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Impacts of Colonisation in Egypt:
Egypt was in a state of political chaos for a long time before the British occupation in 1882. In 1517, Egypt had been conquered and added into the Ottoman Empire by the power sultan Selim I. The Mameluks, however, the powerful rulers who were defeated by the Ottoman invasion, remained semi-autonomous in the country granted by the Ottomans to rule in their place. Thus meant that they continued to play an influential role in Egypt for the next three centuries to come. Since then, Egypt had undergone much political chaos filled with power struggles both within Egypt herself and with the ruling Ottoman Empire , many with the Mameluks stirring chaos. Others had beys and pashas playing havoc. These power struggles spelt much suffering for the Egyptians, whose lives were made bad with heavy taxes and even worse off with unruly soldiers of the period, who usually plundered and killed in these periods of unrest. Eventually, the power struggles continued into the 18 th and 19 th century, when European interests in Egypt were growing in existence.
The French invasion in 1798 was to bring this ˇ®Dark Age' in Egypt to an end. Napoleon, future emperor of the French, invaded Egypt with his army in an attempt to disrupt Britain 's trade route with India, a vital value Egypt was to hold for Britain for much of the next one and a half century. Napoleon's occupation, initially welcomed by the Egyptians as a liberation from the three centuries of chaos that preceded it, soon turned sour as the French occupation turned arrogant despite initial signs of respect by Napoleon. This was further complied by the defeat of the French navy by Lord Nelson of the British navy. Stranded, the French general escaped back to France and the French occupation ended soon after. However, the French occupation had brought back stability, at least for a brief moment, and Egypt returned to the political crisis familiar with the inhabitants after she was handed back to the Ottoman Empire in 1801 when the French surrendered.
After a long bloody struggle involving massacres of his enemies, Muhammad (Mehemet) Ali emerged as the pasha1 to Egypt in 1841. His coming saw a moderate coming of a more peaceful era. This relatively peaceful period as compared to the previous, continued under his successors; Abbas I, Said Pasha, and Ismail the Magnificent. However, under Said Pasha, Egypt 's national debt started to emerge as he borrowed from abroad to finance the ever-increasing expenditure to reform Egypt . Under Ismail, the national debt grew ever larger due mainly to the ambitious reforms he initiated, and eventually, the creditors began to increase their influence over Egypt 's affairs. On the verge of national bankruptcy, Britain and France stepped in to establish dual control over Egypt . After an anti-British revolt broke out, in which Ismail's government is now too weak to control, Britain landed her troops to suppress the revolt herself. This period marked the start of the British occupation and virtual colonisation of Egypt .
Egypt in British hands saw the continued political stability that had been enjoyed since Muhammad Ali grow to a level rarely seen by Egyptians ever since the Ottoman Empire took over. The British, being the undisputed masters of Egypt , meant that Egypt suffered less of the previous power struggles that broke out constantly between rival beys, pashas, mutinying troops, and Porte. As a result, the British occupation in Egypt saw a relatively stable political atmosphere over a land that had endured much chaos for the past 3 centuries. Indeed, Lord Dufferin, the British ambassador to Constantinople sent to Egypt as high commissioner, set about reviving the land that had endured milleniums back to prosperity and order. Under British stability, economic developments could take place and political order achieved.
Revolts and riots against
the British however, did break out in response to bad
living conditions and rising nationalistic sentiments
that will be discussed in detail later. The result of
these anti-British revolts however, were mainly to push
for nationalistic causes, and not of civil wars of
enormous proportions. The scales of these revolts and
anti-British riots were also relatively smaller. Compared
to the times of old, the British occupation is vastly
1 Pasha is a viceroy of Egypt . The title can also be stated as khedive.
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