Questions • Assess the impact of Muhammad Ali on Egypt on the first half of the nineteenth century • How and why did European powers become involved in Egypt during the rule of Muhammad Ali? • To what extent did Muhammad Ali modernize Egypt? • Analyse the successes and failures of Muhammad Ali’s reign in Egypt.
Who was he? • Ethnic Albanian born in Macedonia in 1770 • Sent to Egypt in 1803 as a commander of an Albanian contingent of the Ottoman army to fight the Mamluks • By 1805 he had gained control over Egypt and was appointed governor
How did he gain power? • Egypt in power vacuum after departure of the French • The unpopular Mamluks regained some power and control • Muh’d Ali able to play the factions in Egypt against each other (the Ottoman governor, the commanders of Ottoman regiments and the Mamlukbeys) • Courted the notables of Cairo they petitioned to the Porte to make him governor • The Porte made him governor of Hijaz (pasha) • May 1805: the people of Cairo rose in protest against the governor – demanded the appointment of Muh’d Ali as governor the Porte gave in
Consolidation of power • 1811: Mamluks crushed (massacre) • Reconstructed an officer corps loyal to him • Built a peasant army based on conscription • Gained control over the economy; more efficient taxation, seized land, monopolized trade • Reorganized the central administration; centralization, new division of Egypt
Wars of expansion; foreign policy • 1811: Campaign against the Wahhabis in western Arabia • 1820: Conquest of the Sudan • 1824: Campaign against Greek nationalists • 1831: Invaded Syria – his army on its way to Istanbul when Europeans intervened Muh’d Ali governor of Syria and Egypt • Late 1830s: Uprisings in Syria European intervention – Treaty of London • 1841: Muh’d Ali withdrew from Syria
Domestic reforms: Modernization • Education (early 1820s ) • Officers’ training school in Aswan • Military training missions to Europe • Schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering and chemistry • 1835: School of languages (translators, textbooks) • Government printing press • Military reform • Creation of peasant army
Domestic reforms; economy • Iltizam land (tax farms) confiscated and Waqfrevenues taxed • Agricultural policies: • Land granted to trusted officials and relatives • Experimentation with new crops • Marginal lands brought into cultivation; increase by 1/3 • Irrigation system rebuilt and expanded by the corvee (forced peasant labor) • State-sponsored industrial development: • War-related materials • Textiles • The industries were never profitable
Economic reforms cont. • Monopoly system the government controlled the economy; production and trade • Monopolies illegal after the Anglo-Ottoman treaty of 1841 • Defied the restrictions imposed by the Capitulation system • Substantial increase in Egyptian trade; Europe biggest trading partner by early 1820s • Infrastructure: steamboats on the Nile and canals
Domestic reforms; administration/government • Central administration reorganized; Mamluks excluded, Muh’d Ali had full control • “Functionally differentiated ministries”; Navy, War, Finance, Industry, Education and Foreign Affairs • Merit based mid-level administrators • Advisors appointed to ministers and Muh’d Ali himself • Egypt divided into provinces administered by centrally appointed governors who collected taxes and maintained law and order in addition to economic functions (development); extensive duties • Within provinces; districts, sub-districts, villages and urban quarters highly centralized administration
Modernization? Change or continuity? • Modernized administration/bureaucracy but Muh’d Ali kept firm control of major decisions (Yapp, 147) • Military and civilian administration dominated by Turko-Circassians • Barely anything was done for primary education of Egyptians; no attempt to link the modern and traditional sectors • Development of agriculture, but Egypt ended up with a cash-crop economy • Could the industries have been profitable? Yapp: No, climate, lack of skilled management and work force, lack of capital and no suitable power source were reasons for failure (not the Europeans) • The state affected citizens’ lives more directly than before but Muh’d Ali’s regime became intensely unpopular because of heavy taxation, corvee, conscription, etc.
Cont. • Expansionist successes only possible because Britain, France and Russia did not have designs on the area in the early 1800s (Owen)
What was his purpose? • Did he want to create an Arab state? • Was he a nationalist Egyptian leader who wanted to create an independent Egyptian nation-state? • Was he merely seeking advancement within the Ottoman Empire? • Was he a military adventurer who had no ambitions beyond personal power and wealth?
Sources – a TOK moment… • The motives ascribed to Muh’d Ali cannot be supported by written evidence • Use of imaginative abilities to try to follow Muh’d Ali’s own logic (Owen) How reliable would our imagination be? What other challenges do historians face when they want to study Muh’d Ali? What methods/approaches could they use?