Egypt is an intercontinental nation which spans the southwestern corner of Asia and the northeastern horn of Africa by a land bridge. It is an independent state which is bordered by Libya, Sudan, Red Sea, Israel and the Gaza Strip. Egypt was one of the first countries in the tenth millennium BC and is often referred to as the cradle of civilization. Egypt saw early developments in central government, organized religion, urbanization, agriculture, and writing. From the sixteenth to the start of the twentieth century Egypt was governed by foreign powers, and this included the British and the Ottoman empires.
Egypt Under the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Turks defeated the Egyptian military caste which had governed the nation for centuries in 1517 and made Egypt one of their provinces. The Ottoman Empire ruled over Egypt until the time of British take-over. Egypt was a hard province for the sultans to rule due to the influence the Mamluks had on the country. Defensive militarization weakened Egypt’s economic institutions and civil society. The weak economy and the plagues which affected them left them open to foreign invasion. The province remained autonomous until 1798 when French forces invaded. The British managed to defeat the French in 1805 leaving a power vacuum that was filled by Mohamed Pasha.
Egypt Under Muhammad Pasha
Pasha, an Albanian commander of Ottoman’s military, established his dynasty which ruled over Egypt until 1952. From 1820 to 1841 he managed to annex parts of Arabia, Syria, and northern Sudan, but the European power forced him to return them to the Ottoman. Under Pasha, Egypt became an autonomous vassal state, a status it held until 1914. The construction of the Suez Canal which ended in 1869 left Egypt with massive debts which resulted in Ismail imposing heavy taxation. Ismail sold their share of the canal to the United Kingdom in 1875. Various circumstances like wars, floods and epidemic diseases affected their economy thus forcing them to depend on foreign debts. Ismail and Tewfik ruled the state as a quasi-independent nation under Ottoman until 1882 when the British took over.
When Did Egypt Become Independent?
Egypt remained part a province of Ottoman until November 5, 1914, when it became a British protectorate. The title of the leader was changed from ‘’khedive’’ to ‘’sultan’’ and Hussein Kamel replaced his nephew Abbas II. After the First World War, the nationalist movement with the help of Wafd party and Saad Zaghlul won more legislative seats and became the majority in the assembly. Therefore, when Zaghlul and his team were exiled to Malta, Egypt rose in their first revolution which resulted in their independence from the British on February 22, 1922.
A new government was formed, and they drafted their constitution by 1923. In 1924, Zaghlul became the first Egyptian prime minister. Continuous instability caused by the influence of the United Kingdom and King Farouk’s political involvement resulted in the 1952 revolution. After the 1952 revolution, the leadership of the country was passed to the hands of the military and King Farouk was replaced by Faud.
Egypt became a republic with Muhammad Naguib as their president on June 18, 1953. Muhammad served for less than two years before Gamal Nasser forced him to resign and placed him under house arrest. Gamal Nasser was a Pan-Arabist and the architect of the Egyptian revolution of 1952. The country remained without a president until 1956 when Gamal won the general election and became the president.