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This account of Egyptian society in the reign of Muhammad Ali traces the beginnings of the nation state in Egypt. It considers Muhammad Ali as part of a social group whose economic interests led them in the direction of trade with Europe as a means of raising money for further investments. They attempted to increase agricultural exports and to use the profits to create industry; then, following the logic of imperialists, their next step was to seek to conquer the surrounding areas to find markets for their industries and sources of raw materials. These policies brought them into conflict with their suzerain, the Ottoman sultan, and with England, since England needed markets in the Middle East. England sought to destroy the new regime in Egypt as a means of exerting influence on the region. In carrying out these economic changes, the country underwent a series of internal developments that were to revolutionize the structure and shape of Egyptian society. The rules of landownership were altered and large estates were formed, Egyptian fallahin were drafted into the army, and the administration was Egyptianized, establishing the groundwork for a nation state.
Preface; Note on transliteration; Note on money, weights and measures; 1. Egypt under the mamluks; 2. Muhammad Ali the man; 3. A country without a master; 4. Master in his own house; 5. Family, friends and relations; 6. Internal policies; 7. Agricultural changes; 8. Industry and commerce; 9. Expansion to what end?; 10. The undoing: Muhammad Ali and Palmerston; 11. The aftermath; 12. Conclusion; Notes; Glossary of Arabic and Turkish terms; Selected bibliography; Index.
Posted November 12, 2008
Muhammad Ali Pasha was the Viceroy of Egypt for almost forty-four years until the middle nineteenth century and is known as the founder of modern Egypt. <BR/>His ascendancy to power began when he was appointed second in command to Albanian force the Ottomans sent to Egypt to evacuate the French. <BR/>(There is an unconfirmed story that Ali rescued from drowning the Ottoman Commander of the fleet and then his sequel of promotions started to surface). <BR/><BR/>Muhammad Ali could not squash the plot against him by the English Empire when he extended his influence to control greater Syria, threatening the Sublime Port as far as Istanbul. <BR/>Britain also forced him to renounce his claims on Hijaz and Crete. <BR/>Russia, Austria and Great Britain granted him hereditary over Egypt pursuant to the London convention of July 15 1840, on condition that he withdrew from greater Syria and Mount Lebanon. <BR/>Pages 233 and 235 describe the efforts made by the Egyptians to thrive Beirut Port to encourage the trade of silk and cotton textiles to Europe. <BR/>In fact the word `Money' is translated into `Massari' (Arabic) in reference to Masri (Arabic) i.e. Egyptian. This term has been in use up to now since the days the Egyptian Army came to Beirut on route to Syria hinterland. <BR/><BR/>The book is full of substantiated reference to Mohammed Ali achievements and to the works of his dynasty. <BR/>Such was the importance of the Albanian Viceroy to Egypt that his dynasty remained in power for about 150 years, until 1952. <BR/><BR/>Super powers' interests, and counter plotting behind the Khedive's back, characterized his rise and fall in one full circle. There was no room for another `Empire' to be formed in the Middle East after the demise of the defunct Ottomans `The sick man of Europe'. <BR/>Egypt was NOT permitted to be the one to replace the Ottoman Empire.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.