In the preceding decades, Muhammad Ali had expanded and strengthened his hold on Ottoman territory, beginning with Egypt where he acted as a viceroy for the Sultan. Called upon to assist the Ottomans in the Greek War of Independence
, Muhammad Ali in return demanded parts of Ottoman Syria
to be transferred to his personal rule. When the war ended and the Porte
failed to keep its promise, Muhammad Ali launched a military campaign
against his Ottoman masters and easily took most of the Syrian lands.
Extent of Muhammad Ali's rule in 1840
In 1839, the Ottoman Empire attempted to retake Syria from Muhammad Ali but was defeated by his son, Ibrahim Pasha
in the Battle of Nezib
. Thus, a new war
between Muhammad Ali and the Ottomans escalated, with the latter failing once again to wage it successfully. In June 1840, the entire Ottoman navy defected to Muhammad Ali, and the French planned to offer full support to his cause.
Convention of London
By the Convention of London
, signed on 15 July 1840, the Great Powers offered Muhammad Ali and his heirs
permanent control over Egypt, Sudan, and the Eyalet of Acre
, provided that these territories would nominally remain part of the Ottoman Empire. If he did not accept the withdrawal of his forces within ten days, he would lose the offer in southern Syria
; if he delayed acceptance more than 20 days, he would forfeit everything offered.
The European powers agreed to use all possible means of persuasion to effect the agreement, but Muhammad Ali hesitated, believing in support from France
The French under the newly formed cabinet of Prime Minister Adolphe Thiers
sought to increase French influence in North Africa following their conquest of Algeria
. For this, supporting Muhammad Ali's so far successful revolt seemed suitable. Counter Admiral Julien Pierre Anne Lalande
was dispatched to the Mediterranean to eventually join forces with the defected Ottoman fleet.
But France became politically isolated when the other Great Powers backed up the Sultan, and Thiers wasn't prepared to bring the country into open war with Britain. France switched sides and aligned against Muhammad Ali in October 1840.
In September 1840, the European powers eventually moved from diplomatic means to military action. When French support for Muhammad Ali failed to materialize, British and Austrian naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean moved against Syria and Alexandria.
was the port where the defecting Ottoman fleet
had withdrawn. After the Royal Navy
and the Austrian Navy
first blockaded the Nile delta
coastline, they moved east to shell Sidon
on 11 September 1840. British and Austrian forces then attacked Acre
. Following the bombardment of the city and the port on 3 November 1840 a small landing party of Austrian, British and Ottoman troops (which were led personally by the Austrian fleet commander, Archduke Friedrich
) took the citadel after Muhammad Ali's Egyptian garrison in Acre had fled.
After the surrender of Acre, Muhammad Ali finally accepted the terms of the Convention on 27 November 1840. He renounced his claims over Crete
and the Hijaz
and agreed to downsize his naval forces and his standing army to 18,000 men, provided that he and his descendants would enjoy hereditary rule
over Egypt and Sudan
— an unheard-of status for an Ottomanviceroy
, subsequently issued by the sultan, indeed confirmed Muhammad Ali's rule over Egypt and the Sudan. He withdrew from Syria
, the Hijaz, the Holy Land, Adana, and Crete, and handed back the Ottoman fleet.
- ^ Efraim Karsh, Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923, (Harvard University Press, 2001), 36-37.
- ^ Geoffrey G. Butler, Simon Maccoby, The Development of International Law, p. 440
- ^ Efraim Karsh, Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923, (Harvard University Press, 2001), 38.
- ^ Efraim Karsh, Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789-1923, (Harvard University Press, 2001), 37.
- ^ H. Wood Jarvis, Pharaoh to Farouk, (London: John Murray, 1956), 134.
- ^ Morroe Berger, Military Elite and Social Change: Egypt Since Napoleon, (Princeton, New Jersey: Center for International Studies, 1960), 11.
Charles R. Middleton. Cabinet Decision Making at the Accession of Queen Victoria: The Crisis of the East 1839-1840," Journal of Modern History
(1979) 51#2 On Demand Supplement pp. D1085-D1117 in JSTOR
Last edited on 25 February 2021, at 16:28
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