egypt as a protectorate to protect British interests, further changing Egypt.
Cairo Railway Station, circa 1900
As well as, our in class text book
Kate Turrell and Courtney Keane
Mrs. Carroll, period 6
Egypt was forced to have more involvement than necessary in WW1, because they were a protectorate of Britain. This caused unrest among the people as half of their infrastructure was seized for the army and 1.5 million Egyptians were forced into the Labor Corps. As their discontent with British rule increased, Saad Zaghul, a former education minister, founded the Wafd party comprised of activists for independence. Their main goal was to end the protectorate, and after the Armistice of 1918, Zaghul tried many times to speak out for Egypt’s independence. The Wafd party started to gain more and more support causing great concern to the British so they arrested Zaghul in 1919 after he stole the European Adviser’s podium in front of the Council of Appeals. After this country wide protests broke out among all different various groups. Students refused to play British songs, men went on strike and women boycotted buying British products. After things began to get out of control, Britain sent Lord Alfred Milner, a statesmen and colonial administrator, to try and find a way to keep Egypt under British control. The protests then increased and Milner advised to the British government to abolish the protectorate. On February 28, 1922, Britain declared limited Independence for Egypt.