Previous studies of nineteenth-century Egypt have often been premature in identifying the existence of an independent nation state. In a way which will permanently affect our view of Egyptian history, this book argues that in the mid-nineteenth-century period Egypt was still an Ottoman province, with a provincial Ottoman elite which was only gradually becoming Egyptian. Part one discusses the creation of a dynastic order in Egypt, especially under Abbas Pasa (1848-1854), and the formation of an Ottoman-Egyptian ruling class. Part two deals with the non-elite groups, the vast majority of Egypt's population. A final chapter offers a convincing picture of the social and cultural life of the period in a way which has never before been attempted in a Middle East context. The author's valuable knowledge of Ottoman and Arabic as well as European documents and his use of a wide variety of sources, including police and court records, chronicles and travel literature, have enabled him to make an important contribution to a neglected period of Egyptian history and indeed to our understanding of other provinces and dependencies in the region.
Table of ContentsList of plates; Preface; Note on transliteration, dates, and references; Introduction: the forgotten years; Part I. The Ottoman-Egyptian Elite in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century: Introduction; 1. Dissent and opposition; 2. Creation of a dynastic order; 3. The mainstay of dynastic order - the elite; 4. The realities of office holding; 5. The demon-image of Abbas Pasa: evidence and counter-evidence; 6. The demon-image as a product of elite culture; Part II. The Social Divide and the Life of the Lower Strata: Introduction; 7. The great social divide in Egyptian society; 8. The rural squeeze - pressure and resistance in the countryside; 9. Rural migrants and urban attitudes; 10. The urban squeeze; 11. The network of urban control; 12. The use of unappropriated time; Epilogue; Notes; Bibliography; Index.