1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Egypt/3 History
1. From the Earliest Times to the Moslem Conquest.
In the absence of a strict chronology, the epochs of Pharaonic history are conveniently reckoned in dynasties according to Manetho’s scheme, and these dynasties are grouped into longer periods:—the Old Kingdom (Dynasties I. to VIII.), including the Earliest Dynasties (I. to III.) and the Pyramid Period (Dynasties IV. to VI.); the Middle Kingdom (Dynasties IX. to XVII.), including the Heracleopolite Dynasties (IX. to X.) and the Hyksos Period (Dynasties XV. to XVII.); the New Empire (Dynasties XVIII. to XX.); the Deltaic Dynasties (Dynasties XXI. to XXXI.), including the Saite and Persian Periods (Dynasties XXVI. to XXXI.). The conquest by Alexander ushers in the Hellenistic age, comprising the periods of Ptolemaic and Roman rule.
The Prehistoric Age.—One of the most striking features of recent Egyptology is the way in which the earliest ages of the civilization, before the conventional Egyptian style was formed, have been illustrated by the results of excavation. Until 1895 there seemed little hope of reaching the records of those remote times, although it was plain that the civilization had developed in the Nile valley for many centuries before the IVth Dynasty, beyond which the earliest known monuments scarcely reached. Since that year, however, there has been a steady flow of discoveries in prehistoric and early historic cemeteries, and, partly in consequence of this, monuments already known, such as the annals of the Palermo stone, have been made articulate for the beginnings of history in Egypt.
It is probable that certain rudely chipped flints, so-called eoliths, in the alluvial gravels (formed generally at the mouth of wadis opening on to the Nile) at Thebes and elsewhere, are the work of primitive man; but it has been shown that such are produced also by natural forces in the rush of torrents. On the surface of the desert, at the borders of the valley, palaeolithic implements of well-defined form are not uncommon, and bear the marks of a remote antiquity. In some cases they appear to lie where they were chipped on the sites of flint factories. Geologists and anthropologists are not yet agreed on the question whether the climate and condition of the country have undergone large changes since these implements were deposited. As yet none have been found in such association with animal remains as would help in deciding their age, nor have any implements been discovered in rock-shelters or in caves.
Of neolithic remains, arrowheads and other implements are found in some numbers in the deserts. In the Fayūm region, about the borders of the ancient Lake of Moeris and beyond, they are particularly abundant and interesting in their forms. But their age is uncertain; some may be contemporary with the advanced culture of the XIIth Dynasty in the Nile valley. Definite history on the other hand has been gained from the wonderful series of “prehistoric” cemeteries excavated by J. de Morgan, Petrie, Reisner and others on the desert edgings of the cultivated alluvium. The succession of archaeological types revealed in them has been tabulated by Petrie in his Diospolis Parva; and the detailed publication of Reisner’s unusually careful researches is bringing much new light on the questions involved, amongst other things showing the exact point at which the “prehistoric” series merges into the Ist Dynasty, for, as might be surmised, in many cases the prehistoric cemeteries continued in use under the earliest dynasties. The finest pottery, often painted but all hand-made without the wheel, belongs to the prehistoric period; so also do the finest flint implements, which, in the delicacy and exactitude of their form and flaking, surpass all that is known from other countries. Metal seems to be entirely absent from the earliest type of graves, but immediately thereafter copper begins to appear (bronze is hardly to be found before the XIIth Dynasty). The paintings on the vases show boats driven by oars and sails rudely figured, and the boats bear emblematic standards or ensigns. The cemeteries are found throughout Upper and Middle Egypt, but as yet have not been met with in the Delta or on its borders. This might be accounted for by the inhabitants of Lower Egypt having practised a different mode of disposing of the dead, or by their cemeteries being differently placed.
Tradition, mythology and later customs make it possible to recover a scrap of the political history of that far-off time. Menes, the founder of the Ist Dynasty, united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the prehistoric period, therefore, these two realms were separate. The capital of Upper Egypt was Nekheb, now represented by the ruins of El Kab, with the royal residence across the river at Nekhen (Hieraconpolis); that of Lower Egypt was at Buto (Putō or Dep) in the marshes, with the royal residence in the quarter called Pe. Nekhêbi, goddess of El Kab, represented the Upper or Southern Kingdom, which was also under the tutelage of the god Seth, the goddess Buto and the god Horus similarly presiding over the Lower Kingdom. The royal god in the palace of each was a hawk or Horus. The spirits of the deceased kings were honoured respectively as the jackal-headed spirits of Nekhen and the hawk-headed spirits of Pe. As we hear also of the “spirits of On” it is probable that Heliopolis was at one time capital of a kingdom. In after days the prehistoric kings were known as “Worshippers of Horus” and in Manetho’s list they are the νέκυες “Dead,” and ἥρωες “Heroes,” being looked upon as intermediate between the divine dynasties and those of human kings. It is impossible to estimate the duration of the period represented by the prehistoric cemeteries; that the two kingdoms existed throughout unchanged is hardly probable.
According to the somatologist Elliott Smith, the most important change in the physical character of the people of Upper Egypt, in the entire range of Egyptian archaeology, took place at the beginning of the dynastic period; and he accounts for this by the mingling of the Lower with the Upper Egyptian population, consequent on the uniting of the two countries under one rule. From remains of the age of the IVth Dynasty he is able to define to some extent the type of the population of Lower Egypt as having a better cranial and muscular development than that of Upper Egypt, probably through immigration from Syria. The advent of the dynasties, however, produced a quickening rather than a dislocation in the development of civilization.
It is doubtful whether we possess any writing of the prehistoric age. A few names of the kings of Lower Egypt are preserved in the first line of the Palermo stone, but no annals are attached to them. Petrie considers that one of the kings buried at Abydos, provisionally called Nar-mer and whose real name may be Mer or Beza, preceded Menes; of him there are several inscribed records, notably a magnificent carved and inscribed slate palette found at Hieraconpolis, with figures of the king and his vizier, war-standards and prisoners. To identify him with Bezau (Boethos) of the IInd Dynasty runs counter to much archaeological evidence. Sethe places him next after Menes and some would identify him with that king. Another inscribed palette may be pre-dynastic; it perhaps mentions a king named “Scorpion.”
The Old Kingdom.—The names of a number of kings attributable to the Ist Dynasty are known from their tombs at Abydos. Unfortunately, they are almost exclusively
in place of the personal names by
The earliest dynasties.
which they were recorded in the lists of Abydos and Manetho; some, however, of the latter are found, and prove that the scribes of the New Kingdom were unable to read them correctly. Important changes and improvements took place in the writing even during the Ist Dynasty.
The personal name of Menes
is given by one only of many relics of a king whose Horus-name was Aha, “the Fighter.” Doubts have been expressed about the identification with Menes, but it is strongly corroborated by the very archaic style of the remains. The name of Aha (Menes) was found in two tombs, one at Nagāda north of Thebes and nearly opposite the road to the Red Sea, the other at Abydos. Manetho makes the Ist Dynasty Thinite, this being the capital of the nome in which Abydos lay. Upper Egypt always had precedence over Lower Egypt, and it seems clear that Menes came from the former and conquered the latter. According to tradition he founded Memphis which lay on the frontier of his conquest; probably he resided there as well as at Abydos; at any rate relics of one of the later kings of the Ist Dynasty have already been recognized in its vast necropolis. Of the eight kings of the Ist Dynasty, three—the fifth, sixth and seventh in the Ramesside list of Abydos—are positively identified by tomb-remains from Abydos, and others are scarcely less certain. Two of the kings have also left tablets at the copper and turquoise mines of Wadi Maghāra in Sinai. The royal tombs are built of brick, but one of them, that of Usaphais, had its floor of granite from Elephantine. They must have been filled with magnificent furniture and provisions of every kind, including annual record-tablets of the reigns, carved in ivory and ebony. From a fragment on the Palermo stone it is clear that material existed as late as the Vth Dynasty for a brief note of the height of the Nile and other particulars in each year of the reign of these kings.
The IInd Dynasty of Manetho appears to have been separated from the Ist even on the Palermo stone; it also was Thinite, and the tombs of several of its nine (?) kings were found at Abydos. The IIIrd Dynasty is given as Memphite by Manetho. Two of the kings built huge mastaba-tombs at Bêt Khallaf near Abydos, but the architect and learned scribe Imhōtp designed for one of these two kings, named Zoser, a second and mightier monument at Memphis, the great step-pyramid of Sakkara. In Ptolemaic times Imhōtp was deified, and the traditional importance of Zoser is shown by a forged grant of the Dodecaschoenus to the cataract god Khnûm, purporting to be from his reign, but in reality dating from the Ptolemaic age. With Snefru, at the end of this dynasty, we reach the beginning of Egyptian history as it was known before the recent discoveries. Monuments and written records are henceforth more numerous and important, and the Palermo annals show a fuller scale of record. The events in the three years that are preserved include a successful raid upon the negroes, and the construction of ships and gates of cedar-wood which must have been brought from the forests of the Lebanon. Snefru also set up a tablet at Wadi Maghāra in Sinai. He built two pyramids, one of them at Mēdūm in steps, the other, probably in the perfected form, at Dahshūr, both lying between Memphis and the Fayūm.
Pyramids did not cease to be built in Egypt till the New Kingdom; but from the end of the IIIrd to the VIth Dynasty is pre-eminently the time when the royal pyramid in stone was the chief monument left by each successive king. Zoser and Snefru have been already noticed. The personal name enclosed in a
is henceforth the commonest title of the king. We now reach the IVth Dynasty containing the famous
The pyramid period.
names of Cheops
), Chephren (Khafrê) and Mycerinus (Menkeurê), builders respectively of the Great, the Second and the Third Pyramids of Giza. In the best art of this time there was a grandeur which was never again attained. Perhaps the noblest example of Egyptian sculpture in the round is a diorite statue of Chephren, one of several found by Mariette in the so-called Temple of the Sphinx. This “temple” proves to be a monumental gate at the lower end of the great causeway leading to the plateau on which the pyramids were built. A king Dedefrê, between Cheops and Chephren, built a pyramid at Abu-Roāsh. Shepseskaf is one of the last in the dynasty. Tablets of most of these kings have been found at the mines of Wadi Maghāra. In the neighbourhood of the pyramids there are numerous mastabas of the court officials with fine sculpture in the chapels, and a few decorated tombs from the end of this centralized dynasty of absolute monarchs are known in Upper Egypt. A tablet which describes Cheops as the builder of various shrines about the Great Sphinx has been shown to be a priestly forgery, but the Sphinx itself may have been carved out of the rock under the splendid rule of the IVth Dynasty.
The Vth Dynasty is said to be of Elephantine, but this must be a mistake. Its kings worshipped Rē, the sun, rather than Horus, as their ancestor, and the title
began to be written by them before the cartouche containing the personal name, while another “solar” cartouche, containing a name compounded with Rē, followed the title
“king of Upper and Lower Egypt.”
Sahurē and the other kings of the dynasty built magnificent temples with obelisks dedicated to Rē, one of which, that of Neuserrē at Abusīr, has been thoroughly explored. The marvellous tales of the Westcar Papyrus, dating from the Middle Kingdom, narrate how three of the kings were born of a priestess of Rē. The pyramids of several of the kings are known. The early ones are at Abusīr, and the best preserved of the pyramid temples, that of Sahurē, excavated by the German Orient-Gesellschaft, in its architecture and sculptured scenes has revealed an astonishingly complete development of art and architecture as well as of warlike enterprise by sea and land at this remote period; the latest pyramid belonging to the Vth Dynasty, that of Unas at Sakkāra, is inscribed with long ritual and magical texts. Exquisitely sculptured tombs of this time are very numerous at Memphis and are found throughout Upper Egypt. Of work in the traditional temples of the country no trace remains, probably because, being in limestone, it has all perished. The annals of the Palermo stone were engraved and added to during this dynasty; the chief events recorded for the time are gifts and endowments for the temples. Evidently priestly influence was strong at the court. Expeditions to Sinai and Puoni (Punt) are commemorated on tablets.
The VIth Dynasty if not more vigorous was more articulate; inscribed tombs are spread throughout the country. The most active of its kings was the third, named Pepi or Phiops, from whose pyramid at Sakkara the capital, hitherto known as “White Walls,” derived its later name of Memphis (MN-NFR
, Mempi); a tombstone from Abydos celebrates the activity of a certain Una during the reigns of Pepi and his successor in organizing expeditions to the Sinai peninsula and south Palestine, and in transporting granite from Elephantine and other quarries. Herkhuf, prince of Elephantine and an enterprising leader of caravans to the south countries both in Nubia and the Libyan oases, flourished under Merenrē and Pepi II. called Neferkerē. On one occasion he brought home a dwarf dancer from the Sudan, described as being like one brought from Puoni in the time of the fifth-dynasty king Assa; this drew from the youthful Pepi II. an enthusiastic letter which was engraved in full upon the façade of Herkhuf’s tomb. The reign of the last-named king, begun early, lasted over ninety years, a fact so long remembered that even Manetho attributes to him ninety-four years; its length probably caused the ruin of the dynasty. The local princelings and monarchs had been growing in culture, wealth and power, and after Pepi II. an ominous gap in the monuments, pointing to civil war, marks the end of the Old Kingdom. The VIIth and VIIIth Dynasties are said to have been Memphite, but of them no record survives beyond some names of kings in the lists.
The Middle Kingdom.
—The long Memphite rule was broken by the IXth and Xth Dynasties, of Heracleopolis Magna (Hnês) in Middle Egypt. Kheti or Achthoës was apparently a favourite name with the kings, but they are very
obscure. They may have spread their rule by conquest over Upper Egypt and then overthrown the Memphite dynasty. The chief monuments of the period are certain inscribed tombs at Assiūt; it appears that one of the kings, whose praenomen was Mikerê, supported by a fleet and army from Upper Egypt, and especially by the prince of Assiūt, was restored to his paternal city of Heracleopolis, from which he had probably been driven out; his pyramid, however, was built in the old royal necropolis at Memphis. Later the princes of Thebes asserted their independence and founded the XIth Dynasty, which pushed its frontiers northwards until finally it occupied the whole country. Its kings were named Menthotp, from Mont, one of the gods of Thebes; others, perhaps sub-kings, were named Enyotf (Antef). They were buried at Thebes, whence the coffins of several were obtained by the early collectors of the 19th century. Nibhôtp Menthotp I. probably established his rule over all Egypt. The funerary temple of Nebheprê Menthotp III., the last but one of these kings, has been excavated by the Egypt Exploration Fund at Deir el Bahri, and must have been a magnificent monument. His successor Sankhkerê Menthotp IV. is known to have sent an expedition by the Red Sea to Puoni.
The XIIth Dynasty is the central point of the Middle Kingdom, to which the decline of the Memphite and the rise of the Heracleopolite dynasty mark the transition, while the growth of Thebes under the XIth Dynasty is its true starting-point. Monuments of the XIIth Dynasty are abundant and often of splendid design and workmanship, whereas previously there had been little produced since the VIth Dynasty that was not half barbarous. Although not much of the history of the XIIth Dynasty is ascertained, the Turin Papyrus and many dated inscriptions fix the succession and length of reign of the eight kings very accurately. The troubled times that the kingdom had passed through taught the long-lived monarchs the precaution of associating a competent successor on the throne. The nomarchs and the other feudal chiefs were inclined to strengthen themselves at the expense of their neighbours; a firm hand was required to hold them in check and distribute the honours as they were earned by faithful service. The tombs of the most favoured and wealthy princes are magnificent, particularly those of certain families in Middle Egypt at Beni Hasan, El Bersha, Assiūt and Deir Rīfa, and it is probable that each had a court and organization within his nome like that of the royal palace in miniature. Eventually, in the reigns of Senwosri III. and Amenemhê III., the succession of strong kings appears to have centralized all authority very completely. The names in the dynasty are Amenemhê (Ammenemes) and Senwosri (formerly read Usertesen or Senusert). The latter seems to be the origin of the Sesostris
) and Sesoosis of the legends. Amenemhê I., the first king, whose connexion with the previous dynasty is not known, reigned for thirty years, ten of them being in partnership with his son Senwosri I. He had to fight for his throne and then reorganize the country, removing his capital or residence from Thebes to a central situation near Lisht about 25 m. south of Memphis. His monuments are widespread in Egypt, the quarries and mines in the desert as far as Sinai bear witness to his great activity, and we know of an expedition which he made against the Nubians. The “Instructions of Amenemhê to his son Senwosri,” whether really his own or a later composition, refer to these things, to his care for his subjects, and to the ingratitude with which he was rewarded, an attempt on his life having been made by the trusted servants in his own palace. The story of Sinûhi is the true or realistic history of a soldier who, having overheard the secret intelligence of Amenemhê’s death, fled in fear to Palestine or Syria and there became rich in the favour of the prince of the land; growing old, however, he successfully sued for pardon from Senwosri and permission to return and die in Egypt.
Senwosri I. was already the executive partner in the time of the co-regency, warring with the Libyans and probably in the Sudan. After Amenemhê’s death he fully upheld the greatness of the dynasty in his long reign of forty-five years. The obelisk of Heliopolis is amongst his best-known monuments, and the damming of the Lake of Moeris
) must have been in progress in his reign. He built a temple far up the Nile at Wadi Halfa and there set up a stela commemorating his victories over the tribes of Nubia. The fine tombs of Ameni at Beni Hasan and of Hepzefa at Assiūt belong to his reign. The pyramids of both father and son are at Lisht.
Amenemhê II. was buried at Dahshūr; he was followed by Senwosri II., whose pyramid is at Illahūn at the mouth of the Fayūm. In his reign were executed the fine paintings in the tomb of Khnemhotp at Beni Hasan, which include a remarkable scene of Semitic Bedouins bringing eye-paint to Egypt from the eastern deserts. In Manetho he is identified with Sesostris (see above), but Senwosri I., and still more Senwosri III., have a better claim to this distinction. The latter warred in Palestine and in Nubia, and marked the south frontier of his kingdom by a statue and stelae at Semna beyond the Second Cataract. Near his pyramid was discovered the splendid jewelry of some princesses of his family (see Jewelry ad init.
). The tomb of Thethotp at El Bersha, celebrated for the scene of the transport of a colossus amongst its paintings, was finished in this reign.
Amenemhê III. completed the work of Lake Moeris and began a series of observations of the height of the inundation at Semna which was continued by his successors. In his long reign of forty-six years he built a pyramid at Dahshūr, and at Hawāra near the Lake of Moeris another pyramid together with the Labyrinth which seems to have been an enormous funerary temple attached to the pyramid. His name was remembered in the Fayūm during the Graeco-Roman period and his effigy worshipped there as Pera-marres, i.e. Pharaoh Marres (Marres being his praenomen graecized). Amenemhê IV.’s reign was short, and the dynasty ended with a queen Sebeknefru (Scemiophris), whose name is found in the scanty remains of the Labyrinth. The XIIth Dynasty numbered eight rulers and lasted for 213 years. Great as it was, it created no empire outside the Nile valley, and its most imposing monument, which according to the testimony of the ancients rivalled the pyramids, is now represented by a vast stratum of chips.
The history of the following period down to the rise of the New Empire is very obscure. Manetho gives us the XIIIth (Diospolite) Dynasty, the XIVth (Xoite from Xois in Lower Egypt), the XVth and XVIth (Hyksos) and the XVIIth (Diospolite), but his names are lost except for the Hyksos kings. The Abydos tablet ignores all between the XIIth and XVIIIth Dynasties. The Turin Papyrus preserves many names on its shattered fragments, and the monuments are for ever adding to the list, but it is difficult to assign them accurately to their places. The Hyksos names can in some cases be recognized by their foreign aspect, the peculiar style of the scarabs on which they are engraved or by resemblances to those recorded in Manetho. The kings of the XVIIth Dynasty too are generally recognizable by the form of their name and other circumstances. Manetho indicates marvellous crowding for the XIIIth and XIVth Dynasties, but it seems better to suggest a total duration of 300 or 400 years for the whole period than to adopt Meyer’s estimate of about 210 years (see above, Chronology).
Amongst the kings of the XIIIth Dynasty (including perhaps the XIVth), not a few are represented by granite statues of colossal size and fine workmanship, especially at Thebes and Tanis, some by architectural fragments, some by graffiti on the rocks about the First Cataract. Some few certainly reigned over all Egypt. Sebkhotp (Sekhotp, Σοχωτης
) is a favourite name, no doubt to be connected with the god of the Fayūm. Several of the Theban kings named Antef (Enyotf) must be placed here rather than in the XIth Dynasty. A decree of one of them degrading a monarch who had sided with his enemies was found at Coptos engraved on a doorway of Senwosri I.
In its divided state Egypt would fall an easy prey to the foreigner. Manetho says that the Hyksos
) gained Egypt without a blow. Their domination must have lasted a considerable time, the Rhind mathematical papyrus having been copied in the thirty-third year of a king
The Hyksos period.
Apophis. The monuments and scarabs of the Hyksos kings are found throughout Upper and Lower Egypt; those of Khian somehow spread as far as Crete and Bagdad. The Hyksos, in whom Josephus recognized the children of Israel, worshipped their own Syrian deity, identifying him with the Egyptian god Seth, and endeavoured to establish his cult throughout Egypt to the detriment of the native gods. It is to be hoped that definite light may one day be forthcoming on the whole of this critical episode which had such a profound effect on the character and history of the Egyptian people. The spirited overthrow of the Hyksos ushered in the glories in arms and arts which marked the New Empire. The XVIIth Dynasty probably began the struggle, at first as semi-independent kinglets at Thebes. Seqenenrê is here a leading name; the mummy of the third Seqenenrê, the earliest in the great find of royal mummies at Deir el Bahri, shows the head frightfully hacked and split, perhaps in a battle with the Hyksos.
The New Empire.
—The epithet “new” is generally attached to this period, and “empire” instead of “kingdom” marks its wider power. The glorious XVIIIth Dynasty seems to have been closely related to the XVIIth. Its first task was to crush the Hyksos power in the north-east
of the Delta; this was fully accomplished by its founder Ahmosi (dialectically Ahmasi, Amōsis or Amāsis I.) capturing their great stronghold of Avāris. Amasis next attacked them in S.W. Palestine, where he captured Sharuhen after a siege of three years. He fought also in Syria and in Nubia, besides overcoming factious opposition in his own land. The principal source for the history of this time is the biographical inscription at El Kab of a namesake of the king, Ahmosi son of Abana, a sailor and warrior whose exploits extend to the reign of Tethmōsis I. Amenōphis I. (Amenhotp), succeeding Amasis, fought in Libya and Ethiopia. Tethmosis I. (c. 1540 B.C.
) was perhaps of another family, but obtained his title to the throne through his wife Ahmosi. After some thirty years of settled rule uninterrupted by revolt, Egypt was now strong and rich enough to indulge to the full its new taste for war and lust of conquest. It had become essentially a military state. The whole of the administration was in the hands of the king with his vizier and other court officials; no trace of the feudalism of the Middle Kingdom survived. Tethmosis thoroughly subdued Cush, which had already been placed under the government of a viceroy. This province of Cush extended from Napata just below the Fourth Cataract on the south to El Kab in the north, so that it included the first three nomes of Upper Egypt, which agriculturally were not greatly superior to Nubia. Turning next to Syria, Tethmosis carried his arms as far as the Euphrates. It is possible that his predecessor had also reached this point, but no record survives to prove it. These successful campaigns were probably not very costly, and prisoners, plunder and tribute poured in from them to enrich Egypt. Tethmosis I. made the first of those great additions to the temple of the Theban Ammon at Karnak by which the Pharaohs of the Empire rendered it by far the greatest of the existing temples in the world. The temple of Deir el Bahri also was designed by him. Towards the end of his reign,
his elder sons being dead, Tethmosis associated Hatshepsut, his daughter by Ahmosi, with himself upon the throne. Tethmosis I. was the first of the long line of kings to be buried in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings of Thebes. At his death another son Tethmosis II. succeeded as the husband of his half-sister, but reigned only two or three years, during which he warred in Nubia and placed Tethmosis III., his son by a concubine Ēsi, upon the throne beside him (c. 1500 B.C.
). After her husband’s death the ambitious Hatshepsut assumed the full regal power; upon her monuments she wears the masculine garb and aspect of a king though the feminine gender is retained for her in the inscriptions. On some monuments of this period her name appears alone, on others in conjunction with that of Tethmosis III., while the latter again may appear without the queen’s; but this extraordinary woman must have had a great influence over her stepson and was the acknowledged ruler of Egypt. Tethmosis, to judge by the evidence of his mummy and the chronology of his reign, was already a grown man, yet no sign of the immense powers which he displayed later has come down to us from the joint reign. Hatshepsut cultivated the arts of peace. She restored the worship in those temples of Upper and Lower Egypt which had not yet recovered from the religious oppression and neglect of the Hyksos. She completed and decorated the temple of Deir el Bahri, embellishing its walls with scenes calculated to establish her claims, representing her divine origin and upbringing under the protection of Ammon, and her association on the throne by her human father. The famous sculptures of the great expedition by water to Puoni, the land of incense on the Somali coast, are also here, with many others. At Karnak Hatshepsut laboured chiefly to complete the works projected in the reigns of Tethmosis I. and II., and set up two obelisks in front of the entrance as it then was. One of these, still standing, is the most brilliant ornament of that wonderful temple. A date of the twenty-second year of her reign has been found at Sinai, no doubt counted from the beginning of the co-regency with Tethmosis I. Not much later, in his twenty-second year, Tethmosis III. is reigning alone in full vigour. While she lived, the personality of the queen secured the devotion of her servants and held all ambitions in check. Not long after her death there was a violent reaction. Prejudice against the rule of a woman, particularly one who had made her name and figure so conspicuous, was probably the cause of this outbreak, and perhaps sought justification in the fact that, however complete was her right, she had in some degree usurped a place to which her stepson (who was also her nephew) had been appointed. Her cartouches began to be defaced or her monuments hidden up by other buildings, and the same rage pursued some of her most faithful servants in their tombs. But the beauty of the work seems to have restrained the hand of the destroyer. Then came the religious fanaticism of Akhenaton, mutilating all figures of Ammon and all inscriptions containing his name; this made havoc of the exquisite monuments of Hatshepsut; and the restorers of the XIXth Dynasty, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the queen, had no scruples in replacing her names by those of the associate kings Tethmosis I., II. or III. These acts of vandalism took place throughout Egypt, but in the distant mines of Sinai the cartouches of Hatshepsut are untouched. In the royal lists of Seti I. and Rameses II. Hatshepsut has no place, nor is her reign referred to on any later monument.
The immense energy of Tethmosis III. now found its outlet in war. Syria had revolted, perhaps on Hatshepsut’s death, but by his twenty-second year the monarch was ready to lead his army against the rebels. The revolt, headed by the city of Kadesh on the Orontes, embraced the
Wars of Tethmosis III.
whole of western Syria. The movements of Tethmosis in this first campaign, including a battle with the Syrian chariots and infantry at Megiddo and the capture of that city, were chronicled from day to day, and an extract from this chronicle is engraved on the walls of the sanctuary of Karnak, together with a brief record of the subsequent expeditions. In a series of five carefully planned campaigns he consolidated his conquests in southern Syria and secured the ports of Phoenicia
). Kadesh fell in the sixth campaign. In the next year Tethmosis revisited the Phoenician ports, chastised the rebellious and received the tribute of Syria, all the while preparing for further advance, which did not take place until another year had gone by. Then, in the thirty-third year of his reign, he marched through Kadesh, fought his way to Carchemish, defeated the forces that opposed him there and crossed over the Euphrates into the territory of the king of Mitanni. He set up a tablet by the side of that of Tethmosis I. and turned southward, following the river as far as Niy. Here he stayed to hunt a herd of 120 elephants, and then, marching westwards, received the tribute of Naharina and gifts from the Hittites in Asia Minor and from the king of Babylon. In all he fought seventeen campaigns in Syria until the spirit of revolt was entirely crushed in a second capture of Kadesh. The wars in Libya and Ethiopia were of less moment. In the intervals of war Tethmosis III. proved to be a wonderfully efficient administrator, with his eye on every corner of his dominions. The Syrian expeditions occupied six months in most of his best years, but the remaining time was spent in activity at home, repressing robbery and injustice, rebuilding and adorning temples with the labour of his captives and the plunder and tribute of conquered cities, or designing with his own hand the gorgeous sacred vessels of the sanctuary of Ammon. In his later years some expeditions took place into Nubia. Tethmosis died in the fifty-fourth year of his reign. His mummy, found in the cachette
at Deir el Bahri, is said to be that of a very old man. He was the greatest Pharaoh in the New Empire, if not in all Egyptian history.
Tethmosis III. was succeeded by his son Amenophis II., whom he had associated on the throne at the end of his reign. One of the first acts of the new king was to lead an army into Syria, where revolt was again rife; he reached and perhaps crossed the Euphrates and returned home to Thebes with seven captive kings of Tikhsi and much spoil. The kings he sacrificed to Ammon and hanged six bodies on the walls, while the seventh was carried south to Napata and there exposed as a terror to the Ethiopians. Amenophis reigned twenty-six years and left his throne to his son Tethmosis IV., who is best remembered by a granite tablet recording his clearance of the Great Sphinx. He also warred in northern Syria and in Cush. His son Amenophis III., c.
, was a mighty builder, especially at Thebes, where his reign marks a new epoch in the history of the great temples, Luxor being his creation, while avenues of rams, pylons, &c., were added on a vast scale to Karnak. He married a certain Taia, who, though apparently of humble parentage, was held in
great honour by her husband as afterwards by her son. Amenophis III. warred in Ethiopia, but his sway was long unquestioned from Napata to the Euphrates. Small objects with his name and that of Taia are found on the mainland and in the islands of Greece. Through the fortunate discovery of cuneiform tablets deposited by his successor in the archives at Tell el-Amarna, we can see how the rulers of the great kingdoms beyond the river, Mitanni, Assyria and even Babylonia, corresponded with Amenophis, gave their daughters to him in marriage, and congratulated themselves on having his friendship. The king of Cyprus too courted him; while within the empire the descendants of the Syrian dynasts conquered by his father, having been educated in Egypt, ruled their paternal possessions as the abject slaves of Pharaoh. A constant stream of tribute poured into Egypt, sufficient to defray the cost of all the splendid works that were executed. Amenophis caused a series of large scarabs unique in their kind to be engraved with the name and parentage of his queen Taia, followed by varying texts commemorating like medals the boundaries of his kingdom, his secondary marriage with Gilukhipa, daughter of the king of Mitanni, the formation of a sacred lake at Thebes, a great hunt of wild cattle, and the number of lions the king slew in the first ten years of his reign. The colossi known to the Greeks by the name of the Homeric hero Memnon, which look over the western plain of Thebes, represent this king and were placed before the entrance of his funerary temple, the rest of which has disappeared. His palace lay farther south on the west bank, built of crude brick covered with painted stucco. Towards the end of his reign of thirty-six years, Syria was invaded by the Hittites from the north and the people called the Khabiri from the eastern desert; some of the kinglets conspired with the invaders to overthrow the Egyptian power, while those who remained loyal sent alarming reports to their sovereign.
Amenophis IV., son of Amenophis III. and Taia, was perhaps the most remarkable character in the long line of the Pharaohs. He was a religious fanatic, who had probably been high priest of the sun-god at Heliopolis, and had come to
view the sun as the visible source of life, creation, growth and activity, whose power was demonstrated in foreign lands almost as clearly as in Egypt. Thrusting aside all the multitudinous deities of Egypt and all the mythology even of Heliopolis, he devoted himself to the cult of the visible sun-disk, applying to it as its chief name the hitherto rare word Aton, meaning “sun”; the traditional divine name Harakht (Horus of the horizon), given to the hawk-headed sun-god of Heliopolis, was however allowed to subsist and a temple was built at Karnak to this god. The worship of the other gods was officially recognized until his fifth year, but then a sweeping reform was initiated by which apparently the new cult alone was permitted. Of the old deities Ammon represented by far the wealthiest and most powerful interests, and against this long favoured deity the Pharaoh hurled himself with fury. He changed his own name from Amenhotp, “Ammon is satisfied,” to Akhenaton, “pious to Aton,” erased the name and figure of Ammon from the monuments, even where it occurred as part of his own father’s name, abandoned Thebes, the magnificent city of Ammon, and built a new capital at El Amarna in the plain of Hermopolis, on a virgin site upon the edge of the desert. This with a large area around he dedicated to Aton in the sixth year, while splendid temples, palaces, houses and tombs for his god, for himself and for his courtiers were rising around him; apparently also this “son of Aton” swore an oath never to pass beyond the boundaries of Aton’s special domain. There are signs also that the polytheistic word “gods” was obliterated on many of the monuments, but other divine names, though almost entirely excluded from Akhenaton’s work, were left untouched where they already existed. In all local temples the worship of Aton was instituted. The confiscated revenues of Ammon and the tribute from Syria and Cush provided ample means for adorning Ekhaton (Akhetaton), “the horizon of Aton,” the new capital, and for richly rewarding those who adopted the Aton teaching fervently. But meanwhile the political needs of the empire were neglected; the dangers which threatened it at the end of the reign of Amenophis III. were never properly met; the dynasts in Syria were at war amongst themselves, intriguing with the great Hittite advance and with the Khabiri invaders. Those who relied on Pharaoh and remained loyal as their fathers had done sent letter after letter appealing for aid against their foes. But though a general was despatched with some troops, he seems to have done more harm than good in misjudging the quarrels. At length the tone of the letters becomes one of despair, in which flight to Egypt appears the only resource left for the adherents of the Egyptian cause. Before the end of the reign Egyptian rule in Syria had probably ceased altogether. Akhenaton died in or about the seventeenth year of his reign, c.
He had a family of daughters, who appeared constantly with him in all ceremonies, but no son. Two sons-in-law followed him with brief reigns; but the second, Tutenkhaton, soon changed his name to Tutenkhamûn, and, without abandoning Ekhaton entirely, began to restore to Karnak its ancient splendour, with new monuments dedicated to Ammon. Akhenaton’s reform had not reached deep amongst the masses of the population; they probably retained all their old religious customs and superstitions, while the priesthoods throughout the country must have been fiercely opposed to the heretic’s work, even if silenced during his lifetime by force and bribes. One more adherent of his named Ay, a priest, ruled for a short time, but now Aton was only one of many gods. At length a general named Harmahib, who had served under Akhenaton, came to the throne as a whole-hearted supporter of the old religion; soon Aton and his royal following suffered the fate that they had imposed upon Ammon; their monuments were destroyed and their names and figures erased, while those of Ammon were restored. From the time of Rameses II. onwards the years of the reigns of the heretics were counted to Harmahib, and Akhenaton was described as “that criminal of Akhetaton.” Harmahib had to bring order as a practical man into the long-neglected administration of the country and to suppress the extortions of the official classes by severe measures. His laws to this end were engraved on a great stela in the temple of Karnak, of which sufficient remains to bear witness to his high aims, while the prosperity of the succeeding reigns shows how well he realized the necessities of the state. He probably began also to re-establish the prestige of Egypt by military expeditions in the surrounding countries.
Harmahib appears to have legitimated his rule by marriage to a royal princess, but it is probable that Rameses I., who succeeded as founder of the XIXth Dynasty, was not closely related to him. Rameses in his brief reign of
two years planned and began the great colonnaded hall of Karnak, proving that he was a man of great ideas, though probably too old to carry them out; this task he left to his son Seti I., who reigned one year with his father and on the latter’s death was ready at once to subdue the Bedouin Shasu, who had invaded Palestine and withheld all tribute. This task was quickly accomplished and Seti pushed onward to the Lebanon. Here cedars were felled for him by the Syrian princes, and the Phoenicians paid homage before he returned home in triumph. The Libyans had also to be dealt with, and afterwards Seti advanced again through Palestine, ravaged the land of the Amorites and came into conflict with the Hittites. The latter, however, were now firmly established in the Orontes valley, and a treaty with Mutallu, the king of Kheta, reigning far away in Cappadocia, probably ended the wars of Seti. In his ninth year he turned his attention to the gold mines in the eastern desert of Nubia and improved the road thither. Meanwhile the great work at Karnak projected by his father was going forward, and throughout Egypt the injuries done to the monuments by Akhenaton were thoroughly repaired; the erased inscriptions and figures were restored, not without many blunders. Seti’s temple at Abydos and his galleried tomb in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings stand out as the most splendid examples of their kind in design and in
decoration. Rameses II. succeeded at an early age and reigned sixty-seven years, during which he finished much that was begun by Seti and filled all Egypt and Nubia with his own monuments, some of them beautiful, but most, necessarily entrusted to inferior workmen, of coarse execution. The excavation of the rock temple of Abu Simbel and the completion of the great hall of Karnak were his greatest achievements in architecture. His wars began in his second year, their field comprising the Nubians, the Libyans, the Syrians and the Hittites. In his fifth year, near Kadesh on the Orontes, his army was caught unprepared and divided by a strong force of chariots of the Hittites and their allies, and Rameses himself was placed in the most imminent danger; but through his personal courage the enemy was kept at bay till reinforcements came up and turned the disaster into a victory. The incidents of this episode were a favourite subject in the sculptures of his temples, where their representation was accompanied by a poetical version of the affair and other explanatory inscriptions. Kadesh, however, was not captured, and after further contests, in his twenty-first year Rameses and the Hittite king Khattusil (Kheta-sar) made peace, with a defensive alliance against foreign aggression and internal revolt (see Hittites
). Thanks to Winckler’s discoveries, the cuneiform text of this treaty from Boghaz Keui can now be compared with the hieroglyphic text at Karnak. In the thirty-fourth year, c.
, Khattusil with his friend or subject the king of Kode came from his distant capital to see the wonders of Egypt in person, bringing one of his daughters to be wife of the splendid Pharaoh. Rameses II. paid much attention to the Delta, which had been neglected until the days of Seti I., and resided there constantly; the temple of Tanis must have been greatly enlarged and adorned by him; a colossus of the king placed here was over 90 ft. in height, exceeding in scale even the greatest of the Theban colossi which he had erected in his mortuary temple of the Ramesseum. Towards the end of the long reign the vigilance and energy of the old king diminished. The military spirit awakened in the struggle with the Hyksos had again departed from the Egyptian nation; mercenaries from the Sudan, from Libya and from the northern nations supplied the armies, while foreigners settled in the rich lands of the Delta and harried the coasts. It was a time too when the movements of the nations that so frequently occurred in the ancient world were about to be particularly active. Mineptah, c.
, succeeding his father Rameses II., had to fight many battles for the preservation of his kingdom and empire. Apparently most of the fighting was finished by the fifth year of his reign; in his mortuary temple at Thebes he set up a stela of that date recording a great victory over the Libyan immigrants and invaders, which rendered the much harried land of Egypt safe. The last lines picture this condition with the crushing of the surrounding tribes. Libya was wasted, the Hittites pacified, Canaan, Ashkelon (Ascalon), Gezer, Yenoam sacked and plundered: “Israel is desolated, his seed is not, Khor (Palestine) has become a widow (without protector) for Egypt.” The Libyans are accompanied by allies whose names, Sherden, Shekelesh, Ekwesh, Lukku, Teresh, suggest identifications with Sardinians, Sicels, Achaeans, Lycians and Tyrseni or Etruscans. The Sherden had been in the armies of Rameses II., and are distinguished by their remarkable helmets and apparently body armour of metal. The Lukku are certainly the same as the Lycians. Probably they were all sea-rovers from the shores and islands of the Mediterranean, who were willing to leave their ships and join the Libyans in raids on the rich lands of Egypt. Mineptah was one of the most unconscionable usurpers of the monuments of his predecessors, including those of his own father, who, it must be admitted, had set him the example. The coarse cutting of his cartouches contrasts with the splendid finish of the Middle Kingdom work which they disfigure. It may be questioned whether it was due to a wave of enthusiasm amongst the priests and people, leading them to rededicate the monuments in the name of their deliverer, or a somewhat insane desire of the king to perpetuate his own memory in a singularly unfortunate manner. Mineptah, the thirteenth son in the huge family of Rameses, must have been old when he ascended the throne; after his first years of reign his energies gave way, and he was followed by a quick succession of inglorious rulers, Seti II., the queen Tuosri, Amenmesse, Siptah; the names of the last two were erased from their monuments.
A great papyrus written after the death of Rameses III. and recording his gifts to the temples briefly reviews the conditions of these troublous times. “The land of Egypt was in the hands of chiefs and rulers of towns, great and
small slaying each other; afterwards a certain Syrian made himself chief; he made the whole land tributary before him; he united his companions and plundered their property (i.e.
of the other chiefs). They made the gods like men, and no offerings were presented in the temples. But when the gods inclined themselves to peace ... they established their son Setenkhot (Setnekht) to be ruler of every land.” Of the Syrian occupation we know nothing further. Setenkhot, c.
, had a very short reign and was not counted as legitimate, but he established a lasting dynasty (probably by conciliating the priesthood). He was father of Rameses III., who revived the glories of the empire. The dangers that menaced Egypt now were similar to those which Mineptah had to meet at his accession. Again the Libyans and the “peoples of the sea” were acting in concert. The latter now comprised Peleset (the Cretans, ancestors of the Philistines), Thekel, Shekelesh, Denyen (Danaoi?) and Weshesh; they had invaded Syria from Asia Minor, reaching the Euphrates, destroying the Hittite cities and progressing southwards, while their ships gathered plunder from the coasts of the Delta. This fleet joined the Libyan invaders, but was overthrown with heavy loss by the Egyptians, in whose ranks there actually served many Sherden and Kehaka, Sardinian and Libyan mercenaries. Egypt itself was thus clear of enemies; but the chariots and warriors of the Philistines and their associates were advancing through Syria, their families and goods following in ox-carts, and their ships accompanying them along the shore. Rameses led out his army and fleet against them and struck them so decisive a blow that the migrating swarm submitted to his rule and paid him tribute. In his eleventh year another Libyan invasion had to be met, and his suzerainty in Palestine forcibly asserted. His vigour was equal to all these emergencies and the later years of his reign were spent in peace. Rameses III., however, was not a great ruler. He was possessed by the spirit of decadence, imitative rather than originating. It is evident that Rameses II. was the model to which he endeavoured to conform, and he did not attempt to preserve himself from the weakening influences of priestcraft. To the temples he not only restored the property which had been given to them by former kings, but he also added greatly to their wealth; the Theban Ammon naturally received by far the greatest share, more than those of all the other gods together. The land held in the name of different deities is estimated at about 15% of the whole of Egypt; various temples of Ammon owned two-thirds of this, Re of Heliopolis and Ptah of Memphis being the next in wealth. His palace was at Medinet Habu on the west bank of Thebes in the south quarter; and here he built a great temple to Ammon, adorned with scenes from his victories and richly provided with divine offerings. Although Egypt probably was prosperous on the whole, there was undoubtedly great distress amongst certain portions of the population. We read in a papyrus of a strike of starving labourers in the Theban necropolis who would not work until corn was given to them, and apparently the government storehouse was empty at the time, perhaps in consequence of a bad Nile. Shortly before the death of the old king a plot in the harem to assassinate him, and apparently to place one of his sons on the throne, was discovered and its investigation ordered, leading after his death to the condemnation of many high-placed men and women. Nine kings of the name of Rameses now followed each other ingloriously in the space of about eighty years to the end of the XXth Dynasty, the power of the high priests of Ammon ever growing at their expense. At this time the Theban necropolis was being more systematically robbed than ever before. Under Rameses IX. an investigation took place which showed that one of the royal tombs before the western cliffs had been completely ransacked and the mummies burnt. Three years later the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings was attacked and the sepulchres of Seti I. and Rameses II. were robbed.
The authority of the last king of the XXth Dynasty, Rameses XII., was shadowy. Hrihor, the high priest in his reign, gradually gathered into his own hands all real power, and succeeded him at Thebes, c. 1100 B.C.,
The Deltaic Dynasties; Libyan period.
while a prince at Tanis named Smendes (Esbentêti) founded a separate dynasty in the Delta (Dynasty XXI.). From this period dates a remarkable papyrus containing the report of an envoy named Unamûn, sent to Syria by Hrihor to obtain cedar timber from Byblus. He took with him an image of Ammon to bestow life and health on the prince of Byblus, but apparently no other provision for the journey or for the negotiations beyond a letter of recommendation to Smendes and a little gold and silver. Smendes had trading ships in the Phoenician ports, but even his influence was not greater than that of other commercial or pirate centres, while Hrihor was of no account except in so far as he might pay well for the cedar wood he required. Unamûn was robbed on the voyage, the prince of Byblus rebuffed him, and when at last the latter agreed to provide the timber it was only in exchange for substantial gifts hastily sent for from Egypt (including rolls of papyrus) and the promise of more to follow. The prince, however, seems to have acknowledged to some extent the divinity of Ammon and the debt owed by Phoenicia to Egyptian culture, and pitied the many misfortunes of Unamûn. The narrative shows the feebleness of Egypt abroad. The Tanite line of kings generally had the over-lordship of the high priests of Thebes; the descendants of Hrihor, however, sometimes by marriage with princesses of the other line, could assume cartouches and royal titles, and in some cases perhaps ruled the whole of Egypt. Ethiopia may have been ruled with the Thebais, but the records of the time are very scanty. Syria was wholly lost to Egypt. The mummies from the despoiled tombs of the kings were the object of much anxious care to the kings of this dynasty; after being removed from one tomb to another, they were finally deposited in a shaft near the temple of Deir el Bahri, where they remained for nearly three thousand years, until the demand for antiquities at last brought the plunderer once more to their hiding-place; eventually they were all secured for the Cairo museum, where they may now be seen.
Libyan soldiers had long been employed in the army, and their military chiefs settled in the large towns and acquired wealth and power, while the native rulers grew weaker and weaker. The Tanite dynasty may have risen from a Libyan stock, though there is nothing to prove it; the XXIInd Dynasty are clearly from their names of foreign extraction, and their genealogy indicates distinctly a Libyan military origin in a family of rulers of Heracleopolis Magna, in Middle Egypt. Sheshonk (Shishak) I., the founder of the dynasty, c. 950 B.C., seems to have fixed his residence at Bubastis in the Delta, and his son married the daughter of the last king of the Tanite dynasty. Heracleopolis seems henceforth for several centuries to have been capital of Middle Egypt, which was considered as a more or less distinct province. Sheshonk secured Thebes, making one of his sons high priest of Ammon, and whereas Solomon appears to have dealt with a king of Egypt on something like an equal footing, Sheshonk re-established Egyptian rule in Palestine and Nubia, and his expedition in the fifth year of Rehoboam subdued Israel as well as Judah, to judge by the list of city names which he inscribed on the wall of the temple of Karnak. Osorkon I. inherited a prosperous kingdom from his father, but no further progress was made. It required a strong hand to curb the Libyan chieftains, and divisions soon began to show themselves in the kingdom. The XXIInd Dynasty lasted through many generations; but there were rival kings, and M. Legrain thinks that he has proof that the XXIIIrd Dynasty was contemporaneous with the end of the XXIInd. The kings of the XXIIIrd Dynasty had little hold upon the subject princes, who spent the resources of the country in feuds amongst themselves. A native kingdom had meanwhile been established in Ethiopia. Our first knowledge of it is at this moment, when the Ethiopian king Pankhi already held the Thebais. The energetic prince of Sais, Tefnakht, followed by most of the princes of the Delta, subdued most of Middle Egypt, and by uniting these forces threatened the Ethiopian border. Heracleopolis Magna, however, with its petty king Pefteuaubasti, held out against Tefnakht, and Pankhi coming to its aid not only drove Tefnakht out of Middle Egypt, but also captured Memphis and received the submission of the princes and chiefs; in all these included four “kings” and fourteen other chiefs. According to Diodorus the Ethiopian state was theocratic, ruled through the king by the priests of Ammon. The account is probably exaggerated; but even in Pankhi’s record the piety of the king, especially towards Ammon, is very marked.
The XXIVth Dynasty consisted of a single Saite king named Bocchoris (Bekerrinf), son of Tefnachthus, apparently the above Tefnakht. Another Ethiopian invader, Shabako (Sabacon), is said to have burnt Bocchoris alive. The
Ethiopian rule of the XXVth Dynasty was now firmly established, and the resources of the two countries together might have been employed in conquest in Syria and Phoenicia; but at this very time the Assyrian empire, risen to the highest pitch of military greatness, began to menace Egypt. The Ethiopian could do no more than encourage or support the Syrians in their fight for freedom against Sargon and Sennacherib. Shabako was followed by Shebitku and Shebitku by Tirhaka (Tahrak, Taracos). Tirhaka was energetic in opposing the Assyrian advance, but in 670 B.C.
Esarhaddon defeated his army on the border of Egypt, captured Memphis with the royal harem and took great spoil. The Egyptian resistance to the Assyrians was probably only half-hearted; in the north especially there must have been a strong party against the Ethiopian rule. Tirhaka laboured to propitiate the north country, and probably rendered the Ethiopian rule acceptable throughout Egypt. Notwithstanding, the Assyrian king entrusted the government and collection of tribute to the native chiefs; twenty princes in all are enumerated in the records, including one Assyrian to hold the key of Egypt at Pelusium. Scarcely had Esarhaddon withdrawn before Tirhaka returned from his refuge in the south and the Assyrian garrisons were massacred. Esarhaddon promptly prepared a second expedition, but died on the way to Egypt in 668 B.C.
; his son Assur-bani-pal sent it forward, routed Tirhaka and reinstated the governors. At the head of these was Necho (Niku), king of Sais and Memphis, father of Psammetichus, the founder of the XXVIth Dynasty. We next hear that correspondence with Tirhaka was intercepted, and that Necho, together with Pekrûr of Psapt (at the entrance to the Wadi Tumilat) and the Assyrian governor of Pelusium, was taken to Nineveh in chains to answer the charge of treason. Whatever may have occurred, it was deemed politic to send Necho back loaded with honours and surrounded by a retinue of Assyrian officials. Upper Egypt, however, was loyal to Tirhaka, and even at Memphis the burial of an Apis bull was dated by the priests as in his reign. Immediately afterwards he died. His nephew Tandamane, received by the Upper country with acclamations, besieged and captured Memphis, Necho being probably slain in the encounter. But in 661 (?) Assur-bani-pal drove the Ethiopian out of Lower Egypt, pursued him up the Nile and sacked Thebes. This was the last and most tremendous visitation of the Assyrian scourge.
Psammetichus (Psammêtk), 664-610 B.C.
, the son of Necho, succeeded his father as a vassal of Assyria in his possessions of Memphis and Sais, allied himself with Gyges, king of Lydia, and aided by Ionian and Carian mercenaries,
extended and consolidated his power.
By the ninth year of his reign he was in full possession of Thebes. Assur-bani-pal’s energies throughout this crisis were entirely occupied with revolts nearer home, in Babylon, Elam and Arabia. The Assyrian arms again triumphed everywhere, but at the cost of complete exhaustion. Under the firm and wise rule of Psammetichus, Egypt recovered its prosperity after the terrible losses inflicted by internal wars and the decade of Assyrian invasions. The revenue went up by leaps and bounds. Psammetichus guarded the frontiers of Egypt with three strong garrisons, placing the Ionian and Carian mercenaries especially at the Pelusiac Daphnae in the N.E., from which quarter the most formidable enemy was likely to appear. The Assyrians did not move against him, but a great Scythian horde, destroying all before it in its southward advance, is said by Herodotus to have been turned back by presents and entreaties. Diplomacy backed up by vigorous preparations may have deterred the Scythians from the dangerous enterprise of crossing the desert to Egypt. Before his death Psammetichus had advanced into southern Palestine and captured Azotus.
When Psammetichus began to reign the situation of Egypt was very different from what it had been under the Empire. The development of trade in the Mediterranean and contact with new peoples and new civilizations in peace and war had given birth to new ideas among the Egyptians and at the same time to a loss of confidence in their own powers. The Theban supremacy was gone and the Delta was now the wealthy and progressive part of Egypt; piety increased amongst the masses, unenterprising and unwarlike, but proud of their illustrious antiquity. Thebes and Ammon and the traditions of the Empire savoured too much now of the Ethiopian; the priests of the Memphite and Deltaic dynasty thereupon turned deliberately for their models to the times of the ancient supremacy of Memphis, and the sculptures and texts on tomb and temple had to conform as closely as possible to those of the Old Kingdom. In other than religious matters, however, the Egyptians were inventing and perhaps borrowing. To enumerate a few examples of this which are already definitely known: we find that the forms of legal and business documents became more precise; the mechanical arts of casting in bronze on a core and of moulding figures and pottery were brought to the highest pitch of excellence; and portraiture in the round on its highest plane was better than ever before and admirably lifelike, revealing careful study of the external anatomy of the individual.
Psammetichus died in the fifty-fourth year of his reign and was succeeded by his son Necho, 610-594 B.C.
Taking advantage of the helpless state of the Assyrians, whose capital was assailed by the Medes and the Babylonians, the new Pharaoh prepared an expedition to recover the ancient possessions of the Empire in Syria. Josiah alone, faithful to the king of Assyria, opposed him with his feeble force at Megiddo and was easily overcome and slain. Necho went forward to the Euphrates, put the land to tribute, and, in the case of Judah at any rate, filled the throne with his own nominee (see Jehoiakim
). The fall of Nineveh and the division of the spoil gave to Nabopolasser, king of Babylon, the inheritance of the Assyrians in the west, and he at once despatched his son Nebuchadrezzar to fight Necho. The Babylonian and Egyptian forces met at Carchemish (605), and the rout of the latter was so complete that Necho relinquished Syria and might have lost Egypt as well had not the death of Nabopolasser recalled the victor to Babylon. Herodotus relates that in Necho’s reign a Phoenician ship despatched from Egypt actually circumnavigated Africa, and the attempt was made to complete a canal through the Wadi Tumilat, which connected the Mediterranean and Red Seas by way of the Lower Egyptian Nile. (See Suez
.) The next king, Psammetichus II., 594-589 B.C.
, according to one account made an expedition to Syria or Phoenicia, and apparently sent a mercenary force into Ethiopia as far as Abu Simbel. Pharaoh Hophra (Apries), 589-570 B.C.
, fomented rebellion against the Babylonian suzerainty in Judah, but accomplished little there. Herodotus, however, describes his reign as exceedingly prosperous. The mercenary troops at Elephantine mutinied and attempted to desert to Ethiopia, but were brought back and punished. Later, however, a disastrous expedition sent to aid the Libyans against the Greek colony of Cyrene roused the suspicion and anger of the native soldiery at favours shown to the mercenaries, who of course had taken no part in it. Amasis (Aḥmosi) II. was chosen king by the former (570-525 B.C.
), and his swarm of adherents overcame the Greek troops in Apries’ pay (see Amasis
). None the less Amasis employed Greeks in numbers, and cultivated the friendship of their tyrants. His rule was confined to Egypt (and perhaps Cyprus), but Egypt itself was very prosperous. At the beginning of his long reign of forty-four years he was threatened by Nebuchadrezzar; later he joined the league against Cyrus and saw with alarm the fall of his old enemy. A few months after his death, 525 B.C.
, the invading host of the Persians led by Cambyses reached Egypt and dethroned his son Psammetichus III.
Cambyses at first conciliated the Egyptians and respected their religion; but, perhaps after the failure of his expedition into Ethiopia, he entirely changed his policy, and his memory was generally execrated. He left Egypt so
The Persian period, XXVIIth Dynasty.
completely crushed that the subsequent usurpation of the Persian throne was marked by no revolt in that quarter. Darius, 521-486 B.C.
, proved himself a beneficent ruler, and in a visit to Egypt displayed his consideration for the religion of the country. In the Great Oasis he built a temple to Ammon. The annual tribute imposed on the satrapy of Egypt and Cyrene was heavy, but it was probably raised with ease. The canal from the Nile to the Red Sea was completed or repaired, and commerce flourished. Documents dated in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth years of Darius are not uncommon, but apparently at the very end of his reign, some years after the disaster of Marathon, Egypt was induced to rebel. Xerxes, 486-467 B.C.
, who put down the revolt with severity, and his successor Artaxerxes, 466-425 B.C.
, like Cambyses, were hateful to the Egyptians. The disorders which marked the accession of Artaxerxes gave Egypt another opportunity to rebel. Their leaders were Inaros the Libyan of Marea and the Egyptian Amyrtaeus. Aided by an Athenian force, Inaros slew the satrap Achaemenes at the battle of Papremis and destroyed his army; but the garrison of Memphis held out, and a fresh host from Persia raised the siege and in turn besieged the Greek and Egyptian forces on the island of Papremis. At last, after two years, having diverted the river from its channel, they captured and burnt the Athenian ships and quickly ended the rebellion. The reigns of Xerxes II. and Darius II. are marked by no recorded incident in Egypt until a successful revolt about 405 B.C.
interrupted the Persian domination.
Monuments of the Persian rule in Egypt are exceedingly scanty. The inscriptions of Pefteuauneit, priest of Neith at Sais, and from his position the native authority who was most likely to be consulted by Cambyses and Darius, tells of his relations with these two kings. For the following reigns Egyptian documents hardly exist, but some papyri written in Aramaic have been found at Elephantine and at Memphis. Those from the former locality show that a colony of Jews with a temple dedicated to Yahweh (Jehovah) had established themselves at that garrison and trading post (see Assuan
). Herodotus visited Egypt in the reign of Artaxerxes, about 440 B.C.
His description of Egypt, partly founded on Hecataeus, who had been there about fifty years earlier, is the chief source of information for the history of the Saite kings and for the manners of the times, but his statements prove to be far from correct when they can be checked by the scanty native evidence.
Amyrtaeus (Amnertais) of Sais, perhaps a son of Pausiris and grandson of the earlier Amyrtaeus, revolted from Darius II. c.
, and Egypt regained its independence for about sixty years. The next king Nefeurēt (Nepherites I.) was a Mendesian and founded the
XXIXth Dynasty. After Hakor and Nefeurēt II. the sovereignty passed to Dynasty XXX., the last native Egyptian line. Monuments of all these kings are known, and art flourished particularly under the Mendesian kings Nekhtharheb (Nectanebes or Nectanebus I.) and Nekhtnebf (Nectanebes II.). The former came to the throne when a Persian invasion was imminent, 378 B.C.
Hakor had already formed a powerful army, largely composed of Greek mercenaries. This army Nekhtharheb entrusted to the Athenian Chabrias. The Persians, however, succeeded in causing his recall and in gaining the services of his fellow-countryman Iphicrates. The invading army consisted of 200,000 barbarians under Pharnabazus and 20,000 Greeks under Iphicrates. After the Egyptians had experienced a reverse, Iphicrates counselled an immediate advance on Memphis. His advice was not followed by Pharnabazus; the Egyptian king collected his forces and won a pitched battle near Mendes. Pharnabazus retreated and Egypt was free.
Nekhtharheb was succeeded by Tachos or Teos, whose short reign was occupied by a war with Persia, in which the king of Egypt secured the services of a body of Greek mercenaries under the Spartan king Agesilaus and a fleet under the Athenian general Chabrias. He entered Phoenicia with every prospect of success, but having offended Agesilaus he was dethroned in a military revolt which gave the crown to Nekhtnebf or Nectanebes II., the last native king of Egypt. At this moment a revolt broke out. The prince of Mendes almost succeeded in overthrowing the new king. Agesilaus defeated the rival pretender and left Nekhtnebf established on the throne. But the opportunity of a decisive blow against Persia was lost. The new king, Artaxerxes III. Ochus, determined to reduce Egypt. A first expedition was defeated by the Greek mercenaries of Nekhtnebf, but a second, commanded by Ochus himself, subdued Egypt with no further resistance than that of the Greek garrison of Pelusium. Nekhtnebf, instead of endeavouring to relieve them, retreated to Memphis and fled thence to Ethiopia, 340 (?) B.C. Thus miserably fell the monarchy of the Pharaohs, after an unexampled duration of 3000 years, or as some think far longer. More than 2000 years have since passed, and though Egypt has from time to time been independent, not one native prince has sat on the throne of the Pharaohs. “There shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt” (Ezek. xxx. 13) was prophesied in the days of Apries as the final state of the land.
Ochus treated his conquest barbarously. From this brief re-establishment of Persian dominion (counted by Manetho as Dynasty XXXI.) no document survives except one papyrus that appears to be dated in the reign of Darius III.
See J. H. Breasted, A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest (New York and London, 1905); A History of the Ancient Egyptians (New York and London, 1908); Ancient Records of Egypt: Historical Documents from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest, collected, edited and translated (5 vols., Chicago, 1906–1907); W. M. F. Petrie, A History of Egypt (from the earliest times to the XXXth Dynasty) (3 vols., London, 1899–1905); E. A. W. Budge, A History of Egypt, vols. i-vii. (London, 1902); G. Maspero, Histoire ancienne des peuples de l’orient (6th ed., 1904), The Dawn of Civilization, The Struggle of the Nations, The Passing of the Empires (London, 1904, &c.); P. E. Newberry and J. Garstang, A Short History of Ancient Egypt (London, 1904); G. Steindorff, Die Blütezeit desPharaonenreiches (Dyn. XVIII.) (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 1900); H. Winckler, The Tell el Amarna Letters (Berlin, London and New York, 1896).
The Conquest by Alexander.—When, in 332 B.C., after the battle of Issus, Alexander entered Egypt, he was welcomed as a deliverer. The Persian governor had not forces enough to oppose him, and he nowhere experienced even the show of resistance. He visited Memphis, founded Alexandria, and went on pilgrimage to the oracle of Ammon (Oasis of Siwa). The god declared him to be his son, renewing thus an old Egyptian convention or belief; Olympias was supposed to have been in converse with Ammon, even as the mothers of Hatshepsut and Amenophis III. are represented in the inscriptions of the Theban temples to have received the divine essence. At this stage of his career the treasure and tribute of Egypt were of great importance to the Macedonian conqueror. He conciliated the inhabitants by the respect which he showed for their religion; he organized the government of the natives under two officers, who must have been already known to them (of these Petisis, an Egyptian, soon resigned his share into the charge of his colleague Doloaspis, who bears a Persian name.) But Alexander designed his Greek foundation of Alexandria to be the capital, and entrusted the taxation of Egypt and the control of its army and navy to Greeks. Early in 331 B.C. he was ready to depart, and led his forces away to Phoenicia. A granite gateway to the temple of Khnūm at Elephantine bears his name in hieroglyphic, and demotic documents are found dated in his reign.
The Ptolemaic Period.
—On the division of Alexander’s dominions in 323 B.C.
, Egypt fell to Ptolemy the son of Lagus, the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty (see Ptolemies
). Under these rulers the rich kingdom was heavily taxed to supply the sinews of war and to support every kind of lavish expenditure. Officials, and the higher ones were nearly all Greeks, were legion, but the whole system was so judiciously worked that there was little discontent amongst the patient peasantry. During the reign of Philadelphus the land gained from the bed of the lake of Moeris was assigned to veteran soldiers; the great armies of the Ptolemies were rewarded or supported by grants of farm lands, and men of Macedonian, Greek and Hellenistic extraction were planted in colonies and garrisons or settled themselves in the villages throughout the country. Upper Egypt, farthest from the centre of government, was probably least affected by the new influences, though the first Ptolemy established the Greek colony of Ptolemais to be its capital. Intermarriages, however, gradually had their effect; after the revolt of the natives in the reign of Ptolemy V., we find the Greek and Egyptian elements closely intermingled. Ptolemy I. had established the cult of the Memphite Serapis in a Graeco-Egyptian form, affording a common ground for native and Hellenistic worshippers. The greater number of the temples to the native deities in Upper Egypt and in Nubia (to 50 m. south of the Cataract, within the Dodecaschoenus) were built under the Ptolemies. No serious effort was made to extend the Ptolemaic rule into Ethiopia, and Ergamenes, the Hellenizing king of Ethiopia, was evidently in alliance with Philopator; in the next reign two native kings, probably supported by Ethiopia, reigned in succession at Thebes. That famous city lost all except its religious importance under the Ptolemies; after the “destruction” or dismantling by Lathyrus it formed only a series of villages. The population of Egypt in the time of Ptolemy I. is put at 7,000,000 by Diodorus, who also says that it was greater then than it ever was before; at the end of the dynasty, in his own day, it was not much less though somewhat diminished. Civil wars and revolts must have greatly injured both Upper and Lower Egypt. It is remarkable that, while the building and decoration of temples continued in the reigns of Ptolemy Auletes and the later Ptolemies and Cleopatra, papyri of those times whether Greek or Egyptian are scarcely to be found.
The Roman Period.—In 30 B.C. Augustus took Egypt as the prize of conquest. He treated it as a part of his personal domain, free from any interference by the senate. In the main lines the Ptolemaic organization was preserved, but Romans were gradually introduced into the highest offices. On Egypt Rome depended for its supplies of corn; entrenched there, a revolting general would be difficult to attack, and by simply holding back the grain ships could threaten Rome with starvation. No senator therefore was permitted to take office or even to set foot in the country without the emperor’s special leave, and by way of precaution the highest position, that of prefect, was filled by a Roman of equestrian rank only. As the representative of the emperor, this officer assumed the place occupied by the king under the old order, except that his power was limited by the right of appeal to Caesar. The first prefect, Cornelius Gallus, tamed the natives of Upper Egypt to the new yoke by force of arms, and meeting ambassadors from Ethiopia at Philae, established a nominal protectorate of Rome over the frontier district, which had been abandoned by the later Ptolemies. The third prefect, Gaius Petronius, cleared the neglected canals for irrigation; he also repelled an invasion of the Ethiopians and pursued them far up the Nile, finally storming the capital of Napata. But no attempt was made to hold Ethiopia. In succeeding reigns much trouble was caused by jealousies and quarrels between the Greeks and the Jews, to whom Augustus had granted privileges as valuable as those accorded to the Greeks. Aiming at the spice trade, Aelius Gallus, the second prefect of Egypt under Augustus, had made an unsuccessful expedition to conquer Arabia Felix; the valuable Indian trade, however, was secured by Claudius for Egypt at the expense of Arabia, and the Red Sea routes were improved. Nero’s reign especially marks the commencement of an era of prosperity which lasted about a century. Under Vespasian the Jewish temple at Leontopolis in the Delta, which Onias had founded in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor, was closed; worse still, a great Jewish revolt and massacre of the Greeks in the reign of Trajan resulted, after a stubborn conflict of many months with the Roman army under Marcius Livianus Turbo, in the virtual extermination of the Jews in Alexandria and the loss of all their privileges. Hadrian, who twice visited Egypt (A.D. 130, 134), founded Antinoë in memory of his drowned favourite. From this reign onwards buildings in the Graeco-Roman style were erected throughout the country. A new Sothic cycle began in A.D. 139. Under Marcus Aurelius a revolt of the Bucolic or native troops recruited for home service was taken up by the whole of the native population and was suppressed only after several years of fighting. The Bucolic war caused infinite damage to the agriculture of the country and marks the beginning of its rapid decline under a burdensome taxation. The province of Africa was now of equal importance with Egypt for the grain supply of the capital. Avidius Cassius, who led the Roman forces in the war, usurped the purple, and was acknowledged by the armies of Syria and Egypt. On the approach of Marcus Aurelius, the adherents of Cassius slew him, and the clemency of the emperor restored peace. After the downfall of the house of the Antonines, Pescennius Niger, who commanded the forces in Egypt, was proclaimed emperor on the death of Pertinax (A.D. 193). Severus overthrew his rival (A.D. 194) and, the revolt having been a military one, did not punish the province; in 202 he gave a constitution to Alexandria and the nome capitals. In his reign the Christians of Egypt suffered the first of their many persecutions. When Christianity was planted in the country we do not know, but it must very early have gained adherents among the
learned Jews of Alexandria, whose school of thought was in some respects ready to welcome it. From them it rapidly passed to the Greeks. Ultimately the new religion spread to the Egyptians; their own creed was worn out, and they found in Christianity a doctrine of the future life for which their old belief had made them not unready; while the social teaching of Christianity came with special fitness to a subject race. The history of the Coptic Version has yet to be written. It presents some features of great antiquity, and, unlike all others, has the truly popular character of being written in the three dialects of the language. Side by side there grew up an Alexandrian church, philosophic, disputative, ambitious, the very centre of Christian learning, and an Egyptian church, ascetic, contemplative, mystical. The two at length influenced one another; still we can generally trace the philosophic teachers to a Greek origin, the mystics to an Egyptian.
Caracalla, in revenge for an affront, massacred all the men capable of bearing arms in Alexandria. His granting of the Roman citizenship to all Egyptians in common with the other provincials was only to extort more taxes. Under Decius, A.D. 250, the Christians again suffered from persecution. When the empire broke up in the weak reign of Gallienus, the prefect Aemilianus, who took the surname Alexander or Alexandrinus, was made emperor by the troops at Alexandria, but was conquered by the forces of Gallienus. In his brief reign of only a few months he had driven back an invasion of the Blemmyes. This predatory tribe, issuing from Nubia, was long to be the terror of Upper Egypt. Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, after an unsuccessful invasion, on a second attempt conquered Egypt, which she added to her empire, but lost it when Aurelian made war upon her (A.D. 272). The province was, however, unsettled, and the conquest of Palmyra was followed in the same year by the suppression of a revolt in Egypt (A.D. 273). Probus, who had governed Egypt for Aurelian and Tacitus, was subsequently chosen by the troops to succeed Tacitus, and is the first governor of this province who obtained the whole of the empire. He expelled the Blemmyes, who were dominating the whole of the Thebaid. Diocletian invited the Nobatae to settle in the Dodecaschoenus as a barrier against their incursions, and subsidized both Blemmyes and Nobatae. The country, however, was still disturbed, and in A.D. 296 a formidable revolt broke out, led by Achilleus, who as emperor took the name Domitius Domitianus. Diocletian, finding his troops unable to determine the struggle, came to Egypt, captured Alexandria and put his rival to death (296). He then reorganized the whole province, and the well-known “Pompey’s Pillar” was set up by the grateful and repentant Alexandrians to commemorate his gift to them of part of the corn tribute.
The Coptic era of Diocletian or of the Martyrs dates from the accession of Diocletian (A.D. 284). The edict of A.D. 303 against the Christians, and those which succeeded it, were rigorously carried out in Egypt, where Paganism was still strong and face to face with a strong and united church. Galerius, who succeeded Diocletian in the government of the East, implacably pursued his policy, and this great persecution did not end until the persecutor, perishing, it is said, of the dire malady of Herod and Philip II. of Spain, sent out an edict of toleration (A.D. 311).
By the edict of Milan (A.D.
313), Constantine, with the agreement of his colleague Licinius, acknowledged Christianity as having at least equal rights with other religions, and when he gained sole power he wrote to all his subjects advising them, like him, to become Christians (A.D.
324). The Egyptian Church, hitherto free from schism, was now divided by a fierce controversy, in which we see two Greek parties, rather than a Greek and an Egyptian, in conflict. The council of Nicaea was called together (A.D.
325) to determine between the Orthodox and the party of the Alexandrian presbyter Arius. At that council the native Egyptian bishops were chiefly remarkable for their manly protest against enforcing celibacy on the clergy. The most conspicuous controversialist on the Orthodox side was the young Alexandrian deacon Athanasius, who returned home to be made archbishop of Alexandria (A.D.
326). After being four times expelled by the Arians, and once by the emperor Julian, he died, A.D.
373, at the moment when an Arian persecution began. So large a proportion of the population had taken religious vows that under Valens it became necessary to abolish the privilege of monks which exempted them from military service. The reign of Theodosius I. witnessed the overthrow of Arianism, and this was followed by the suppression of Paganism, against which a final edict was promulgated A.D.
390. In Egypt, the year before, the temple of Serapis at Alexandria had been captured after much bloodshed by the Christian mob and turned into a church. Generally the Coptic Christians were content to build their churches within the ancient temples, plastering over or effacing the sculptures which were nearest to the ground and in the way of the worshippers. They do not seem to have been very zealous in the work of destruction; the native religion was already dead and they had no fear of it. The prosperity of the church was the sign of its decay, and before long we find persecution and injustice disgracing the seat of Athanasius. Cyril, the patriarch of Alexandria (A.D.
415), expelled the Jews from the capital with the aid of the mob, and by the murder of the beautiful philosopher Hypatia marked the lowest depth to which ignorant fanaticism could descend. A schism now produced lengthened civil war and alienated Egypt from the empire. The distinction between religion and politics seemed to be lost, and the government grew weaker and weaker. The system of local government by citizens had now entirely disappeared. Offices, with new Byzantine names, were now almost hereditary in the wealthy land-owning families. The Greek rulers of the Orthodox faith were unable to protect the tillers of the soil, and these being of the Monophysite persuasion and having their own church and patriarch, hated the Orthodox patriarch (who from the time of Justinian onwards was identical with the prefect) and all his following. Towards the middle of the 5th century, the Blemmyes, quiet since the reign of Diocletian, recommenced their incursions, and were even joined in them by the Nobatae. These tribes were twice brought to account severely for their misdoings, but not effectually checked. It was in these circumstances that Egypt fell without a conflict when attacked by Chosroës (A.D.
616). After ten years of Persian dominion the success of Heraclius restored Egypt to the empire, and for a time it again received a Greek governor. The Monophysites, who had taken advantage of the Persian occupation, were persecuted and their patriarch expelled. The Arab conquest was welcomed by the native Christians, but with it they ceased to be the Egyptian nation. Their language is still used in their churches, but it is no longer spoken, and its literature, which is wholly ecclesiastical, has been long unproductive.
The decline of Egypt was due to the purely military government of the Romans, and their subsequent alliance with the Greek party of Alexandria, which never represented the country. Under weak emperors, the rest of Egypt was exposed to the inroads of savages, and left to fall into a condition of barbarism. Ecclesiastical disputes tended to alienate both the native population and the Alexandrians. Thus at last the country was merely held by armed force, and the authority of the governor was little recognized beyond the capital, except where garrisons were stationed. There was no military spirit in a population unused to arms, nor any disinclination to be relieved from an arbitrary and persecuting rule. Thus the Moslem conquest was easy.
—See the special articles Alexandria
, &c., and especially Ptolemies
; J. P. Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies
(London, 1895), A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty
(London, 1899); A. Bouché-Leclercq, Histoiredes Lagides
(4 vols., Paris, 1903–); E. A. W. Budge, A History of Egypt
, vols. vii.-viii. (London, 1902); J. G. Milne, A History of Egypt under Roman Rule
(London, 1898); E. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
(edited by J. B. Bury) (London, 1900). The administration and condition of Egypt under the Ptolemaic and Roman rules are abundantly illustrated in recently discovered papyri, see especially the English publications of B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt (Memoirs of the Graeco-Roman Branch of the Egypt Exploration Fund
) and F. G. Kenyon (British Museum Catalogues); also Mr Kenyon’s annual summaries in the Archaeological Report of the Egypt Exploration Fund
. An ample selection of the Greek inscriptions from Egypt is to be found in W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae
(2 vols., Leipzig, 1903–1905). (R. S. P.; F. Ll. G.)
(1) Moslem Conquest of Egypt.
—In accordance with the scheme of universal conquest conceived by the founder of Islam, an army of some 4000 men was towards the end of the year A.D.
639 sent against Egypt under the command of ʽAmr (see ʽAmr-ibn-el-Ass
), by the second caliph, Omar I., who had some doubt as to the expediency of the enterprise. The commander marched from Syria through El-ʽArīsh, easily took Farama or Pelusium, and thence proceeded to Bilbeis, where he was delayed for a month; having captured this place, he proceeded to a point on the Nile called Umm Dunain, the siege of which also occasioned him some difficulty. After taking it, he crossed the Nile to the Fayum. On the 6th of June of the following year (640) a second army of 12,000 men, despatched by Omar, arrived at Heliopolis (On). ʽAmr recrossed the river and joined it, but presently was confronted by a Roman army, which he defeated at the battle of Heliopolis (July 640); this victory was followed by the siege of Babylon, which after some futile attempts at negotiation was taken partly by storm and partly by capitulation on Good Friday, the 6th of April 641. ʽAmr next proceeded in the direction of Alexandria, which was surrendered to him by a treaty signed on the 8th of November 641, under which it was to be occupied by the Moslems on the 29th of September of the following year. The interval was spent by him in founding the city Fostat (Fusṭāṭ), near the modern Cairo, and called after the camp (Fossatum
) occupied by him while besieging Babylon; and in reducing those coast towns that still offered resistance. The Thebaid seems to have surrendered with scarcely any opposition.
The ease with which this valuable province was wrenched from the Roman empire appears to have been due to the treachery of the governor of Egypt, Cyrus, patriarch of Alexandria, and the incompetence of the generals of the Roman forces. The former, called by the Arabs Mukaukis (Muqauqis) from his Coptic name Pkauchios, had for ten years before the arrival of ʽAmr maintained a fierce persecution of the Jacobite sect, to which the bulk of the Copts belonged. During the siege of Babylon he had been recalled and exiled, but after the death of Heraclius had been reinstated as patriarch by Heraclonas, and been welcomed back to Alexandria with general rejoicing in September 641. Since Alexandria could neither have been stormed nor starved out by the Arabs, his motives for surrendering it, and with it the whole of Egypt, have been variously interpreted, some supposing him to have been secretly a convert to Islam. The notion that the Arab invaders were welcomed and assisted by the Copts, driven to desperation by the persecution of Cyrus, appears to be refuted by the fact that the invaders treated both Copts and Romans with the same ruthlessness; but the dissensions which prevailed in the Christian communities, leading to riots and even civil war in Alexandria and elsewhere, probably weakened resistance to the common enemy. An attempt was made in the year 645 with a force under Manuel, commander of the Imperial forces, to regain Alexandria for the Byzantine empire; the city was surprised, and held till the summer of 646, when it was again stormed by ʽAmr. In 654 a fleet was equipped by Constans with a view to an invasion, but it was repulsed, and partly destroyed by storm. From that time no serious effort was made by the Eastern Empire to regain possession of the country. And it would appear that at the time of the attempt by Manuel the Arabs were actually assisted by the Copts, who at the first had found the Moslem lighter than the Roman yoke.
A question often debated by Arabic authors is whether Egypt was taken by storm or capitulation, but, so far as the transference of the country was accomplished by the first taking of Alexandria, there seems no doubt that the
Terms of capitulation.
latter view is correct. The terms were those on which conquered communities were ordinarily taken under Moslem protection. In return for a tribute of money (jizyah
) and food for the troops of occupation (ḍarībat-al-ṭa’ām
), the Christian inhabitants of Egypt were to be excused military service, and to be left free in the observance of their religion and the administration of their affairs.
From 639 to 968 Egypt was a province of the Eastern Caliphate, and was ruled by governors sent from the cities which at different times ranked as capitals. Like other provinces of the later Abbasid Caliphate its rulers were, during this period, able to establish quasi-independent dynasties, such being those of the Tulunids who ruled from 868 to 905, and the Ikshidis from 935–969. In 969 the country was conquered by Jauhar for the Fatimite caliph Mo’izz, who transferred his capital from Mahdia
) in the Maghrib to Cairo. This dynasty lasted till 1171, when Egypt was again embodied in the Abbasid empire by Saladin, who, however, was himself the founder of a quasi-independent dynasty called the Ayyubites or Ayyubids, which lasted till 1252. The Ayyubites were followed by the Mameluke dynasties, usually classified as Baḥri from 1252–1382, and Burji from 1382–1517; these sovereigns were nominally under the suzerainty of Abbasid caliphs, who were in reality instruments of the Mameluke sultans, and resided at Cairo. In 1517 Egypt became part of the Ottoman empire and was governed by pashas sent from Constantinople, whose influence about 1707 gave way to that of officials chosen from the Mamelukes who bore the title Sheik al-balad. After the episode of the French occupation, government by pashas was restored; Mehemet Ali (appointed pasha in 1805) obtained from the Porte in 1841 the right to bequeath the sovereignty to his descendants, one of whom, Ismail Pasha, received the title Khedive, which is still held by Mehemet Ali’s descendants.
(2) The following is a list of the governors of Egypt in these successive periods:—
(a) During the undivided Caliphate.
ʽAmr-ibn-el-Ass, A.H. 18–24 (A.D. 639–645).
ʽAbdallah b. Saʽd b. Abī Sarh, 24–36 (645–656).
Qais b. Saʽd b. ʽUbādah, 36 (657–658).
Mahommed b. Abu Bekr, 37–38 (658).
Ashtar Mālik b. al-Hārith (appointed, but never governed).
ʽAmr-ibn-el-Ass, 38–43 (658–663).
ʽUtbah b. Abu Sofiān, 43–44 (664–665).
ʽUtbah b. ʽĀmir, 44–45 (665).
Maslama b. Mukhallad, 45–62 (665–682).
Saʽīd b. Yazīd b. ʽAlqamah, 62–64 (682–684).
Abdarrahman b. ʽUtbah b. Jahdam, 64–65 (684).
Abdalazīz (ʽAbd al-ʽAzīz) b. Merwān, 65–86 (685–705).
ʽAbdallah b. ʽAbd al-Malik, 86–90 (705–708).
Qurrah b. Sharīk al-ʽAbsī, 90–96 (709–714).
ʽAbd al-Malik b. Rifāʽah al-Fahmī, 96–99 (715–717).
Ayyūb b. Shuraḥbīl al-Aṣbaḥī, 99–101 (717–720).
Bishr b. Ṣafwān al-Kalbī, 101–102 (720–721).
Ḥanzalah b. Ṣafwān, 102–105 (721–724).
Mahommed b. ʽAbd al-Malik, 105 (724).
Ḥurr b. Yūsuf, 105–108 (724–727).
Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, 108 (727).
ʽAbd al-Malik b. Rifāʽah, 109 (727).
Walīd b. Rifāʽah, 109–117 (727–735).
ʽAbd al-Raḥmān b. Khālid, 117–118 (735).
Ḥanẓalah b. Ṣafwān, 118–124 (735–742).
Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, 124–127 (742–745).
Ḥassān b. ʽAtāhiyah al-Tuʽjibī, 127 (745).
Ḥafṣ b. al-Walīd, 127 (745).
Hautharah b. Suhail al-Bāhilī, 128–131 (745–749).
Mughīrah b. ʽUbaidallah al-Fazārī, 131–132 (749).
ʽAbd al-Malik b. Marwān al-Lakhmī, 132 (750).
Ṣāliḥ b. ʽAlī, 133 (750–751).
Abū ʽAun ʽAbdalmalik b. Yazīd, 133–136 (751–753).
Ṣāliḥ b. ʽAlī, 136–137 (753–755)—second time.
Abū ʽAun, 137–141 (755–758)—second time.
Mūsā b. Kaʽb b. ʽUyainah al-Tamīmī, 141 (758–759).
Mahommed b. al-Ashʽath b. ʽUqbah al-Khuzā ī, 141–143 (759–760).
Ḥumaid b. Qaḥṭabah b. Shabīb al-Ṭāʽī, 143–144 (760–762).
Yazīd b. Ḥātim b. Kabīsah al-Muhallabī, 144–152 (762–769).
ʽAbdallah b. ʽAbdarraḥmān b. Moawiya b. Ḥudaij, 152–155 (769–772).
Mahommed b. Abdarraḥman b. Moawiya b. Ḥudaij, 155 (772).
Mūsā b. ʽUlayy b. Rabāh al-Lakhmī, 155–161 (772–778).
ʽĪsā b. Luqmān b. Mahommed al-Jumahī, 161–162 (778).
Wāḍiḥ, 162 (779).
Manṣūr b. Yazīd b. Manṣūr al-Ruʽainī, 162 (779).
Abū Ṣāliḥ Yaḥyā b. Dāwūd b. Mamdūd, 162–164 (779–780).
Sālim b. Sawādah al-Tamīmī, 164 (780–781).
Ibrāhīm b. Ṣāliḥ b. ʽAlī, 165–167 (781–784).
Mūsā b. Musʽab b. al-Rabī al-Khathʽamī, 167–168 (784–785).
Usāmah b. ʽAmr b. ʽAlqamah al-Maʽāfirī, 168 (785).
al Faḍl b. Ṣāliḥ b. ʽAlī al-ʽAbbāsī, 168–169 (785–786).
ʽAlī b. Sulaimān b. ʽAlī al-ʽAbbāsī, 169–171 (786–787).
Mūsā b. ʽĪsā b. Mūsā al-ʽAbbāsī, 171–172 (787–789).
Maslamah b. Yaḥyā b. Qurrah al-Bājilī, 172–173 (789–790).
Mahommed b. Zuhair al-Azdī, 173 (790).
Dāwūd b. Yazīd b. Ḥātim al-Muhallabī, 174–175 (790).
Mūsā b. ʽĪsā al-ʽAbbāsī, 175–176 (790–792).
Ibrāhīm b. Ṣāliḥ, 176 (792).
Ṣāliḥ b. Ibrāhīm, 176 (792).
Abdallah b. al-Musayyib b. Zuhair al Ḍabbī, 176–177 (792–793).
Isḥāq b. Sulaimān b. ʽAlī al-ʽAbbāsī, 177–178 (793–794).
Harthamah b. Aʽyan, 178 (794–795).
ʽObaidallah b. al-Mahdī, 179 (795).
Mūsā b. ʽĪsā al-ʽAbbāsī, 179–180 (795–796).
ʽObaidallah b. al-Mahdī, 180–181 (796–797)—second time.
Ismāʽīl b. Ṣāliḥ b. ʽAlī al-ʽAbbāsī, 181–182 (797–798).
Ismāʽīl b. ʽĪsā b. Mūsā al-ʽAbbāsī, 182–183 (798).
Laith b. al-Faḍl al-Abīwardī, 183–187 (798–803).
Aḥmad b. Ismāʽīl b. ʽAlī al-ʽAbbāsī, 187–189 (803–805).
ʽObaidallah b. Mahommed b. Ibrāhīm al-ʽAbbāsī, 189–190 (805–806).
Ḥusain b. Jamīl, 190–192 (806–808).
Mālik b. Dalham b. ʽĪsā al-Kalbī, 192–193 (808).
Ḥasan b. al-Taḥtāḥ, 193–194 (808–809).
Ḥātim b. Harthamah b. Aʽyan, 194–195 (809–811).
Jābir b. al-Ashʽath b. Yaḥyā al-Ṭāʽī, 195–196 (811–812).
ʽAbbād b. Mahommed b. Ḥayyān al-Balkhī, 196–198 (812–813).
Moṭṭalib b. ʽAbdallah b. Mālik al-Khuzāʽī, 198 (813–814).
ʽAbbās b. Mūsā b. ʽĪsā al-ʽAbbāsī, 198–199 (814).
Moṭṭalib b. ʽAbdallah, 199–200 (814–816)—second time.
Sarī b. al-Ḥakam b. Yūsuf, 200–201 (816).
Sulaimān b. Ghālib b. Jibrīl al-Bājilī, 201 (816–817).
Sarī b. al-Ḥakam, 201–205 (817–820).
Abū Naṣr Mahommed b. al-Sarī, 205 (820–821).
ʽObaidallah b. al-Sarī, 205–211 (821–826).
ʽAbdallah b. Ṭāhir, 211–213 (826–829).
Mahommed b. Hārūn (al-Moʽtasim), 213–214 (829).
ʽUmair b. Al-Walīd al-Tamīmī al-Bādhaghīsī, 214 (829).
ʽĪsā b. Yazīd, 214 (829).
ʽAbduyah b. Jabalah, 215–216 (830–831).
ʽĪsā b. Manṣūr b. Mūsā al-Rāfiʽī, 216–217 (831–832).
Naṣr b. Abdallah Kaidar al-Ṣafadī, 217–219 (832–834).
Muzaffar b. Kaidar, 219 (834).
Mūsā b. Abiʽl-ʽAbbās Thābit al-Hanafī, 219–224 (834–839).
Mālik b. Kaidar al Ṣafadī, 224–226 (839–841).
ʽAlī b. Yaḥyā abu l-Hasan al-Armanī, 226–228 (841–842).
ʽIsā b. Manṣūr al-Rāfiʽī, 229–233 (843–847).
Harthamah b. al-Naḍir al-Jabalī, 233–234 (848–849).
Ḥātim b. Harthamah, 234 (849).
ʽAlī b. Yaḥyā, 234–235 (849–850).
Ishāq b. Yaḥyā al-Khatlānī, 235–236 (850–851).
ʽAbd al-Wāhid b. Yaḥyā b. Manṣūr, 236–238 (851–852).
ʽAnbasa b. Ishāq b. Shamir, 238–242 (852–856).
Yazīd b. ʽAbdallah b. Dīnār, 242–253 (856–867).
Muzāhim b. Khāqān al-Turkī, 253–254 (867–868).
Aḥmad b. Muzāhim b. Khāqān, 254 (868).
Urjūz b. Ulugh Ṭarkhān al-Turkī, 254 (868).
Aḥmad b. Ṭūlūn, 254–270 (868–884).
Khomārūya b. Aḥmad, 270–282 (884–896).
Jaish b. Khomārūya, 282 (896).
Hārūn b. Khomārūya, 283–292 (896–904).
Shaibān b. Aḥmad, 292 (905).
ʽĪsā b. Mahommed al-Naūsharī, 292 (905).
Mahommed b. ʽAli al-Khalanjī, 292–293 (905–906).
ʽĪsā al-Naūsharī, 293–297 (906–910)—second time.
Takīn b. Abdallah al-Khazarī, 297–302 (910–915).
Dhukā al-Rūmī, 303–307 (915–919).
Takīn b. ʽAbdallah, 307–309 (919–921)—second time.
Abū Qābūs Maḥmūd b. Ḥamal, 309 (921).
Hilāl b. Badr, 309–311 (921–923).
Aḥmad b. Kaighlagh, 311 (923).
Takīn b. Abdallah, 311–321 (923–933)—third time.
Mahommed b. Takīn, 321 (933).
Mahommed b. Ṭughj al-Ikshīd, 321 (933).
[Aḥmad b. Kaighlagh, 321–322 (933–934)].
Mahommed b. Ṭughj, 323–334 (934–946)—second time.
Ūnjūr b. al-Ikshīd, 334–349 (946–961).
ʽAlī b. al-Ikshīd, 349–355 (961–966).
Kāfūr b. Abdallah al-Ikshīdī, 355–357 (966–968).
Abu’l-Fawāris Aḥmad b. ʽAlī b. al-Ikshīd, 357 (968).
(b) Fāṭimite Caliphs, 357–567 (969–1171).
Moʽizz Abū Tamīm Maʽadd (or li-dīn allāh), 357–365 (969–975).
ʽAzīz Abū Manṣūr Nizār (al-ʽAzīz billāh), 365–386 (975–996).
Ḥākim [Abū ʽAlī Manṣūr], 386–411 (996–1020).
Ẓāhir [Abu’l-Ḥasan ʽAlī], 411–427 (1020–1035).
Mostanṣir [Abū Tamīm Maʽadd], 427–487 (1035–1094).
Mostaʽlī [Abu’l-Qāsim Aḥmad], 487–495 (1094–1101).
Amir [Abū ʽAlī Manṣūr], 495–524 (1101–1130).
Ḥāfiz [Abu’l-Maimūn ʽAbd al-Majīd], 524–544 (1130–1149).
Ẓāfir [Abu’l-Manṣūr Ismāʽīl], 544–549 (1149–1154).
Fāʽiz [Abu’l-Qāsim ʽĪsā], 549–555 (1154–1160).
ʽĀdid [Abū Mahommed ʽAbdallah], 555–567 (1160–1171).
(c) Ayyūbite Sultans, 564–648 (1169–1250).
Malik al-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Yūsuf b. Ayyūb (Saladin), 564–589 (1169–1193).
Malik al-ʽAzīz ʽImād al-dīn Othman, 589–595 (1193–1198).
Malik al-Manṣūr Mahommed, 595–596 (1198–1199).
Malik al-ʽAdil Saif al-dīn Abū Bakr, 596–615 (1199–1218).
Malik al-Kāmil Mahommed, 615–635 (1218–1238).
Malik al-ʽĀdil II. Saif al-dīn Abū Bakr, 635–637 (1238–1240).
Malik al-Ṣāliḥ Najm al-dīn Ayyūb, 637–647 (1240–1249).
Malik al-Moʽazzam Tūrānshāh, 647–648 (1249–1250).
Malik al-Ashraf Mūsā, 648–650 (1250–1252).
(d) Baḥri Mamelukes, 648–792 (1250–1390).
Shajar al-durr, 648 (1250).
Malik al-Moʽizz ʽIzz al-dīn Aibek, 648–655 (1250–1257).
Malik al-Manṣūr Nureddin ʽAlī, 655–657 (1257–1259).
Malik al-Moẓaffar Saif al-dīn Kotuz, 657–658 (1259–1260).
Malik al-Ẓāhir [Rukn al-dīn (Rukneddin) Bibars Bundukdārī],
Malik al-Saʽid Nāṣir al-dīn Barakah Khān, 676–678 (1277–1279).
Malik al-ʽĀdil Badr al-dīn Salāmish, 678 (1279).
Malik al-Manṣūr Saif al-dīn Qalā’ūn, 678–689 (1279–1290).
Malik al-Ashraf [Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Khalīl], 689–693 (1290–1293).
Malik al-Nāṣir [Nāṣir al-dīn Mahommed], 693–694 (1293–1294).
Malik al-ʽĀdil [Zain al-dīn Kitboga], 694–696 (1294–1296).
Manṣūr [Ḥusām al-dīn Lājīn], 696–698 (1296–1298).
Nāṣir Mahommed (again), 698–708 (1298–1308).
Moẓaffar [Rukn al-dīn Bibars Jāshengīr], 708–709 (1308–1310).
Nāṣir Mahommed (third time), 709–741 (1310–1341).
Manṣūr [Saif al-dīn Abū Bakr], 741–742 (1341).
Ashraf [Ala’u ’l-dīn Kuchuk], 742 (1341–1342).
Nāṣir [Shihāb al-dīn Aḥmad], 742–743 (1342).
Ṣāliḥ ʽImād al-dīn Ismāʽīl], 743–746 (1342–1345).
Kāmil [Saif al-dīn Shaʽban], 746–747 (1345–1346).
Moẓaffar [Saif al-dīn Ḥajji], 747–748 (1346–1347).
Nāṣir [Nāṣir al-dīn Ḥasan], 748–752 (1347–1351).
Ṣāliḥ [Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Ṣāliḥ], 752–755 (1351–1354).
Nāṣir [Ḥasan] (again), 755–762 (1354–1361).
Manṣūr [Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Mahommed], 762–764 (1361–1363).
Ashraf [Nāṣir al-dīn Shaʽbān], 764–778 (1363–1377).
Manṣūr [ʽAlā’u ’l-dīn ʽAlī], 778–783 (1377–1381).
Ṣāliḥ [Ṣalāḥ al-dīn Ḥājjī, 783–784 (1381–1382).
Barḳūḳ or Barqūq (see below), 784–791 (1382–1389).
Ḥājjī again, with title of Moẓaffar, 791–792 (1389–1390).
(e) Burji Mamelukes, 784–922 (1382–1517).
Ẓāhir [Saif al-dīn Barqūq], 784–801 (1382–1398) [interrupted
by Ḥājjī, 791–792].
Nāṣir [Nāṣir al-dīn Faraj], 801–808 (1398–1405).
Manṣūr [ʽIzz al-dīn Abdalaziz (ʽAbd al-ʽAzīz)], 808–809 (1405–1406).
Nāṣir Faraj (again), 809–815 (1406–1412).
ʽĀdil Mostaʽīn (Abbasid caliph), 815 (1412).
Muʽayyad [Sheikh], 815–824 (1412–1421).
Moẓaffar [Aḥmad], 824 (1421).
Ẓāhir [Saif al-dīn Tatār], 824 (1421).
Ṣāliḥ [Nāṣir al-dīn Mahommed], 824–825 (1421–1422).
Ashraf [Saif al-dīn Barsbai], 825–842 (1422–1438).
ʽAzīz [Jamāl al-dīn Yūsuf], 842 (1438).
Ẓāhir [Saif al-dīn Jakmak], 842–857 (1438–1453).
Manṣūr [Fakhr al-dīn Othman], 857 (1453).
Ashraf [Saif al-dīn Īnāl], 857–865 (1453–1461).
Muʽayyad [Shihāb al-dīn Aḥmad], 865 (1461).
Ẓāhir [Saif al-dīn Khoshkadam], 865–872 (1461–1467).
Ẓāhir [Saif al-dīn Yelbai or Bilbai], 872 (1467).
Ẓāhir [Tīmūrboghā], 872–873 (1467–1468).
Ashraf [Saif al-dīn (Kait Bey)], 873–901 (1468–1495).
Nāṣir [Mahommed], 901–904 (1495–1498).
Ẓāhir [Kānsūh], 904–905 (1498–1499).
Ashraf [Jānbalāt or Jan Belāt], 905–906 (1499–1501).
ʽĀdil Tumanbey, 906 (1501).
Ashraf [Kānsūh Ghūri], 906–922 (1501–1516).
Ashraf [Tūmānbey], 922 (1516–1517).
(f) Turkish Governors after the Ottoman Conquest.
Khosrev, 1216 (1802).
Ali Jazā’irlī or Ṭarābulsī, 1218 (1803).
Ṭāhir, 1218 (1803).
Khorshīd, 1219 (1804).
(g) Hereditary Pashas (later Khedives), from 1220 (from 1805).
(3) Period under Governors sent from the Metropolis of the eastern Caliphate.
—The first governor of the newly acquired province was the conqueror ʽAmr, whose jurisdiction was presently restricted to Lower Egypt; Upper Egypt, which was divided into three provinces, being assigned to Abdallāh b. Saʽd, on whom the third caliph conferred the government of Lower Egypt also, ʽAmr being recalled, owing to his unwillingness to extort from his subjects as much money as would satisfy the caliph. In the troubles which overtook the Islamic empire with the accession of Othman, Egypt was greatly involved, and it had to be reconquered from the adherents of Ali for Moawiya (Moʽawiyah) by ʽAmr, who in A.H.
38 was rewarded for his services by being reinstated as governor, with the right to appropriate the surplus revenue instead of sending it as tribute to the metropolis. In the confusion which followed on the death of the Omayyad caliph Yazīd the Egyptian Moslems declared themselves for Abdallāh b. Zobair, but their leader was defeated in a battle near Ain Shams (December 684) by Merwān b. Ḥakam (Merwān I.), who had assumed the Caliphate, and the conqueror’s son Abd al-ʽAzīz was appointed governor. They also declared themselves against the usurper Merwān II. in 745, whose lieutenant al-Ḥautharah had to enter Fostat at the head of an army. In 750 Merwān II. himself came to Egypt as a fugitive from the Abbasids, but found that the bulk of the Moslem population had already joined with his enemies, and was defeated and slain in the neighbourhood of Giza in July of the same year. The Abbasid general, Ṣāliḥ b. Ali, who had won the victory, was then appointed governor.
During the period that elapsed between the Moslem conquest and the end of the Omayyad dynasty the nature of the Arab occupation had changed from what had originally been intended, the establishment of garrisons, to systematic colonization. Conversions of Copts to Islam were at first rare, and the old system of taxation was maintained for the greater part of the first Islamic century. This was at the rate of a dinar per feddan
, of which the proceeds were used in the first place for the pay of the troops and their families, with about half the amount in kind for the rations of the army. The process by which the first of these contributions was turned into coin is still obscure; it is clear that the corn when threshed was taken over by certain public officials who deducted the amount due to the state. In general the system is well illustrated by the papyri forming the Schott-Reinhardt collection at Heidelberg (edited by C.H. Becker, 1906), which contain a number of letters on the subject from Qurrah b. Sharīk, governor from A.H.
90 to 96. The old division of the country into districts (nomoi
) is maintained, and to the inhabitants of these districts demands are directly addressed by the governor of Egypt, while the head of the community, ordinarily a Copt, but in some cases a Moslem, is responsible for compliance with the demand. An official called “receiver” (qabbāl
) is chosen by the inhabitants of each district to take charge of the produce till it is delivered into the public magazines, and receives 5% for his trouble. Some further details are to be found in documents preserved by the archaeologist Maqrīzī, from which it appears that the sum for which each district was responsible was distributed over the unit in such a way that artisans and tradesmen paid at a rate similar to that which was enforced on those employed in agriculture. It is not known at what time the practice of having the amount due settled by the community was altered into that according to which it was settled by the governor, or at what time the practice of deducting from the total certain expenses necessary for the maintenance of the community was abandoned. The researches of Wellhausen and Becker have made it clear that the difference which is marked in later Islam between a poll-tax (jizyah
) and a land-tax (kharāj
) did not at first exist: the papyri of the 1st century know only of the jizyah, which, however, is not a poll-tax but a land-tax (in the main). The development of the poll-tax imposed on members of tolerated cults seems to be due to various causes, chief of them the acquisition of land by Moslems, who were not at first allowed to possess any, the conversion of Coptic landowners to Islam, and the enforcement (towards the end of the 1st century of Islam) of the poll-tax on monks. The treasury could not afford to lose the land-tax, which it would naturally forfeit by the first two of the above occurrences, and we read of various expedients being tried to prevent this loss. Such were making the Christian community to which the proselyte had belonged pay as much as it had paid when his lands belonged to it, making proselytes pay as before their conversion, or compelling them to abandon their lands on conversion. Eventually the theory spread that all land paid land-tax, whereas members of tolerated sects paid a personal tax also; but during the evolution of this doctrine the relations between conquerors and conquered became more and more strained, and from the time when the control of the finance was separated from the administration of the country (A.D.
715) complaints of extortion became serious; under the predecessor of Qurrah, ʽAbdallāh b. ʽAbd al-Malik, the country suffered from famine, and under this ruler it was unable to recover. Under the finance minister Obaidallah b. Ḥabḥāb (720–734) the first government survey by Moslems was made, followed by a census; but before this time the higher administrative posts had been largely taken out of the hands of Copts and filled with Arabs. The resentment of the Copts finally
expressed itself in a revolt, which broke out in the year 725, and was suppressed with difficulty. Two years after, in order that the Arab element in Egypt might be strengthened, a colony of North Arabians (Qaisites) was sent for and planted near Bilbeis, reaching the number of 3000 persons; this immigration also restored the balance between the two branches of the Arab race, as the first immigrants had belonged almost exclusively to the South Arabian stock. Meanwhile the employment of the Arabic language had been steadily gaining ground, and in 706 it was made the official language of the bureaux, though the occasional use of Greek for this purpose is attested by documents as late as the year 780. Other revolts of the Copts are recorded for the year 739 and 750, the last year of Omayyad domination. The outbreaks in all cases are attributed to increased taxation.
The Abbasid period was marked at its commencement by the erection of a new capital to the north of Fostat, bearing the name ʽAskar or “camp.” Apparently at this time the practice of farming the taxes began, which naturally led to even greater extortion than before; and a fresh rising of the Copts is recorded for the fourth year of Abbasid rule. Governors, as will be seen from the list, were frequently changed. The three officials of importance whose nomination is mentioned by the historians in addition to that of the governor were the commander of the bodyguard, the minister of finance and the judge. Towards the beginning of the 3rd Islamic century the practice of giving Egypt in fief to a governor was resumed by the caliph Mamūn, who bestowed this privilege on ʽAbdallāh b. Ṭāhir, who in 827 was sent to recover Alexandria, which for some ten years had been held by exiles from Spain. ʽAbdallāh b. Ṭāhir decided to reside at Bagdad, sending a deputy to Egypt to govern for him; and this example was afterwards followed. In 828, when Mamūn’s brother Motaṣim was feudal lord, a violent insurrection broke out in the Ḥauf, occasioned, as usual, by excessive taxation; it was partly quelled in the next year by Motaṣim, who marched against the rebels with an army of 4000 Turks. The rebellion broke out repeatedly in the following years, and in 831 the Copts joined with the Arabs against the government; the state of affairs became so serious that the caliph Mamūn himself visited Egypt, arriving at Fostat in February 832; his general Afshīn fought a decisive battle with the rebels at Bāsharūd in the Ḥauf region, at which the Copts were compelled to surrender; the males were massacred and the women and children sold as slaves.
This event finally crushed the Coptic nation, which never again made head against the Moslems. In the following year the caliph Motaṣim, who surrounded himself with a foreign bodyguard, withdrew the stipends of the Arab soldiers in Egypt; this measure caused some of the Arab tribes who had been long settled in Egypt to revolt, but their resistance was crushed, and the domination of the Arab element in the country from this time gave way to that of foreign mercenaries, who, belonging to one nation or another, held it for most of its subsequent history. Egypt was given in fief to a Turkish general Ashnās (Ashinas), who never visited the country, and the rule of individuals of Turkish origin prevailed till the rise of the Fāṭimites, who for a time interrupted it. The presence of Turks in Egypt is attested by documents as early as 808. While the governor
Turkish governors appointed.
was appointed by the feudal lord, the finance minister continued to be appointed by the caliph. On the death of Ashnās in 844 Egypt was given in fief to another Turkish general Ītākh, but in 850 this person fell out of favour, and the fief was transferred to Montaṣir, son of the caliph Motawakkil. In 856 it was transferred from him to the vizier Fatḥ b. Khāqān, who for the first time appointed a Turkish governor. The chief places in the state were also filled with Turks. The period between the rise of the Abbasids and the quasi-independent dynasties of Egypt was marked by much religious persecution, occasioned by the fanaticism of some of the caliphs, the victims being generally Moslem sectarians. (For Egypt under Motawakkil see Caliphate
, § c. par. 10.)
The policy of these caliphs also led to severe measures being taken against any members of the Alid family or adherents of their cause who were to be found in Egypt.
In the year 868 Egypt was given in fief to a Turkish general Bayikbeg, who sent thither as his representative his stepson Aḥmad b. Ṭūlūn, the first founder of a quasi-independent dynasty. This personage was himself the
son of a Turk who, originally sent as a slave to Bagdad, had risen to high rank in the service of the caliphs. Aḥmad b. Ṭūlūn spent some of his early life in Tarsus, and on his return distinguished himself by rescuing his caravan, which conveyed treasure belonging to the caliph, from brigands who attacked it; he afterwards accompanied the caliph Mosta‘īn into exile, and displayed some honourable qualities in his treatment of the fallen sovereign. He found a rival in Egypt in the person of Ibn al-Modabbir, the finance minister, who occupied an independent position, and who started the practice of surrounding himself with an army of his own slaves or freedmen; of these Ibn Ṭūlūn succeeded in depriving the finance minister, and they formed the nucleus of an army by which he eventually secured his own independence. Insurrections by adherents of the Alids gave him the opportunity to display his military skill; and when in 870 his stepfather died, by a stroke of luck the fief was given to his father-in-law, who retained Aḥmad in the lieutenancy, and indeed extended his authority to Alexandria, which had till that time been outside it. The enterprise of a usurper in Syria in the year 872 caused the caliph to require the presence of Aḥmad in that country at the head of an army to quell it; and although this army was not actually employed for the purpose, it was not disbanded by Aḥmad, who on his return founded a fresh city called Kaṭā’i‘, “the fiefs,” S.E. of modern Cairo, to house it. On the death of Aḥmad’s father-in-law in the same year, when Egypt was given in fief to the caliph’s brother Mowaffaq (famous for his defeat of the Zanj), Aḥmad secured himself in his post by extensive bribery at headquarters; and in the following year the administration of the Syrian frontier was conferred on him as well. By 875 he found himself strong enough to refuse to send tribute to Bagdad, preferring to spend the revenues of Egypt on the maintenance of his army and the erection of great buildings, such as his famous mosque; and though Mowaffaq advanced against him with an army, the project of reducing Aḥmad to submission had to be abandoned for want of means. In 877 and 878 Aḥmad advanced into Syria and obtained the submission of the chief cities, and at Tarsus entered into friendly relations with the representatives of the Byzantine emperor. During his absence his son ‘Abbās revolted in Egypt; on the news of his father’s return he fled to Barca, whence he endeavoured to conquer the Aghlabite dominions in the Maghrib; he was, however, defeated by the Aghlabite ruler, and returned to Barca, where he was again defeated by his father’s forces and taken prisoner.
In 882 relations between Aḥmad and Mowaffaq again became strained, and the former conceived the bold plan of getting the caliph Mo’tamid into his power, which, however, was frustrated by Mowaffaq’s vigilance; but an open rupture was the result, as Mowaffaq formally deprived Aḥmad of his lieutenancy, while Aḥmad equally formally declared that Mowaffaq had forfeited the succession. A revolt that broke out at Tarsus caused Aḥmad to traverse Syria once more in 883, but illness compelled him to return, and on the 10th of May 884 he died at his residence in Kaṭā’i‘. He was the first to establish the claim of Egypt to govern Syria, and from his time Egypt grew more and more independent of the Eastern caliphate. He appears to have invented the fiction which afterwards was repeatedly employed, by which the money spent on mosque-building was supposed to have been furnished by discoveries of buried treasure.
He was succeeded by his son Khomārūya, then twenty years of age, who immediately after his accession had to deal with an attempt on the part of the caliph to recover Syria; this attempt failed chiefly through dissensions between the caliph’s officers, but partly through the ability of Khomārūya’s general, who succeeded in winning a battle after his master had run away from the field. By 886 Mowaffaq found it expedient to grant Khomārūya the possession of Egypt, Syria, and the frontier towns for a period of thirty years, and ere long, owing to the disputes of the provincial governors, Khomārūya found it possible to extend his domain to the Euphrates and even the Tigris. On the death of Mowaffaq in 891 the Egyptian governor was able to renew peaceful relations with the caliphs, and receive fresh confirmation in his possessions for thirty years. The security which he thereby gained gave him the opportunity to indulge his taste for costly buildings, parks and other luxuries, of which the chroniclers give accounts bordering on the fabulous. After the marriage of his daughter to the caliph, which was celebrated at enormous expense, an arrangement was made giving the Ṭūlūnid sovereign the viceroyalty of a region extending from Barca on the west to Hīt on the east; but tribute, ordinarily to the amount of 300,000 dinars, was to be sent to the metropolis. His realm enjoyed peace till his death in 896, when he fell a victim to some palace intrigue at Damascus.
His son and successor Abu’l-‘Asākir Jaish was fourteen years old at his accession, and being without adequate guidance soon revealed his incompetence, which led to his being murdered after a reign of six months by his troops, who gave his place to his brother Hārūn, who was of about the same age. In the eight years of his government the Ṭūlūnid empire contracted, owing to the revolts of the deputies which Hārūn was unable to quell, though in 898 he endeavoured to secure a new lease of the sovereignty in Egypt and Syria by a fresh arrangement with the caliph, involving an increase of tribute. The following years witnessed serious troubles in Syria caused by the Carmathians, which called for the intervention of the caliph, who at last succeeded in defeating these fanatics; the officer Mahommed b. Solaimān, to whom the victory was due, was then commissioned by the caliph to reconquer Egypt from the Ṭūlūnids, and after securing the allegiance of the Syrian prefects he invaded Egypt by sea and land at once. Before the arrival of these troops Hārūn had met his death at the hands of an assassin, or else in an affray, and his uncle Shaibān, who was placed on the throne, found himself without the means to collect an army fit to grapple with the invaders. Fostat was taken by Mahommed b. Solaimān after very slight resistance, at the beginning of 905, and after the infliction of severe punishment on the inhabitants Egypt was once more put under a deputy, ’Īsā al-Nausharī, appointed directly by the caliph.
The old régime was not restored without an attempt made by an adherent of the Ṭūlūnids to reconquer Egypt ostensibly for their benefit, and for a time the caliph’s viceroy had to quit the capital. The vigorous measures of the authorities at Bagdad speedily quelled this rebellion, and the Ṭūlūnid palace at Kaṭā’i‘ was then destroyed in order that there might be nothing to remind the Egyptians of the dynasty. In the middle of the year 914 Egypt was invaded for the first time by a Fāṭimite force sent by the caliph al-Mahdī ’Obaidallah, now established at Kairawān. The Mahdi’s son succeeded in taking Alexandria, and advancing as far as the Fayūm; but once more the Abbasid caliph sent a powerful army to assist his viceroy, and the invaders were driven out of the country and pursued as far as Barca; the Fāṭimite caliph, however, continued to maintain active propaganda in Egypt. In 919 Alexandria was again seized by the Mahdi’s son, afterwards the caliph al-Qā’im, and while his forces advanced northward as far as Ushmunain (Eshmunain) he was reinforced by a fleet which arrived at Alexandria. This fleet was destroyed by a far smaller one sent by the Bagdad caliph to Rosetta; but Egypt was not freed from the invaders till the year 921, when reinforcements had been repeatedly sent from Bagdad to deal with them. The extortions necessitated by these wars for the maintenance of armies and the incompetence of the viceroys brought Egypt at this time into a miserable condition; and the numerous political crises at Bagdad prevented for a time any serious measures being taken to improve it. After a struggle between various pretenders to the viceroyalty, in which some pitched battles were fought, Mahommed b. Ṭughj, son of a Ṭūlūnid prefect of Damascus, was sent by the caliph to restore order; he had to force his entrance into the country by an engagement with one of the pretenders, Ibn Kaighlagh, in which he was victorious, and entered Fostat in August 935.
Mahommed b. Ṭughj was the founder of the Ikshīdī dynasty, so called from the title Ikshīd, conferred on him at his request by the caliph shortly after his appointment to the governorship of Egypt; it is said to have had the
sense of “king” in Ferghana, whence this person’s ancestors had come to enter the service of the caliph Motaṣim. He had himself served under the governor of Egypt, Takīn, whose son he displaced, in various capacities, and had afterwards held various governorships in Syria. One of the historians represents his appointment to Egypt as effected by bribery and even forgery. He united in his person the offices of governor and minister of finance, which had been separate since the time of the Ṭūlūnids. He endeavoured to replenish the treasury not only by extreme economy, but by inflicting fines on a vast scale on persons who had held offices under his predecessor and others who had rendered themselves suspect. The disaffected in Egypt kept up communications with the Fāṭimites, against whom the Ikshīd collected a vast army, which, however, had first to be employed in resisting an invasion of Egypt threatened by Ibn Rāiq, an adventurer who had seized Syria; after an indecisive engagement at Lajūn the Ikshīd decided to make peace with Ibn Rāiq, undertaking to pay him tribute. The favour afterwards shown to Ibn Rāiq at Bagdad nearly threw the Ikshīd into the arms of the Fāṭimite caliph, with whom he carried on a friendly correspondence, one letter of which is preserved. He is even said to have given orders to substitute the name of the Fāṭimite caliph for that of the Abbasid in public prayer, but to have been warned of the unwisdom of this course. In 941, after the death of Ibn Rāiq, the Ikshīd took the opportunity of invading Syria, which the caliph permitted him to hold with the addition of the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, which the Ṭūlūnids had aspired to possess. He is said at this time to have started (in imitation of Aḥmad Ibn Ṭūlūn) a variety of vexatious enactments similar to those afterwards associated with the name of Hākim, e.g.
compelling his soldiers to dye their hair, and adding to their pay for the purpose.
In the year 944 he was summoned to Mesopotamia to assist the caliph, who had been driven from Bagdad by Tūzūn and was in the power of the Ḥamdānids; and he proposed, though unsuccessfully, to take the caliph with him to Egypt. At this time he obtained hereditary rights for his family in the government of that country and Syria. The Ḥamdānid Saif addaula shortly after this assumed the governorship of Aleppo, and became involved in a struggle with the Ikshīd, whose general, Kāfūr, he defeated in an engagement between Homs and Hamah (Hamath). In a later battle he was himself defeated by the Ikshīd, when an arrangement was made permitting Saif addaula to retain most of Syria, while a prefect appointed by the Ikshīd was to remain in Damascus. The Buyid ruler, who was now supreme at Bagdad, permitted the Ikshīd to remain in possession of his viceroyalty, but shortly after receiving this confirmation he died at Damascus in 946.
The second of this dynasty was the Ikshīd’s son Ūnjūr, who had been proclaimed in his father’s time, and began his government under the tutelage of the negro Kāfūr. Syria was immediately overrun by Saif addaula, but he was defeated by Kāfūr in two engagements, and was compelled to recognize the overlordship of the Egyptian viceroy. At the death of Ūnjūr in 961 his brother Abu’l-Ḥasan ‘Alī was made viceroy with the caliph’s consent by Kāfūr, who continued to govern for his chief as before. The land was during this period threatened at once by the Fāṭimites from the west; the Nubians from the south, and the Carmathians from the east; when the second Ikshīdī died in 965, Kāfūr at first made a pretence of appointing his young son Aḥmad as his successor, but deemed it safer to assume the viceroyalty himself, setting an example which in Mameluke times was often followed. He occupied the post little more than three years, and on his death in 968 the aforementioned Aḥmad, called Abu’l-Fawāris, was appointed successor, under the tutelage of a vizier named Ibn Furāt, who had long served under the Ikshīdīs. The accession of this prince was followed by an incursion of the Carmathians into Syria, before whom the Ikshīdī governor fled into Egypt, where he had for a time to undertake the management of affairs, and arrested Ibn Furāt, who had proved himself incompetent.
The administration of Ibn Furāt was fatal to the Ikshīdīs and momentous for Egypt, since a Jewish convert, Jacob, son of Killis, who had been in the Ikshīd’s service, and was ill-treated by Ibn Furāt, fled to the Fāṭimite sovereign, and persuaded him that the time for invading Egypt with a prospect of success had arrived, since there was no one in Fostat capable of organizing a plan of defence, and the dissensions between the Buyids at Bagdad rendered it improbable that any succour would arrive from that quarter. The Fāṭimite caliph Mo’izz li-dīn allāh was also in correspondence with other residents in Egypt, where the Alid party from the beginning of Abbasid times had always had many supporters; and the danger from the Carmathians rendered the presence of a strong government necessary. The Fāṭimite general Jauhar (variously represented as of Greek, Slav and Sicilian origin), who enjoyed the complete confidence of the Fāṭimite sovereign, was placed at the head of an army of 100,000 men—if Oriental numbers are to be trusted—and started from Rakkāda at the beginning of March 969 with the view of seizing Egypt.
Before his arrival the administration of affairs had again been committed to Ibn Furāt, who, on hearing of the threatened invasion, at first proposed to treat with Jauhar for the peaceful surrender of the country; but though at first there was a prospect of this being carried out, the majority of the troops at Fostat preferred to make some resistance, and an advance was made to meet Jauhar in the neighbourhood of Giza. He had little difficulty in defeating the Egyptian army, and on the 6th of July 969 entered Fostat at the head of his forces. The name of Mo’izz was immediately introduced into public prayer, and coins were struck in his name. The Ikshīdī governor of Damascus, a cousin of Abu’l-Fawāris Aḥmad, endeavoured to save Syria, but was defeated at Ramleh by a general sent by Jauhar and taken prisoner. Thus the Ikshīdī Dynasty came to an end, and Egypt was transferred from the Eastern to the Western caliphate, of which it furnished the metropolis.
(4) The Fāṭimite period
begins with the taking of Fostat by Jauhar, who immediately began the building of a new city, al-Kāhira or Cairo, to furnish quarters for the army which he had brought. A palace for the caliph and a mosque for the army were immediately constructed, the latter still famous as al-Azhar, and for many centuries the centre of Moslem learning. Almost immediately after the conquest of Egypt, Jauhar found himself engaged in a struggle with the Carmathians
), whom the Ikshīdī prefect of Damascus had pacified by a promise of tribute; this promise was of course not held binding by the Fāṭimite general (Ja’far b. Falāh) by whom Damascus was taken, and the Carmathian leader al-Ḥasan b. Aḥmad al-A’ṣam received aid from Bagdad for the purpose of recovering Syria to the Abbasids. The general Ja’far, hoping to deal with this enemy independently of Jauhar, met the Carmathians without waiting for reinforcements from Egypt, and fell in battle, his army being defeated. Damascus was taken by the Carmathians, and the name of the Abbasid caliph substituted for that of Mo’izz in public worship. Ḥasan al-A’ṣam advanced from Damascus through Palestine to Egypt, encountering little resistance on the way; and in the autumn of 971 Jauhar found himself besieged in his new city. By a timely sortie, preceded by the administration of bribes to various officers in the Carmathian host, Jauhar succeeded in inflicting a severe defeat on the besiegers, who were compelled to evacuate Egypt and part of Syria.
Meanwhile Mo’izz had been summoned to enter the palace that had been prepared for him, and after leaving a viceroy to take charge of his western possessions he arrived in Alexandria on the 31st of May 973, and proceeded to instruct his new subjects in the particular form of religion (Shī’ism) which his family represented. As this was in origin identical with that professed by the Carmathians, he hoped to gain the submission of their leader by argument; but this plan was unsuccessful, and there was a fresh invasion from that quarter in the year after his arrival, and the caliph found himself besieged in his capital. The Carmathians were gradually forced to retreat from Egypt and then from Syria by some successful engagements, and by the judicious use of bribes, whereby dissension was sown among their leaders. Mo’izz also found time to take some active measures against the Byzantines, with whom his generals fought in Syria with varying fortune. Before his death he was acknowledged as caliph in Mecca and Medina, as well as Syria, Egypt and North Africa as far as Tangier.
In the reign of the second Egyptian Fāṭimite ‘Azīz billah, Jauhar, who appears to have been cashiered by Mo’izz, was again employed at the instance of Jacob b. Killis, who had been raised to the rank of vizier, to deal with the situation in Syria, where a Turkish general Aftakīn had gained possession of Damascus, and was raiding the whole country; on the arrival of Jauhar in Syria the Turks called the Carmathians to their aid, and after a campaign of many vicissitudes Jauhar had to return to Egypt to implore the caliph himself to take the field. In August 977 ‘Azīz met the united forces of Aftakīn and his Carmathian ally outside Ramleh in Palestine and inflicted a crushing defeat on them, which was followed by the capture of Aftakīn; this able officer was taken to Egypt, and honourably treated by the caliph, thereby incurring the jealousy of Jacob b. Killis, who caused him, it is said, to be poisoned. This vizier had the astuteness to see the necessity of codifying the doctrines of the Fāṭimites, and himself undertook this task; in the newly-established mosque of el-Azhar he got his master to make provision for a perpetual series of teachers and students of his manual. It would appear, however, that a large amount of toleration was conceded by the first two Egyptian Fāṭimites to the other sects of Islam, and to other communities. Indeed at one time in ‘Azīz’s reign the vizierate of Egypt was held by a Christian, Jesus, son of Nestorius, who appointed as his deputy in Syria a Jew, Manasseh b. Abraham. These persons were charged by the Moslems with unduly favouring their co-religionists, and the belief that the Christians of Egypt were in league with the Byzantine emperor, and even burned a fleet which was being built for the Byzantine war, led to some persecution. Azīz attempted without success to enter into friendly relations with the Buyid ruler of Bagdad, ‘Aḍod addaula, who was disposed to favour the ‘Alids, but caused the claim of the Fāṭimites to descend from ‘Ali to be publicly refuted. He then tried to gain possession of Aleppo, as the key to ‘Irāk, but this was prevented by the intervention of the Byzantines. His North African possessions were maintained and extended by ‘Ali, son of Bulukkīn, whom Mo’izz had left as his deputy; but the recognition of the Fāṭimite caliph in this region was little more than nominal.
His successor Abū ‘Alī al-Manṣūr
, who reigned under the title al-Hāḳim bi‘amr allāh
, came to the throne at the age of eleven, being the son of ‘Azīz by a Christian mother. He was at first under the tutelage of the Slav Burjuwān, whose policy it was to favour the Turkish element in the army as against the Maghribine, on which the strength of the Fāṭimites had till then rested; his conduct of affairs was vigorous and successful, and he concluded a peace with the Greek emperor. After a few years’ regency he was assassinated at the instance of the young sovereign, who at an early age developed a dislike for control and jealousy of his rights as caliph. He is branded by historians as the Caligula of the East, who took a delight in imposing on his subjects a variety of senseless and capricious regulations, and persecuting different sections of them by cruel and arbitrary measures. It is observable that some of those with which Ḥākim is credited are also ascribed to Ibn Ṭūlūn and the Ikshīd (Mahommed b. Tughj). He is perhaps best remembered by his destruction of the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem (1010), a measure which helped to provoke the Crusades, but was only part of a general scheme for converting all Christians and Jews in his dominions to his own opinions by force. A more reputable expedient with the same end in view was the construction of a great library in Cairo, with ample provision for students; this was modelled on a similar institution at Bagdad. It formed part of the great palace of the Fāṭimites, and was intended to be the centre of their propaganda. At times, however, he ordered the destruction of all Christian churches in Egypt, and the banishment of all who did not adopt Islam. It is strange that in the midst of these persecutions he continued to employ Christians in high official positions. His system of persecution was not abandoned till in the last year of his reign (1020) he thought fit to claim divinity, a doctrine which is perpetuated by the Druses
), called after one Darazī, who preached the divinity of Ḥākim at the time; the violent opposition which this aroused among the Moslems probably led him to adopt milder measures towards his other subjects, and those who had been forcibly converted were permitted to return to their former religion and rebuild their places of worship. Whether his disappearance at the beginning of the year 1021 was due to the resentment of his outraged subjects, or, as the historians say, to his sister’s fear that he would bequeath the caliphate to a distant relative to the exclusion of his own son, will never be known. In spite of his caprices he appears to have shown competence in the management of external affairs; enterprises of pretenders both in Egypt and Syria were crushed with promptitude; and his name was at times mentioned in public worship in Aleppo and Mosul.
His son Abū’l-Ḥasan ‘Ali, who succeeded him with the title al-Ẓāhir li‘i’zāz dīn allāh, was sixteen years of age at the time, and for four years his aunt Sitt al-Mulk acted as regent; she appears to have been an astute but utterly unscrupulous woman. After her death the caliph was in the power of various ministers, under whose management of affairs Syria was for a time lost to the Egyptian caliphate, and Egypt itself raided by the Syrian usurpers, of whom one, Ṣāliḥ b. Mirdās, succeeded in establishing a dynasty at Aleppo, which maintained itself after Syria and Palestine had been recovered for the Fāṭimites by Anushtakin al-Dizbarī at the battle of Ukhuwānah in 1029. His career is said to have been marked by some horrible caprices similar to those of his father. After a reign of nearly sixteen years he died of the plague.
His successor, Abū Tamīm Ma‘add
, who reigned with the title al-Mostanṣir
, was also an infant at the time of his accession, being little more than seven years of age. The power was largely in the hands of his mother, a negress, who promoted the interests of her kinsmen at court, where indeed even in Ḥākim’s time they had been used as a counterpoise to the Maghribine and Turkish elements in the army. In the first years of this reign affairs were administered by the vizier al-Jarjarā‘ī, by whose mismanagement Aleppo was lost to the Fāṭimites. At his death in 1044 the chief influence passed into the hands of Abu Sa’d, a Jew, and the former master of the queen-mother, and at the end of four years he was assassinated at the instance of another Jew (Ṣadaḳah, perhaps Zedekiah, b. Joseph al-Falāḥī), whom he had appointed vizier. In this reign Mo’izz b. Badis, the 4th ruler of the dependent Zeirid dynasty which had ruled in the Maghrib since the migration of the Fāṭimite Mo’izz to Egypt, definitely abjured his allegiance (1049) and returned to Sunnite principles and subjection to the Bagdad caliphate. The Zeirids maintained Mahdia (see Algiers
), while other cities of the Maghrib were colonized by Arab tribes sent thither by the Cairene vizier. This loss was more than compensated by the enrolment of Yemen among the countries which recognized the Fāṭimite caliphate through the enterprise of one ‘Ali b. Mahommed al-Ṣulaiḥī, while owing to the disputes between the Turkish generals who claimed supremacy at Bagdad, Mostanṣir’s name was mentioned in public prayer at that metropolis on the 12th of January 1058, when a Turkish adventurer Basāsīrī was for a time in power. The Egyptian court, chiefly owing to the jealousy of the vizier, sent no efficient aid to Basāsīrī, and after a year Bagdad was retaken by the Seljūk Toghrul Beg, and the Abbasid caliph restored to his rights. In the following years the troubles in Egypt caused by the struggles between the Turkish and negro elements in Mostanṣir’s army nearly brought the country into the dominion of the Abbasids. After several battles of various issue the Turkish commander Nāṣir addaula b. Hamdān got possession of Cairo, and at the end of 1068 plundered the caliph’s palace; the valuable library which had been begun by Ḥākim was pillaged, and an accidental fire caused great destruction. The caliph and his family were reduced to destitution, and Nāṣir addaula began negotiations for restoring the name of the Abbasid caliph in public prayer; he was, however, assassinated before he could carry this out, and his assassin, also a Turk, appointed vizier. Mostanṣir then summoned to his aid Badr al-Jamālī, an Armenian who had displayed competence in various posts which he had held in Syria, and this person early in 1074 arrived in Cairo accompanied by a bodyguard of Armenians; he contrived to massacre the chiefs of the party at the time in possession of power, and with the title Amīr al-Juyūsh (“prince of the armies”) was given by Mostanṣir complete control of affairs. The period of internal disturbances, which had been accompanied by famine and pestilence, had caused usurpers to spring up in all parts of Egypt, and Badr was compelled practically to reconquer the country. During this time, however, Syria was overrun by an invader in league with the Seljūk Malik Shah, and Damascus was permanently lost to the Fāṭimites; other cities were recovered by Badr himself or his officers. He rebuilt the walls of Cairo, of more durable material than that which had been employed by Jauhar—a measure rendered necessary partly by the growth of the metropolis, but also by the repeated sieges which it had undergone since the commencement of Fāṭimite rule. The time of Mostanṣir is otherwise memorable for the rise of the Assassins
), who at the first supported the claims of his eldest son Nizār to the succession against the youngest Ḁhmed, who was favoured by the family of Badr. When Badr died in 1094 his influence was inherited by his son al-Afḍal Shāhinshāh, and this, at the death of Mostanṣir in the same year, was thrown in favour of Aḥmed
, who succeeded to the caliphate with the title al-Mosta’lī billāh
Mosta’lī’s succession was not carried through without an attempt on the part of Nizār to obtain his rights, the title which he chose being al-Moṣṭafā lidīn allāh
; for a time he maintained himself in Alexandria, but the energetic
measures of his brother soon brought the civil war to an end. The beginning of this reign coincided with the beginning of the Crusades, and al-Afḍal made the fatal mistake of helping the Franks by rescuing Jerusalem from the Ortokids, thereby facilitating its conquest by the Franks in 1099. He endeavoured to retrieve his error by himself advancing into Palestine, but he was defeated in the neighbourhood of Ascalon, and compelled to retire to Egypt. Many of the Palestinian possessions of the Fāṭimites then successively fell into the hands of the Franks. After a reign of seven years Mosta’lī died and the caliphate was given by al-Afḍal to an infant son, aged five years at the time, who was placed on the throne with the title al-Āmir biahkām allāh
, and for twenty years was under the tutelage of al-Afḍal. He made repeated attempts to recover the Syrian and Palestinian cities from the Franks, but with poor success. In 1118 Egypt was invaded by Baldwin I., who burned the gates and the mosques of Farama, and advanced to Tinnis, whence illness compelled him to retreat. In August 1121 al-Afḍal was assassinated in a street of Cairo, it is said, with the connivance of the caliph, who immediately began the plunder of his house, where fabulous treasures were said to be amassed. The vizier’s offices were given to one of the caliph’s creatures, Mahommed b. Fātik al-Batā’iḥī, who took the title al-Ma’mūn
. His external policy was not more fortunate than that of his predecessor, as he lost Tyre to the Franks, and a fleet equipped by him was defeated by the Venetians. On the 4th of October 1125 he with his followers was seized and imprisoned by order of the Caliph Āmir, who was now resolved to govern by himself, with the assistance of only subordinate officials, of whom two were drawn from the Samaritan and Christian communities. The vizier was afterwards crucified with his five brothers. The caliph’s personal government appears to have been incompetent, and to have been marked by extortions and other arbitrary measures. He was assassinated in October 1129 by some members of the sect who believed in the claims of Nizār, son of Mostanṣir.
The succeeding caliph, Abu’l-Maimūn ‘Abd al-Majīd, who took the title al-Ḥāfiẓ lidīn allāh, was not the son but the cousin of the deceased caliph, and of ripe age, being about fifty-eight years old at the time; for more than a year he was kept in prison by the new vizier, a son of al-Afḍal, whom the army had placed in the post; but towards the end of 1131 this vizier fell by the hand of assassins, and the caliph was set free. The reign of Ḥāfiẓ was disturbed by the factions of the soldiery, between which several battles took place, ending in the subjection of the caliph for a time to various usurpers, one of these being his own son Ḥasan, who had been provoked to rebel by the caliph nominating a younger brother as his successor. For some months the caliph was under this son’s control; but the latter, who aimed at conciliating the people, speedily lost his popularity with the troops, and his father was able to get possession of his person and cause him to be poisoned (beginning of 1135).
His son Abu’l-Manṣūr Ismā‘īl, who was seventeen years old at the time of Ḥāfiẓ’s death, succeeded him with the title al-Zāfir lia’dā allāh. From this reign to the end of the Fāṭimite period we have the journals of two eminent men, Usāmah b. Muniqdh and Umārah of Yemen, which throw light on the leading characters. The civil dissensions of Egypt were notorious at the time. The new reign began by an armed struggle between two commanders for the post of vizier, which in January 1150 was decided in favour of the Amir Ibn Sallār. This vizier was presently assassinated by the direction of his stepson ‘Abbās, who was raised to the vizierate in his place. This event was shortly followed by the loss to the Fāṭimites of Ascalon, the last place in Syria which they held; its loss was attributed to dissensions between the parties of which the garrison consisted. Four years later (April 1154) the caliph was murdered by his vizier ‘Abbās, according to Usāmah, because the caliph had suggested to his favourite, the vizier’s son, to murder his father; and this was followed by a massacre of the brothers of Zāfir, followed by the raising of his infant son Abu’l-Qāsim ’Īsā to the throne.
The new caliph, who was not five years old, received the title al-Fā’iz binaṣr allāh, and was at first in the power of ‘Abbās. The women of the palace, however, summoned to their aid Ṭalā’i’ b. Ruzzīk, prefect of Ushmunain, at whose arrival in Cairo the troops deserted ‘Abbās, who was compelled to flee into Syria, taking his son and Usāmah with him. ‘Abbās was killed by the Franks near Ascalon, his son sent in a cage to Cairo where he was executed, while Usāmah escaped to Damascus.
The infant Fā’iz, who had been permanently incapacitated by the scenes of violence which accompanied his accession, died in 1160. Ṭalā’i’ chose to succeed him a grandson of Ẓāfir, who was nine years of age, and received the title al-‘Āḍid lidīn allāh
. Ṭalā’i’, who had complete control of affairs, introduced the practice of farming the taxes for periods of six months instead of a year, which led to great misery, as the taxes were demanded twice. His death was brought on by the rigour with which he treated the princesses, one of whom, with or without the connivance of the caliph, organized a plot for his assassination, and he died in September 1160. His son Ruzzīk inherited his post and maintained himself in it for more than a year, when another prefect of Upper Egypt, Shāwar b. Mujīr, brought a force to Cairo, before which Ruzzīk fled, to be shortly afterwards captured and beheaded. Shāwar’s entry into Cairo was at the beginning of 1163; after nine months he was compelled to flee before another adventurer, an officer in the army named Ḍirghām. Shāwar’s flight was directed to Damascus, where he was favourably received by the prince Nureddin, who sent with him to Cairo a force of Kurds under Asad al-dīn Shīrgūh. At the same time Egypt was invaded by the Franks, who raided and did much damage on the coast. Dirghām was defeated and killed, but a dispute then arose between Shāwar and his Syrian allies for
the possession of Egypt. Shāwar, being unable to cope with the Syrians, demanded help of the Frankish king of Jerusalem Amalric (Amauri) I., who hastened to his aid with a large force, which united with Shāwar’s and besieged Shīrgūh in Bilbeis for three months; at the end of this time, owing to the successes of Nureddin in Syria, the Franks granted Shīrgūh a free passage with his troops back to Syria, on condition of Egypt being evacuated (October 1164). Rather more than two years later Shīrgūh persuaded Nureddin to put him at the head of another expedition to Egypt, which left Syria in January 1167, and, entering Egypt by the land route, crossed the Nile at Itfīḥ (Atfih), and encamped at Giza; a Frankish army hastened to Shāwar’s aid. At the battle of Bābain (April 11th, 1167) the allies were defeated by the forces commanded by Shīrgūh and his nephew Saladin, who was
presently made prefect of Alexandria, which surrendered to Shīrgūh without a struggle. Saladin was soon besieged by the allies in Alexandria; but after seventy-five days the siege was raised, Shīrgūh having made a threatening movement on Cairo, where a Frankish garrison had been admitted by Shāwar. Terms were then made by which both Syrians and Franks were to quit Egypt, though the garrison of Cairo remained; the hostile attitude of the Moslem population to this garrison led to another invasion at the beginning of 1168 by King Amalric, who after taking Bilbeis advanced to Cairo. The caliph, who up to this time appears to have left the administration to the viziers, now sent for Shīrgūh, whose speedy arrival in Egypt caused the Franks to withdraw. Reaching Cairo on the 6th of January 1169, he was soon able to get possession of Shāwar’s person, and after the prefect’s execution, which happened some ten days later, he was appointed vizier by the caliph. After two months Shīrgūh died of indigestion (23rd of March 1169), and the caliph appointed Saladin as successor to Shīrgūh; the new vizier professed to hold office as a deputy of Nureddin, whose name was mentioned in public worship after that of the caliph. By appropriating the fiefs of the Egyptian officers and giving them to his Kurdish followers he stirred up much ill-feeling, which resulted in a conspiracy, of which the object was to recall the Franks with the view of overthrowing the new régime; but this conspiracy was revealed by a traitor and crushed. Nureddin loyally aided his deputy in dealing with Frankish invasions of Egypt, but the anomaly by which he, being a Sunnite, was made in Egypt to recognize a Fāṭimite caliph could not long continue, and he ordered Saladin to weaken the Fāṭimite by every available means, and then substitute the name of the Abbasid for his in public worship. Saladin and his ministers were at first afraid lest this step might give rise to disturbances among the people; but a stranger undertook to risk it on the 17th of September 1171, and the following Friday it was repeated by official order; the caliph himself died during the interval, and it is uncertain whether he ever heard of his deposition. The last of the Fāṭimite caliphs was not quite twenty-one years old at the time of his death.
(5) Ayyubite Period.—Saladin by the advice of his chief Nureddin cashiered the Fāṭimite judges and took steps to encourage the study of orthodox theology and jurisprudence in Egypt by the foundation of colleges and chairs. On the death of the ex-caliph he was confirmed in the prefecture of Egypt as deputy of Nureddin; and on the decease of the latter in 1174 (12th of April) he took the title sultan, so that with this year the Ayyubite period of Egyptian history properly begins. During the whole of it Damascus rather more than Cairo counted as the metropolis of the empire. The Egyptian army, which was motley in character, was disbanded by the new sultan, whose troops were Kurds. Though he did not build a new metropolis he fortified Cairo with the addition of a citadel, and had plans made for a new wall to enclose both it and the double city; this latter plan was never completed, but the former was executed after his death, and from this time till the French occupation of Egypt the citadel of Cairo was the political centre of the country. It was in 1183 that Saladin’s rule over Egypt and North Syria was consolidated. Much of Saladin’s time was spent in Syria, and his famous wars with the Franks belong to the history of the Crusades and to his personal biography. Egypt was largely governed by his favourite Karākūsh, who lives in popular legend as the “unjust judge,” though he does not appear to have deserved that title.
Saladin at his death divided his dominions between his sons, of whom ’Othman succeeded to Egypt with the title Malik al-Azīz ‘Imāl al-aīn. The division was not satisfactory to the heirs, and after three years (beginning of 1196) the Egyptian sultan conspired with his uncle Malik al-‘Ādil to deprive Saladin’s son al-Afḍal of Damascus, which had fallen to his lot. The war between the brothers was continued with intervals of peace, during which al-‘Ādil repeatedly changed sides: eventually he with al-‘Azīz besieged and took Damascus, and sent al-Afḍal to Sarkhad, while al-‘Ādil remained in possession of Damascus. On the death of al-‘Azīz on the 29th of November 1198 in consequence of a hunting accident, his infant son Mahommed was raised to the throne with the title Malik al-Manṣūr Nāṣir al-dīn, and his uncle al-Afḍal sent for from Sarkhad to take the post of regent or Atābeg. So soon as al-Afḍal had got possession of his nephew’s person, he started on an expedition for the recovery of Damascus: al-‘Ādil not only frustrated this, but drove him back to Egypt, where on the 25th of January 1200 a battle was fought between the armies of the two at Bilbeis, resulting in the defeat of al-Afḍal, who was sent back to Sarkhad, while al-‘Ādil assumed the regency, for which after a few months he substituted the sovereignty, causing his nephew to be deposed. He reigned under the title Malik al-‘Ādil Saif al-dīn. His name was Abū Bakr.
Though the early years of his reign were marked by numerous disasters, famine, pestilence and earthquake, of which the second seems to have been exceedingly serious, he reunited under his sway the whole of the empire which had belonged to his brother, and his generals conquered for him parts of Mesopotamia and Armenia, and in 1215 he got possession of Yemen. He followed the plan of dividing his empire between his sons, the eldest Mahommed, called Malik al-Kāmil
, being his viceroy in Egypt, while al-Mu‘azzam ’Īsā governed Syria, al-Ashraf Mūsā his eastern and al-Malik al-Auḥad Ayyūb his northern possessions. His attitude towards the Franks was at the first peaceful, but later in his reign he was compelled to adopt more strenuous measures. His death occurred at Alikin (1218), a village near Damascus, while the Franks were besieging Damietta—the first operation of the Fifth Crusade—which was defended by al-Kāmil, to whom his father kept sending reinforcements. The efforts of al-Kāmil after his accession to the independent sovereignty were seriously hindered by the endeavour of an amir named Aḥmed b. Mashṭūb to depose him and appoint in his place a brother called al-Fā’iz Sābiq al-dīn Ibrāhīm: this attempt was frustrated by the timely interposition of al-Mu‘azzam ’Īsā, who came to Egypt to aid his brother in February 1219, and compelled al-Fā’iz to depart for Mosul. After a siege of sixteen and a half months Damietta was taken by the Franks on Tuesday the 6th of November 1219; al-Kāmil thereupon proclaimed the Jihād, and was joined at his fortified camp, afterwards the site of Manṣūra, by troops from various parts of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia, including the forces of his brothers ’Īsā and Mūsā. With these allies, and availing himself of the advantages offered by the inundation of the Nile, al-Kāmil was able to cut off both the advance and the retreat of the invaders, and on the 31st of August 1221 a peace was concluded, by which the Franks evacuated Egypt.
For some years the dominions of al-‘Ādil remained divided between his sons: when the affairs of Egypt were settled, al-Kāmil determined to reunite them as before, and to that end brought on the Sixth Crusade. Various cities in Palestine and Syria were yielded to Frederick II. as the price of his help against the son of Mu‘azzam ’Īsā, who reigned at Damascus with the title of Malik al-Nāṣir. About 1231-32 Kāmil led a confederacy of Ayyūbite princes against the Seljuk Kaikobad into Asia Minor, but his allies mistrusted him and victory rested with Kaikobad (see Seljuks
). Before Kāmil’s death he was mentioned in public prayer at Mecca as lord of Mecca (Hejāz), Yemen, Zabīd, Upper and Lower Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia.
At his death (May 8th, 1238) at Damascus, his son Abū Bakr was appointed to succeed with the title Malik al-‘Ādil Saif al-dīn; but his elder brother Malik al-Sāliḥ Najm al-dīn Ayyūb, having got possession of Damascus, immediately started for Egypt, with the view of adding that country to his dominions: meanwhile his uncle Ismā’il, prince of Hamath, with the prince of Homs, seized Damascus, upon hearing which the troops of Najm al-dīn deserted him at Nablus, when he fell into the hands of Malik al-Nāṣir, prince of Kerak, who carried him off to that city and kept him a prisoner there for a time; after which he was released and allowed to return to Nablus. On the 31st of May 1240 the new sultan was arrested at Bilbeis by his own amirs, who sent for Najm al-dīn to succeed him; and on the 19th of June of the same year Najm al-dīn entered Cairo as sultan, and imprisoned his brother in the citadel, where he died in 1248. Meanwhile in 1244 Jerusalem had been finally wrested from the Franks. The administration of Najm al-dīn is highly praised by Ibn Khallikan, who lived under it. He made large purchases of slaves (Mamelukes) for his army, and when the inhabitants of Cairo complained of their lawlessness, he built barracks for them on the island of Roda (Rauḍa), whence they were called Bahrī or Nile Mamelukes, which became the name of the first dynasty that originated from them. Much of his time was spent in campaigns in Syria, where the other Ayyūbites allied themselves against him with the Crusaders, whereas he accepted the services of the Khwarizmians: eventually he succeeded in recovering most of the Syrian cities. His name is commemorated by the town of Salihia, which he built in the year 1246 as a resting-place for his armies on their marches through the desert from Egypt to Palestine. In 1249 he was recalled from the siege of Homs by the news of the invasion of Egypt by Louis IX. (the Seventh Crusade), and in spite of illness he hastened to Ushmum Tannā, in the neighbourhood of Damietta, which he provisioned for a siege. Damietta was taken on the 6th of June 1249, owing to the desertion of his post by the commander Fakhr ud-dīn, and the Banū Kinānah, to whom the defence of the place had been entrusted: fifty-four of their chieftains were afterwards executed by the sultan for this proceeding. On the 22nd of November the sultan died of disease at Manṣūra, but his death was carefully concealed by the amirs Lājīn and Aktai, acting in concert with the Queen Shajar al-durr, till the arrival from Syria of the heir to the throne, Tūrānshāh, who was proclaimed some four months later. At the battle of Fāriskūr, 6th of April 1250, the invaders were utterly routed and the French king fell into the hands of the Egyptian sultan. The Egyptian authorities now resolved to raze Damietta, which, however, was rebuilt shortly after. The sultan, who himself had had no share in the victory, advanced after it from Manṣūra to Fāriskūr, where his conduct became menacing to the amirs who had raised him to the throne, and to Shajar al-durr; she in revenge organized an attack upon him which was successful, fire, water, and steel contributing to his end.
(6) Period of Baḥrī Mamelukes.—The dynasties that succeeded the Ayyūbites till the conquest of Egypt by the Ottomans bore the title Dynasties of the Turks, but are more often called Mameluke dynasties, because the sultans were drawn from the enfranchised slaves who constituted the court, and officered the army. The family of the fourth of these sovereigns, Ka’ā’ūn (Qalā’ūn), reigned for 110 years, but otherwise no sultan was able to found a durable dynasty: after the death of a sultan he was usually succeeded by an infant son, who after a short time was dethroned by a new usurper.
After the death of the Sultan Tūrānshāh, his step-mother at first was raised to the vacant throne, when she committed the administration of affairs to the captain of the retainers, Aibek; but the rule of a queen caused scandal to the Moslem world, and Shajar al-durr gave way to this sentiment by marrying Aibek and allowing the title sultan to be conferred on him instead of herself. For policy’s sake, however, Aibek nominally associated with himself on the throne a scion of the Ayyūbite house, Malik al-Ashraf Musa, who died in prison (1252 or 1254). Aibek meanwhile immediately became involved in war with the Ayyūbite Malik al-Nāṣir, who was in possession of Syria, with whom the caliph induced him after some indecisive actions to make peace: he then successfully quelled a mutiny of Mamelukes, whom he compelled to take refuge with the last Abbasid caliph Mostasim in Bagdad and elsewhere. On the 10th of April 1257 Aibek was murdered by his wife Shajar al-durr, who was indignant at his asking for the hand of another queen: but Aibek’s followers immediately avenged his death, placing on the throne his infant son Malik al-Manṣūr
, who, however, was almost immediately displaced by his guardian Koṭuz
, on the plea that the Mongol danger necessitated the presence of a grown man at the head of affairs. In 1260 the Syrian kingdom of al-Nāṣir was destroyed by Hulaku (Hulagu), the great Mongol chief, founder of the Ilkhan Dynasty (see Mongols
), who, having finally overthrown the caliph of Bagdad (see Caliphate
, sect. c. § 37), also despatched a threatening letter to Koṭuz; but later in the same year Syria was invaded by Koṭuz, who defeated Hulagu’s lieutenant at the battle of ‘Ain Jālūt (3rd of September 1260), in consequence of which event the Syrian cities all rose against the Mongols, and the Egyptian sultan became master of the country with the exception of such places as were still held by the Crusaders.
Before Koṭuz had reigned a year he was murdered at Sālihia by his lieutenant Bibars (October 23rd, 1260), who was piqued, it is said, at the governorship of Aleppo being withheld from him. The sovereignty was seized by this
Rule of Bibars.
person with the title of Malik al-Qāhir
, presently altered to al-Zāhir
. He had originally been a slave of Malik al-Sāliḥ, had distinguished himself at the battle after which Louis IX. was captured, and had helped to murder Tūrānshāh. Sultan Bibars, who proved to be one of the most competent of the Baḥrī Mamelukes, made Egypt the centre of the Moslem world by re-establishing in theory the Abbasid caliphate, which had lapsed through the taking of Bagdad by Hulagu, followed by the execution of the caliph. Bibars recognized the claim of a certain Abu’l-Qāsim Aḥmed to be the son of Zāhir, the 35th Abbasid caliph, and installed him as Commander of the Faithful
Abbasid caliphate revived.
at Cairo with the title al-Mostanṣir billāh
. Mostanṣir then proceeded to confer on Bibars the title sultan, and to address to him a homily, explaining his duties. This document is preserved in the MS. life of Bibars, and translated by G. Weil. The sultan appears to have contemplated restoring the new caliph to the throne of Bagdad: the force, however, which he sent with him for the purpose of reconquering Irak was quite insufficient for the purpose, and Mostanṣir was defeated and slain. This did not prevent Bibars from maintaining his policy of appointing an Abbasid for the purpose of conferring legitimacy on himself; but he encouraged no further attempts at re-establishing the Abbasids at Bagdad, and his principle, adopted by successive sultans, was that the caliph should not leave Cairo except when accompanying the sultan on an expedition.
The reign of Bibars was spent largely in successful wars against the Crusaders, from whom he took many cities, notably Safad, Caesarea and Antioch; the Armenians, whose territory he repeatedly invaded, burning their capital Sis; and the Seljukids of Asia Minor. He further reduced the Ismā‘īlians or Assassins, whose existence as a community lasted on in Syria after it had nearly come to an end in Persia. He made Nubia tributary, therein extending Moslem arms farther south than they had been extended by any previous sultan. His authority was before his death recognized all over Syria (with the exception of the few cities still in the power of the Franks), over Arabia, with the exception of Yemen, on the Euphrates from Birah to Kerkesia (Circesium) on the Chaboras (Khabur), whilst the amirs of north-western Africa were tributary to him. His successes were won not only by military and political ability, but also by the most absolute unscrupulousness, neither flagrant perjury nor the basest treachery being disdained. He was the first sultan who acknowledged the equal authority of the four schools of law, and appointed judges belonging to each in Egypt and Syria; he was thus able to get his measures approved by one school when condemned by another.
On the 1st of July 1277 Bibars died, and the events that followed set an example repeatedly followed during the period of the Mamelukes. The sultan’s son Malik al-Sa‘īd
ascended the throne; but within little more than two
years he was compelled to abdicate in favour of his father-in-law Kalā’ūn
, a Mameluke who had risen high in the former sovereign’s service. The accession of Kalā’ūn was also marked by an attempt on the part of the governor of Damascus to form Syria into an independent kingdom, an attempt frequently imitated on similar occasions. The Syrian forces were defeated at the battle of Jazūrah (April 26th, 1280) and Kalā’ūn resumed possession of the country; but the disaffected Syrians entered into relations with the Mongols, who proceeded to invade Syria, but were finally defeated by Kalā’ūn on the 30th of October 1281 under the walls of Homs (Emesa).
The conversion to Islam of Nikudar Aḥmad, the third of the Ilkhan rulers of Persia, and the consequent troubles in the western Mongol empire, let to a suspension of hostilities between Egypt and the Ilkhans (see Persia
, § B), though the latter did not cease to agitate in Europe for a renewal of the Crusades, with little result. Kalā’ūn, without pursuing any career of active conquest, did much to consolidate his dominions, and especially to extend Egyptian commerce, for which purpose he started passports enabling merchants to travel with safety through Egypt and Syria as far as India. After the danger from the Mongols had ceased, however, Kalā’ūn directed his energies towards capturing the last places that remained in the hands of the Franks, and proceeded to take Markab, Latakia, and Tripoli (April 26th, 1289). In 1290 he planned an attack on Acre, but died (November 10th) in the middle of all his preparations. Under Kalā’ūn we first hear of the Burjite Mamelukes, who owe their name to the citadel (Burj) of Cairo, where 3700 of the whole number of 12,000 Mamelukes maintained by this sovereign were quartered. He also set an example, frequently followed, of the practice of dismissing all non-Moslems from government posts: this was often done by his successors with the view of conciliating the Moslems, but it was speedily found that the services of the Jewish and Christian clerks were again required. He further founded a hospital for clinical research on a scale formerly unknown.
Kalā’ūn was followed by his son Khalīl
(Malik al-Ashraf Salāh al-dīn
), who carried out his father’s policy of driving the Franks out of Syria and Palestine, and proceeded with the siege of Acre, which he took (May 18th, 1291) after a siege of forty-three days. The capture and destruction of this important place were followed by the capture of Tyre, Sidon, Haifa, Athlit and Beirut, and thus Syria was cleared of the Crusaders. He also planned an expedition against the prince of Lesser Armenia, which was averted by the surrender of Behesna, Marash and Tell Hamdūn. The disputes between his favourite, the vizier Ibn al-Sa’lūs, and his viceroy Baidara, led to his being murdered by the latter (December 12th, 1293), who was proclaimed sultan, but almost immediately fell a victim to the vengeance of the deceased sultan’s party, who placed a younger son of Kalā’ūn,
Malik al-Nāṣir.Mahommed Malik al-Nāṣir
, on the throne. This prince had the singular fortune of reigning three times, being twice dethroned: he was first installed on the 14th of December 1293, when he was nine years old, and the affairs of the kingdom were undertaken by a cabinet, consisting of a vizier (‘Alam al-dīn Sinjar), a viceroy (Kitboga), a war minister (Ḥusām al-dīn Lājīn al-Rūmī), a prefect of the palace (Rokneddin Bibars Jāshengir) and a secretary of state (Rokneddin Bibars Manṣūrī). This cabinet naturally split into rival camps, in consequence of which Kitboga, himself a Mongol, with the aid of other Mongols who had come into Egypt after the battle of Homs, succeeded in ousting his rivals, and presently, with the aid of the surviving assassins of the former sultan, compelling Malik al-Nāṣir to abdicate in his favour (December 1st, 1294). The usurper was, however, able to maintain himself for two years only, famine and pestilence which prevailed in Egypt and Syria during his reign rendering him unpopular, while his arbitrary treatment of the amirs also gave offence. He was dethroned in 1296, and one of the murderers of Khalil, Ḥusām al-dīn Lājīn
, son-in-law of the sultan Bibars and formerly governor of Damascus, installed in his palace (November 26th, 1296). It had become the practice of the Egyptian sultans to bestow all offices of importance on their own freedmen (Mamelukes) to the exclusion of the older amirs, whom they could not trust so well, but who in turn became still more disaffected. Ḥusām al-dīn fell a victim to the jealousy of the older amirs whom he had incensed by bestowing arbitrary power on his own
Mameluke Mengutimur, and was murdered on the 16th of January 1299. His short reign was marked by some fairly successful incursions into Armenia, and the recovery of the fortresses Marash and Tell Hamdūn, which had been retaken by the Armenians. He also instituted a fresh survey and division of land in Egypt and Syria, which occasioned much discontent. After his murder the deposed sultan Malik al-Nāṣir, who had been living in retirement at Kerak, was recalled by the army and reinstated as sultan in Cairo (February 7th, 1299), though still only fourteen years of age, so that public affairs were administered not by him, but by Salār the viceroy, and Bibars Jāshengir, prefect of the palace. The 7th Ilkhan, Ghazan Mahmud, took advantage of the disorder in the Mameluke empire to invade Syria in the latter half of 1299, when his forces inflicted a severe defeat on those of the new sultan, and seized several cities, including the capital Damascus, of which, however, they were unable to storm the citadel; in 1300, when a fresh army was collected in Egypt, the Mongols evacuated Damascus and made no attempt to secure their other conquests. The fear of further Mongolian invasion led to the imposition of fresh taxes in both Egypt and Syria, including one of 33% on rents, which occasioned many complaints. The invasion did not take place till 1303, when at the battle of Marj al-Ṣaffar (April 20th) the Mongols were defeated. This was the last time that the Ilkhans gave the Egyptian sultans serious trouble; and in the letter written in the sultan’s name to the Ilkhan announcing the victory, the former suggested that the caliphate of Bagdad should be restored to the titular Abbasid caliph who had accompanied the Egyptian expedition, a suggestion which does not appear to have led to any actual steps being taken. The fact that the Mongols were in ostensible alliance with Christian princes led to a renewal by the sultan of the ordinances against Jews and Christians which had often been abrogated, as often renewed and again fallen into abeyance; and their renewal led to missions from various Christian princes requesting milder terms for their co-religionists. The amirs Salār and Bibars having usurped the whole of the sultan’s authority, he, after some futile attempts to free himself of them, under the pretext of pilgrimage to Mecca, retired in March 1309 to Kerak, whence he sent his abdication to Cairo; in consequence of which, on the 5th of April 1309, Bibars Jāshengir
was proclaimed sultan, with the title Malik al-Moẓaffar
. This prince was originally a freedman of Kalā‘ūn, and was the first Circassian who ascended the throne of Egypt. Before the year was out the new sultan had been rendered unpopular by the occurrence of a famine, and Malik al-Nāṣir was easily able to induce the Syrian amirs to return to his allegiance, in consequence of which Bibars in his turn abdicated, and Malik al-Nāṣir re-entered Cairo as sovereign on the 5th of March 1310. He soon found the means to execute both Bibars and Salār, while other amirs who had been eminent under the former régime fled to the Mongols. The relations between their Ilkhan and the Egyptian sultan continued strained, and the 8th Ilkhan Oeljeitu (1304-1316) addressed letters to Philip the Fair and the English king Edward I. (answered by Edward II. in 1307), desiring aid against Malik al-Nāṣir; and for many years the courts of the sultan and the Ilkhan continued to be the refuge of malcontents from the other kingdom. Finally in 1322 terms of peace and alliance were agreed on between the sultan and Abū Sa‘īd the 9th Ilkhan. The sultan also entered into relations with the Mongols of the Golden Horde and in 1319 married a daughter of the reigning prince Uzbeg Khan (see Mongols
: Golden Horde
). Much of Malik al-Nāṣir’s third administration was spent in raids into Nubia, where he endeavoured to set up a creature of his own as sovereign, in attempts at bringing the Bedouins of south-eastern Egypt into subordination, and in persecuting the Nosairīs, whose heresy became formidable about this time. Like other Egyptian sultans he made considerable use of the Assassins, 124 of whom were sent by him into Persia to execute Kara Sonkor, at one time governor of Damascus, and one of the murderers of Malik al-Ashraf; but they were all outwitted by the exile, who was finally poisoned by the Ilkhan in recompense for a similar service rendered by the Egyptian sultan. For a time Malik al-Nāṣir was recognized as suzerain in north Africa, the Arabian Irak, and Asia Minor, but he was unable to make any permanent conquests in any of these countries. He brought Medina, which had previously been governed by independent sherīfs, to acknowledge his authority. His diplomatic relations were more extensive than those of any previous sultan, and included Bulgarian, Indian, and Abyssinian potentates, as well as the pope, the king of Aragon and the king of France. He appears to have done his utmost to protect his Christian subjects, incurring thereby the reproaches of the more fanatical Moslems, especially in the year 1320 when owing to incendiarism in Cairo there was danger of a general massacre of the Christian population. His internal administration was marked by gross extravagance, which led to his viziers being forced to practise violent extortion for which they afterwards suffered. He paid considerable attention to sheep-breeding and agriculture, and by a canal which he had dug from Fuah to Alexandria not only assisted commerce but brought 100,000 feddans under cultivation. His taste for building and street improvement led to the beautifying of Cairo, and his example was followed by the governors of other great cities in the empire, notably Aleppo and Damascus. He paid exceptionally high prices for Mamelukes, many of whom were sold by their Mongol parents to his agents, and accustomed them to greater luxury than was usual under his predecessors. In 1315 he instituted a survey of Egypt, and of the twenty-four parts into which it was divided ten were assigned to the sultan and fourteen to the amirs and the army. He took occasion to abolish a variety of vexatious imposts, and the new budget fell less heavily on the Christians than the old. Among the literary ornaments of his reign was the historian and geographer Ismā‘īl Abulfeda
), to whom Malik al-Nāṣir restored the government of Hamath, which had belonged to his ancestors, and even gave the title sultan. He died on the 7th of June 1341. The son, Abu Bakr
, to whom he had left the throne, was able to maintain himself only a few months on it, being compelled to abdicate on the 4th of August 1341 in favour of his infant brother Kuchuk
; the revolution was brought about by Kausūn, a powerful Mameluke of the preceding monarch. This person’s authority was, however, soon overthrown by a party formed by the Syrian prefects, and on the 11th of January Malik al-Nāṣir Aḥmad
, an elder son of the former sultan of the same title, was installed in his place, though he did not actually arrive in Cairo till the 6th of November, being unwilling to leave Kerak, where he had been living in retirement. After a brief sojourn in Cairo he speedily returned thither, thereby forfeiting his throne, which was conferred by the amirs on his brother Ismā‘īl al-Malik al-Sāliḥ
(June 27th, 1342). This sultan was mainly occupied during his short reign with besieging and taking Kerak, whither Aḥmad had taken refuge, and himself died on the 3rd of August 1345, when another son of Malik al-Nāṣir, named Sha‘bān
, was placed on the throne. The constant changes of sultan led to
Decline of the Bahri power.
great disorder in the provinces, and many of the subject principalities endeavoured to shake off the Egyptian yoke. Sha‘bān proved no more competent than his predecessors, being given to open debauchery and profligacy, an example followed by his amirs; and fresh discontent led to his being deposed by the Syrian amirs, when his brother Ḥājjī
was proclaimed sultan in his place (September 18th, 1346). Ḥājjī was deposed and killed on the 10th of December 1347, and another infant son of Malik al-Nāṣir, Ḥasan
, who took his father’s title, was proclaimed, the real power being shared by three amirs, Sheikhun, Menjek and Yelbogha Arus. During this reign (1348-1349) Egypt was visited by the “Black Death,” which is said to have carried off 900,000 of the inhabitants of Cairo and to have raged as far south as Assuan. Towards the beginning of 1351 the sultan got rid of his guardians and attempted to rule by himself; but though successful in war, his arbitrary measures led to his being dethroned on the 21st of August 1351 by the amirs, who proclaimed his brother Sāliḥ with the title of Malik al-Sāliḥ
. He too was only fourteen years of age. The power was contested for by various groups of amirs, whose struggles ended with the deposition of the sultan Sāliḥ on the 20th of October 1354, and the reinstatement of his brother Ḥasan
, who was again dethroned on the 16th of March 1361 by an amir Yelbogha, whom he had offended, and who, having got possession of the sultan’s person, murdered him. The next day a son of the dethroned sultan Ḥājjī was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Manṣūr
. On the 29th of May 1363 this sultan was also dethroned on the ground of incompetence, and his place was given to another grandson of Malik al-Nāṣir, Sha‘bān
, son of Ḥosain, then ten years old. The amir Yelbogha at first held all real power and is said to have acquired a degree of authority which no other subject ever held. During this reign, on the 8th of October 1365, a landing was effected at Alexandria by a Frankish fleet under Peter I. of Cyprus, which presently took possession of the city; the Franks were speedily compelled to embark again after plundering the city, for which compensation was afterwards demanded by Yelbogha from the Christian population of Egypt and Syria. Alexandria was further made the seat of a viceroy, having previously only had a prefect. On the 11th of December 1366 Yelbogha was himself attacked by the sultan, captured and slain. His successor in the office of first minister was a mere tool in the hands of his Mamelukes, who compelled him to institute and depose governors, &c., at their pleasure. In 1374 the Egyptians raided Cilicia and captured Leo VI., prince of Lesser Armenia, which now became an Egyptian province with a Moslem governor. On the 15th of March 1377 the sultan was murdered by the Mamelukes, owing to his refusing a largess of money which they demanded. The infant son of the late sultan ‘Alī
, a lad of eight years, was proclaimed with the title Malik al-Manṣūr
; the power was in the hands of the ministers Kartai and Ibek, the latter of whom overthrew the former with the aid of his own Mamelukes, Berekeh and Barkūk. An insurrection in Syria which spread to Egypt presently caused the fall of Ibek, and led to the occupation of the highest posts by the Circassian freedmen Berekeh and Barkūk, of whom the latter ere long succeeded in ousting the former and usurping the sultan’s place; on the 19th of May 1381, when the sultan ‘Alī died, his place was given to an infant brother Ḥājjī, but on the 26th of November 1382, Barkūk
set this child aside and had himself proclaimed sultan (with the title Malik al-Zāhir
), thereby ending the Bahrī dynasty and commencing that of the Circassians. For a short period, however, Ḥājjī was restored, when on the 1st of June 1389 Cairo was taken by Yelbogha, governor of Damascus, and Barkūk expelled; Ḥājjī reigned at first under the guardianship of Yelbogha, who was then overthrown by Mintāsh; Barkūk, who had been relegated to Kerak, succeeded in again forming a party, and in a battle fought at Shakhab, January 1390, succeeded in gaining possession of the person of the sultan Ḥājjī, and on the 21st of January he was again proclaimed sultan in Cairo.
(7) Period of Burjī Mamelukes.
—Barkūk presently entered into relations with the Ottoman sultan Bāyezīd I., and by slaying an envoy of Timur incurred the displeasure of the world-conqueror; and in 1394 led an army into Syria with the view of restoring the Jelairid Ilkhan Aḥmad to Bagdad (as Barkūk’s vassal), and meeting the Mongol invasion. Barkūk, however, died (June 20th, 1399) before Timur had time to invade Syria. According to the custom that had so often proved disastrous, a young son of Barkūk, Faraj
, then aged thirteen, was appointed sultan under the guardianship of two amirs. Incursions were immediately made by the Ottoman sultan into the territory of Egyptian vassals at Derendeh and Albistan (Ablestin), and Malatia was besieged by his forces. Timur, who was at this time beginning his campaign against Bāyezīd, turned his attention
Timur in Syria.
first to Syria, and on the 30th of October 1400 defeated the Syrian amirs near Aleppo, and soon got possession of the city and the citadel. He proceeded to take Hamah, Homs (Emesa) and other towns, and on the 20th of December started for Damascus. An endeavour was made by the Egyptian sultan to relieve Damascus, but the news of an insurrection in Cairo caused him to retire and leave the place to its fate. In the first three months of 1401 the whole of Northern Syria suffered from Timur’s marauders. In the following year (September 29th, 1402) Timur who had in the interval inflicted a crushing defeat on the Ottoman sultan, sent to demand homage from Faraj, and his demand was readily granted, together with the delivery of the princes who had sought refuge from Timur in Egyptian territory. The death of Timur in February 1405 restored Egyptian authority in Syria, which, however, became a rendezvous for all who were discontented with the rule of Faraj and his amirs, and two months after Timur’s death was in open rebellion against Faraj. Although Faraj succeeded in defeating the rebels, he was compelled by insubordination on the part of his Circassian Mamelukes to abdicate (September 20th, 1405), when his brother Abd al-al-‘aziz
was proclaimed with the title Malik al-Manṣūr
; after two months this prince was deposed, and Faraj, who had been in hiding, recalled. Most of his reign was, however, occupied with revolts on the part of the Syrian amirs, to quell whom he repeatedly visited Syria; the leaders of the rebels were the amirs Newruz and Sheik Maḥmūdī, afterwards sultan. Owing to disturbances and misgovernment the population of Egypt and Syria is said to have shrunk to a third in his time, and he offended public sentiment not only by debauchery, but by having his image stamped on his coins. On the 23rd of May 1412, after being defeated and shut up in Damascus, he was compelled by Sheik Maḥmūdī to abdicate, and an Abbasid caliph, Mosta‘īn, was proclaimed sultan, only to be forced to abdicate on the 6th of November of the same year in Sheik’s
favour, who took the title Malik al-Mu‘ayyad
, his colleague Newruz having been previously sent to Syria, where he was to be autocrat by the terms of their agreement. In the struggle which naturally followed between the two, Newruz was shut up in Damascus, defeated and slain. Sheik himself invaded Asia Minor and forced the Turkoman states to acknowledge his suzerainty. After the sultan’s return they soon rebelled, but were again brought into subjection by Sheik’s son Ibrāhīm; his victories excited the envy of his father, who is said to have poisoned him. Sheik himself died a few months after the decease of his son (January 13th, 1421), and another infant son, Aḥmad
, was proclaimed with the title Malik al-Moẓaffar
, the proclamation being followed by the usual dissensions between the amirs, ending with the assumption of supreme power by the amir Tatar
, who, after defeating his rivals, on the 29th of August 1421 had himself proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Ẓāhir
. This usurper, however, died on the 30th of November of the same year, leaving the throne to an infant son Mohammed
, who was given the title Malik al-Ṣāliḥ
; the regular intrigues between the amirs followed, leading to his being dethroned on the following 1st of April 1422, when the amir appointed to be his tutor, Barsbai
, was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Ashraf
Wars with European Powers.
This sultan avenged the attacks on Alexandria repeatedly made by Cyprian ships, for he sent a fleet which burned Limasol, and another which took Famagusta (August 4th, 1425), but failed in the endeavour to annex the island permanently. An expedition sent in the following year (1426) succeeded in taking captive the king of Cyprus, who was brought to Cairo and presently released for a ransom of 200,000 dinars, on condition of acknowledging the suzerainty of the Egyptian sultan and paying him an annual tribute. Barsbai appears to have excelled his predecessors in the invention of devices for exacting money from merchants and pilgrims, and in juggling with the exchange. This led to a naval demonstration on the part of the Venetians, who secured better terms for their trade, and to the seizure of Egyptian vessels by the king of Aragon and the prince of Catalonia. In a census made during Barsbai’s reign, it was found that the total number of towns and villages in Egypt had sunk to 2170, whereas in the 4th century A.H.
it had stood at 10,000. Much of Barsbai’s attention was occupied with raids into Asia Minor, where the Dhu ‘l-Kadiri Turkomans frequently rebelled, and with wars against Kara Yelek, prince of Amid, and Shah Rokh, son of Timur. Barsbai died on the 7th of June 1438. In accordance with the custom of his predecessors he left the throne to a son still in his minority, Abu’l-Mahāsin Yūsuf
, who took the title Malik al-‘Azīz
, but as usual after a few months he was displaced by the regent Jakmak
, who on the 9th of September 1438 was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Ẓāhir
. In the years 1442-1444 this sultan sent three fleets against Rhodes, where the third effected a landing, but was unable to make any permanent conquest. In consequence of a lengthy illness Jakmak abdicated on the 1st of February 1453, when his son ‘Othman
was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Manṣūr
. Though not a minor, he had no greater success than the sons of the usurpers who preceded him, being dethroned after six weeks (March 15th, 1453) in favour of the amir Inal al-‘Alā‘ī
, who took the title Malik al-Ashraf
. His reign was marked by friendly relations with the Ottoman sultan Mahommed II., whose capture of Constantinople (1453) was the cause of great rejoicings in Egypt, but also by violent excesses on the part of the Mamelukes, who dictated the sultan’s policy. On his death on the 26th of February 1461 his son Aḥmad
was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Mu‘ayyad
; he had the usual fate of sultans’ sons, earned in his case by an attempt to bring the Mamelukes under discipline; he was compelled to abdicate on the 28th of June 1461, when the amir Khoshkadam
, who had served as a general, was proclaimed sultan. Unlike the other Mameluke sovereigns, who were Turks or Circassians, this man had originally been a Greek slave.
In his reign (1463) there began the struggle between the Egyptian and the Ottoman sultanates which finally led to the incorporation of Egypt in the Ottoman empire. The dispute began with a struggle over the succession in
Early relations with Turkey.
the principality of Karaman, where the two sultans favoured rival candidates, and the Ottoman sultan Mahommed II. supported the claim of his candidate with force of arms, obtaining as the price of his assistance several towns in which the suzerainty of the Egyptian sultan had been acknowledged. Open war did not, however, break out between the two states in Khoshkadam’s time. This sultan is said to have taken money to permit innocent persons to be ill-treated or executed. He died on the 9th of October 1467, when the Atābeg Yelbai
was selected by the Mamelukes to succeed him, and was proclaimed sultan with the title of Malik al-Ẓāhir
. This person, proving incompetent, was deposed by a revolution of the Mamelukes on the 4th of December 1467, when the Atābeg Timurbogha was proclaimed with the title Malik al-Ẓāhir
. In a month’s time, however, there was another palace revolution, and the new Atābeg Kait Bey
(January 31st, 1468) was proclaimed sultan, the dethroned Timurbogha being, however, permitted to go free whither he pleased. Much of Kait Bey’s reign was spent in struggles with Ūzūn Hasan, prince of Diārbekr, and Shah Siwār, chief of the Dhu’l-Kādiri Turkomans. He also offended the Ottoman sultan Bāyezid II. by entertaining his brother Jem, who was afterwards poisoned in Europe. Owing to this, and also to the fact that an Indian embassy to the Ottoman sultan was intercepted by the agents of Kait Bey, Bāyezid II. declared war against Egypt, and seized Adana, Tarsus and other places within Egyptian territory; extraordinary efforts were made by Kait Bey, whose generals inflicted a severe defeat on the Ottoman invaders. In 1491, however, after the Egyptians had repeatedly defeated the Ottoman troops, Kait Bey made proposals of peace which were accepted, the keys of the towns which the Ottomans had seized being restored to the Egyptian sultan. Kait Bey endeavoured to assist his co-religionists in Spain who were threatened by King Ferdinand, by threatening the pope with reprisals on Syrian Christians, but without effect. As the consequence of a palace intrigue, which Kait Bey was too old to quell, on the 7th of August 1496, a day before his death, his son Mahommed
was proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Nāṣir
; this was in order to put the supreme power into the hands of the Atābeg Kānsūh, since the new sultan was only fourteen years old. An attempt of the Atābeg to oust the new sultan, however, failed. After a reign of little more than two years, filled mainly with struggles between rival amirs, Malik al-Nāṣir
was murdered (October 31st, 1498), and his uncle and vizier Kānsūh
proclaimed sultan with the title Malik al-Ẓāhir
. His reign only lasted about twenty months; on the 30th of June 1500 he was dethroned by Tūmānbey, who caused Jān Belāt
, the Atābeg, to be proclaimed sultan. A few months later Tūmānbey
, at the suggestion of Kasrawah, governor of Damascus, whom he had been sent to reduce to subjection, ousted Jān Belāt, and was himself proclaimed sultan with the title Malikal-‘Ādil
(January 25th, 1501). His reign lasted only one hundred days, when he was displaced by Kānsūh al-Ghūrī
(April 20th, 1501). His reign was remarkable for a naval conflict between the Egyptians and the Portuguese, whose fleet interfered with the pilgrim route from India to Mecca, and also with the trade between India and Egypt; Kānsūh caused a fleet to be built which fought naval battles with the Portuguese with varying results.
In 1515 there began the war with the Ottoman sultan Selim I. which led to the close of the Mameluke period, and the incorporation of Egypt and its dependencies in the Ottoman empire (see Turkey
). Kānsūh was charged
The Turkish conquest.
by Selim with giving the envoys of the Ṣafawid Isma‘il passage through Syria on their way to Venice to form a confederacy against the Turks, and with harbouring various refugees. The actual declaration of war was not made by Selim till May 1515, when the Ottoman sultan had made all his preparations; and at the battle of Merj Dabik, on the 24th of August 1515, Kānsūh was defeated by the Ottoman forces and fell fighting. Syria passed quickly into the possession of the Turks, whose advent was in many places welcome as meaning deliverance from the Mamelukes. In Cairo, when the news of the defeat and death of the Egyptian sultan arrived, the governor who had been left by Kānsūh, Tūmānbey
, was proclaimed sultan (October 17th, 1516). On the 20th of January 1517 Cairo was taken by the Ottomans, and Selim shortly after declared sultan of Egypt. Tūmānbey continued the struggle for some months, but was finally defeated, and after being captured and kept in prison seventeen days was executed on the 15th of April 1517.
(8) The Turkish Period.—The sultan Selim left with his viceroy Khair Bey a guard of 5000 janissaries, but otherwise made few changes in the administration of the country. The register by which a great portion of the land was a fief of the Mamelukes was left unchanged, and it is said that a proposal made by the sultan’s vizier to appropriate these estates was punished with death. The Mameluke amirs were to be retained in office as heads of twelve sanjaks into which Egypt was divided; and under the next sultan, Suleiman I., two chambers were created, called respectively the Greater and the Lesser Divan, in which both the army and the ecclesiastical authorities were represented, to aid the pasha by their deliberations. Six regiments altogether were constituted by the conqueror Selim for the protection of Egypt; to these Suleiman added a seventh, of Circassians. As will be seen from the tables, it was the practice of the Porte to change the governor of Egypt at very short intervals—after a year or even some months. The third governor, Aḥmad Pasha, hearing that orders for this execution had come from Constantinople, endeavoured to make himself an independent ruler and had coins struck in his own name. His schemes were frustrated by two of the amirs whom he had imprisoned and who, escaping from their confinement, attacked him in his bath and killed him. In 1527 the first survey of Egypt under the Ottomans was made, in consequence of the official copy of the former registers having perished by fire; yet this new survey did not come into use until 1605. Egyptian lands were divided in it into four classes—the sultan’s domain, fiefs, land for the maintenance of the army, and lands settled on religious foundations.
It would seem that the constant changes in the government caused the army to get out of control at an early period of the Ottoman occupation, and at the beginning of the 11th Islamic century mutinies became common; in 1013
Troubles with the army.
(1604) the governor Ibrahim Pasha was murdered by the soldiers, and his head set on the Bab Zuwēla. The reason for these mutinies was the attempt made by successive pashas to put a stop to the extortion called Tulbah
, a forced payment exacted by the troops from the inhabitants of the country by the fiction of debts requiring to be discharged, which led to grievous ill-usage. In 1609 something like civil war broke out between the army and the pasha, who had on his side some loyal regiments and the Bedouins. The soldiers went so far as to choose a sultan, and to divide provisionally the regions of Cairo between them. They were defeated by the governor Mahommed Pasha, who on the 5th of February 1610 entered Cairo in triumph, executed the ringleaders, and banished many others to Yemen. The contemporary historian speaks of this event as a second conquest of Egypt for the Ottomans. A great financial reform was now effected by Mahommed Pasha, who readjusted the burdens imposed on the different communities of Egypt in accordance with their means. With the troubles that beset the metropolis of the Ottoman empire, the governors appointed thence came to be treated by the Egyptians with continually decreasing respect. In July 1623 there came an order from the Porte dismissing Muṣṭafā Pasha and appointing ‘Alī Pasha governor in his place. The officers met and demanded from the newly-appointed governor’s deputy the customary gratuity; when this was refused they sent letters to the Porte declaring that they wished to have Muṣṭafā Pasha and not ‘Alī Pasha as governor. Meanwhile ‘Alī Pasha had arrived at Alexandria, and was met by a deputation from Cairo telling him that he was not wanted. He returned a mild answer; and, when a rejoinder came in the same style as the first message, he had the leader of the deputation arrested and imprisoned. Hereupon the garrison of Alexandria attacked the castle and rescued the prisoner; whereupon ‘Alī Pasha was compelled to embark. Shortly after a rescript arrived from Constantinople confirming Muṣṭafā Pasha in the governorship. Similarly in 1631 the army took upon themselves to depose the governor Mūsā Pasha, in indignation at his execution of Kītās Bey, an officer who was to have commanded an Egyptian force required for service in Persia. The pasha was ordered either to hand over the executioners to vengeance or to resign his place; as he refused to do the former he was compelled to do the latter, and presently a rescript came from Constantinople, approving the conduct of the army and appointing one Khalīl Pasha as Mūsā’s successor. Not only was the governor unsupported by the sultan against the troops, but each new governor regularly inflicted a fine upon his outgoing predecessor, under the name of money due to the treasury; and the outgoing governor would not be allowed to leave Egypt till he had paid it. Besides the extortions to which this practice gave occasion the country suffered greatly in these centuries from famine and pestilence. The latter in the spring of 1619 is said to have carried off 635,000 persons, and in 1643 completely desolated 230 villages.
By the 18th century the importance of the pasha was quite superseded by that of the beys, and two offices, those of Sheik al-Balad and Amīr al-Ḥājj, which were held by these persons, represented the real headship of the community.
Rise of the Beys.
The process by which this state of affairs came about is somewhat obscure, owing to the want of good chronicles for the Turkish period of Egyptian history. In 1707 the Sheik al-Balad, Qāsim Iywāz, is found at the head of one of two Mameluke factions, the Qāsimites and the Fiqārites, between whom the seeds of enmity were sown by the pasha of the time, with the result that a fight took place between the factions outside Cairo, lasting eighty days. At the end of that time Qāsim Iywāz was killed and the office which he had held was given to his son Ismā‘īl. Ismā‘īl held this office for sixteen years, while the pashas were constantly being changed, and succeeded in reconciling the two factions of Mamelukes. In 1724 this person was assassinated through the machinations of the pasha, and Shirkas Bey, of the opposing faction, elevated to the office of Sheik al-Balad in his place. He was soon driven from his post by one of his own faction called Dhu’l-Fiqār, and fled to Upper Egypt. After a short time he returned at the head of an army, and some engagements ensued, in the last of which Shirkas Bey met his end by drowning; Dhu’l-Fiqār was himself assassinated in 1730 shortly after this event. His place was filled by Othman Bey, who had served as his general in this war. In 1743 Othman Bey, who had governed with wisdom and moderation, was forced to fly from Egypt by the intrigues of two adventurers, Ibrāhīm and Riḍwān Bey, who, when their scheme had succeeded, began a massacre of beys and others thought to be opposed to them; they then proceeded to govern Egypt jointly, holding the two offices mentioned above in alternate years. An attempt made by one of the pashas to rid himself of these two persons by a coup d’état
signally failed owing to the loyalty of their armed supporters, who released Ibrāhīm and Riḍwān from prison and compelled the pasha to fly to Constantinople. An attempt made by a subsequent pasha in accordance with secret orders from Constantinople was so far successful that some of the beys were killed. Ibrāhīm and Riḍwān escaped, and compelled the pasha to resign his governorship and return to Constantinople. Ibrāhīm shortly afterwards fell by the hand of an assassin who had aspired to occupy one of the vacant beyships himself, which was conferred instead on ‘Alī, who as ‘Alī Bey was destined to play an important part in the history of Egypt. The murder of Ibrāhīm Bey took place in 1755, and his colleague Riḍwān perished in the disputes that followed upon it.
‘Alī Bey, who had first distinguished himself by defending a caravan in Arabia against bandits, set himself the task of avenging the death of his former master Ibrāhīm, and spent eight years in purchasing Mamelukes and winning
other adherents. He thereby excited the suspicions of the Sheik al-Balad Khalīl Bey, who organized an attack upon him in the streets of Cairo, in consequence of which he fled to Upper Egypt. Here he met one Ṣālḥ Bey, who had injuries to avenge on Khalīl Bey, and the two organized a force with which they returned to Cairo and defeated Khalīl, who was forced to fly to Ṭanṭa, where for a time he concealed himself; eventually, however, he was discovered, sent to Alexandria and finally strangled. The date of ‘Alī Bey’s victory was 1164 A.H.
1750), and after it he was made Sheik al-Balad. In that capacity he executed the murderer of his former master Ibrāhīm; but the resentment which this act aroused among the beys caused him to leave his post and fly to Syria, where he won the friendship of the governor of Acre, Ẓāhir b. Omar, who obtained for him the goodwill of the Porte and reinstatement in his post as Sheik al-Balad. In 1766, after the death of his supporter the grand vizier Rāghib Pasha, he was again compelled to fly from Egypt to Yemen, but in the following year he was told that his party at Cairo was strong enough to permit of his return. Resuming his office he raised eighteen of his friends to the rank of bey, among them Ibrāhīm and Murād, who were afterwards at the head of affairs, as well as Mahommed Abu’l-Dhahab, who was closely connected with the rest of ‘Alī Bey’s career. He appears to have done his utmost to bring Egyptian affairs into order, and by very severe measures repressed the brigandage of the Bedouins of Lower Egypt. He appears to have aspired to found an independent monarchy, and to that end endeavoured to disband all forces except those which were exclusively under his own control. In 1769 a demand came to ‘Alī Bey for a force of 12,000 men to be employed by the Porte in the Russian war. It was suggested, however, at Constantinople that ‘Alī would employ this force when he collected it for securing his own independence, and a messenger was sent by the Porte to the pasha with orders for his execution. ‘Alī, being apprised by his agents at the metropolis of the despatch of this messenger, ordered him to be waylaid and killed; the despatches were seized and read by ‘Alī before an assembly of the beys, who were assured that the order for execution applied to all alike, and he urged them to fight for their lives. His proposals were received with enthusiasm by the beys whom he had created. Egypt was declared independent and the pasha given forty-eight hours to quit the country. Ẓāhir Pasha of Acre, to whom was sent official information of the step taken by ‘Alī Bey, promised his aid and kept his word by compelling an army sent by the pasha of Damascus against Egypt to retreat.
The Porte was not able at the time to take active measures for the suppression of ‘Alī Bey, and the latter endeavoured to consolidate his dominions by sending expeditions against marauding tribes, both in north and south Egypt, reforming the finance, and improving the administration of justice. His son-in-law, Abu’l-Dhahab, was sent to subject the Hawwārah, who had occupied the land between Assuan and Assiut, and a force of 20,000 was sent to conquer Yemen. An officer named Ismā‘īl Bey was sent with 8000 to acquire the eastern shore of the Red Sea, and one named Ḥasan Bey to occupy Jidda. In six months the greater part of the Arabian peninsula was subject to ‘Alī Bey, and he appointed as sherīf of Mecca a cousin of his own, who bestowed on ‘Alī by an official proclamation the titles Sultan of Egypt and Khākān of the Two Seas. He then, in virtue of this authorization, struck coins in his own name (1185 A.H.) and ordered his name to be mentioned in public worship.
His next move turned out fatally. Abu’l-Dhahab was sent with a force of 30,000 men in the same year (A.D. 1771) to conquer Syria; and agents were sent to negotiate alliances with Venice and Russia. Abu’l-Dhahab’s progress through Palestine and Syria was triumphant. Reinforced by ‘Alī Bey’s ally Ẓāhir, he easily took the chief cities, ending with Damascus; but at this point he appears to have entered into secret negotiations with the Porte, by which he undertook to restore Egypt to Ottoman suzerainty. He then proceeded to evacuate Syria, and marched with all the forces he could collect to Upper Egypt, occupying Assiut in April 1772. Having collected some additional troops from the Bedouins, he marched on Cairo. Ismā‘īl Bey was sent by ‘Alī Bey with a force of 3000 to check his advance; but at Basātīn Ismā‘īl with his troops joined Abu’l-Dhahab. ‘Alī Bey intended at first to defend himself so long as possible in the citadel at Cairo; but receiving information to the effect that his friend Ẓāhir of Acre was still willing to give him refuge, he left Cairo for Syria (8th of April 1772), one day before the entrance of Abu’l-Dhahab.
At Acre ‘Alī’s fortune seemed to be restored. A Russian vessel anchored outside the port, and, in accordance with the agreement which he had made with the Russian empire, he was supplied with stores and ammunition, and a force of 3000 Albanians. He sent one of his officers, ‘Alī Bey al-Ṭanṭāwī, to recover the Syrian towns evacuated by Abu’l-Dhahab, and now in the possession of the Porte. He himself took Jaffa and Gaza, the former of which he gave to his friend Ẓāhir of Acre. On the 1st of February 1773 he received information from Cairo that Abu’l-Dhahab had made himself Sheik al-Balad, and in that capacity was practising unheard-of extortions, which were making Egypt with one voice call for the return of ‘Alī Bey. He accordingly started for Egypt at the head of an army of 8000 men, and on the 19th of April met the army of Abu’l-Dhahab at Sālihia. ‘Alī’s forces were successful at the first engagement; but when the battle was renewed two days later he was deserted by some of his officers, and prevented by illness and wounds from himself taking the conduct of affairs. The result was a complete defeat for his army, after which he declined to leave his tent; he was captured after a brave resistance, and taken to Cairo, where he died seven days later.
After ‘Alī Bey’s death Egypt became once more a dependency of the Porte, governed by Abu’l-Dhahab as Sheik al-Balad with the title pasha. He shortly afterwards received permission from the Porte to invade Syria, with the view of punishing ‘Alī Bey’s supporter Ẓāhir, and left as his deputies in Cairo Ismā‘īl Bey and Ibrāhīm Bey, who, by deserting ‘Alī at the battle of Sālihia, had brought about his downfall. After taking many cities in Palestine Abu’l-Dhahab died, the cause being unknown; and Murād Bey (another of the deserters at Sālihia) brought his forces back to Egypt (26th of May 1775).
Ismā‘īl Bey now became Sheik al-Balad, but was soon involved in a dispute with Ibrāhīm and Murād, who after a time succeeded in driving Ismā‘īl out of Egypt and establishing a joint rule (as Sheik al-Balad and Amīr al-Ḥājj respectively) similar to that which had been tried previously. The two were soon involved in quarrels, which at one time threatened to break out into open war; but this catastrophe was averted, and the joint rule was maintained till 1786, when an expedition was sent by the Porte to restore Ottoman supremacy in Egypt. Murād Bey attempted to resist, but was easily defeated; and he with Ibrāhīm decided to fly to Upper Egypt and await the trend of events. On the 1st of August 1782 the Turkish commander entered Cairo, and, after some violent measures had been taken for the restoration of order, Ismā‘īl Bey was again made Sheik al-Balad and a new pasha installed as governor. In January 1791 a terrible plague began to rage in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt, to which Ismā‘īl Bey and most of his family fell victims. Owing to the need for competent rulers Ibrāhīm and Murād Bey were sent for from Upper Egypt and resumed their dual government. These two persons were still in office when Bonaparte entered Egypt.
Moslem Authorities.—Arabic literature being cosmopolitan, and Arabic authors accustomed to travel from place to place to collect traditions and obtain oral instruction from contemporary authorities, or else to enjoy the patronage of Maecenates, the literary history of Egypt cannot be dissociated from that of the other Moslem countries in which Arabic was the chief literary vehicle. Hence the list of authors connected with Egypt, which occupies pages 161-275 of Suyūṭī’s work, Husn al-muḥādarah fi akhbāri Misr wal-Qāhirah (Cairo, 1321 A.H.), contains the names of persons like Mutanabbī, who stayed there for a short time in the service of some patron; Abū Tammām, who lived there before he acquired fame as a poet; ’Umāra of Yemen, who came there at a mature age to spend some years in the service of Fāṭimite viziers; each of whom figures in lists of authors belonging to some other country also. So long as the centre of the Islamic world was not in Egypt, the best talent was attracted elsewhere; but after the fall of Bagdad, Cairo became the chief seat of Islamic learning, and this rank, chiefly owing to the university of Azhar, it has ever since continued to maintain. The following composed special histories of Egypt: Ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥakam, d. 257 A.H.; ‘Abd al-Raḥīm b. Yūnus, d. 347; Mahommed b. Yūsuf al-Kindī, d. somewhat later; Ibn Zūlāq, d. 387; ‘Izz al-Mulk Mahommed al-Musabbihī, d. 420; Mahommed b. Salāmah al-Qodā‘ī, d. 454; Jamāl al-dīn ‘Alī al-Qifṭī, d. 568; Jamāl al-dīn al-Ḥalabī, d. 623; ‘Abd al-Laṭīf al-Baghdādī, d. 629; Mahommed b. ‘Abd al-Azīz al-Idrīsī (history of Upper Egypt), d. 649; his son Ja’far (history of Cairo), d. 676; Ibn Sa‘īd, d. 685; Ibrāhīm b. Waṣīf Shāh; Ibn al-Mutawwaj, d. 703; Mahommed b. Dani’āl, d. 710; Ja’far b. Tha’lab Kamāl al-dīn al-Adfu‘ī (history of Upper Egypt), d. 730; ‘Abd al-Qarūn al-Ḥalabī, d. 735; Ibn Ḥabīb, d. 779; Ibn Duqmāq, d. 790; Ibn Tughān, Shihāb al-dīn al-Auḥadī, d. 790; Ibn al-Mulaqqin, d. 806; Maqrīzī, Taqiyy al-dīn Aḥmad, d. 840; Ibn Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī, d. 852; al-Sakhāwī, d. 902; Abu’l-Mahāsin b. Taghrībirdī, d. 874; Jalāl al-dīn al-Suyūṭī, d. 911; Ibn Zunbul al-Rammāl; Ibn Iyās, d. after 928; Mahommed b. Abī Surūr, d. after 1017; Zain al-dīn al Karamī, d. 1033; ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jabartī, d. after 1236. Of many of the Mameluke sultans there are special chronicles preserved in various European and Oriental libraries. The works of many of the authors enumerated are topographical and biographical as well as purely historical. To these there should be added the Survey of Egypt, called al-tuḥfah al-saniyyah of Ibn Jī’ān, belonging to the time of Kait Bey; the treatise on the Egyptian constitution called Zubdat Kashf al-Mamālik, by Khalīl al-Ẓāhirī, of the same period; and the encyclopaedic work on the same subject called Ṣubḥ al-Inshā, by al-Qalqashandī, d. 821.
Arabic poetry is in the main encomiastic and personal, and from the beginning of the Omayyad period sovereigns and governors paid poets to celebrate their achievements; of those of importance who are connected with Egypt we may mention Nusaib, encomiast of ‘Abd al-Azīz b. Merwān, d. 180; the greater Nāshi (Abu l-Abbās ‘Abdallah), d. 293; Ibn Ṭabāṭabā, d. 345; Abu’l-Raqa’maq, encomiast of al-Mo’izz, d. 399; Ṣarī’ al-Dilā (‘Alī b. ‘Abd al-Wāhid), encomiast of the Fāṭimite al-Ẓāhir, d. 412; Sanajāt al-ḍauḥ (Mahommed b. al-Qāsim), encomiast of Ḥākim; ‘Alī b. ‘Abbād al-Iskandarī, encomiast of the vizier al-Afḍal, executed by Ḥāfiẓ; Ibn Qalāqis al-Iskandarī, encomiast of the Ayyūbites, d. 607; Muhaddhab b. Mamētī, encomiast of the Ayyūbites, d. 616; Ibn Sana’ al-Mulk, encomiast of the Ayyūbites, d. 658; Ibn al-Munajjim, d. 626; Ibn Maṭrūḥ, encomiast of the Ayyūbites, d. 654; Bahā’ al-dīn Zuhair, encomiast of al-Ṣāliḥ, d. 656; Ibn ‘Ammār, d. 675; al-Mi’mār, d. 749; Ibn Nubātah, d. 768; Ibn Abī Ḥajalah, d. 776; Burhān al-din al-Qīrāṭī, d. 801; Ibn Mukānis, d. 864; Ibn Ḥijjah al-Ḥamawī, d. 837. Poets distinguished for special lines are al-Ḥakīm b. Dānī’ āl, d. 608, author of the Shadow-play; and al-Būsīrī (Mahommed b. Sa‘īd), d. 694, author of the ode in praise of the prophet called Burdah. The poets of Egypt are reckoned with those of Syria in the Yatīmah of Tha’ ālibī; a special work upon them was written by Ibn Faḍl allāh (d. 740); and a list of poets of the 11th century is given by Khafājī in his Raiḥānat al-alibbā.
The needs of the Egyptian court produced a number of elegant letter-writers, of whom the most famous were ‘Abd al-Raḥīm b. ‘Alī al-Baisāni, ordinarily known as al-Qāḍī’ al-Fāḍil, d. 596, secretary of state to Saladin and other Ayyūbite sultans; ‘Imād al-dīn al-Ispahānī, d. 597, also secretary of state and official chronicler; and Ibn ‘Abd al-Ẓāhir, d. 692, secretary of state to Bibars I. and succeeding sultans; he was followed by his son Faṭḥ al-dīn, to whom the title “Secret writer” was first given.
In the subject of law Egypt boasts that the Imām Shāfi‘ī, founder of one of the schools, resided at Fosṭāṭ from 195 till his death in 204; his system, though displaced for a time by that invented by the Fāṭimites, and since the Turkish conquest by the Ḥanifite system, has always been popular in Egypt: in Ayyūbite times it was dominant, whereas in Mameluke times all four systems were officially recognized. The eminent jurists who flourished in Moslem Egypt form a very lengthy list. Among the Egyptian traditionalists the most eminent is Dāraquṭnī, d. 385.
Among Egyptian mystics the most famous as authors are the poet Ibn al-Fāriḍ, d. 632, and Abd al-Wahhāb Sha rānī, d. 973. Abu’l-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī (d. 656) is celebrated as the founder of the Shādhilī order; but there were many others of note. The dictionary of physicians, compiled in the 7th century, enumerates nearly sixty men of science who resided in Egypt; the best-known among them are Sa‘īd b. Biṭrīq, Moses Maimonides and Ibn Baiṭār. Of Egyptian miscellaneous writers two of the most celebrated are Ibn Daqīq al’-īd, d. 702, and Jalāl al-din Suyūṭī.
—For the Moslem conquest, A. J. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt
(Oxford, 1902); for the period before the Fāṭimites, Wüstenfeld, “Die Statthalter von Ägypten,” in Abhandlungen der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
, vols. xx. and xxi.; for the Fāṭimite period, Wüstenfeld, “Geschichte der Fatimiden-Chalifen,” ibid. vols. xxvi. and xxvii.; for the Ayyūbite period, Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary
, translated by M’G. de Slane (London, 1842-1871); for the Mameluke period, Weil, Geschichte der Chalifen
, vols. iv. and v. (also called Geschichte des Abbasidenchalifats in Ägypten
), (Stuttgart, 1860-1862); Sir W. Muir, The Mameluke or Slave Dynasty of Egypt
(London, 1896); for the Turkish period, G. Zaidan, History of Modern Egypt
(Arabic), vol. ii. (Cairo, 1889). See also Maqrizi, Description topographique et historique de l’Égypte
, translated by Bouriant (Paris, 1895, &c.); C. H. Becker, Beiträge zur Geschichte Ägyptens
(Strassburg, 1902). (D. S. M.*
(9) From the French Occupation to the Rise of Mehemet Ali
.—The ostensible object of the French expedition to Egypt was to reinstate the authority of the Sublime Porte, and suppress the Mamelukes; and in the proclamation printed with the Arabic types brought from the Propaganda press, and issued shortly after the taking of Alexandria, Bonaparte declared that he reverenced the prophet Mahomet and the Koran far more than the Mamelukes reverenced either, and argued that all men were equal except so far as they were distinguished by their intellectual and moral excellences, of neither of which the Mamelukes had any great share. In future all posts in Egypt were to be open to all classes of the inhabitants; the conduct of affairs was to be committed to the men of talent, virtue, and learning; and in proof of the statement that the French were sincere Moslems the overthrow of the papal authority in Rome was alleged. That there might be no doubt of the friendly feeling of the French to the Porte, villages and towns which capitulated to the invaders were required to hoist the flags of both the Porte and the French republic, and in the thanksgiving prescribed to the Egyptians for their deliverance from the Mamelukes, prayer was to be offered for both the sultan and the French army. It does not appear that the proclamation convinced many of the Egyptians of the truth of these professions. After the battle of Ambabah, at which the forces of both Murād Bey and Ibrāhīm Bey were dispersed, the populace readily plundered the houses of the beys, and a deputation was sent from al-Azhar to Bonaparte to ascertain his intentions; these proved to be a repetition of the terms of his proclamation, and, though the combination of loyalty to the French with loyalty to the sultan was unintelligible, a good understanding was at first established between the invaders and the Egyptians. A municipal council was established in Cairo, consisting of persons taken from the ranks of the sheiks, the Mamelukes and the French; and presently delegates from Alexandria and other important towns were added. This council did little more than register the decrees of the French commander, who continued to exercise dictatorial power. The
Battle of the Nile.
destruction of the French fleet at the battle of the Nile, and the failure of the French forces sent to Upper Egypt (where they reached the first cataract) to obtain possession of the person of Murād Bey, shook the faith of the Egyptians in their invincibility; and in consequence of a series of unwelcome innovations the relations between conquerors and conquered grew daily more strained, till at last, on the occasion of the introduction of a house tax, an insurrection broke out in Cairo on the 22nd of October 1798, of which the headquarters were in the Moslem university of Azhar. On this occasion the French general Dupuy, lieutenant-governor of Cairo, was killed. The prompt measures of Bonaparte, aided by the arrival from Alexandria of General J. B. Kléber, quickly suppressed this rising; but the stabling of the French cavalry in the mosque of Azhar gave great and permanent offence. In consequence of this affair, the deliberative council was suppressed, but on the 25th of December a fresh proclamation was issued, reconstituting the two divans which had been created by the Turks; the special divan was to consist of 14 persons chosen by lot out of 60 government nominees, and was to meet daily. The general divan was to consist of functionaries, and to meet on emergencies.
In consequence of despatches which reached Bonaparte on the 3rd of January 1799, announcing the intention of the Porte to invade the country with the object of recovering it by force, Bonaparte resolved on his Syrian expedition, and appointed governors for Cairo, Alexandria, and Upper Egypt, to govern during his absence. From that ill-fated expedition he returned at the beginning of June. Advantage had been taken of this opportunity by Murād Bey and Ibrāhīm Bey to collect their forces and attempt a joint attack on Cairo, but this Bonaparte arrived in time to defeat, and in the last week of July he inflicted a crushing defeat on the Turkish army that had landed at Aboukir, aided by the British fleet commanded by Sir Sidney Smith. Shortly after his victory Bonaparte left Egypt, having appointed Kléber to govern in his absence, which he informed the sheiks of Cairo was not to last more than three months. Kléber himself regarded the condition of the French invaders as extremely perilous, and wrote to inform the French republic of the facts. A double expedition shortly after Bonaparte’s departure was sent by the Porte for the recovery of Egypt, one force being despatched by sea to Damietta, while another under Yūsuf Pasha took the land route from Damascus by al-Arish. Over the first some success was won, in consequence of which the Turks agreed to a convention (signed January 24, 1800), by virtue of which the French were to quit Egypt. The Turkish troops advanced to Bilbeis, where they were received by the sheiks from Cairo, and the Mamelukes also returned to that city from their hiding-places. Before the preparations for the departure of the French were completed, orders came to Sir Sidney Smith from the British government, forbidding the carrying out of the convention unless the French army were treated as prisoners of war; and when these were communicated to Kléber he cancelled the orders previously given to the troops, and proceeded to put the country in a state of defence. His departure with most of the army to attack the Turks at Mataria led to riots in Cairo, in the course of which many Christians were slaughtered; but the national party were unable to get possession of the citadel, and Kléber, having defeated the Turks, was soon able to return to the capital. On the 14th of April he bombarded Bulak, and proceeded to bombard Cairo itself, which was taken the following night. Order was soon restored, and a fine of twelve million francs imposed on the rioters. Murād Bey sought an interview with Kléber and succeeded in obtaining from him the government of Upper Egypt. He died shortly afterwards and was succeeded by Osman Bey al-Bardīsī.
On the 14th of June Kléber was assassinated by a fanatic named Suleiman of Aleppo, said to have been incited to the deed by a Janissary refugee at Jerusalem, who had brought letters to the sheiks of the Azhar, who, however, refused to give him any encouragement. Three of these, nevertheless, were executed by the French as accessories before the fact, and the assassin himself was impaled, after torture, in spite of a promise of pardon having been made to him on condition of his naming his associates. The command of the army then devolved on General J. F. (Baron de) Menou (1750-1810), a man who had professed Islam, and who endeavoured to conciliate the Moslem population by various measures, such as excluding all Christians (with the exception of one Frenchman) from the divan, replacing the Copts who were in government service by Moslems, and subjecting French residents to taxes. Whatever popularity might have been gained by these measures was counteracted by his declaration of a French protectorate over Egypt, which was to count as a French colony.
In the first weeks of March 1801 the English, under Sir R. Abercromby, effected a landing at Aboukir, and proceeded to invest Alexandria, where on the 21st they were attacked by Menou; the French were repulsed, but the English
commander was mortally wounded in the action. On the 25th fresh reinforcements arrived under Husain, the Kapudan Pasha, or high admiral; and a combined English and Turkish force was sent to take Rosetta. On the 30th of May, General A. D. Belliard, who had been left in charge at Cairo, was assailed on two sides by the British forces under General John Hely Hutchinson (afterwards 2nd earl of Donoughmore), and the Turkish under Yūsuf Pasha; after negotiations Belliard agreed to evacuate Cairo and to sail with his 13,734 troops to France. On the 30th of August, Menou at Alexandria was compelled to accept similar conditions, and his force of 10,000 left for Europe in September. This was the termination of the French occupation of Egypt, of which the chief permanent monument was the Description de l’Égypte
, compiled by the French savants who accompanied the expedition. Further than this, “it brought to the attention of a few men in Egypt a keen sense of the great advantage of an orderly government, and a warm appreciation of the advance that science and learning had made in Europe” (Hajji Browne, Bonaparte in Egypt andthe Egyptians of to-day
, 1907, p. 268).
Soon after the evacuation of Egypt by the French, the country became the scene of more severe troubles, in consequence of the attempts of the Turks to destroy the power of the Mamelukes. In defiance of promises to the British government, orders were transmitted from Constantinople to Husain Pasha, the Turkish high admiral, to ensnare and put to death the principal beys. Invited to an entertainment, they were, according to the Egyptian contemporary historian al-Jabarti, attacked on board the flag-ship; Sir Robert Wilson and M. F. Mengin, however, state that they were fired on, in open boats, in the Bay of Aboukir. They offered an heroic resistance, but were overpowered, and some killed, some made prisoners; among the last was Osman Bey al-Bardīsī, who was severely wounded. General Hutchinson,
British, Turks and Mamelukes.
informed of this treachery, immediately assumed threatening measures against the Turks, and in consequence the killed, wounded and prisoners were given up to him. At the same time Yūsuf Pasha arrested all the beys in Cairo, but was shortly compelled by the British to release them. Such was the beginning of the disastrous struggle between the Mamelukes and the Turks.
Mahommed Khosrev was the first Turkish governor of Egypt after the expulsion of the French. The form of government, however, was not the same as that before the French invasion, for the Mamelukes were not reinstated. The pasha, and through him the sultan, endeavoured on several occasions either to ensnare them or to beguile them into submission; but these efforts failing, Mahommed Khosrev took the field, and a Turkish detachment 7000 strong was despatched against them to Damanhur, whither they had descended from Upper Egypt, and was defeated by a small force under al-Alfī; or, as Mengin says, by 800 men commanded by al-Bardīsī, when al-Alfī had left the field. Their ammunition and guns fell into the hands of the Mamelukes.
In March 1803 the British evacuated Alexandria, and Mahommed Bey al-Alfī accompanied them to England to consult respecting the means to be adopted for restoring the former power of the Mamelukes, who meanwhile took Minia and interrupted communication between Upper and Lower Egypt. About six weeks after, the Arnaut (or Albanian) soldiers in the service of Khosrev tumultuously demanded their pay, and surrounded the house of the defterdār (or finance minister), who in vain appealed to the pasha to satisfy their claims. The latter opened fire from the artillery of his palace on the insurgent soldiery in the house of the defterdār, across the Ezbekia. The citizens of Cairo, accustomed to such occurrences, immediately closed their shops, and every man who possessed any weapon armed himself. The tumult continued all the day, and the next morning a body of troops sent out by the pasha failed to quell it. Tāhir, the commander of the Albanians, then repaired to the citadel, gained admittance through an embrasure, and, having obtained possession of it, began to cannonade the pasha over the roofs of the intervening houses, and then descended with guns to the Ezbekia and laid close siege to the palace. On the following day Mahommed Khosrev made good his escape, with his women and servants and his regular troops, and fled to Damietta by the river. This revolt marks the beginning in Egypt of the breach between the Albanians and Turks, which ultimately led to the expulsion of the latter, and of the rise to power of the Albanian Mehemet Ali
), who was destined to rule the country for nearly forty years and be the cause of serious European complications.
Tāhir Pasha assumed the government, but in twenty-three days he met with his death from exactly the same cause as that of the overthrow of his predecessor. He refused the pay of certain of the Turkish troops, and was immediately
First appearance of Mehemet Ali.
assassinated. A desperate conflict ensued between the Albanians and Turks; and the palace was set on fire and plundered. The masters of Egypt were now split into these two factions, animated with the fiercest animosity against each other. Mehemet Ali, then in command of an Albanian regiment, became the head of the former, but his party was the weaker, and he therefore entered into an alliance with the Mameluke leaders Ibrahim Bey and ’Osmān Bey al-Bardīsī. A certain Ahmed Pasha, who was about to proceed to a province in Arabia, of which he had been appointed governor, was raised to the important post of pasha of Egypt, through the influence of the Turks and the favour of the sheiks; but Mehemet Ali, who with his Albanians held the citadel, refused to assent to their choice; the Mamelukes moved over from El-Giza, whither they had been invited by Tāhir Pasha, and Ahmed Pasha betook himself to the mosque of al-Ẓāhir, which the French had converted into a fortress. He was compelled to surrender by the Albanians; the two chiefs of the Turks who killed Tāhir Pasha were taken with him and put to death, and he himself was detained a prisoner. In consequence of the alliance between Mehemet Ali and al-Bardīsī, the Albanians gave the citadel over to the Mamelukes; and soon after, these allies marched against Khosrev Pasha, who having been joined by a considerable body of Turks, and being in possession of Damietta, was enabled to offer an obstinate resistance. After much loss on both sides, he was taken prisoner and brought to Cairo; but he was treated with respect. The victorious soldiery sacked the town of Damietta, and were guilty of the barbarities usual with them on such occasions.
A few days later, Ali Pasha Jazāirli landed at Alexandria with an imperial firmān constituting him pasha of Egypt, and threatened the beys, who now were virtual masters of Upper Egypt, as well as of the capital and nearly the whole of Lower Egypt. Mehemet Ali and al-Bardīsī therefore descended to Rosetta, which had fallen into the hands of a brother of Ali Pasha, and having captured the town and its commander, al-Bardīsī purposed to proceed against Alexandria; but the troops demanded arrears of pay which it was not in his power to give, and the pasha had cut the dyke between the lakes of Aboukir and Mareotis, thus rendering the approach to Alexandria more difficult. Al-Bardīsī and Mehemet Ali therefore returned to Cairo. The troubles of Egypt were now increased by an insufficient inundation, and great scarcity prevailed, aggravated by the taxation to which the beys were compelled to resort in order to pay the troops; while murder and rapine prevailed in the capital, the riotous soldiery being under little or no control. Meanwhile, Ali Pasha, who had been behaving with violence towards the Franks in Alexandria, received a hatt-i-sherif
from the sultan, which he sent by his secretary to Cairo. It announced that the beys should live peaceably in Egypt, with an annual pension each of fifteen purses (a “purse” = 500 piastres) and other privileges, but that the government should be in the hands of the pasha. To this the beys assented, but with considerable misgivings; for they had intercepted letters from Ali to the Albanians, endeavouring to alienate them from their side to his own. Deceptive answers were returned
The Mamelukes and Ali Pasha.
to these, and Ali was induced by them to advance towards Cairo at the head of 3000 men. The forces of the beys, with the Albanians, encamped near him at Shalakān, and he fell back on a place called Zufeyta. They next seized his boats conveying soldiers, servants, and his ammunition and baggage; and, following him, they demanded wherefore he brought with him so numerous a body of men, in opposition to usage and to their previous warning. Finding they would not allow his troops to advance, forbidden himself to retreat with them to Alexandria, and being surrounded by the enemy, he would have hazarded a battle, but his men refused to fight. He therefore went to the camp of the beys, and his army was compelled to retire to Syria. In the hands of the beys Ali Pasha again attempted treachery. A horseman was seen to leave his tent one night at full gallop; he was the bearer of a letter to Osmān Bey Hasan, the governor of Kine. This offered a fair pretext to the Mamelukes to rid themselves of a man proved to be a perfidious tyrant. He was sent under a guard of forty-five men towards the Syrian frontier; and about a week after, news was received that in a skirmish with some of his own soldiers he had fallen mortally wounded.
The death of Ali Pasha produced only temporary tranquillity; in a few days (February 12, 1804) the return of Mahommed Bey al-Alfī (called the Great) from England was the signal for fresh disturbances, which, by splitting the Mamelukes into two parties, accelerated their final overthrow. An ancient jealousy existed between al-Alfī and the other most powerful bey, al-Bardīsī. The latter was now supreme among the Mamelukes, and this fact considerably heightened their old enmity. While the guns of the citadel, those at Old Cairo, and even those of the palace of al-Bardīsī, were thrice fired in honour of al-Alfī, preparations were immediately begun to oppose him. His partisans were collected opposite Cairo, and al-Alfī the Less held Giza; but treachery was among them; Husain Bey (a relative of al-Alfī) was assassinated by emissaries of al-Bardīsī, and Mehemet Ali, with his Albanians, gained possession of Giza, which was, as usual, given over to the troops to pillage. In the meanwhile al-Alfī the Great embarked at Rosetta, and not apprehending opposition, was on his way to Cairo, when a little south of the town of Manūf he encountered a party of Albanians, and with difficulty made his escape. He gained the eastern branch of the Nile, but the river had become dangerous, and he fled to the desert. There he had several hairbreadth escapes, and at last secreted himself among a tribe of Arabs at Rās al-Wādī. A change in the fortune of al-Bardīsī, however, favoured his plans for the future. That chief, in order to satisfy the demands of the Albanians for their pay, gave orders to levy heavy contributions from the citizens of Cairo; and this new oppression roused them to rebellion. The Albanians, alarmed for their safety, assured the populace that they would not allow the order to be executed; and Mehemet Ali himself caused a proclamation to be made to that effect. Thus the Albanians became the favourites of the people, and took advantage of their opportunity. Three days later (March 12th, 1804) they beset the house of the aged Ibrahim Bey, and that of al-Bardīsī, both of whom effected their escape with difficulty. The Mamelukes in the citadel directed a fire of shot and shell on the houses of the Albanians which were situated in the Ezbekīa; but, on hearing of the flight of their chiefs, they evacuated the place; and Mehemet Ali, on gaining possession of it, once more proclaimed Mahommed Khosrev pasha of Egypt. For one day and a half he enjoyed the title; the friends of the late Tāhir Pasha then accomplished his second degradation,
and Cairo was again the scene of terrible enormities, the Albanians revelling in the houses of the Mameluke chiefs, whose hareems met with no mercy at their hands. These events were the signal for the reappearance of al-Alfī.
The Albanians now invited Ahmed Pasha Khorshīd to assume the reins of government, and he without delay proceeded from Alexandria to Cairo. The forces of the partisans of al-Bardīsī were ravaging the country a few miles south of the capital and intercepting the supplies of corn by the river; a little later they passed to the north of Cairo and successively took Bilbeis and Kalyub, plundering the villages, destroying the crops, and slaughtering the herds of the inhabitants. Cairo was itself in a state of tumult, suffering severely from a scarcity of grain, and the heavy exactions of the pasha to meet the demands of his turbulent troops, at that time augmented by a Turkish detachment. The shops were closed, and the unfortunate people assembled in great crowds, crying “Yā Latīf! Yā Latīf!” (“O Gracious [God]!”) Al-Alfī and Osmān Bey Hasan had professed allegiance to the pasha; but they soon after declared against him, and they were now approaching from the south; and having repulsed Mehemet Ali, they took the two fortresses of Turā. These Mehemet Ali speedily retook by night with 4000 infantry and cavalry; but the enterprise was only partially successful. On the following day the other Mamelukes north of the metropolis actually penetrated into the suburbs; but a few days later were defeated in a battle fought at Shubra, with heavy loss on both sides. This reverse in a measure united the two great Mameluke parties, though their chiefs remained at enmity. Al-Bardīsī passed to the south of Cairo, and the Mamelukes gradually retreated towards Upper Egypt. Thither the pasha despatched three successive expeditions (one of which was commanded by Mehemet Ali), and many battles were fought, but without decisive result.
At this period another calamity befell Egypt; about 3000 Delīs (Kurdish troops) arrived in Cairo from Syria. These troops had been sent for by Khorshīd in order to strengthen himself against the Albanians; and the events of this portion of the history afford sad proof of their ferocity and brutal enormities, in which they far exceeded the ordinary Turkish soldiers and even the Albanians. Their arrival immediately recalled Mehemet Ali and his party from the war, and instead of aiding Khorshīd was the proximate cause of his overthrow.
Cairo was ripe for revolt; the pasha was hated for his tyranny and extortion, and execrated for the deeds of his troops, especially those of the Delīs: the sheiks enjoined the people to close their shops, and the soldiers clamoured for pay. At this juncture a firmān arrived from Constantinople conferring on Mehemet Ali the pashalic of Jedda; but the occurrences of a few days raised him to that of Egypt.
On the 12th of Safar 1220 (May 12th, 1805) the sheiks, with an immense concourse of the inhabitants, assembled in the house of the ḳāḍī; and the ulemā, amid the prayers and cries of the people, wrote a full statement of the heavy
Struggle between Khorshīd and Mehemet Ali.
wrongs which they had endured under the administration of the pasha. The ulemā, in answer, were desired to go to the citadel; but they were apprised of treachery; and on the following day, having held another council at the house of the ḳāḍī, they proceeded to Mehemet Ali and informed him that the people would no longer submit to Khorshīd. “Then whom will ye have?” said he. “We will have thee,” they replied, “to govern us according to the laws; for we see in thy countenance that thou art possessed of justice and goodness.” Mehemet Ali seemed to hesitate, and then complied, and was at once invested. On this, a bloody struggle began between the two pashas. Khorshīd, being informed of the insurrection, immediately prepared to stand a siege in the citadel. Two chiefs of the Albanians joined his party, but many of his soldiers deserted. Mehemet Ali’s great strength lay in the devotion of the citizens of Cairo, who looked on him as a deliverer from their afflictions; and great numbers armed themselves, advising constantly with Mehemet Ali, having the sayyid Omar and the sheiks at their head, and guarding the town at night. On the 19th of the same month Mehemet Ali began to besiege Khorshīd. After the siege had continued many days, Khorshīd gave orders to cannonade and bombard the town; and for six days his commands were executed with little interruption, the citadel itself also lying between two fires. Mehemet Ali’s position at this time was very critical: his troops became mutinous for their pay; the silāhdār, who had commanded one of the expeditions against the Mamelukes, advanced to the relief of Khorshīd; and the latter ordered the Delīs to march to his assistance. The firing ceased on the Friday, but began again on the eve of Saturday and lasted until the next Friday. On the day following (May 28th) news came of the arrival at Alexandria of a messenger from Constantinople. The ensuing night in Cairo presented a curious spectacle; many of the inhabitants, believing that this envoy would put an end to their miseries, fired off their weapons as they paraded the streets with bands of music. The silāhdār, imagining the noise to be a fray, marched in haste towards the citadel, while its garrison sallied forth and began throwing up entrenchments in the quarter of Arab al-Yesār, but were repulsed by the armed inhabitants and the soldiers stationed there; and during all this time the cannonade and bombardment from the citadel, and on it from the batteries on the hill, continued unabated.
The envoy brought a firmān confirming Mehemet Ali and ordering Khorshīd to go to Alexandria, there to await further orders; but this he refused to do, on the ground that he had been appointed by a hatt-i-sherīf. The firing
Mehemet Ali granted the pashalic.
ceased on the following day, but the troubles of the people were rather increased than assuaged; murders and robberies were daily committed by the soldiery, the shops were all shut and some of the streets barricaded. While these scenes were being enacted, al-Alfī was besieging Damanhur, and the other beys were returning towards Cairo, Khorshīd having called them to his assistance; but Mehemet Ali forced them to retreat.
Soon after this, a squadron under the command of the Turkish high admiral arrived at Aboukir Bay, with despatches confirming the firmān brought by the former envoy, and authorizing Mehemet Ali to continue to discharge the functions of governor. Khorshīd at first refused to yield; but at length, on condition that his troops should be paid, he evacuated the citadel and embarked for Rosetta.
Mehemet Ali now possessed the title of Governor of Egypt, but beyond the walls of Cairo his authority was everywhere disputed by the beys, who were joined by the army of the silāhdār of Khorshīd; and many Albanians deserted from his ranks. To replenish his empty coffers he was also compelled to levy exactions, principally from the Copts. An attempt was made to ensnare certain of the beys, who were encamped north of Cairo. On the 17th of August 1805 the dam of the canal of Cairo was to be cut, and some chiefs of Mehemet Ali’s party wrote, informing them that he would go forth early on that morning with most of his troops to witness the ceremony, inviting them to enter and seize the city, and, to deceive them, stipulating for a certain sum of money as a reward. The dam, however, was cut early in the preceding night, without any ceremony. On the following morning, these beys, with their Mamelukes, a very numerous body, broke open the gate of the suburb al-Husainia, and gained admittance into the city from the north, through the gate called Bāb el-Futūḥ. They marched along the principal street for some distance, with kettle-drums behind each company, and were received with apparent joy by the citizens. At the mosque called the Ashrafia they separated, one party proceeding to the Azhar and the houses of certain sheiks, and the other continuing along the main street, and through the gate called Bāb Zuwēla, where they turned up towards the citadel. Here they were fired on by some soldiers from the houses; and with this signal a terrible massacre began. Falling back towards their companions, they found the bye-streets closed; and in that part of the main thoroughfare called Bain al-Kasrain they were suddenly placed between two fires. Thus shut up in a narrow street, some sought refuge in the collegiate mosque Barkukia, while the remainder fought their way through their enemies and escaped over the city-wall with the loss of their horses. Two Mamelukes had in the meantime succeeded, by great exertions, in giving the alarm to their comrades in the quarter of the Azhar, who escaped by the eastern gate called Bāb al-Ghoraib. A horrible fate awaited those who had shut themselves up in the Barkukia. Having begged for quarter
First massacre of the Mamelukes.
and surrendered, they were immediately stripped nearly naked, and about fifty were slaughtered on the spot; and about the same number were dragged away, with every brutal aggravation of their pitiful condition, to Mehemet Ali. Among them were four beys, one of whom, driven to madness by Mehemet Ali’s mockery, asked for a drink of water; his hands were untied that he might take the bottle, but he snatched a dagger from one of the soldiers, rushed at the pasha, and fell covered with wounds. The wretched captives were then chained and left in the court of the pasha’s house; and on the following morning the heads of their comrades who had perished the day before were skinned and stuffed with straw before their eyes. One bey and two others paid their ransom and were released; the rest, without exception, were tortured and put to death in the course of the ensuing night. Eighty-three heads (many of them those of Frenchmen and Albanians) were stuffed and sent to Constantinople, with a boast that the Mameluke chiefs were utterly destroyed. Thus ended Mehemet Ali’s first massacre of his too confiding enemies.
The beys, after this, appear to have despaired of regaining their ascendancy; most of them retreated to Upper Egypt, and an attempt at compromise failed. Al-Alfī offered his submission on the condition of the cession of the Fayum and other provinces; but this was refused, and that chief gained two successive victories over the pasha’s troops, many of whom deserted to him.
At length, in consequence of the remonstrances of the English, and a promise made by al-Alfī of 1500 purses, the Porte consented to reinstate the twenty-four beys and to place al-Alfī at their head; but this measure met with the opposition of Mehemet Ali and the determined resistance of the majority of the Mamelukes, who, rather than have al-Alfī at their head, preferred their present condition; for the enmity of al-Bardīsī had not subsided, and he commanded the voice of most of the other beys. In pursuance of the above plan, a squadron under Sālih Pasha, shortly before appointed high admiral, arrived at Alexandria on the 1st of July 1806 with 3000 regular troops and a successor to Mehemet Ali, who was to receive the pashalik of Salonica. This wily chief professed his willingness to obey the commands of the Porte, but stated that his troops, to whom he owed a vast sum of money, opposed his departure. He induced the ulemā to sign a letter, praying the sultan to revoke the command for reinstating the beys, persuaded the chiefs of the Albanian troops to swear allegiance to him, and sent 2000 purses contributed by them to Constantinople. Al-Alfī was at that time besieging Damanhur, and he gained a signal victory over the pasha’s troops; but the dissensions of the beys destroyed their last chance of a return to power. Al-Alfī and his partisans were unable to pay the sum promised to the Porte; Sālih Pasha received plenipotentiary powers from Constantinople, in consequence of the letter from the ulemā; and, on the condition of Mehemet Ali’s paying 4000 purses to the Porte, it was decided that he should continue in his post, and the reinstatement of the beys was abandoned. Fortune continued to favour the pasha. In the following month al-Bardīsī died, aged forty-eight years; and soon after, a scarcity of provisions excited the troops of al-Alfī to revolt. That bey very reluctantly raised the siege of Damanhur, being in daily expectation of the arrival of an English army; and at the village of Shubra-ment he was attacked by a sudden illness, and died on the 30th of January 1807, at the age of fifty-five. Thus was the pasha relieved of his two most formidable enemies; and shortly after he defeated Shāhīn Bey, with the loss to the latter of his artillery and baggage and 300 men killed or taken prisoners.
On the 17th of March 1807 a British fleet appeared off Alexandria, having on board nearly 5000 troops, under the command of General A. Mackenzie Fraser; and the place, being disaffected towards Mehemet Ali, opened its
The British expedition of 1807.
gates to them. Here they first heard of the death of al-Alfī, upon whose co-operation they had founded their chief hopes of success; and they immediately despatched messengers to his successor and to the other beys, inviting them to Alexandria. The British resident, Major Missett, having represented the importance of taking Rosetta and Rahmanieh, to secure supplies for Alexandria, General Fraser, with the concurrence of the admiral, Sir John Duckworth, detached the 31st regiment and the Chasseurs Britanniques, accompanied by some field artillery under Major-General Wauchope and Brigadier-General Meade, on this service; and these troops entered Rosetta without encountering any opposition; but as soon as they had dispersed among the narrow streets, the garrison opened a deadly fire on them from the latticed windows and the roofs of the houses. They effected a retreat on Aboukir and Alexandria, after a very heavy loss of 185 killed and 281 wounded, General Wauchope and three officers being among the former, and General Meade and nineteen officers among the latter. The heads of the slain were fixed on stakes on each side of the road crossing the Ezbekīa in Cairo.
Mehemet Ali, meanwhile, was conducting an expedition against the beys in Upper Egypt, and he had defeated them near Assiut, when he heard of the arrival of the British. In great alarm lest the beys should join them, especially as they were far north of his position, he immediately sent messengers to his rivals, promising to comply with all their demands if they should join in expelling the invaders; and this proposal being agreed to, both armies marched towards Cairo on opposite sides of the river.
To return to the unfortunate British expedition. The possession of Rosetta being deemed indispensable, Brigadier-Generals Sir William Stewart and Oswald were despatched thither with 2500 men. For thirteen days a cannonade of the town was continued without effect; and on the 20th of April, news having come in from the advanced guard at Hamād of large reinforcements to the besieged, General Stewart was compelled to retreat; and a dragoon was despatched to Lieutenant-colonel Macleod, commanding at Hamād, with orders to fall back. The messenger, however, was unable to penetrate to the spot; and the advanced guard, consisting of a detachment of the 31st, two companies of the 78th, one of the 35th, and De Roll’s regiment, with a picquet of dragoons, the whole mustering 733 men, was surrounded, and, after a gallant resistance, the survivors, who had expended all their ammunition, became prisoners of war. General Stewart regained Alexandria with the remainder of his force, having lost, in killed, wounded and missing, nearly 900 men. Some hundreds of British heads were now exposed on stakes in Cairo, and the prisoners were marched between these mutilated remains of their countrymen.
The beys became divided in their wishes, one party being desirous of co-operating with the British, the other with the pasha. These delays proved ruinous to their cause; and General Fraser, despairing of their assistance, evacuated Alexandria on the 14th of September. From that date to the spring of 1811 the beys from time to time relinquished certain of their demands; the pasha on his part granted them what before had been withheld; the province of the Fayum, and part of those of Giza and Benī-Suef, were ceded to Shāhīn; and a great portion of the Sa‘īd, on the condition of paying the land-tax, to the others. Many of them took up their abode in Cairo, but tranquillity was not secured; several times they met the pasha’s forces in battle and once gained a signal victory. Early in the year 1811, the preparations for an expedition against the Wahhābīs in Arabia being complete, all the Mameluke beys then in Cairo were invited to the ceremony of investing Mehemet Ali’s favourite son, Tūsūn, with a pelisse and the command of the army. As on the former occasion, the unfortunate Mamelukes fell into the snare. On the 1st of March, Shāhīn Bey and the other chiefs (one only excepted) repaired with their retinues to the citadel, and were courteously received by the pasha. Having taken coffee, they formed in procession, and, preceded and followed by the pasha’s troops, slowly descended the steep and narrow road leading to the great gate of the citadel; but as soon as the Mamelukes arrived at the gate it was suddenly closed before them. The last of those to leave before the gate was shut were Albanians under Sālih Kush. To these troops their chief now made known the pasha’s orders to massacre all the Mamelukes within the citadel; therefore, having returned
Final massacre of the Mamelukes.
by another way, they gained the summits of the walls and houses that hem in the road in which the Mamelukes were confined, and some stationed themselves upon the eminences of the rock through which that road is partly cut. Thus securely placed, they began a heavy fire on their victims; and immediately the troops who closed the procession, and who had the advantage of higher ground, followed their example. Of the betrayed chiefs, many were laid low in a few moments; some, dismounting, and throwing off their outer robes, vainly sought, sword in hand, to return, and escape by some other gate. The few who regained the summit of the citadel experienced the same fate as the rest, for no quarter was given. Four hundred and seventy Mamelukes entered the citadel; and of these very few, if any, escaped. One of these is said to have been a bey. According to some, he leapt his horse from the ramparts, and alighted uninjured, though the horse was killed by the fall; others say that he was prevented from joining his comrades, and discovered the treachery while waiting without the gate. He fled and made his way to Syria. This massacre was the signal for an indiscriminate slaughter of the Mamelukes throughout Egypt, orders to this effect being transmitted to every governor; and in Cairo itself the houses of the beys were given over to the soldiery. During the two following days the pasha and his son Tūsūn rode about the streets and tried to stop the atrocities; but order was not restored until 500 houses had been completely pillaged. The heads of the beys were sent to Constantinople.
A remnant of the Mamelukes fled to Nubia, and a tranquillity was restored to Egypt to which it had long been unaccustomed. In the year following the massacre the unfortunate exiles were attacked by Ibrahim Pasha, the eldest son of Mehemet Ali, in the fortified town of Ibrīm, in Nubia. Here the want of provisions forced them to evacuate the place; a few who surrendered were beheaded, and the rest went farther south and built the town of New Dongola (correctly Dunkulah), where the venerable Ibrahim Bey died in 1816, at the age of eighty. As their numbers thinned, they endeavoured to maintain their little power by training some hundreds of blacks; but again, on the approach of Ismail, another son of the pasha of Egypt, sent with an army in 1820 to subdue Nubia and Sennār, some returned to Egypt and settled in Cairo, while the rest, amounting to about 100 persons, fled in dispersed parties to the countries adjacent to Sennār.
3. Modern History.
(1) Rule of Mehemet Ali.
—Mehemet Ali was now undisputed master of Egypt, and his efforts henceforth were directed primarily to the maintenance of his practical independence. The suzerainty of the sultan he acknowledged, and at the reiterated commands of the Porte he despatched in 1811 an army of 8000 men, including 2000 horse, under the command of his son Tūsūn, a youth of sixteen, against the Wahhābīs
). After a successful advance, this force met with a serious repulse at the pass of Jedeida, near Safra, and retreated to Yembo’ (Yambu). In the following year Tūsūn, having received reinforcements, again assumed the offensive, and captured Medīna after a prolonged siege. He next took Jidda and Mecca, defeating the Wahhābīs beyond the latter place and capturing their general. But some mishaps followed, and Mehemet Ali, who had determined to conduct the war in person, left Egypt for that purpose in the summer of 1813. In Arabia he encountered serious obstacles from the nature of the country and the harassing mode of
Wars in Arabia.
warfare adopted by his adversaries. His arms met with various fortunes; but on the whole his forces proved superior to those of the enemy. He deposed and exiled the sharif of Mecca, and after the death of the Wahhābī leader Saud II. he concluded in 1815 a treaty with Saud’s son and successor, Abdullah. Hearing of the escape of Napoleon from Elba—and fearing danger to Egypt from the plans of France or Great Britain—Mehemet Ali returned to Cairo by way of Kosseir and Kena. He reached the capital on the day of the battle of Waterloo. His return was hastened by reports that the Turks, whose cause he was upholding in Arabia, were treacherously planning an invasion of Egypt.
During Mehemet Ali’s absence in Arabia his representative at Cairo had completed the confiscation, begun in 1808, of almost all the lands belonging to private individuals, who were forced to accept instead inadequate pensions. By this revolutionary method of land “nationalization” Mehemet Ali became proprietor of nearly all the soil of Egypt, an iniquitous measure against which the Egyptians had no remedy. The attempt which in this year (1815) the pasha made to reorganize his troops on European lines led, however, to a formidable mutiny in Cairo. Mehemet Ali’s life was endangered, and he sought refuge by night in the citadel, while the soldiery committed many acts of plunder. The revolt was reduced by presents to the chiefs of the insurgents, and Mehemet Ali ordered that the sufferers by the disturbances should receive compensation from the treasury. The project of the Nizām Gedid (New System), as the European system was called, was, in consequence of this mutiny, abandoned for a time.
Tūsūn returned to Egypt on hearing of the military revolt at Cairo, but died in 1816 at the early age of twenty. Mehemet Ali, dissatisfied with the treaty concluded with the Wahhābīs, and with the non-fulfilment of certain of its clauses, determined to send another army to Arabia, and to include in it the soldiers who had recently proved unruly. This expedition, under his eldest son Ibrahim Pasha, left in the autumn of 1816. The war was long and arduous, but in 1818 Ibrahim captured the Wahhābī capital of Deraiya. Abdullah, their chief, was made prisoner, and with his treasurer and secretary was sent to Constantinople, where, in spite of Ibrahim’s promise of safety, and of Mehemet Ali’s intercession in their favour, they were put to death. At the close of the year 1819, Ibrahim returned to Cairo, having subdued all present opposition in Arabia.
Meanwhile the pasha had turned his attention to the improvement of the manufactures of Egypt, and engaged very largely in commerce. He created for himself a monopoly in the chief products of the country, to the further impoverishment of the people, and set up and kept going for years factories which never paid. But some of his projects were sound. The work of digging (1819-1820) the new canal of Alexandria, called the Mahmudiya (after the reigning sultan of Turkey), was specially important. The old canal had long fallen into decay, and the necessity of a safe channel between Alexandria and the Nile was much felt. Such was the object of the canal then excavated, and it answered its purpose; but the sacrifice of life was enormous (fully 20,000 workmen perished), and the labour of the unhappy fellahin was forced. Another notable fact in the economic progress of the country was the development of the cultivation of cotton in the Delta in 1822 and onwards. The cotton grown had been brought from the Sudan by Maho Bey, and the organization of the new industry—from which in a few years Mehemet Ali was enabled to extract considerable revenues—was entrusted to a Frenchman named Jumel.
In 1820 Mehemet Ali ordered the conquest of the eastern Sudan to be undertaken. He first sent an expedition westward (Feb. 1820) which conquered and annexed the oasis of Siwa. Among the pasha’s reasons for wishing to
Conquest of the Sudan begun.
extend his rule southward were the desire to capture the valuable caravan trade then going towards the Red Sea, and to secure the rich gold mines which he believed to exist in Sennār. He also saw in the campaign a means of getting rid of the disaffected troops, and of obtaining a sufficient number of captives to form the nucleus of the new army. The forces destined for this service were led by Ismail, then the youngest son of Mehemet Ali; they consisted of between 4000 and 5000 men, Turks and Arabs, and left Cairo in July 1820. Nubia at once submitted, the Shagia Arabs immediately beyond the province of Dongola were worsted, the remnant of the Mamelukes dispersed, and Sennār reduced without a battle. Mahommed Bey, the defterdār, with another force of about the same strength, was then sent by Mehemet Ali against Kordofan with a like result, but not without a hard-fought engagement. In October 1822 Ismail was, with his retinue, burnt to death by Nimr, the mek
(king) of Shendi; and the defterdār, a man infamous for his cruelty, assumed the command of those provinces, and exacted terrible retribution from the innocent inhabitants. Khartum was founded at this time, and in the following years the rule of the Egyptians was largely extended and control obtained of the Red Sea ports of Suakin and Massawa (see Sudan
In 1824 a native rebellion of a religious character broke out in Upper Egypt headed by one Aḥmad, an inhabitant of Es-Sālimiya, a village situated a few miles above Thebes. He proclaimed himself a prophet, and was soon followed by between 20,000 and 30,000 insurgents, mostly peasants, but some of them deserters from the “Nizām Gedid,” for that force was yet in a half-organized state, and in part declared for the impostor. The insurrection was crushed by Mehemet Ali, and about one-fourth of Ahmad’s followers perished, but he himself escaped and was never after heard of. Few of these unfortunates possessed any other weapon than the long staff (nebbut) of the Egyptian peasant; still they offered an obstinate resistance, and the combat in which they were defeated resembled a massacre. This movement was the last internal attempt to destroy the pasha’s authority.
The fellahin, a patient, long-suffering race save when stirred by religious fanaticism, submitted to the kurbash, freely used by the Turkish and Bashi Bazuk tax-gatherers employed by Mehemet Ali to enforce his
Sufferings of the fellahin.
system of taxation, monopolies, corvée and conscription. Under this régime the resources of the country were impoverished, while the finances fell into complete and incomprehensible chaos.
A vivid picture of the condition to which Egypt was reduced is painted in the report drawn up in 1838 by the British consul-general, Colonel Campbell:—
“The government (he wrote), possessing itself of the necessaries of life at prices fixed by itself, disposes of them at arbitrary prices. The fellah is thus deprived of his harvest and falls into arrears with his taxes, and is harassed and bastinadoed to force him to pay his debts. This leads to deterioration of agriculture and lessens the production. The pasha having imposed high taxes has caused the high prices of the necessaries of life. It would be difficult for a foreigner now coming to Egypt to form a just idea of the actual state of the country as compared with its former state. In regard to the general rise in prices, all the ground cultivated under the Mamelukes was employed for producing food—wheat, barley, beans, &c.—in immense quantities. The people reared fowls, sheep, goats, &c., and the prices were one-sixth, or even one-tenth, of those at present. This continued until Mehemet Ali became viceroy in 1805. From that period until the establishment of monopolies prices have gradually increased; but the great increase has chiefly taken place since 1824, when the pasha established his regular army, navy and factories.”
The conclusion in 1838 of a commercial treaty with Turkey, negotiated by Sir Henry Bulwer (Lord Dalling), struck a death-blow to the system of monopolies, though the application of the treaty to Egypt was delayed for some years. The picture of Egypt under Mehemet Ali is nevertheless not complete without regard being had to the beneficent side of his rule. Public order was rendered perfect; the Nile and the highways were secure to all travellers, Christian or Moslem; the Bedouin tribes were won over to peaceful pursuits, and genuine efforts were made to promote education and the study of medicine. To European merchants, on whom he was dependent for the sale of his exports, Mehemet Ali showed much favour, and under his influence the port of Alexandria again rose into importance. It was also under Mehemet Ali’s encouragement that the overland transit of goods from Europe to India via Egypt was resumed.
Mehemet Ali was fully conscious that the empire which he had so laboriously built up might at any time have to be defended by force of arms against his master Sultan Mahmud II., whose whole policy had been directed to curbing the power of his too ambitious valis, and who was under the influence of the personal enemies of the pasha of Egypt, notably of Khosrev, the grand vizier, who had never forgiven his humiliation in Egypt in 1803. Mahmud also was already planning reforms borrowed from the West, and Mehemet Ali, who had had plenty of opportunity of observing the superiority of European methods of warfare, was determined to anticipate the sultan in the creation of a fleet and an army on modern lines, partly as a measure of precaution, partly as an instrument for the realization of yet wider schemes of ambition. Before the outbreak of the War of Greek Independence in 1821 he had already expended much time and energy in organizing a fleet and in training, under the supervision of French instructors, native officers and artificers; though it was not till 1829 that the opening of a dockyard and arsenal at Alexandria enabled him to build and equip his own vessels. By 1823, moreover, he had succeeded in carrying out the reorganization of his army on European lines, the turbulent Turkish and Albanian elements being replaced by negroes and fellahin.
His foresight was rewarded by the invitation of the sultan to help him in the task of subduing the Greek insurgents, offering
Ibrahim in the Morea.
as reward the pashaliks of the Morea and of Syria. Mehemet Ali had already, in 1821, been appointed governor of Crete, which he had occupied with a small Egyptian force. In the autumn of 1824 a fleet of sixty Egyptian war-ships carrying a large force of disciplined troops concentrated in Suda Bay, and, in the following March, Ibrahim as commander-in-chief landed in the Morea. But for the action of European powers the intervention of Mehemet Ali would have been decisive. His naval superiority wrested from the Greeks the command of the sea, on which the fate of the insurrection ultimately depended, while on land the Greek irregular bands were everywhere routed by Ibrahim’s disciplined troops. The history of the events that led up to the battle of Navarino and the liberation of Greece is told elsewhere (see Navarino
and Greek Independence, War of
); the withdrawal of the Egyptians from the Morea was ultimately due to the action of Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, who early in August 1828 appeared before Alexandria and induced the pasha, by no means sorry to have a reasonable excuse, by a threat of bombardment, to sign a convention undertaking to recall Ibrahim and his army.
Before the final establishment of the new kingdom of Greece, the Eastern question had late in 1831 entered into a new and more perilous phase, owing to the revolt of Mehemet Ali against the sultan on pretext of chastising the
The Syrian campaigns.
ex-slave Abdullah, pasha of Acre, for refusing to send back Egyptian fugitives from the effects of Mehemet Ali’s “reforms.” The true reason was the refusal of Sultan Mahmud to hand over Syria according to agreement, and Mehemet Ali’s determination to obtain at all hazards what had been from time immemorial an object of ambition to the rulers of Egypt. For ten years from this date the relations of sultan and pasha remained in the forefront of the questions which agitated the diplomatic world. It was not only the very existence of the Ottoman empire that seemed to be at stake, but Egypt itself had become more than ever an object of attention, to British statesmen especially, and in the issue of the struggle were involved the interests of Great Britain in the two routes to India by the Isthmus of Suez and the valley of the Euphrates. The diplomatic and military history of this period will be found sketched in the article on Mehemet Ali. Here it will suffice to say that the victorious career of Ibrahim, who once more commanded in his father’s name, beginning with the storming of Acre on the 27th of May 1832, and culminating in the rout and capture of Reshid Pasha at Konia on the 21st of December, was arrested by the intervention of Russia. As the result of endless discussions between the representatives of the powers, the Porte and the pasha, the convention of Kutaya was signed on the 14th of May 1833, by which the sultan agreed to bestow on Mehemet Ali the pashaliks of Syria, Damascus, Aleppo and Itcheli, together with the district of Adana. The announcement of the pasha’s appointment had already been made in the usual way in the annual firman issued on the 3rd of May. Adana, reserved for the moment, was bestowed on Ibrahim under the style of muhassil
, or collector of the crown revenues, a few days later.
Mehemet Ali now ruled over a virtually independent empire, subject only to a moderate tribute, stretching from the Sudan to the Taurus Mountains. But though he was hailed, especially in France, as the pioneer of European civilization in the East, the unsound foundations of his authority were not long in revealing themselves. Scarcely a year from the signing of the convention of Kutaya the application by Ibrahim of Egyptian methods of government, notably of the monopolies and conscription, had driven Syrians, Druses and Arabs, who had welcomed him as a deliverer, into revolt. The unrest was suppressed by Mehemet Ali in person, and the Syrians were terrorized and disarmed. But their discontent encouraged Sultan Mahmud to hope for revenge, and a renewal of the conflict was only staved off by the anxious efforts of the powers. At last, in the spring of 1839, the sultan ordered his army, concentrated under Reshid in the border district of Bìr on the Euphrates, to advance over the Syrian frontier. Ibrahim, seeing his flank menaced, attacked it at Nezib on the 24th of June. Once more the Ottomans were utterly routed. Six days later, before the news reached Constantinople, Mahmud died. Once more the Ottoman empire lay at the feet of Mehemet Ali; but the powers were now more prepared to meet a contingency which had been long foreseen. Their intervention was prompt; and the dubious attitude of France, which led to her exclusion from the concert and encouraged Mehemet Ali to resist, only led to his obtaining less favourable terms. (See Mehemet Ali
The end was reached early in 1841. New firmans were issued which confined the pasha’s authority to Egypt, the Sinai peninsula and certain places on the Arabian side of the Red Sea, and to the Sudan. The most important of these documents are dated the 13th of February 1841. The government of the pashalik of Egypt was made hereditary in the family of Mehemet Ali.
A map showing the boundaries of Egypt accompanied the firman granting Mehemet Ali the pashalik, a duplicate copy being retained by the Porte. The Egyptian copy is supposed to have been lost in a fire which destroyed a great part of the Egyptian archives. The Turkish copy has never been produced and its existence now appears doubtful. The point is of importance, as in 1892 and again in 1906 boundary disputes arose between Turkey and Egypt (see below). Various restrictions were laid upon Mehemet Ali, emphasizing his position of vassalage.
Mehemet Ali’s authority confined
He was forbidden to maintain a fleet, and his army was not to exceed 18,000 men. The pasha was no longer a figure in European politics, but he continued to occupy himself with his improvements, real or imaginary, in Egypt. The condition of the country was deplorable; in 1842 a murrain of cattle was followed by a destructive Nile flood; in 1843 there was a plague of locusts, whole villages were depopulated. Meantime the uttermost farthing was wrung from the wretched fellahin, while they were forced to the building of magnificent public works by unpaid labour. In 1844–1845 there was some improvement in the condition of the country as a result of financial reforms the pasha was compelled to execute. Mehemet Ali, who had been granted the honorary rank of grand vizier in 1842, paid a visit to Stamboul in 1846, where he became reconciled to his old enemy Khosrev Pasha, whom he had not seen since he spared his life at Cairo in 1803. In 1847 Mehemet Ali laid the foundation stone of the great barrage across the Nile at the beginning of the Delta. He was barely persuaded from ordering the barrage to be built with stone from the pyramids! Towards the end of 1847 the aged pasha’s mind began to give way, and by the following June he was no longer capable of administering the government. In September 1848 Ibrahim was acknowledged by the Porte as ruler of the pashalik, but he died in the November following. Mehemet Ali survived another eight months, dying on the 2nd of August 1849, aged eighty. He had done a great work in Egypt; the most permanent being the weakening of the tie binding the country to Turkey, the starting of the great cotton industry, the recognition of the advantages of European science, and the conquest of the Sudan.
(F. R. C.
(2) From the Death of Mehemet Ali to the British Occupation.
—On Ibrahim’s death in November 1848 the government of Egypt fell to his nephew Abbas I.
), the son of Tusun. Abbas put an end to the system of commercial monopolies, and during his reign the railway from Alexandria
Abbas I. and
to Cairo was begun at the instigation of the British government. Opposed to European ways, Abbas lived in great seclusion, and after a reign of less than six years he was murdered (July 1854) by two of his slaves. He was succeeded by his uncle Said Pasha, the favourite son of Mehemet Ali, who lacked the strength of mind or physical health needed to execute the beneficent projects which he conceived. His endeavour, for instance, to put a stop to the slave raiding which devastated the Sudan provinces was wholly ineffectual. He had a genuine regard for the welfare of the fellahin, and a land law of 1858 secured to them an acknowledgment of freehold as against the crown. The pasha was much under French influence, and in 1856 was induced to grant to Ferdinand de Lesseps a concession for the construction of the Suez Canal. Lord Palmerston was opposed to this project, and the British opposition delayed the ratification of the concession by the Porte for two years. To the British Said also made concessions—one to the Eastern Telegraph Company, and another (1854) allowing the establishment of the Bank of Egypt. He also began the national debt by borrowing £3,293,000 from Messrs Frühling & Göschen, the actual amount received by the pasha being £2,640,000. In January 1863 Said Pasha died and was succeeded by his nephew Ismail, a son of Ibrahim Pasha.
The reign of Ismail
), from 1863 to 1879, was for a while hailed as introducing a new era into modern Egypt. In spite of his vast schemes of reform and the éclat
of his Europeanizing innovations, his oriental extravagance led to bankruptcy, and his reign is historically important
simply for its compelling European intervention in the internal affairs of Egypt. Yet in its earlier years much was done which seemed likely to give Ismail a more important place in history. In 1866 he was granted by the sultan a firman—obtained on condition of the increase of the tribute from £376,000 to £720,000—by which the succession to the throne of Egypt was made to descend “to the eldest of thy male children and in the same manner to the eldest sons of thy successors,” instead of, after Turkish law, to the eldest male of the family. In the following year another firman bestowed upon him the title of khedive
in lieu of that of vali
, borne by Mehemet Ali and his immediate successors. In 1873 a further firman placed the khedive in many respects in the position of an independent sovereign. Ismail re-established and improved the administrative system organized by Mehemet Ali, and which had fallen into decay under Abbas’s indolent rule; he caused a thorough remodelling of the customs system, which was in an anarchic state, to be made by English officials; in 1865 he established the Egyptian post office; he reorganized the military schools of his grandfather, and gave some support to the cause of education. Railways, telegraphs, lighthouses, the harbour works at Suez, the breakwater at Alexandria, were carried out by some of the best contractors of Europe. Most important of all, the Suez Canal was opened in 1869. But the funds required for these public works, as well as the actual labour, were remorselessly extorted from a poverty-stricken population.
A striking picture of the condition of the people at this period is given by Lady Duff Gordon in Last Letters from Egypt. Writing in 1867 she said: “I cannot describe the misery here now—every day some new tax. Every beast, camel, cow, sheep, donkey and horse is made to pay. The fellaheen can no longer eat bread; they are living on barley-meal mixed with water, and raw green stuff, vetches, &c. The taxation makes life almost impossible: a tax on every crop, on every animal first, and again when it is sold in the market; on every man, on charcoal, on butter, on salt.... The people in Upper Egypt are running away by wholesale, utterly unable to pay the new taxes and do the work exacted. Even here (Cairo) the beating for the year’s taxes is awful.”
In the years that followed the condition of things grew worse. Thousands of lives were lost and large sums expended in extending Ismail’s dominions in the Sudan
) and in futile conflicts with Abyssinia. In 1875 the impoverishment of the fellah had reached such a
Steps leading to the deposition of Ismail.
point that the ordinary resources of the country no longer sufficed for the most urgent necessities of administration; and the khedive Ismail, having repeatedly broken faith with his creditors, could not raise any more loans on the European market. The taxes were habitually collected many months in advance, and the colossal floating debt was increasing rapidly. In these circumstances Ismail had to realize his remaining assets, and among them sold 176,602 Suez Canal shares to the British government for £3,976,582
). This comparatively small financial operation brought about the long-delayed crisis and paved the way for the future prosperity of Egypt, for it induced the British government to inquire more carefully into the financial condition of the country. In December 1875 Mr Stephen Cave, M.P., and Colonel (afterwards Sir John) Stokes, R.E., were sent to Egypt to inquire into the financial situation; and Mr Cave’s report, made public in April 1876, showed that under the existing administration national bankruptcy was inevitable. Other commissions of inquiry followed, and each one brought Ismail more under European control. The establishment of the Mixed Tribunals in 1876, in place of the system of consular jurisdiction in civil actions, made some of the courts of justice international. The Caisse de la Dette, instituted in May 1876 as a result of the Cave mission, led to international control over a large portion of the revenue. Next came (in November 1876) the mission of Mr (afterwards Lord) Goschen and M. Joubert on behalf of the British and French bondholders, one result being the establishment of Dual Control, i.e.
an English official to superintend the revenue and a French official the expenditure of the country. Another result was the internationalization of the railways and the port of Alexandria. Then came (May 1878) a commission of inquiry of which the principal members were Sir Rivers Wilson, Major Evelyn Baring (afterwards Lord Cromer) and MM. Kremer-Baravelli and de Blignières. One result of that inquiry was the extension of international control to the enormous landed property of the khedive. Driven to desperation, Ismail made a virtue of necessity and accepted, in September 1878, in lieu of the Dual Control, a constitutional ministry, under the presidency of Nubar Pasha
), with Rivers Wilson as minister of finance and de Blignières as minister of public works. Professing to be quite satisfied with this arrangement, he pompously announced that Egypt was no longer in Africa, but a part of Europe; but before seven months had passed he found his constitutional position intolerable, got rid of his irksome cabinet by means of a secretly-organized military riot in Cairo, and reverted to his old autocratic methods of government. England and France could hardly sit still under this affront, and decided to administer chastisement by the hand of the suzerain power, which was delighted to have an opportunity of asserting its authority. On the 26th of June 1879 Ismail suddenly received from the sultan a curt telegram, addressed to him as ex-khedive of Egypt, informing him that his son Tewfik was appointed his successor. Taken unawares, he made no attempt at resistance, and Tewfik was at once proclaimed khedive.
After a short period of inaction, when it seemed as if the change might be for the worse, England and France summoned up courage to look the situation boldly in the face, and, in November 1879, re-established the Dual Control in the persons of Major Baring and M. de Blignières. For two years the Dual Control governed Egypt, and initiated the work of progress that England was to continue alone. Its essential defect was what might be called insecurity of tenure. Without any
Re-establishment of Dual Control.
efficient means of self-protection and coercion at its disposal, it had to interfere with the power, privileges and perquisites of a class which had long misgoverned the country. This class, so far as its civilian members were concerned, was not very formidable, because these were not likely to go beyond the bounds of intrigue and passive resistance; but it contained a military element who had more courage, and who had learned their power when Ismail employed them for overturning his constitutional ministry.
Arabi and the revolt of 1882.
Among the mutinous soldiers on that occasion was a fellah officer calling himself Ahmed Arabi the Egyptian. He was not a man of exceptional intelligence or remarkable powers of organization, but he was a fluent speaker, and could exercise some influence over the masses by a rude kind of native eloquence. Behind him were a group of men, much abler than himself, who put him forward as the figurehead of a party professing to aim at protecting the Egyptians from the grasping tyranny of their Turkish and European oppressors. The movement began among the Arab officers, who complained of the preference shown to the officers of Turkish origin; it then expanded into an attack on the privileged position and predominant influence of foreigners, many of whom, it must be confessed, were of a by no means respectable type; finally, it was directed against all Christians, foreign and native.
The government, being too weak to suppress the agitation and disorder, had to make concessions, and each concession produced fresh demands. Arabi was first promoted, then made under-secretary for war, and ultimately a member of the cabinet. The danger of a serious rising brought the British and French fleets in May 1882 to Alexandria, and after a massacre (11th of June) had been perpetrated by the Arab mob in that city, the British admiral bombarded the forts (11th of July 1882). The leaders of the national movement prepared to resist further aggression by force. A conference of ambassadors was held in Constantinople, and the sultan was invited to quell the revolt; but he hesitated to employ his troops against Mussulmans who were professing merely to oppose Christian aggression.
(3) Egypt occupied by the British.—At last the British government determined to employ armed force, and invited France to co-operate. The French government declined, and a similar invitation to Italy met with a similar refusal. England therefore, having to act alone, landed troops at Ismailia under Sir Garnet Wolseley, and suppressed the revolt by the battle of Tell-el-Kebir on the 13th of September 1882. The khedive, who had taken refuge in Alexandria, returned to Cairo, and a ministry was formed under Sherif Pasha, with Riaz Pasha as one of its leading members. On assuming office, the first thing it had to do was to bring to trial the chiefs of the rebellion. Had the khedive and Riaz been allowed a free hand, Arabi and his colleagues would have found little mercy. Thanks to the intervention of the British government, their lives were spared. Arabi pleaded guilty, was sentenced to death, the sentence being commuted by the khedive to banishment; and Riaz resigned in disgust. This solution of the difficulty was brought about by Lord Dufferin, then British ambassador at Constantinople, who had been sent to Egypt as high commissioner to adjust affairs and report on the situation. One of his first acts, after preventing the application of capital punishment to the ringleaders of the revolt, was to veto the project of protecting the khedive and his government by means of a Praetorian guard recruited from Asia Minor, Epirus, Austria and Switzerland, and to insist on the principle that Egypt must be governed in a truly liberal spirit. Passing in review all the departments of the administration, he laid down the general lines on which the country was to be restored to order and prosperity, and endowed, if possible, with the elements of self-government for future use.
The laborious task of putting these general indications into a practical shape fell to Sir Evelyn Baring (Lord Cromer), who arrived as consul-general and diplomatic agent, in succession to Sir Edward Malet, in January 1884.
Sir Evelyn Baring appointed consul-general, 1884.
At that moment the situation was singularly like that which had existed on two previous occasions: firstly, when Ismail was deposed; and secondly, when the Dual Control had undermined the existing authority without having any power to enforce its own. For the third time in little more than three years the existing authority had been destroyed and a new one had to be created. But there was one essential difference: the power that had now to reorganize the country possessed in the British army of occupation a support sufficient to command respect. Without that support Sir Evelyn Baring could have done little or nothing; with it he did perhaps more than any other single man could have done. His method may be illustrated by an old story long current in Cairo. Mehemet Ali was said to have appointed as mudir or governor in a turbulent district a young and inexperienced Turk, who asked, “But how am I to govern these people?” “Listen,” replied the pasha; “buy the biggest and heaviest kurbash you can find; hang it up in the centre of the mudirieh, well within your reach, and you will very seldom require to use it.” The British army of occupation was Sir Evelyn’s kurbash; it was well within his reach, as all the world knew, and its simple presence sufficed to prevent disorder and enforce obedience. He had one other advantage over previous English reformers in Egypt: his position towards France was more independent. The Dual Control had been abolished by a khedivial decree of 18th January 1883, and replaced by an English financial adviser. France naturally objected; but having refused to co-operate with England in suppressing the revolt, she could not reasonably complain that her offer of co-operation in the work of reorganization was declined. But though Dual Control was at an end, the Caisse de la Dette remained, and this body was to prove a constant clog on the financial measures of the Egyptian government.
At first the intention of the British government was simply to restore the power of the khedive, to keep his highness for some time in the right path by friendly advice, and to withdraw the British troops as soon as possible. As
The Policy of evacuation.
Lord Granville explained in a circular to the powers, the position of England in Egypt imposed on her “the duty of giving advice with the object of securing that the order of things to be established shall be of a satisfactory character and possess the elements of stability and progress.” But there was to be no embarking on a general scheme of reforms, which would increase unnecessarily the responsibilities of the protecting power and necessitate the indefinite prolongation of the military occupation. So far, therefore, as the British government had a definite policy in Egypt, it was a politique de replâtrage
. Even this policy was not strictly adhered to. Mr Gladstone’s cabinet was as unstable as the public opinion it sought to conciliate. It had its hot fits and its cold fits, and it gave orders now to advance and now to retreat. In the long run circumstances proved too strong for it, and it had to undertake a great deal more than it originally intended. Each little change in the administration engendered a multitude of others, so that the modest attempts at reform were found to be like the letting out of water. A tiny rill gradually became a boisterous stream, and the boisterous stream grew into a great river, which spread to all sections of the administration and ended by inundating the whole country.
Of the numerous questions awaiting solution, the first to claim immediate attention was that of the Sudan. The British government had begun by excluding it from the problem, and by declaring that for events in these
The Sudan question.
outlying territories it must not be held responsible. In that sphere of activity, therefore, the Egyptian government might do as it thought fit. The principle of limited liability which this attitude assumed was soon found to be utterly untenable. The Sudan was an integral part of the khedive’s dominions, and caused, even in ordinary times, a deficit of £200,000 to the Egyptian treasury. At that moment it was in a state of open rebellion, stirred up by a religious fanatic who proclaimed himself a mahdi of Islam. An army of 10,000 men under an English officer, Colonel William Hicks, formerly of the Bombay army, otherwise Hicks Pasha, had been sent to suppress the revolt, and had been annihilated in a great battle fought on the 5th of November 1883, near Obeid. The Egyptian government wished to make a new attempt to recover the lost province, and the idea was certainly very popular among the governing class, but Sir Evelyn Baring vetoed the project on the ground that Egypt had neither soldiers nor money to carry it out. In vain the khedive and his prime minister, Sherif Pasha, threatened to resign, and the latter actually carried out his threat. The British representative remained firm, and it was decided that the Sudan should be, for the moment at least, abandoned to its fate. Nubar, though as strongly opposed to the abandonment policy as Sherif, consented to take his place and accepted somewhat reluctantly the new régime, which he defined as “the administration of Egypt under the government of Baring.” By this time the Mahdi was master of the greater part of the Sudan, but Khartum and some other fortified points still held out. The efforts made to extricate the garrisons, including the mission of General Gordon, the fall of Khartum, and the Nile Expedition under Lord Wolseley, are described below separately in the section of this article dealing with the military operations. The practical result was that the khedive’s authority was limited to the Nile valley north of Wadi Halfa.
With the internal difficulties Sir Evelyn Baring had been struggling bravely ever since his appointment, trying to evolve out of the ever-changing policy and contradictory orders of the British government some sort of coherent
line of action, and to raise the administration to a higher standard. For two or three years it seemed doubtful whether he would succeed. All over Egypt there was a feeling of unrest, and the well-meant but not very successful efforts of the British to improve the state of things were making them very unpopular. The introduction of English officials and English influence into all the administrative departments was resented by the native officials, and the action of the irrigation officers in preventing the customary abuses of the distribution of water was resented by the great landowners, who had been, from time immemorial, in the habit of taking as much as they wanted, to the detriment of the fellahin. Even these latter, who gained most by the reforms, considered that they had good reason to complain, for the defeat of Arabi and the re-establishment of order had enabled the Christian money-lenders to return and insist on the payment of claims, which were supposed to have been extinguished by the rebellion. Worst of all, the government was drifting rapidly towards insolvency, being quite unable to fulfil its obligations to the bondholders and meet the expenses of administration. All departments were being starved, and even the salaries of poorly paid officials were in arrear. To free itself from its financial difficulties the government adopted a heroic remedy which only created fresh troubles. On the advice of Lord Northbrook, who was sent out to Cairo in September 1884 to examine the financial situation, certain revenues which should have been paid into the Caisse for the benefit of the bondholders were paid into the treasury for the ordinary needs of the administration. Immediately the powers protested against this infraction of the law of liquidation, and the Caisse applied for a writ to the Mixed Tribunals. In this way the heroic remedy failed, and to the internal difficulties were added international complications.
Fortunately for Egypt, the British government contrived to solve the international difficulty by timely concessions to the powers, and succeeded in negotiating the London Convention of March 1885, by which the Egyptian government was relieved from some of the most onerous stipulations of the law of liquidation, and was enabled to raise a loan of £9,000,000 for an annual payment of £135,000. After paying out of the capital the sums required for the indemnities due for the burning of Alexandria and the deficits of the years 1882 and 1883, it still had a million sterling, and boldly invested it in the improvement of irrigation. The investment proved most remunerative, and helped very materially to save the country from bankruptcy and internationalism. The danger of being again subjected to the evils of an international administration was very great, for the London Convention contained a stipulation to the effect that if Egypt could not pay her way at the end of two years, another international commission would be appointed.
To obviate this catastrophe the British reformers set to work most energetically. Already something in the way of retrenchment and reform had been accomplished. The public accounts had been put in order, and the abuses in the collection of the land tax removed. The constant drain of money and men for the Sudan had been stopped. A beginning had been made for creating a new army to replace the one that had been disbanded and to allow of a portion of the British garrison being withdrawn. In this work Sir Evelyn Wood had shown much sound judgment as well as great capacity for military organization, and had formed an efficient force out of very unpromising material (see the section above on the Egyptian Army). His colleague in the department of public works, Sir Colin Scott-Moncrieff, had been not less active. By mitigating the hardships of the corvée, and improving the irrigation system, on which the prosperity of the country mainly depends, he had conferred enormous benefits on the fellahin, and had laid the foundation of permanent budgetary equilibrium for the future. Not less active was Sir Edgar Vincent, the financial adviser, who kept a firm hold on the purse-strings and ruthlessly cut down expenditure in all departments except that of irrigation (see § Finance).
The activity of the British officials naturally produced a certain amount of discontent and resistance on the part of their Egyptian colleagues, and Lord Granville was obliged to declare very plainly that such resistance could not be tolerated. Writing (January 1884) to Sir Evelyn Baring, he said:
“It should be made clear to the Egyptian Ministers and Governors of Provinces that the responsibility which for the time rests on England obliges H.M. Government to insist on the adoption of the policy which they recommend; and that it will be necessary that those Ministers and Governors who do not follow this course should cease to hold their offices.”
Nubar Pasha, who continued to be prime minister, resisted occasionally. What he chiefly objected to was direct interference in the provincial administration and the native tribunals, and he succeeded for a time in
Relations between British and native officials.
preventing such interference. Sir Benson Maxwell and Mr Clifford Lloyd, who had been sent out to reform the departments of justice and the interior, after coming into conflict with each other were both recalled, and the reforming activity was for a time restricted to the departments of war, public works and finance. Gradually the tension between natives and foreigners relaxed, and mutual confidence was established. Experience had evolved the working principle which was officially formulated at a much later period: “Our task is not to rule the Egyptians, but as far as possible to teach the Egyptians to rule themselves.... European initiative suggests measures to be executed by Egyptian agency, while European supervision controls the manner in which they are executed.” If that principle had been firmly laid down and clearly understood at the beginning, a good deal of needless friction would have been avoided.
The international difficulty remained. The British position in Egypt was anomalous, and might easily give rise to international complications. The sultan might well protest against the military occupation of a portion of his
empire by foreign troops. It was no secret that France was ready to give him diplomatic support, and other powers might adopt a similar attitude. Besides this, the British government was anxious to terminate the occupation as soon as possible. With a view to regularizing the situation and accelerating the evacuation, Sir Henry Drummond Wolff was sent to Constantinople in August 1885 on a special mission. On the 24th of October of that year he concluded a preliminary convention by which an Ottoman and a British high commissioner, acting in concert with the khedive, should reorganize the Egyptian army, tranquillize the Sudan by pacific means, and consider what changes might be necessary in the civil administration. When the two commissioners were assured of the security of the frontier and the good working and stability of the Egyptian government, they should present reports to their respective governments, and these should consult as to the conclusion of a convention regulating the withdrawal of the English troops. Mukhtar Pasha and Sir Henry Drummond Wolfe were appointed commissioners, and their joint inquiry lasted till the end of 1886, when the former presented his report and the latter went home to report orally. The remaining stipulations of the preliminary convention were duly carried out. Sir Henry Drummond Wolff proceeded to Constantinople and signed on the 22nd of May 1887 the definitive convention, according to which the occupation should come to an end in three years, but England should have a right to prolong or renew it in the event of internal peace or external security being seriously threatened. The sultan authorised the signature of this convention, but under pressure of France and Russia he refused to ratify it. Technically, therefore, the preliminary convention still remains in force, and in reality the Ottoman commissioner continued to reside in Cairo till the close of 1908.
The steadily increasing prosperity of the country during the years 1886 and 1887 removed the danger of national bankruptcy and international interference, and induced Sir Evelyn Baring to widen the area of administrative
Progress of reform.
reforms. In the provinces the local administration and the methods of dispensing justice were still scandalously unsatisfactory, and this was the field to which the British representative next directed his efforts. Here he met with unexpected opposition on the part of the prime minister, Nubar Pasha, and a conflict ensued which ended in Nubar’s retirement in June 1888. Riaz Pasha took his place, and remained in office till May 1891. During these three years the work of reform and the prosperity of the country made great progress. The new Egyptian army was so far improved that it gained successes over the forces of the Mahdi; the burden of the national debt was lightened by a successful conversion; the corvée
the land tax was reduced 30% in the poorest provinces, and in spite of this and other measures for lightening the public burdens, the budgetary surplus constantly increased; the quasi-judicial special commissions for brigandage, which were at once barbarous and inefficient, were abolished; the native tribunals were improved, and Mr (afterwards Sir John) Scott, an Indian judge of great experience and sound judgment, was appointed judicial adviser to the khedive. This appointment was opposed by Riaz Pasha, and led to his resignation on the plea of ill-health. His successor, Mustafa Pasha Fehmi, continued the work and co-operated cordially with the English officials. The very necessary reform of the native tribunals was then taken seriously in hand. The existing procedure was simplified and accelerated; the working of the courts was greatly improved by a carefully organized system of inspection and control; the incompetent judges were eliminated and replaced by men of better education and higher moral character; and for the future supply of well-qualified judges, barristers, and law officials, an excellent school of law was established. Later on the reforming activity was extended to prisons, public health, and education, and has attained very satisfactory results.
In January 1892 the khedive Tewfik, who had always maintained cordial relations with Sir Evelyn Baring, died suddenly, and was succeeded by his son, Abbas Hilmi, a young man without political experience, who failed at first
Accession of Abbas.
to understand the peculiar situation in which a khedive ruling under British protection is necessarily placed. Aspiring to liberate himself at once from foreign control, he summarily dismissed Mustafa Pasha Fehmi (15th January 1893), whom he considered too amenable to English influence, and appointed in his place Fakhri Pasha, who was not a persona grata
at the British Agency. Such an incident, which might have constituted a precedent for more important acts of a similar kind, could hardly be overlooked by the British representative. He had always maintained that what Egypt most required, and would require for many years to come, was an order of things which would render practically impossible any return to that personal system of government which had well-nigh ruined the country. In this view the British agent was warmly supported by Lord Rosebery, then secretary of state for foreign affairs. The young khedive was made therefore to understand that he must not make such changes in the administration without a previous agreement with the representative of the protecting power; and a compromise was effected by which Fakhri Pasha retired, and the post of premier was confided once more to Riaz. With this compromise the friction between the khedive and Sir Evelyn Baring, who had now become Lord Cromer, did not end. For some time Abbas Hilmi clung to his idea of liberating himself from all control, and secretly encouraged a nationalist and anti-British agitation in the native press; but he gradually came to perceive the folly, as well as the danger to himself, of such a course, and accordingly refrained from giving any overt occasion for complaint or protest. In like manner the relations between the British officials and their Egyptian colleagues gradually became more cordial, so that it was found possible at last to reform the local administration in the provinces according to the recommendations of Mr (afterwards Sir) Eldon Gorst, who had been appointed adviser to the ministry of the interior. Nubar Pasha, it is true, who succeeded Riaz as prime minister in April 1894, objected to some of Mr Gorst’s recommendations, and in November 1895 resigned. He was succeeded by Mustafa Fehmi, who had always shown a conciliatory spirit, and who had been on that account, as above stated, summarily dismissed by the khedive in January 1893. After his reinstatement the Anglo-Egyptian condominium worked without serious friction.
The success of the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, and the consequent economic and financial prosperity of Egypt proper, rendered it possible, during 1896-1898, to recover from the Mahdists the Sudanese provinces (see MilitaryOperations
and to delimit in that part of Africa, in accordance with Anglo-Egyptian interests, the respective spheres of influence of Great Britain and France. The arrangement was not effected without serious danger of a European conflict. Taking advantage of the temporary weakness of Egypt, the French government formed the project of seizing the Upper Nile valley and uniting her possessions in West Africa with those at the entrance to the Red Sea. With this object a small force under Major Marchand was sent from the French Congo into the Bahr-el-Ghazal, with orders to occupy Fashoda on the Nile; whilst a Franco-Abyssinian Expedition was despatched from the eastward, to join hands with Major Marchand. The small force from the French Congo reached its destination, and a body of Abyssinian troops, accompanied by French officers, appeared for a short time a little higher up the river; but the grand political scheme was frustrated by the victorious advance of an Anglo-Egyptian force under General Kitchener and the resolute attitude of the British government. Major Marchand had to retire from Fashoda, and as a concession to French susceptibilities he was allowed to retreat by the Abyssinian route. By an agreement signed by Lord Salisbury and the French ambassador on the 21st of March 1899, and appended to Art. IV. of the Anglo-French convention of June 14th, 1898, which dealt with the British and French spheres of influence in the region of the Niger, France was excluded from the basin of the Nile, and a line marking the respective spheres of influence of the two countries was drawn on the map from the northern frontier of the Congo Free State to the southern frontier of the Turkish province of Tripoli.
The administration of the Sudan
) was organized on the basis of an agreement between the British and Egyptian governments signed on the 19th of January 1899. According to that agreement the British and Egyptian flags are used together, and the supreme military and civil command is vested in a governor-general, who is appointed by the khedive on the recommendation
The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
of the British government, and who cannot be removed without the British government’s consent. Neither consular jurisdiction, nor that of the mixed tribunals, was permitted, the Sudan being made absolutely free of the international fetters which bound Egypt. Sir Reginald Wingate, the sirdar of the Egyptian army (in which post he succeeded Lord Kitchener at the close of 1899) was named governor-general, and in the work of regeneration of the country, the officials, British, Egyptian and Sudanese, had the cordial co-operation of the majority of the inhabitants.
The growing prosperity of Egypt in the opening years of the 20th century was very marked, and is reflected in the annual reports on the country supplied to the British foreign office by Lord Cromer. Thus, in 1901 he was able to
Egypt’s growing prosperity.
declare that “the foundations on which the well-being and material prosperity of a civilized community should rest have been laid. . . . The institution of slavery is virtually defunct. The corvée
has been practically abolished. Law and order everywhere reign supreme. The curbash
is no longer employed as an instrument of government.” So little danger to internal peace was apprehended that during this year Arabi Pasha, who had been in exile in Ceylon since 1882, was permitted to return to Egypt. This happy condition had been brought about largely as the result of giving fiscal reform, accompanied by substantial relief to the taxpayers, the first place in the government’s programme, and with the abolition of octroi duties in 1902 disappeared the last of the main defects in the fiscal system as existing at the time of the British occupation. In these conditions the machinery of government, despite its many imperfections and anomalies, worked smoothly. Land increased in value as irrigation schemes were completed, and European capital was increasingly eager to find employment in the country. The bulk of the fellahin enjoyed a material prosperity to which they had been strangers for centuries. In the midst of this return of plenty Lord Cromer (in his report for 1903) sounded a note of warning:—
As regards moral progress (he wrote), all that can be said is that it must necessarily be slower than advance in a material direction. I hope and believe, however, that some progress is being made. In any case the machinery which will admit of progress has been created. The schoolmaster is abroad. . . . Every possible facility and every encouragement are afforded for the Egyptians to advance along the path of moral improvement. More than this no government can do. It remains for the Egyptians to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them.”
The facilities enjoyed by the British and Egyptian governments for securing the material if not the moral development of Egypt were greatly enlarged in 1904, as the result of the understanding then come to between France
The Anglo-French understanding of 1904.
and Great Britain. The natural irritation in France arising from the British occupation of the Nile valley, and the non-fulfilment of the pledge to withdraw the British garrison from Egypt, which had grown less acute with the passing of years, flamed out afresh at the time of the Fashoda crisis, while the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902 led to another access of irritation against England. During 1903 a great change came over public opinion on both sides of the Channel, with the result that the statesmen of both countries were enabled to complete negotiations settling many points in dispute between the two nations. On the 8th of April 1904 a declaration was signed by the representatives of France and Great Britain which virtually recognized the dominant position of France in Morocco and of Britain in Egypt. The chief provisions concerning Egypt were:—
“His Britannic Majesty’s government declare that they have no intention of altering the political status of Egypt.
“The government of the French Republic, for their part, declare that they will not obstruct the action of Great Britain in that country by asking that a limit of time be fixed for the British occupation, or in any other manner.
“His Britannic Majesty’s government, for their part, will respect the rights which France, in virtue of treaties, conventions and usage, enjoys in Egypt.”
Similar declarations and engagements were made by Germany, Austria and Italy. Annexed to the Anglo-French agreement was the text of a proposed khedivial decree altering the relations between Egypt and the foreign bondholders. With the consent of the powers this decree (promulgated on the 28th of November 1904) came into operation on the 1st of January 1905. The combined effect of the declaration and the khedivial decree was great. The first-named put an end to an anomalous situation and gave a practically valid sanction to the presence of Britain in Egypt, removing all ground for the reproach that Great Britain was not respecting its international obligations. In effect it was a European recognition that Britain was the protecting power in Egypt. It put a period to a question which had long embittered the relations between England and France, and locally it caused the cessation of the systematic opposition of the French agents in Cairo to everything tending to strengthen the British position—however beneficial to Egypt the particular scheme opposed might be. Scarcely less important were the results of the khedivial decree. By it Egypt achieved in effect financial independence. The power of the Caisse de la Dette, which had virtually controlled the execution of the international agreements concerning the finances, was swept away, together with almost all the other financial fetters binding Egypt. The Railway and Port of Alexandria Board ceased to exist. For the first time since 1875 Egypt was free to control her own revenue. In return she pledged the greater part of the land tax to the service of the debt. The functions of the Caisse were restricted to the receipt of the funds necessary for this service. It was entirely deprived of its former power to interfere in the machinery of government. Moreover, some £10,000,000, being accumulated surpluses in the hands of the Caisse after meeting the charges of the debt, were handed over to the Egyptian treasury. The Egyptian government was henceforth free to take full advantage of the financial prosperity of the country.
In one respect the Anglo-French agreement made no alteration—it left untouched the extra-territoriality enjoyed by Europeans in Egypt in virtue of the treaties with Turkey, i.e.
the system of Capitulations. One of the anomalies
Evils of the Capitulations.
under that system had, it is true, been got rid of, for, as has been stated, consular jurisdiction in civil matters had been replaced in 1876 by that of the Mixed Tribunals. In criminal cases, however, foreign consuls still exercised jurisdiction, but the main evil of the Capitulations régime was the absence of any proper machinery for enacting laws applicable to the whole of the inhabitants of Egypt. No change could be made in any law applicable to Europeans without the unanimous consent of fifteen foreign powers—a state of affairs wholly incompatible with the condition of Egypt in the 20th century, “an oriental country which has assimilated a very considerable portion of European civilization and which is mainly governed by European methods.” It was, however, far easier to acknowledge that the Capitulations régime was defective and had outlived its time than to devise a remedy and get all the nations interested to accept it. The solution favoured by Lord Cromer (vide Blue-books, Egypt No. 1
(1906), pp. 1-8, and Egypt No. 1 (1907), pp. 10-26) was the creation of a council—distinct from the existing native legislative council and assembly—composed of Europeans, which should have the power to pass legislation which when promulgated by the Egyptian government, with the assent of the British government, would bind all foreigners resident in Egypt. Every reservation for the benefit of British subjects should enure for the benefit of subjects of other powers. The jurisdiction exercised by consuls in civil and criminal affairs Lord Cromer proposed should cease pari passu
with the provision by the Egyptian government, under the powers conferred by the treaty required to set up the new council, of courts having competence to deal with such matters, various safeguards being introduced to prevent injustice in criminal cases. As to civil cases the proposal was to make permanent the Mixed Tribunals, hitherto appointed for quinquennial periods (so that if not reappointed consular jurisdiction in civil cases would revive).
While the removal of ancient jealousies among the European powers interested in Egypt helped to smooth the path pursued by the Egyptian administration under the guiding hand of Great Britain, the intrigues of the Turks and
The pan-Islamic movement.
the danger of a revival of Moslem fanaticism threatened during 1905-1906 to disturb the peace of the country. A party had also arisen, whose best-known leader was Mustafa Kamel Pasha (1874-1908), which held that Egypt was ready for self-government and which saw in the presence of the British a hindrance to the attainment of their ideal. This “national” party lent what weight it had to the pan-Islamic agitation which arose in the summer and autumn of 1905, regardless of the fact that a pan-Islamic triumph meant the re-assertion of direct Turkish rule in Egypt and the end of the liberty the Egyptians enjoyed. The pan-Islamic press, allowed full licence by the Cairo authorities, spread abroad rumours that the Egyptian government intended to construct fortifications in the Sinai peninsula with the design of menacing the railway, under construction by Turkey, from Damascus to Mecca. This baseless report led to what is known as the Taba incident (see below). This incident inflamed the minds of many Egyptians, and almost all the opposition elements in the country were united by the appeal to religious fanaticism, of which the incident was partly the effect and partly the cause. The inflammatory writing of the newspapers indicated, encouraged by many persons holding high positions both inside and outside Egypt, created, by every process of misrepresentation, an anti-Christian and anti-European feeling among the mass of the people. After more than a quarter of a century of just rule, i.e. since the accession of Tewfik, the tyranny of the Turkish system was apt to be forgotten, while the appeal to rally in support of their khalif found a response in the hearts of many Egyptians. The feeling entertained by large numbers even of the educated class of Egyptians was strikingly illustrated by the terms of an anonymous letter received by Lord Cromer in May 1906. The writer, probably a member of the Ulema class, addressing the British agent as the reformer of Egypt, said:—
“ . . . He must be blind who sees not what the English have wrought in Egypt; the gates of justice stand open to the poor; the streams flow through the land and are not stopped by order of the strong; the poor man is lifted up and the rich man pulled down, the hand of the oppressor and the briber is struck when outstretched to do evil. Our eyes see these things and they know from whom they come. . . . While peace is in the land the spirit of Islam sleeps. . . . But it is said, ’There is war between England and Abdul Hamid Khan.’ If that be so a change must come. The words of the Imam are echoed in every heart, and every Moslem hears only the cry of the Faith. . . . Though the Khalif were hapless as Bayezid, cruel as Murad, or mad as Ibrahim, he is the shadow of God, and every Moslem must leap up at his call. . . . You will say, ’The Egyptian is more ungrateful than a dog, which remembers the hand that fed him. He is foolish as the madman who pulls down the roof-tree of his house upon himself.’ It may be so to worldly eyes, but in the time of danger to Islam the Moslem turns away from the things of this world and thirsts only for the service of his Faith, even though he looks in the face of death. . . .”
To establish confidence in the minds of the Egyptian public that the authorities could maintain order and tranquillity, it was determined to increase permanently the strength of the British garrison. An incident occurred in June 1906 which illustrated the danger which might arise if anything happened to beget the idea that the protecting power had weakened its hold. While mounted infantry of the British army were marching from Cairo to Alexandria, five officers went (on the 13th of
June) to the village of Denshawai to shoot pigeons.
An attack was made on the party by the villagers. The officers were told by their guide that they might shoot, but the villagers had not given permission and were incensed at the shooting of their pigeons by other officers in the previous year. A premeditated attack was made on the officers; a gun seized from one of them went off and slightly injured four natives—one a woman. The attack had been preceded by a trifling fire at a threshing floor, either accidentally caused (but not by the officers’ shots) or lit as a signal for the assault. Captain S. C. Bull of the 6th Dragoons received serious injuries and died a few hours later, and two other officers were seriously injured. A number of persons were arrested and tried by a special tribunal created in 1895 to deal with offences against the army of occupation. On the 27th of the same month four of the ringleaders were sentenced to death, others received various terms of imprisonment,
and seven were sentenced to fifty lashes. The executions and floggings were carried out the next day at the scene of the outrage and in the presence of some five hundred natives. The quieting effect that this drastic action might have had was marred by the fact that certain members of the British parliament called in question the justice of the sentences—passed unanimously by a court of which the best English and the best native judge were members. For a time there was considerable ferment in Egypt. The Anglo-Egyptian authorities received, however, the firm support of Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary in the liberal administration formed in December 1905. As far as responsible statesmen were concerned the change of government in Great Britain made no difference in the conduct of Egyptian affairs.
The Taba incident, to which reference has been made, arose in the beginning of 1906 over the claim of the sultan of Turkey to jurisdiction in the Sinai peninsula. The origin of the dispute dated back, however, to 1892, when Abbas
The Taba incident.
Hilmi became khedive. Mehemet Ali and his successors up to and including Tewfik had not only administered the Sinai peninsula but certain posts on the Hejaz or Arabian side of the gulf of Akaba. The firman of investiture issued by the sultan on the occasion of the succession of Abbas differed, however, from the text of former firmans, the intention being, apparently, to exclude Egypt from the administration of the Sinai peninsula. The British government intervened and after considerable pressure upon Turkey obtained a telegram (dated the 8th of April 1892) from the grand vizier in which it was declared that the status quo
was maintained in the Sinai peninsula, but that the sultan resumed possession of the posts in the Hejaz heretofore garrisoned by Egypt. To this last course Great Britain raised no objection. As officially stated by the British government at the time, the eastern frontier of the Sinai peninsula was taken to be a line running in a south-easterly direction from Rafa, a place on the Mediterranean, east of El Arish, to the head of the gulf of Akaba. The fort of Akaba and other posts farther east Egypt abandoned. So matters rested until in 1905 in consequence of lawlessness among the Bedouins of the peninsula a British official was appointed commandant and inspector of the peninsula and certain administrative measures taken. The report was spread by pan-Islamic agents that the intention of the Egyptian government was to construct fortifications on the frontier near Akaba, to which place the Turks were building a branch railway from the Damascus-Mecca line. In January 1906 the sultan complained to the British ambassador at Constantinople of Egyptian encroachments on Turkish territory, whereupon the khedive asked that the frontier should be delimited, a request which Turkey rejected. A small Egyptian force was then directed to occupy Taba, a port near Akaba but on the western side of the gulf. Before this force could reach Taba that place had been seized by the Turkish commandant at Akaba. A period of considerable tension ensued, the Turks removing the boundary posts at Rafa and sending strong reinforcements to the frontier. The British government intervened on behalf of the khedive and consistently maintained that the Rafa-Akaba line must be the frontier. In April a conference was held between the khedive and Mukhtar Pasha, the Ottoman commissioner. It then appeared that Turkey was unwilling to recognize the British interpretation of the telegram of the 8th of April 1892. Turkey claimed that the peninsula of Sinai consisted only of the territory south of a straight line from Akaba to Suez, and that Egyptian territory north of that line was traced from Rafa to Suez. As a compromise Mukhtar Pasha suggested as the frontier a line drawn direct from Rafa to Ras Mahommed (the most southern point of the Sinai peninsula), which would have left the whole of the gulf of Akaba in Turkish territory. In other words the claim of the Porte was, to quote Lord Cromer:—
“to carry the Turkish frontier and strategical railways to Suez on the banks of the canal; or that if the Ras Mahommed line were adopted, the Turkish frontier would be advanced to the neighbourhood of Nekhl, i.e. within easy striking distance of Egypt, and that . . . the gulf of Akaba . . . would practically become a mare clausum in the possession of Turkey and a standing menace to the security of the trade route to the East.”
Such proposals could not be entertained by Great Britain; and as the sultan remained obstinate the British ambassador on the 3rd of May presented a note to the Porte requiring compliance with the British proposals within ten days. The Turkish ambassador in London was informed by Sir Edward Grey, foreign secretary, that if it were found that Turkish suzerainty in Egypt were incompatible with the rights of the British government to interfere in Egyptian affairs, and with the British occupation, the British position in Egypt would be upheld by the whole force of the empire. Thereupon the sultan gave way and agreed (on the 14th of May) that the line of demarcation should start at Rafa and run towards the south-east “in an approximately straight line as far as a point on the gulf of Akaba at least 3 m. distant from Akaba.”
The Turkish troops were withdrawn from Taba, and the delimitation of the frontier was undertaken by a joint Turco-Egyptian commission. An agreement was signed on the 1st of October finally settling the frontier line.
With the ending of this dispute and the strengthening of the British garrison in Egypt a demonstration was given of the ability of the protecting power to maintain its position. At the same time encouragement was given to that section of Egyptian society which sought the reform of various Moslem institutions without injury to the principles underlying the faith of Islam: a more truly national movement than that of the agitators who clamoured for parliamentary government.
In April 1907, a few days after the appearance of his report for 1906, in which the “Nationalist” and pan-Islamic movements were shown to be detrimental to the welfare of Egypt, Lord Cromer resigned his post of British agent
and consul-general. His resignation, dictated by reasons of health, was described by Sir Edward Grey as “the greatest personal loss which the public service of this country (Britain) could suffer.” Lord Cromer’s work was in a sense complete. He left the country in a state of unexampled material prosperity, free from the majority of the international fetters with which it was bound when he took up his task in 1883, and with the legitimate expectation that the work he had done would endure. The magnitude of the task he had accomplished is shown by the preceding pages, and it need only be added that the transformation effected in Egypt and the Sudan, during his twenty-four years’ occupancy of the British Agency, was carried out in every department under his guidance and inspiration. Lord Cromer was succeeded by Sir Eldon Gorst, who had served in Egypt eighteen years under him, and was at the time of his appointment to Cairo an assistant under secretary of state for foreign affairs.
Notwithstanding, or, rather, as a consequence of, the unexampled material prosperity of the country, 1907 was a year of severe financial crisis, due to over-trading, excessive credit and the building mania induced by the rapid economic progress of Egypt, and aggravated by the unfavourable monetary conditions existing in America and Europe during the latter part of the year. Though the crisis had results disastrous to the speculators, the position of the fellahin was hardly affected; the cotton crop was marketed with regularity and at an average price higher than that of 1906, while public revenue showed a satisfactory increase. The noisy “Nationalist” agitation which was maintained during this period of financial stringency reacted unfavourably on public order. Although the degree of insecurity prevailing in the provinces was greatly exaggerated—serious crime in 1907 being less than in the preceding year—an increasing number of crimes were left untraced to their authors. The release of the Denshawai prisoners in January 1908 and the death of Mustafa Kamel in the following month had a quieting effect on the public mind; while the fact that in the elections (December 1907) for the legislative council and the general assembly only 5% of the electors went to the polls, afforded a striking commentary alike on the appreciation of the average Egyptian of the value of parliamentary institutions and of the claims of the “Nationalist” members of the assembly to represent the Egyptian people. The “Nationalists” were, too, divided into many warring sections—Mahommed Bey Ferid, chosen as successor to Mustafa Kamel, had to contend with the pretensions of several other “leaders.” The khedive, moreover, markedly abstained from any association with the agitation of the Nationalists, who viewed with disfavour his highness’s personal friendship with Sir Eldon Gorst. The agitators gained their chief strength from the support accorded them by certain Radical politicians in England. A number of members of the council and assembly visited England in July 1908 and were received by Sir Edward Grey, who gave them assurances that Great Britain would always strive to remedy the legitimate grievances of Egyptians.
The establishment of constitutional rule in Turkey in the summer of 1908 excited the hopes of the Egyptian Nationalists, and a deputation was sent to Constantinople to confer with the Young Turk committee. From the Young Turks, however, the deputation received no encouragement for their agitation and returned with the advice to work in co-operation with the British. In view of the rumours current, Sir Eldon Gorst, in the form of an interview in El Mokattam, a widely read native paper, restated (October 1908) the British view as to the occupation of the country and the demand for a parliament. Great Britain, he declared, had no intention of proclaiming a protectorate over Egypt; on the other hand, recent events in Turkey in no way affected the question of self-government in Egypt. It would be folly to think of introducing unrestricted parliamentary government at present, the conditions for its successful working not existing. The “wild and foolish” agitation on this question only served to confirm the impression that the Egyptians were not yet fit to govern themselves. At the same time steps were being taken to give them a much greater part in the management of local affairs. If the Egyptians showed that the existing institutions and the new provincial councils could do useful work, it would prove the best argument for extending their powers. Sir Eldon Gorst’s statements were approved by the British government.
In November 1908 Mustafa Fehmi, who had been premier since 1895, resigned, and was succeeded by Boutros Pasha, a Copt of marked ability, who had been for several years foreign minister. Boutros incurred the enmity of the “Nationalists” and was murdered in February 1910.
Authorities.—D. A. Cameron, Egypt in the Nineteenth Century
(London, 1898), a clear and useful summary of events up to 1882; E. Dicey, The Story of the Khedivate
(London, 1902); J. C. McCoan, Egypt under Ismail
(London, 1899); P. Mouriez, Histoire de Méhémet-Ali
(4 vols., Paris, 1855–1858); L. Bréhier, L’Égypte de 1789 à 1900
(Paris, 1901); C. de Freycinet, La Question d’Égypte
(Paris, 1905). See also Mehemet Ali
For the period immediately preceding and during the British occupation the standard authority is Lord Cromer’s Modern Egypt
(2 vols., London, 1908). In this invaluable work the history of Egypt from 1875 to 1892 and that of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan from 1882 to 1907 is treated fully. Lord Cromer’s annual reports (1888–1906) to the British government on the affairs of Egypt should also be consulted. Next in interest are Alfred (Lord) Milner’s England in Egypt
(11th ed., London, 1904), and Sir A. Colvin’s The Making of Modern Egypt
(London, 1906). Consult also Khedives and Pashas
(London, 1884), by C. F. Moberly Bell (published anonymously); D. M. Wallace, Egypt and the Egyptian Question
(London, 1883); W. S. Blunt, Secret History of the English Occupation of Egypt
(2nd ed., London, 1907), a partisan record; C. v. Malortie, Egypt
, Native Rulers and Foreign Interference
, 2 vols. (London, 1883); O. Borelli, Choses politiques d’Égypte
, 1883–1895 (Paris, 1895); H. Resener, Ägypten unter englischer Okkupation
(Berlin, 1896). Morley’s Life of Gladstone
and Fitzmaurice’s Life of Granville
throw considerable light on the inner history of the period 1880–1893. See further the historical works cited in Sudan
, and those given at the end of the first section of this article.
For military operations 1882–1899 see C. Royle, The Egyptian Campaigns 1882 to 1899, revised ed. (London, 1900); H. Brackenbury, Narrative of the Advance of the River Column of the Nile Expeditionary Force (Edinburgh, 1885); Sir W. F. Butler, Campaign of the Cataracts (London, 1887); Count A. E. W. Gleichen, With the Camel Corps up the Nile (London, 1888); Gordon’s Last Journal (London, 1885); Sir C. W. Wilson, From Korti to Khartum (Edinburgh, 1886); J. Grant, Cassell’s History of the War in the Soudan, 6 vols. (London, 1885 et seq.); “An Officer,” Sudan Campaigns 1896–1899 (London, 1899); G. W. Steevens, With Kitchener to Khartum (Edinburgh, 1898); W. S. Churchill, The River War, new edition (London, 1902).
Bibliographical notes for each section of this article are given in their several places. The following bibliographies may be consulted: Ibrahim Hilmi, Literature of Egypt and the Soudan
, 2 vols. (London, 1886–1888); H. Jolowicz, Bibliotheca aegyptiaca
(Leipzig, 1858; supplement, 1861); M. Hartmann, The Arabic Press of Egypt
Military Operations of 1882–1885
In February 1879 a slight outbreak of discharged officers and soldiers occurred at Cairo, which led to the despatch of British and French ships to Alexandria. On the 26th of June of that year Ismail Pasha was removed from Egypt, and Tewfik assumed the khediviate, becoming practically the protégé of the two western powers. On the 1st of February 1881 a more serious disturbance arose at Cairo from the attempt to try three colonels, Ahmed Arabi, Ali Fehmy, and Abd-el-Al, who had been arrested as the ringleaders of the military party. The prisoners were released by force, and proceeded to dictate terms to the khedive. Again British and French warships were despatched to Alexandria, and were quickly withdrawn, their presence having produced no apparent impression. It soon became clear that the khedive was powerless, and that the military party, headed by Arabi, threatened to dominate the country. The “dual note,” communicated to the khedive on the 6th of January 1881, contained an intimation that Great Britain and France were prepared to afford material support if necessary; but the fall of Gambetta’s ministry produced a reaction, and both governments proceeded to minimize the meaning of their language. The khedive was practically compelled to form a government in which Arabi was minister of war and Mahmud Sami premier, and Arabi took steps to extend his influence throughout his army. The situation now became critically serious: for the third time ships were sent to Alexandria, and on the 25th of May 1882 the consuls-general of the two powers made a strong representation to Mahmud Sami which produced the resignation of the Egyptian ministry, and a demand, to which the khedive yielded, by the military party for the reinstatement of Arabi. The attitude of the troops in Alexandria now became threatening; and on the 29th the British residents pointed out that they were “absolutely defenceless.” This warning was amply justified by the massacres of the 11th of June, during which more than one hundred persons, including an officer and two seamen, were killed in the streets of
Bombardment of Alexandria.
Alexandria, almost under the guns of the ships in harbour. It was becoming clear that definite action would have to be taken, and on the 15th the channel squadron was ordered to Malta. By the end of June twenty-six warships, representing the navies of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia, the United States, Spain, Greece and Turkey, lay off the port of Alexandria, and large numbers of refugees were embarked. The order received by Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour (afterwards Lord Alcester) on the 3rd of July was as follows:—
“Prevent any attempt to bar channel into port. If work is resumed on earthworks, or fresh guns mounted, inform military commander that you have orders to prevent it; and if not immediately discontinued, destroy earthworks and silence batteries if they open fire, having given sufficient notice to population, shipping and foreign men-of-war.”
On the 9th the admiral received a report that working parties had been seen in Fort Silsileh “parbuckling two smoothbore guns—apparently 32-pounders—towards their respective carriages and slides, which were facing in the direction of the harbour.” Fort Silsileh was an old work at the extreme east of the defences of Alexandria, and its guns do not bear on the harbour. On the 10th an ultimatum was sent to Toulba Pasha, the military commandant, intimating that the bombardment would commence at sunrise on the following morning unless “the batteries on the isthmus of Ras-el-Tin and the southern shore of the harbour of Alexandria” were previously surrendered “for the purpose of disarming.” The fleet prepared for action, and the bearer of the reply, signed by the president of the council, and offering to dismount three guns in the batteries named, only succeeded in finding the flagship late at night. This proposal was rejected, and at 7 a.m. on the 11th of July the “Alexandra” opened fire and the action became general. The attacking force was disposed in three groups: (1) the “Alexandra,” “Sultan” and “Superb,” outside the reef, to engage the Ras-el-Tin and the earthworks under weigh; (2) the “Monarch,” “Invincible” and “Penelope,” inside the harbour, to engage the Meks batteries; and (3) the “Inflexible” and “Temeraire,” to take up assigned stations outside the reef and to co-operate with the inshore squadron. The gunboats “Beacon,” “Bittern,” “Condor,” “Cygnet” and “Decoy” were to keep out of fire at first and seek opportunities of engaging the Meks batteries. Meks fort was silenced by about 12.45 p.m., and a party from the “Invincible” landed and disabled the guns. As the fire delivered under weigh was not effective, the offshore squadron anchored at about 10.30 a.m., and succeeded in silencing Fort Ras-el-Tin at about 12.30 p.m., and Fort Adda, by the explosion of the main magazine, at 1.35 p.m. The “Inflexible” weighed soon after 8 a.m. and engaged Ras-el-Tin, afterwards attacking Forts Pharos and Adda. The “Condor,” followed by the “Beacon,” “Bittern” and “Decoy,” engaged Fort Marabout soon after 8 a.m. till 11 a.m., when the gunboats were recalled. After the works were silenced, the ships moved in closer, with a view to dismount the Egyptian guns. The bombardment ceased at 5 p.m.; but a few rounds were fired by the “Inflexible” and “Temeraire” on the morning of the 12th at the right battery in Ras-el-Tin lines.
The bombardment of the forts of Alexandria is interesting as a gauge of the effect to be expected from the fire of ships under specially favourable conditions. The Egyptians at different times during the day brought into action about 33 R.M.L. guns (7-in. to 10-in.), 3 R.B.L. guns (40 prs.), and 120 S.B. guns (6.5-in. and 10-in.), with a few mortars. These guns were disposed over a coast-line of about 10 sea miles, and were in many cases indifferently mounted. The Egyptian gunners had been little trained, and many of them had never once practised with rifled ordnance. Of seventy-five hits on the hulls of the ships only five can with certainty be ascribed to projectiles from rifled guns, and thirty were unquestionably due to the old smoothbores, which were not provided with sights. The total loss inflicted was 6 killed and 27 wounded. The British ships engaged fired 1741 heavy projectiles (7-in. to 16-in.) and 1457 light (7-prs. to 64-prs.), together with 33,493 machine-gun and rifle bullets. The result was comparatively small. About 8 rifled guns and 19 smoothbores were dismounted or disabled and 4 and 1 temporarily put out of action respectively. A considerable portion of this injury was inflicted, after the works had been silenced, by the deliberate fire of the ships. As many as twenty-eight rifled guns and 140 smoothbores would have opened fire on the following day. The Egyptians made quite as good a stand as could be expected, but were driven from their guns, which they were unable to use with adequate effect; and the bombardment of Alexandria confirms previous experience that the fire of ships cannot really compete with that of well-mounted and well-handled guns on shore.
In the afternoon of the 12th, fires, which were the work of incendiaries, began to break out in the best quarters of Alexandria; and the town was left to murder and pillage till the following day, when a party of bluejackets and marines was landed at about 3 p.m.
Military intervention being now imperatively demanded, a vote of credit for £2,300,000 was passed in the British House of Commons on the 27th of July. Five days later the French government failed to secure a similar vote, and Great Britain was left to deal with the Egyptian question alone. An expeditionary force detailed from home stations and from Malta was organized in two divisions, with a cavalry division, corps
British expedition under Sir Garnet Wolseley.
troops, and a siege train, numbering in all about 25,000 men. An Indian contingent numbering about 7000 combatants, complete in all arms and with its own transport, was prepared for despatch to Suez. General Sir Garnet Wolseley was appointed commander-in-chief, with Lieutenant-General Sir J. Adye as chief of the staff. The plan of operations contemplated the seizure of Ismailia as the base for an advance on Cairo, Alexandria and its suburbs to be held defensively, and the Egyptian forces in the neighbourhood to be occupied by demonstrations. The expeditionary force having rendezvoused at Alexandria, means were taken by Rear-Admiral Hoskins and Sir W. Hewett for the seizure of the Suez canal. Under orders from the former, Captain Fairfax, R.N., occupied Port Said on the night of 19th August, and Commander Edwards, R.N., proceeded down the canal, taking possession of the gares
and dredgers, while Captain Fitzroy, R.N., occupied Ismailia after slight opposition. Before nightfall on the 20th of August the canal was wholly in British hands. Meanwhile, leaving Sir E. Hamley in command at Alexandria, Sir G. Wolseley with the bulk of the expeditionary force arrived at Port Said on the 20th of August, a naval demonstration having been made at Abukir with a view to deceive the enemy as to the object of the great movement in progress. The advance from Ismailia now began. On the 21st Major-General Graham moved from Ismailia with about 800 men and a small naval force, occupying Nefiche, the junction with the Suez line, at 1.30 a.m. without opposition. On the 22nd he made a reconnaissance towards Suez, and on the 23rd another to El-Magfar, 4 m. from Nefiche. It now appeared that the enemy had dammed the sweet-water canal and blocked the railway at Tell-el-Mahuta, where entrenchments had been thrown up and resistance seemed to be contemplated. At 4 a.m. on the 24th Sir Garnet Wolseley advanced with 3 squadrons of cavalry, 2 guns, and about 1000 infantry, placed under the orders of Lieutenant-General Willis. The enemy showed in force, estimated at 7000 with 12 guns, and a somewhat desultory action ensued. Reinforcements from Ismailia were ordered up, and the British cavalry, operating on the right, helped to check the enemy’s attack, which showed little vigour. At night the troops, now reinforced by the Guards Brigade, an infantry battalion, 2 cavalry regiments and 10 guns, bivouacked on the ground. Early on the morning of the 25th the advance was continued to Tell-el-Mahuta, which the enemy evacuated, while the mounted troops and horse artillery pressed on to Mahsama, capturing the Egyptian camp, with 7 guns and large quantities of ammunition and supplies. On the same evening Major-General Graham, with about 1200 marines (artillery and light infantry), reached Mahsama, and on the following day he occupied Kassassin without opposition. The advance guard had now outrun its communications and was actually short of food, while a considerable force was distributed at intervals along the line Ismailia-Kassassin. The situation on the 27th tempted attack by an enterprising enemy, and Major-General Graham’s force, consisting of a squadron of the 19th Hussars, the York and Lancaster Regiment, the duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, the Marine Artillery Battalion and two R.H.A. guns, short of ammunition, was in danger of being overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers from Tell-el-Kebir. On the 28th Major-General Graham’s troops were attacked, and after repulsing the enemy, made a general advance about 6.45 p.m. The cavalry, summoned by heliograph from Mahsama, co-operated, and in a moonlight charge inflicted considerable loss. The British casualties amounted to 14 killed and 83 wounded. During the lull which followed the first action of Kassassin, strenuous efforts were made to bring up supplies and troops and to open up railway communication to the front. On the 9th of September the Egyptians again attacked Kassassin, but were completely repulsed by 9 a.m., with a loss of 4 guns, and were pursued to within extreme range of the guns of Tell-el-Kebir. The British casualties were 3 killed and 78 wounded. The three following days were occupied in concentrating troops at Kassassin for the attack on Tell-el-Kebir, held by about 38,000 men with 60 guns. The Egyptian defences consisted of
Tell-el-Kebir.a long line of trench (2
m.) approximately at right angles to the railway and the sweet-water canal. At 11 p.m. on the 12th of September the advance of about 15,000 men commenced; the 1st division, under Lieutenant-General Willis, was on the right, and the 2nd division, under Lieutenant-General Hamley, was on the left. Seven batteries of artillery, under Brigadier-General Goodenough, were placed in the centre. The cavalry, under Major-General Drury Lowe, was on the right flank, and the Indian contingent, under Major-General Macpherson, starting one hour later, was ordered to move south of the sweet-water canal. The night was moonless, and the distance to be covered about 6¼ m. The ground was perfectly open, slightly undulating, and generally firm gravel. The conditions for a night march were thus ideal; but during the movement the wings closed towards each other, causing great risk of an outbreak of firing. The line was, however, rectified, and after a halt the final advance began. By a fortunate accident the isolated outwork was just missed in the darkness by the left flank of the 2nd Division; otherwise a premature alarm would have been given, which must have changed all the conditions of the operation. At dawn the Highland Brigade of the 2nd Division struck the enemy’s trenches, and carried them after a brief struggle. The 1st Division attacked a few minutes later, and the cavalry swept round the left of the line of entrenchments, cutting down any fugitives who attempted resistance and reaching the enemy’s camp in rear. The Indian contingent, on the south of the canal, co-operated, intercepting the Egyptians at the canal bridge. The opposition encountered at some points was severe, but by 6 a.m. all resistance was at an end. The British loss amounted to 58 killed, 379 wounded and 22 missing; nearly 2000 Egyptians were killed, and more than 500 wounded were treated in hospital. An immediate pursuit was ordered, and the Indian contingent, under Major-General Macpherson, reached Zagazig, while the cavalry, under Major-General Drury Lowe, occupied Belbeis and pushed on to Cairo, 65 m. from Tell-el-Kebir, next day. On the evening of the 14th the 10,000 troops occupying Abbasia barracks, and 5000 in the citadel of Cairo, surrendered. On the 15th General Sir Garnet Wolseley, with the brigade of Guards under H.R.H. the duke of Connaught, entered the city.
The prompt following up of the victory at Tell-el-Kebir saved Cairo from the fate of Alexandria and brought the rebellion to an end. The Egyptian troops at Kafr Dauar, Abukir and Rosetta surrendered without opposition, and those at Damietta followed on the 23rd of September, after being threatened with attack. On the 25th the khedive entered Cairo, where a review of the British troops was held on the 30th. The expeditionary force was now broken up, leaving about 10,000 men, under Major-General Sir A. Alison, to maintain the authority of the khedive. In twenty-five days, from the landing at Ismailia to the occupation of Cairo, the rebellion was completely suppressed, and the operations were thus signally successful.
The authority of the khedive and the maintenance of law and order now depended absolutely on the British forces left in occupation. Lord Dufferin, who had been sent to Cairo to draw up a project of constitutional reforms, advocated the re-establishment of a native army, not
to exceed 5000 to 6000 men, with a proportion of British officers, for purely defence purposes within the Delta; and on the 13th of December 1882 Sir Evelyn Wood left England to undertake the organization of this force, with the title of sirdar. Lord Dufferin further advised the formation of a gendarmerie, which “should be in a great measure a mounted force and empowered with a semi-military character” (despatch of January 1st, 1883). The strength of this military police force was fixed at 4400 men with 2562 horses, and Baker Pasha (General Valentine Baker) was entrusted with its formation, with the title of inspector-general.
In a despatch of the 6th of February 1883 Lord Dufferin dealt with the Sudan, and stated that Egypt “could hardly be expected to acquiesce” in a policy of withdrawal from her Southern territories. At the same time he pointed out that,
“Unhappily, Egyptian administration in the Sudan had been almost uniformly unfortunate. The success of the present mahdi in raising the tribes and extending his influence over great tracts of country was a sufficient proof of the government’s inability either to reconcile the inhabitants to its rule or to maintain order. The consequences had been most disastrous. Within the last year and a half the Egyptians had lost something like 9000 men, while it was estimated that 40,000 of their opponents had perished.”
Moreover, to restore tranquillity in the Sudan,
“the first step necessary was the construction of a railway from Suakin to Berber, or what, perhaps, would be more advisable, to Shendi, on the Nile. The completion of this enterprise would at once change all the elements of the problem.”
The immense responsibilities involved were most imperfectly understood by the British government. Egyptian sovereignty in the Sudan dates from 1820, when Mehemet Ali sent a large force into the country, and ultimately established his authority over Sennar and Kordofan. In 1865 Suakin and Massawa were assigned to Egyptian rule by the sultan, and in 1870 Sir Samuel Baker proceeded up the Nile to the conquest of the Equatorial provinces, of which General Gordon was appointed governor-general in 1874. In the same year Darfur and Harrar were annexed, and in 1877 Gordon became governor-general of the Sudan, where, with the valuable assistance of Gessi Pasha, he laboured to destroy the slave trade and to establish just government. In August 1879 he returned to Cairo, and was succeeded by Raouf Pasha. Misrule and oppression in every form now again prevailed throughout the Sudan, while the slave traders, exasperated by Gordon’s stern measures, were ready to revolt. The authority of Egypt was represented by scattered garrisons of armed men, badly officered, undisciplined and largely demoralized. In such conditions a leader only was required to ensure widespread and dangerous rebellion. A leader appeared in the person of Mahommed Ahmed, born in 1848, who had taken up his abode on Abba Island, and, acquiring great reputation for sanctity, had actively fomented insurrection. In August 1881 a small force sent by Raouf Pasha to arrest Mahommed Ahmed was destroyed, and the latter, proclaiming himself the mahdi, stood forth as the champion of revolt. Thus, at the time when the Egyptian army was broken up at Tell-el-Kebir, the Sudan was already in flames. On the 7th of June 1882, 6000 men under Yusef Pasha, advancing from Fashoda, were nearly annihilated by the mahdists. Payara and Birket in Kordofan quickly fell, and a few days before the battle of Tell-el-Kebir was fought, the mahdi, with a large force, was besieging El Obeid. That town was captured, after an obstinate defence, on the 17th of January 1883, by which time almost the whole of the Sudan south of Khartum was in open rebellion, except the Bahr-el-Ghazal and the Equatorial provinces, where for a time Lupton Bey and Emin Pasha were able to hold their own. Abd-el-Kader, who had succeeded Raouf, telegraphed to Cairo for 10,000 additional troops, and pointed out that if they were not sent at once four times this number would be required to re-establish the authority of the government in the Sudan. After gaining some small successes, Abd-el-Kader was superseded by Suliman Niagi on the 20th of February 1883, and on the 26th of March Ala-ed-din Pasha was appointed governor-general. Meanwhile 5000 men, who had served in the Egyptian army, were collected and forcibly despatched to Khartum via Suakin. In March
Disaster to Hicks Pasha.
1883 Colonel William Hicks, late of the Bombay army, who in January had been appointed by the khedive chief of the staff of the army of the Sudan, found himself at Khartum with nine European officers and about 10,000 troops of little military value. The reconquest of the Sudan having been determined upon, although Sir E. Malet reported that the Egyptian government could not supply the necessary funds, and that there was great risk of failure, Colonel Hicks, who had resigned his post on the 23rd of July, and had been appointed commander-in-chief, started from Khartum on 9th September, with a total force of about 10,000 men, including non-combatants, for Kordofan. On the 22nd of May Sir E. Malet had informed Sherif Pasha that,
“although Colonel Hicks finds it convenient to communicate with Lord Dufferin or with me, it must not be supposed that we endorse in any way the contents of his telegrams. . . . Her Majesty’s government are in no way responsible for his operations in the Sudan, which have been undertaken under the authority of His Highness’s government.”
Colonel Hicks was fully aware of the unfitness of his rabble forces for the contemplated task, and on the 5th of August he telegraphed: “I am convinced it would be best to keep the two rivers and province of Sennar, and wait for Kordofan to settle itself.” Early in November the force from Khartum was caught by the mahdists short of water at Kashgil, near El Obeid, and was almost totally destroyed, Colonel Hicks, with all his European officers, perishing. Sinister rumours having reached Cairo, Sir E. Baring (Lord Cromer), who had succeeded Sir E. Malet, telegraphed that “if Colonel Hicks’s army is destroyed, the Egyptian government will lose the whole of the Sudan, unless some assistance from the outside is given,” and advised the withdrawal to some post on the Nile. On the following day Lord Granville replied: “We cannot lend English or Indian troops; if consulted, recommend abandonment of the Sudan within certain limits”; and on the 25th he added that “Her Majesty’s government can do nothing in the matter which would throw upon them the responsibilities for operations in the Sudan.” In a despatch of the 3rd of December Sir E. Baring forcibly argued against British intervention in the affairs of the Sudan, and on the 13th of December Lord Granville telegraphed that “Her Majesty’s government recommend the ministers of khedive to come to an early decision to abandon all territory south of Assuan, or, at least, of Wadi Halfa.” On the 4th of January 1884 Sir E. Baring was directed to insist upon the policy of evacuation, and on the 18th General Gordon left London to assist in its execution.
The year 1883 brought a great accession of power to the mahdi, who had captured about 20,000 rifles, 19 guns and large stores of ammunition. On the Red Sea littoral Osman Digna, a slave dealer of Suakin, appointed amir of the
Defeat of General Baker.
Eastern Sudan, raised the local tribes and invested Sinkat and Tokar. On the 16th of October and the 4th of November Egyptian reinforcements intended for the former place were destroyed, and on the 2nd of December a force of 700 men was annihilated near Tamanieb. On the 23rd of December General Valentine Baker, followed by about 2500 men, gendarmerie, blacks, Sudanese and Turks, with 10 British officers, arrived at Suakin to prepare for the relief of Sinkat and Tokar. The khedive appears to have been aware of the risks to be incurred, and in a private letter he informed the general that “I rely upon your prudence and ability not to engage the enemy except under the most favourable circumstances.” The tragedy of Kashgil was repeated on the 4th of February 1884, when General Baker’s heterogeneous force, on the march from Trinkitat to Tokar, was routed at El Teb by an inferior body of tribesmen. Of 3715 men, 2375, with 11 European officers, were killed. Suakin was now in danger, and on the 6th of February British bluejackets and marines were landed for the defence of the town.
Two expeditions in the Sudan led by British officers having thus ended in disaster, and General Gordon with Lieutenant-Colonel J. D. Stewart having reached Khartum on the 18th of February, the policy of British non-intervention
British expedition under Sir G. Graham: battles of El Teb and Tamanieb.
in regard to Sudan affairs could no longer be maintained. Public opinion in England was strongly impressed by the fact that the Egyptian garrisons of Tokar and Sinkat were perishing within striking distance of the Red Sea littoral. A British force about 4400 strong, with 22 guns, made up of troops from Egypt and from units detained on passage from India, was rapidly concentrated at Suakin and placed under the orders of Major-General Sir G. Graham, with Major-Generals Sir R. Buller and J. Davis as brigadiers. News of the fall of Sinkat, where the starving garrison, under Tewfik Bey, made a gallant sortie and was cut to pieces, reached Suakin on the 12th of February. On the 24th General Graham’s force disembarked at Trinkitat and received information of the surrender of Tokar. At 8 A.M. on the 29th the force advanced towards Tokar in square, and came under fire at 11.20 A.M. from the enemy entrenched at El Teb. The tribesmen made desperate efforts to rush the square, but were repulsed, and the position was taken by 2 P.M. The cavalry, 10th and 19th Hussars, under Brigadier-General Sir H. Stewart, became involved in a charge against an unbroken enemy, and suffered somewhat severely. The total British loss was 34 killed and 155 wounded; that of the tribesmen was estimated at 1500 killed. On the following day Tokar was reached, and on the 2nd of March the force began its return to Suakin, bringing away about 700 people belonging to the late garrison and the civil population, and destroying 1250 rifles and a quantity of ammunition found in a neighbouring village. On the 9th of March the whole force was back at Suakin, and on the evening of the 11th an advance to Tamai began, and the force bivouacked and formed a zeriba in the evening. Information was brought by a native that the enemy had assembled in the Khor Ghob, a deep ravine not far from the zeriba. At about 8.30 A.M. on the 13th the advance began in echelon of brigade squares from the left. The left and leading square (2nd Brigade) moved towards the khor, approaching at a point where a little ravine joined it. The enemy showing in front, the leading face of the square was ordered to charge up to the edge of the khor. This opened the square, and a mass of tribesmen rushed in from the small ravine. The brigade was forced back in disorder, and the naval guns, which had been left behind, were temporarily captured. After a severe hand-to-hand struggle, in which the troops behaved with great gallantry, order was restored and the enemy repulsed, with the aid of the fire from the 1st Brigade square and from dismounted cavalry. The 1st Brigade square, having a sufficient field of fire, easily repelled all attempts to attack, and advancing as soon as the situation had been restored, occupied the village of Tamai. The British loss was 109 killed and 104 wounded; of the enemy nearly 2000 were killed. On the following day the force returned to Suakin.
Two heavy blows had now been inflicted on the followers of Osman Digna, and the road to Berber could have been opened, as General Graham and Brigadier-General Sir H. Stewart suggested. General Gordon, questioned on the point, telegraphed from Khartum, on the 7th of March, that he might be cut off by a rising at Shendi, adding, “I think it, therefore, most important to follow up the success near Suakin by sending a small force to Berber.” He had previously, on the 29th of February, urged that the Suakin-Berber road should be opened up by Indian troops. This, and General Gordon’s proposal to send 200 British troops to Wadi Halfa, was opposed by Sir E. Baring, who, realizing soon afterwards the gravity of the situation, telegraphed on the 16th of March:—
“It has now become of the utmost importance not only to open the road between Suakin and Berber, but to come to terms with the tribes between Berber and Khartum.”
The government refused to take this action, and Major-General Graham’s force was employed in reconnaissances and small skirmishes, ending in the destruction of the villages in the Tamanieb valley on 27th March. On the 28th the whole force was reassembled at Suakin, and was then broken up, leaving one battalion to garrison the town.
The abrupt disappearance of the British troops encouraged the tribesmen led by Osman Digna, and effectually prevented the formation of a native movement, which might have been of great value. The first attempt at intervention
Entanglement of General Gordon at Khartum.
in the affairs of the Sudan was made too late to save Sinkat and Tokar. It resulted only in heavy slaughter of the tribesmen, which afforded no direct or indirect aid to General Gordon or to the policy of evacuation. The public announcement of the latter was a grave mistake, which increased General Gordon’s difficulties, and the situation at Khartum grew steadily worse. On the 24th of March Sir E. Baring telegraphed:—
“The question now is, how to get General Gordon and Colonel Stewart away from Khartum. . . . Under present circumstances, I think an effort should be made to help General Gordon from Suakin, if it is at all a possible military operation. . . . We all consider that, however difficult the operations from Suakin may be, they are more practicable than any operations from Korosko and along the Nile.”
A telegram from General Gordon, received at Cairo on the 19th of April, stated that
“We have provisions for five months and are hemmed in. . . . Our position will be much strengthened when the Nile rises. . . . Sennar, Kassala and Dongola are quite safe for the present.”
At the same time he suggested “an appeal to the millionaires of America and England” to subscribe money for the cost of “2000 or 3000 nizams” (Turkish regulars) to be sent to Berber. A cloud now settled down upon Khartum, and subsequent communications were few and irregular. The foreign office and General Gordon appeared to be somewhat at cross purposes. The former hoped that the garrisons of the Sudan could be extricated without fighting. The latter, judging from the tenor of some of his telegrams, believed that to accomplish this work entailed the suppression of the mahdi’s revolt, the strength of which he at first greatly underestimated. He had pressed strongly for the employment of Zobeir as “an absolute necessity for success” (3rd of March); but this was refused, since Sir H. Gordon advised at this time that it would be dangerous. On the 9th of March General Gordon proposed, “if the immediate evacuation of Khartum is determined upon irrespective of outlying towns,” to send down the “Cairo employés” and the garrison to Berber with Lieutenant-Colonel J. D. Stewart, to resign his commission, and to proceed with the stores and the steamers to the equatorial provinces, which he would consider as placed under the king of the Belgians. On the 13th of March Lord Granville gave full power to General Gordon to “evacuate Khartum and save that garrison by conducting it himself to Berber without delay,” and expressed a hope that he would not resign his commission.
By the end of March 1884 Sir E. Baring and the British officers in Egypt were convinced that force would have to be employed, and the growing danger of General Gordon, with the grave national responsibility involved, began to be
Relief expedition: question of route.
realized in Great Britain. Sir Henry Gordon, however, who was in personal communication with Mr Gladstone, considered that his brother was in no peril, and for some time disbelieved in the need for a relief expedition. Meanwhile it was at least necessary to evolve some plan of action, and on the 8th of April the adjutant-general addressed a memorandum to the secretary of state for war detailing the measures required for placing 6500 British troops “in the neighbourhood of Shendi.” The battle of the routes began much earlier, and was continued for some months. Practically the choice lay between the Nile and the Suakin-Berber road. The first involved a distance of 1650 m. from Cairo along a river strewn with cataracts, which obstructed navigation to all but small boats, except during the period of high water. So great was this obstruction that the Nile had never been a regular trade route to the Sudan. The second entailed a desert march of about 250 m., of which one section, Obak-Bir Mahoba (52 m.), was waterless, and the rest had an indifferent water supply (except at Ariab, about half-way to Berber), capable, however, of considerable development. From Berber the Nile is followed (210 m.) to Khartum. This was an ancient trade route with the Sudan, and had been used without difficulty by the reinforcements sent to Hicks Pasha in 1883, which were accompanied by guns on wheels. The authorities in Egypt, headed by General Stephenson, subsequently supported by the Admiral Lord John Hay, who sent a naval officer to examine the river as far as Dongola, were unanimous in favour of the Suakin-Berber route. From the first Major-General Sir A. Clarke, then inspector-general of fortifications, strongly urged this plan, and proposed to begin at once a metre gauge railway from Suakin, to be constructed by Indian labour under officers skilled in laying desert lines. Some preliminary arrangements were made, and on the 14th of June the government sanctioned certain measures of preparation at Suakin. On the other side were the adjutant-general (Lord Wolseley) and a small number of officers who had taken part in the Red River expedition of 1870. The memorandum of the adjutant-general above referred to was based on the hypothesis that Khartum could not hold out beyond the 15th of November, and that the expedition should reach Berber by the 20th of October. Steamers were to be employed in such reaches as proved practicable, but the force was to be conveyed in special whale-boats, by which “the difficulty of transport is reduced to very narrow limits.” The mounted force was to consist of 400 men on native horses and 450 men on horses or camels. The question of routes continued to be the subject of animated discussion, and on the 29th of July a committee of three officers who had served in the Red River expedition reported:—
“We believe that a brigade can easily be conveyed in small boats from Cairo to Dongola in the time stated by Lord Wolseley; and, further, that should it be necessary to send a still larger force by water to Khartum, that operation will present no insuperable difficulties.”
This most inconclusive report, and the baseless idea that the adoption of the Nile route would involve no chance of bloodshed, which the government was anxious to avoid, seem to have decided the question. On the 8th of August the
Lord Wolseley sent out; Nile route adopted.
secretary of state for war informed General Stephenson that “the time had arrived when some further measures for obtaining accurate information as to his (General Gordon’s) position, and, if necessary, for tendering him assistance, should be adopted.” General Stephenson still urged the Suakin-Berber route, and was informed on the 26th of August that Lord Wolseley would be appointed to take over the command in Egypt for the purposes of the expedition, for which a vote of credit had been taken in the House of Commons on the 5th of August. On the 9th of September Lord Wolseley arrived at Cairo, and the plan of operations was somewhat modified. A camel corps of 1100 men selected from twenty-eight regiments at home was added, and the “fighting force to be placed in line somewhere in the neighbourhood of Shendi” was fixed at 5400. The construction of whale-boats began on the 12th of August, and the first batch arrived at Wadi Halfa on the 14th of October, and on the 25th the first boat was hauled through the second cataract. The mounted forces proceeded up the banks, and the first half-battalion embarked at Gemai, 870 m. from Khartum, on the 5th of November, ten days before the date to which it had been assumed General Gordon could hold out. In a straggling procession the boats worked their way up to Korti, piloted by Canadian voyageurs. The labour was very great, and the troops, most of whom were having their first lesson in rowing, bore the privations of their unaccustomed conditions with admirable cheerfulness. By the 25th of December 2220 men had reached Korti, of whom about 800 only had been conveyed by the whale-boats, the last of which did not arrive till the 27th of January. Beyond Korti lay the very difficult section of the river to Abu Hamed, which was quite unknown. Meanwhile news of the loss of the “Abbas” and of the murder of Colonel J. D. Stewart and his party on the 18th of September had been received. A letter from Gordon, dated the 4th of November and received on the 17th of November, stated that his steamers would await the expedition at Metemma, and added, “We can hold out forty days with ease; after that it will be difficult.” In his diary, on the 13th of December, when his difficulties had become extreme, he noted that “if the expeditionary force does not come in ten days, the town may fall.”
It was clear at Korti that something must be done at once; and on the 13th of December 1100 men, with 2200 camels, under General Sir H. Stewart, were despatched to occupy Jakdul wells, 96 m. on the desert route to Metemma. Stewart returned on the 5th of January, and started again on the 8th, with orders to establish a fort at Abu Klea and to occupy Metemma. The Desert Column, 1800 men, with 2880 camels in poor condition and 153 horses, found the enemy in possession of Abu Klea wells on the 16th, and was desperately attacked on the 17th. The want of homogeneity of the force, and the unaccustomed tactics imposed upon the cavalry, somewhat hampered the defence,
Stewart’s Desert Column; battle of Abu Klea wells.
and the square was broken at the left rear corner. Driven back upon the camels in the centre, the troops fought hand to hand with the greatest gallantry. Order was quickly restored, and the attack was repulsed, with a loss of 74 killed and 94 wounded. At least 1100 of the enemy were killed. The wells being occupied and a zeriba formed, the column started on the evening of the 18th. The wrong road was taken, and great confusion occurred, during the night, but at dawn this was rectified; and after forming a rough fort under fire, by which General Sir H. Stewart was fatally wounded, an advance was made at 3 P.M.
The square was again heavily attacked, but the Arabs could not get to close quarters and in the evening a bivouac was formed on the Nile. The British losses on this day were 23 killed and 98 wounded. The Desert Column was now greatly exhausted. On the 20th the village of Gubat was occupied; and on the following day Sir C. Wilson, on whom the command had devolved, advanced against Metemma, which was found too strong to assault. On this day General Gordon’s four steamers arrived; and on the morning of the 24th Sir C. Wilson, with 20 British soldiers in red coats and about 280 Sudanese, started in the “Bordein” and “Telahawiyeh” for Khartum. The “Bordein” grounded on the following day, and again on the 26th, by which twenty-four hours were lost. At 11 A.M.
on the 28th Khartum was sighted, and it soon became clear that the town was in the hands of the enemy. After reconnoitring farther, the steamers turned and proceeded down stream under a heavy fire, the Sudanese crews showing signs of disaffection. The “Telahawiyeh” was wrecked on the 29th of January and the “Bordein” on the 31st, Sir C. Wilson’s party being rescued on the 4th of February by Lord C. Beresford in the “Safieh,” which had come up from Gubat on receipt of news carried there by Lieutenant Stuart Wortley in a row-boat. Khartum had been taken and General Gordon killed on the morning of the 26th of January 1885, having thus held out thirty-four days beyond the date when he had expected the end. The garrison
Failure of relief expedition.
had been reduced to starvation; and the arrival of twenty British soldiers, with orders to return at once, could not have affected the situation. The situation of the Desert Column and of its transport was most imperfectly understood at Korti, where impossible plans were formed. Fortunately Major-General Sir R. Buller, who arrived at Gubat on the 11th of February, decided upon withdrawal, thus averting impending disaster, and by the 16th of March the Desert Column had returned to Korti.
The advance from Korti of the River Column, under Major-General Earle, began on the 28th of December, and great difficulties of navigation were encountered. On the 10th of February an action was fought at Kirbekan with about 800 of the enemy, entailing a loss of 10 killed, including Major-General Earle, and 47 wounded. The column, now commanded by Brigadier-General Brackenbury, continued its slow advance, and on the morning of the 24th of February it was about 26 m. below Abu Hamed, a point where the Korosko desert route strikes the Nile, 350 m. from Khartum. Here it received orders to retire, and it reached Korti on the 8th of March.
The verbal message received from General Gordon on the 30th of December 1884 rendered the extreme danger of the position at Khartum painfully apparent, and the secretary of state for war, acting on Sir E. Baring’s
advice, offered to make an active demonstration from Suakin. To this proposal Lord Wolseley demurred, but asked that ships of war should be sent to Suakin, and that “marines in red coats should be frequently landed and exercised.” Lord Hartington replied that the government did not consider that a demonstration of this kind could be effective, and again suggested stronger measures. On the 8th of January 1885 Lord Wolseley repeated that “the measures you propose will not assist my operations against Khartum,” adding:—
“I have from first endeavoured to impress on government that I am strong enough to relieve Khartum, and believe in being able to send a force, when returning by way of Berber, to Suakin, to open road and crush Osman Digna.”
On this very day the small Desert Column started from Korti on its hazardous mission to the relief of a town fully 270 m. distant, held by a starving garrison, and invested by 30,000 fighting men, mostly armed with good rifles. Before reaching the Nile the Desert Column had lost 300 men and was unable to take Metemma, while its transport had completely broken down. On the 8th of February Lord Wolseley telegraphed, “The sooner you can now deal with Osman Digna the better,” and recommended the despatch of Indian troops to Suakin, to “co-operate with me in keeping road to Berber open.” On the 11th of February, the day on which Sir R. Buller most wisely decided to withdraw the Desert Column from a position of extreme danger, it was determined at Korti that the River Column should proceed to attack Berber, and Lord Wolseley accepted the proposal of the government to make a railway from Suakin, telegraphing to Lord Harrington:—
“By all means make railway by contract to Berber, or as far as you can, during summer. It will be invaluable as a means of supply, and I recommend it being begun immediately. Contract to be, if possible, for so much per ton military stores and supplies and men carried, per mile.”
Every effort was now concentrated upon sending an expeditionary force to Suakin, and before the end of March about 13,000 men, including a brigade from India and a field battery from New South Wales, with nearly 7000 camels and 1000 mules, were there assembled. Lieutenant-General Sir G. Graham was placed in command of this force, with orders to break down the power of Osman Digna and to press the construction of the railway towards Berber. The troops at Suakin, on arrival, were much harassed by small night attacks, which ceased as soon as the scattered camps were drawn together. On the 19th of March Sir G. Graham, with the cavalry brigade and the infantry of the Indian contingent, reconnoitred as far as Hashin, finding the country difficult on account of the dense mimosa scrub. The enemy occupied the hills and fired upon the cavalry. On the 20th Sir G. Graham, with about 9000 men, again advanced
Battle of Hashin.
to Hashin, and Dehilbat hill was taken by the Berkshire regiment and the Royal Marines. A squadron of the 9th Royal Lancers, which was dismounted in the thick bush, was driven back with the loss of 9 men; but elsewhere the Arabs never succeeded in closing, and the troops returned to Suakin in the afternoon, leaving the East Surrey regiment in a zeriba covering some low hills near Hashin village. The total British loss was 9 killed and 39 wounded.
On the 22nd of March a force, consisting of two British and three Indian battalions, with a naval brigade, a squadron of lancers, two companies of engineers, and a large convoy of camels carrying water and supplies, under Major-General Sir J. McNeill, started from Suakin for
Tamai, with orders to form a half-way zeriba. The advance was much impeded by the dense bush, and the force halted at Tofrik, about 6 m. out, at 10.30 A.M.
A native had brought information that the enemy intended to attack while the zeriba was being formed, and this actually occurred. The force was caught partly unprepared soon after 2.30 P.M.
, and severe fighting took place. The enemy were repulsed in about twenty minutes, the naval brigade, the Berkshire regiment, the Royal Marines, and the 15th Sikhs showing the greatest gallantry. The casualties, including those among non-combatants, were 150 killed, 148 missing, and 174 wounded. More than 500 camels were killed. The tribesmen lost more than 1000 killed. As soon as firing was heard at Suakin, Sir G. Graham, with two battalions of Guards and a battery of horse artillery, started for Tofrik, but returned on being assured that reinforcements were not required. On the 24th and 26th convoys proceeding in square to Tofrik were attacked, the enemy being repulsed without difficulty. On the 2nd of April a force exceeding 7000 men, with 14 guns and 1600 transport animals, started from Suakin at 4.30 A.M.
, and bivouacked twelve hours later at Tesela Hill. Next morning an advance was made towards Tamai, and a number of huts in the Khor Ghob were burned. The force then returned to Suakin. The railway was now pushed on without interruption, reaching Otao on the 30th. On the night of the 6th of May a combined movement was made from Suakin and Otao, which resulted in the surprise and break-up of a force of the enemy under Mahommed Sardun, and the capture of a large number of sheep and goats. The moral effect of this operation was marked, and large numbers of tribesmen placed themselves unconditionally at the disposal of Sir G. Graham. A great native movement could now have been organized, which would have kept the route to Berber and enabled the railway to be rapidly pushed forward.
Meanwhile many communications had passed between the war office and Lord Wolseley, who at first believed that Berber could be taken before the summer. In a long despatch of the 6th of March he discussed the general situation, and pointed out that although the force at his disposal
Political and military situation at end of operations.
“was amply sufficient” for raising the siege of Khartum and defeating the mahdi, the conditions were changed by the fall of the town. It was now “impossible . . . to undertake any offensive operations until about the end of the summer,” when twelve additional British battalions, four strong squadrons of British cavalry, and two R.H.A. batteries, together with a large extension of the Wadi Halfa railway, eleven steamers, and three hundred more whale-boats, would be required. He considered it necessary to hold Dongola, and he reported that he was “distributing this army along the left bank of the Nile, on the open reach of water” between the Hannek cataract and Abu Dom, opposite Merawi. On the 30th of March Lord Wolseley quitted the army and proceeded to Cairo. A cloud having arisen on the frontiers of Afghanistan, the withdrawal of the troops from the Sudan was ordered on the 11th of May. On the formation of Lord Salisbury’s cabinet, the new secretary of state for war, Mr W. H. Smith, inquired whether the retirement could be arrested, but Major-General Sir R. Buller reported that the difficulties of reoccupation would be great, and that if Dongola was to be held, a fresh expedition would be required. On the 22nd of June, before the British rearguard had left Dongola, the mahdi died. The withdrawal of the Suakin force began on the 17th of May, and the friendly tribes, deprived of support, were compelled to make terms with Osman Digna, who was soon able to turn his attention to Kassala, which capitulated in August, nearly at the same time as Sennar.
The failure of the operations in the Sudan had been absolute and complete, and the reason is to be sought in a total misconception of the situation, which caused vacillation and delay, and in the choice of a route by which, having regard to the date of the decision, the relief of General Gordon and Khartum was impossible.
(G. S. C.
Military Operations in Egypt and the Sudan, 1885 to 1896
The operations against Mahdism during the eleven years from the end of the Nile expedition and the withdrawal from the Sudan to the commencement of the Dongola campaign will be more easily understood if, instead of narrating them in one chronological sequence, the operations in each province are considered separately. The mahdi, Mahommed Ahmed, died at Omdurman on the 22nd of June 1885. He was succeeded by the principal khalifa, Abdullah el Taaisha, a Baggara Arab, who for the next thirteen years ruled the Sudan with despotic power. Cruel, vicious, unscrupulous and strong, the country groaned beneath his oppression. He removed all possible rivals, concentrated at Omdurman a strong military force composed of men of his own tribe, and maintained the ascendancy of that tribe over all others. As the British troops retired to Upper Egypt, his followers seized the evacuated country, and the khalifa cherished the idea, already formulated by the mahdi, of the conquest of Egypt, but for some years he was too much occupied in quelling risings, massacring the Egyptians in the Sudan, and fighting Abyssinia, to move seriously in the matter.
Upper Egypt.—Mahommed el Kheir, dervish amir of Dongola, however, advanced towards the frontier in the autumn of 1885, and at the end of November came in touch with the frontier field force, a body of some 3000 men composed in nearly equal parts of British and Egyptian troops. A month of harassing skirmishes ensued, during which the Egyptian troops showed their mettle at Mograka, where 200 of them held the fort against a superior number of dervishes, and in combats at Ambigol, Kosha and Firket. Sir Frederick Stephenson, commanding the British army of occupation in Egypt, then concentrated the frontier field force at Firket, and attacked the main body of the enemy at Ginnis on the 30th of December 1885, completely defeating it and capturing two guns and twenty banners. It was here the new Egyptian army received its baptism of fire and acquitted itself very creditably. Although checked, the dervishes were not discouraged, and continued to press upon the frontier in frequent raids, and thus in many bloody skirmishes the fighting qualities of the Egyptian troops were developed. In April 1886 the frontier was drawn back to Wadi Halfa, a fortified camp at the northern end of the desolate defile, Batn-el-Hagar, through which the Nile tumbles amid black, rocky hills in a succession of rapids, and debouches on a wide plain. The protection of the frontier was now left in the hands of the Egyptian army, a British force remaining at Assuan, 200 m. to the north, as a reserve in case of emergency, and two years later even this precaution was deemed unnecessary.
In October 1886 Wad en Nejumi, the amir who had defeated Hicks Pasha in Kordofan three years before, and led the assault at Khartum when General Gordon was slain in January 1885, replaced Mahommed el Kheir as “commander of the force for the conquest of Egypt,” and brought large reinforcements to Dongola. An advanced column under Nur-el-Kanzi occupied Sarras in April 1887, was attacked by the Egyptian force under Colonel H. Chermside on the 28th of that month, and after a stubborn resistance was defeated with great loss. Nur-el-Kanzi was killed and ten standards taken.
The troubles in Darfur and with Abyssinia
) induced the khalifa to reduce the garrisons of the north; nevertheless, the dervishes reoccupied Sarras, continued active in raids and skirmishes, and destroyed the railway south of Sarras, which during the Nile expedition of 1884 and 1885 had been carried as far as Akasha. It was not until May 1889 that an invasion of the frontier on a large scale was attempted. At this time the power and prestige of the khalifa were at their height: the rebellions in Darfur and Kordofan had been stamped out, the anti-mahdi was dead, and even the dervish defeat by the Abyssinians had been converted by the death of King John and the capture of his body into a success. It was therefore an opportune time to try to sweep the Turks and the British into the sea. On the 22nd of June Nejumi was at Sarras with over 6000 fighting men and 8000 followers. On the 2nd of July Colonel J. Wodehouse headed off a part of this force from the river at Argin, and, after a sharp action, completely defeated it, killing 900, among whom were many important amirs, and taking 500 prisoners and 12 banners, with very small loss to his own troops. A British brigade was on its way up stream, but the sirdar, who had already arrived to take the command in person, decided not to wait for it. The Egyptian troops, with a squadron of the 20th Hussars,
Battle of Toski.
concentrated at Toski, and thence, on the 3rd of August, General Grenfell, with slight loss, gained a decisive victory. Wad en Nejumi, most of his amirs, and more than 1200 Arabs were killed; 4000 prisoners and 147 standards were taken, and the dervish army practically destroyed. No further serious attempts were made to disturb the frontier, of which the most southerly outpost was at once advanced to Sarras.
The escape from Omdurman of Father Ohrwalder and of two of the captive nuns in December 1891, of Father Rossignoli in October 1894, and of Slatin Bey in February 1895, revealed the condition of the Sudan to the outside world, threw a vivid light on the rule of the khalifa, and corroborated information already received of the discontent which existed among the tribes with the oppression and despotism under which they lived.
The Eastern Sudan.—In 1884 Colonel Chermside, governor of the Red Sea littoral, entered into arrangements with King John of Abyssinia for the relief of the beleaguered Egyptian garrisons. Gera, Amadib, Senhit and Gallabat were, in consequence, duly succoured, and their garrisons and Egyptian populations brought away to the coast by the Abyssinians in 1885. Unfortunately famine compelled the garrison of Kassala to capitulate on the 30th of July of that year, and Osman Digna hurried there from Tamai to raise a force with which to meet the Abyssinian general, Ras Alula, who was preparing for its relief. By the end of August Osman Digna had occupied Kufit, in the Barea country, with 10,000 men and entrenched himself. On the 23rd of September Ras Alula attacked him there with an equal number of men and routed him with great slaughter. Over 3000 dervishes with their principal amirs, except Osman Digna, lay dead on the field, and many more were killed in the pursuit. The Abyssinians lost 40 officers and 1500 men killed, besides many more wounded. Instead of marching on to Kassala, Ras Alula, who at this time was much offended by the transfer of Massawa by the Egyptians to Italy, made a triumphant entry into Asmara, and absolutely refused to make any further efforts to extricate Egyptian garrisons from the grip of the khalifa. Meanwhile Osman Digna, who had fled from Kufit to Kassala, wreaked his vengeance upon the unhappy captives at Kassala.
In the neighbourhood of Suakin there were many tribes disaffected to the khalifa’s cause, and in the autumn of 1886 Colonel H. Kitchener, who was at the time governor of the Red Sea littoral, judiciously arranged a combination of them to overthrow Osman Digna, with the result that his stronghold at Tamai was captured on the 7th of October, 200 of his men killed, and 50 prisoners, 17 guns and a vast store of rifles and ammunition captured. For about a year there was comparative quiet. Then at the end of 1887 Osman Digna again advanced towards
Suakin, but his force at Taroi was routed by the “Friendlies,” and he fell back on Handub. Kitchener unsuccessfully endeavoured to capture Osman Digna on the 17th of January 1888, but in the attack was himself severely wounded, and was shortly after invalided. Later in the year Osman Digna collected a large force and besieged Suakin. In December the sirdar arrived with reinforcements from Cairo, and on the 20th sallied out and attacked the dervishes in their trenches at Gemaiza, clearing the whole line and inflicting considerable loss on the enemy, who retired towards Handub, and the country was again fairly quiet for a time. During 1889 and 1890 Tokar became the centre of dervish authority, while Handub continued to be occupied for the khalifa. In January 1891 Osman Digna showed signs of increased activity, and Colonel (afterwards Sir Charles) Holled Smith, then governor of the Red Sea littoral, attacked Handub successfully on the 27th and occupied it, then seized Trinkitat and Teb, and on the 19th of February fought the decisive action of Afafit, occupied Tokar, and drove Osman
Battle of Afafit.
Digna back to Temrin with a loss of 700 men, including all his chief amirs. This action proved the final blow to the dervish power in the neighbourhood of Suakin, for although raiding continued on a small scale, the tribes were growing tired of the khalifa’s rule and refused to support Osman Digna.
In the spring of 1891 an agreement was made between England and Italy by which the Italian forces in Eritrea were at liberty, if they were able, to capture and occupy Kassala, which lay close to the western boundary of their new colony, on condition that they restored it to Egypt at a future day when required to do so. Three years passed before they availed themselves of this agreement. In 1893 the dervishes, 12,000 strong, under Ahmed Ali, invaded Eritrea, and were met on the 29th of December at Agordat by Colonel Arimondi with 2000 men of a native force. Ahmed Ali’s force was completely routed and himself killed, and in the following July Colonel Baratieri, with 2500 men, made a fine forced march from Agordat, surprised and captured Kassala on the 17th of that month, and continued to hold it for three years and a half.
The Abyssinian Frontier.—On the Abyssinian frontier Ras Adal was in command of a considerable force of Abyssinians early in 1886, and in June of that year he invaded Gallabat and defeated the dervishes on the plain of Madana; the dervish amir Mahommed Wad Ardal was killed and his camp captured. In the following year the amir Yunis ed Dekeim made two successful raids into Abyssinian territory, upon which Ras Adal collected an enormous army, said to number 200,000 men, for the invasion of the Sudan. The khalifa sent the amir Hamdan Abu Angar, a very skilful leader, with an army of over 80,000 men against him. Abu Angar entered Abyssinia and, in August 1887, attacked Ras Adal in the plain of Debra Sin and, after a prolonged battle, defeated the Abyssinians, captured their camp, and marched on Gondar, the ancient capital of Abyssinia, which he sacked, and then returned into Gallabat. King John, the negus of Abyssinia, burning to avenge this defeat, marched, in February 1889, with an enormous army to Gallabat, where the amir Zeki Tumal commanded the khalifa’s forces, some 60,000 strong, and had strongly fortified the town and the camp. On the 9th of March 1889 the Abyssinians made a terrific onslaught, stormed and burnt the town, and took thousands of prisoners. A small party of dervishes still held a zeriba when King John was struck by a stray bullet. The Abyssinians decided to retire, fighting ceased, and they moved off with their prisoners and the wounded negus. That night the king died, and the greater part of the army having gone ahead with the prisoners, a party of Arabs pursued the rearguard, which consisted of the king’s bodyguard, routed them, and captured the king’s body, which was sent to Omdurman to confirm the report of a brilliant victory sent by Zeki Tumal to the khalifa. Internal strife prevented the new negus of Abyssinia from prosecuting the war, which thus, in spite of the Abyssinian success, resulted in the increased prestige of the khalifa. From this time, however, the dervishes ceased to trouble the Abyssinians.
Darfur and Kordofan.—On the outbreak of the mahdi’s rebellion Slatin Bey was governor of the province, and when Madibbo, the insurgent sheikh of Rizighat, attacked and occupied Shakka and was following up his success, Slatin twice severely defeated him, and, having concentrated his forces at El Fasher, repulsed the enemy again at Om Shanga. Mahdism, however, spread over Darfur in spite of Slatin’s efforts to stay it. He fought no fewer than twenty-seven actions in various parts of his province, but his own troops, in course of time, became infected with the new faith and deserted him. He was obliged to surrender at Dara in December 1883, and was a prisoner, first at Obeid and then at Omdurman, until he escaped in 1895. In January 1884 Zogal, the new dervish amir of the province, attacked El Fasher, where Said Bey Guma and an Egyptian garrison 1000 strong with 10 guns was still holding out, and captured it. He also reduced the Jebel Marra district, where the loyal hill-people gave him some trouble.
After the death of the mahdi in 1885, Madibbo revolted against the khalifa, but was defeated by Karamalla, the dervish amir of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, and was caught and executed. A war then sprang up between Karamalla and Sultan Yusef, who had succeeded Zogal as amir of Darfur. Yusef was joined in 1887 by Sultan Zayid, the black ruler of Jebel Marra, and Karamalla’s trusted general, Ketenbur, was defeated with great slaughter at El Towaish on the 29th of June 1887. Osman wad Adam (Ganu), amir of Kordofan, was sent by the khalifa to Karamalla’s assistance. He forced back the Darfurians near Dara on the 26th of December, routed Zayid in a second battle, entered El Fasher, and, in 1888, became complete master of the situation, the two sultans being killed. The Darfurian chiefs then allied themselves with Abu Gemaiza, sheikh of the Masalit Arabs, who had proclaimed himself “Khalifa Osman,” and was known as the anti-mahdi. The revolt assumed large proportions, and became the more dangerous to Abdullah, the khalifa, by reason of its religious character, wild rumours spreading over the country and reaching to Egypt and Suakin of the advent to power of an opposition mahdi. Abu Gemaiza attacked a portion of Osman Adam’s force, under Abd-el-Kader, at Kebkebia, 30 m. from El Fasher, and almost annihilated it on the 16th of October 1888; and a week later another large force of Osman Adam met with the same fate at the same place. Instead of following up his victories, Abu Gemaiza retired to Dar Tama to augment his army, to which thousands flocked as the news of his achievements spread far and wide. He again advanced to El Fasher in February 1889, but was seized with smallpox. His army, however, under Fiki Adam, fought a fierce battle close to El Fasher on the 22nd, which resulted in its defeat and dispersion, and Abu Gemaiza himself dying the following day, the movement collapsed.
In 1891 Darfur and Kordofan were again disturbed, and Sultan Abbas succeeded in turning the dervishes out of the Jebel Marra district. Two years later a saint of Sokoto, Abu Naal Muzil el Muhan, collected many followers and for a time threatened the khalifa’s power, but the revolt gradually died out.
The Bahr-el-Ghazal.—The first outbreak in favour of Mahdism in the Bahr-el-Ghazal took place at Liffi in August 1882, when the Dinka tribe, under Jango, revolted and was defeated by Lupton Bey with considerable slaughter at Tel Gauna, and again in 1883 near Liffi. In September of that year Lupton’s captain, Rufai Aga, was massacred with all his men at Dembo, and Lupton, short of ammunition, was forced to retire to Dem Suliman, where he was completely cut off from Khartum. After gallantly fighting for eighteen months he was compelled by the defection of his troops to surrender on the 21st of April 1884 to Karamalla, the dervish amir of the province. He died at Omdurman in 1888.
In 1890 the Shilluks in the neighbourhood of Fashoda rose against the khalifa, and the dervish amir of Gallabat, Zeki Tumal, was engaged for two years in suppressing the rebellion. He got the upper hand in 1892, and was recalled to oppose an Italian force said to be advancing from Massawa; but on reporting that it was impossible to invade Eritrea, as the khalifa wished him to do, he was summoned to Omdurman and put to death. The country then relapsed into its original barbarous condition, and dervish influence was nominal only. In 1892 the Congo State expedition established posts up to the seventh parallel of north latitude. In 1893 the dervish amir, Abu Mariam, fought with the Dinka tribe and was killed and his force destroyed, the fugitives taking refuge in Shakka. In the following year the Congo expedition established further posts, and in consequence the khalifa sent 3000 men, under the amir Khatem Musa, from Shakka to reoccupy the Bahr-el-Ghazal. The Belgians at Liffi retired before him, and he entered Faroga. Famine and disease broke out in Khatem Musa’s camp in 1895, and a retreat was made towards Kordofan.
Equatoria.—In the Equatorial Province, which extended from the Albert Nyanza to Lado, Emin Bey, who had a force of 1300 Egyptian troops and 3000 irregulars, distributed among many stations, held out, hoping for reinforcements. In March 1885, however, Amadi fell to the dervishes, and on the 18th of April Karamalla arrived near Lado, the capital, and sent to inform Emin of the fall of Khartum. Emin and Captain Casati, an Italian, moved south to Wadelai, giving up the northern posts, and opened friendly relations with Kabarega, king of Unyoro. On the 26th of February 1886 Emin received despatches from Cairo via Zanzibar, from which he learned all that had occurred during the previous three years, and that “he might take any step he liked, should he decide to leave the country.” He determined to remain where he was and “hold together, as long as possible, the remnant of the last ten years.” His troops were in a mutinous state, wishing to go north rather than south, as Emin had ordered them to do, and unsuccessfully endeavoured to carry him with them by force.
His communications to Europe through Zanzibar led to the relief expedition under H. M. Stanley, which went to his rescue by way of the Congo in 1887, and after encountering incredible dangers and experiencing innumerable sufferings, met with Emin and Casati at Nsabé, on the Albert Nyanza, on the 29th of April 1888. Stanley went back in May to pick up his belated rearguard, leaving Mounteney Jephson and a small escort to accompany Emin round his province. The southern garrisons decided to go with Emin, but the troops at Labore mutinied, and a general revolt broke out, headed by Fadl-el-Maula, governor of Fabbo. On arriving at Dufile in August 1888, Emin and Jephson were made prisoners by the Egyptian mutineers. In the meantime the arrival of Stanley at Lake Albert had caused rumours, which quickly spread to Omdurman, of a great invading white pasha, with the result that in July the khalifa sent up the river three steamers and six barges, containing 4000 troops, to oppose this new-comer. In October Omar-Saleh, the Mahdist commander, took Rejaf and sent messengers to Dufile to summon Emin to surrender; but on the 15th of November the mutineers released both Emin and Jephson, who returned to Lake Albert with some 600 refugees, and joined Stanley in February 1889. The expedition arrived at Zanzibar at the end of the year.
Emin’s mutinous troops kept the dervishes at bay between Wadelai and Rejaf, and eventually severely defeated them, driving them back to Rejaf. They did not, however, follow up their victory, and under the leadership of Fadl-el-Maula Bey remained about Wadelai, while the dervishes strengthened their post at Rejaf. In 1893 Fadl-el-Maula Bey and many of his men took service with Baert of the Congo State expedition. The bey was killed fighting the dervishes at Wandi in January 1894, and the remnant of his men eventually were found by Captain Thruston from Uganda on the 23rd of March 1894 at Mahagi, on the Albert Nyanza, whither they had drifted from Wadelai in search of supplies. They were enlisted by Thruston and brought back under the British flag to Uganda.
In consequence of the Franco-Congolese Treaty of 1894, Major Cunningham and Lieutenant Vandeleur were sent from Uganda to Dufile, where they planted the British flag on the 15th of January 1895.
Sudan Operations, 1896-1900
The wonderful progress—political, economical and social—which Egypt had made during British occupation, so ably set forth in Sir Alfred Milner’s England in Egypt
(published in 1892), together with the revelation in so strong a light of the character of the khalifa’s despotism in the Sudan and the miserable condition of his misgoverned people, as detailed in the accounts of their captivity at Omdurman by Father Ohrwalder and Slatin Bey (published in 1892 and 1896), stirred public opinion in Great
Dongola campaign, 1896.
Britain, and brought the question of the recovery of the Sudan into prominence. A change of ministry took place in 1895, and Lord Salisbury’s cabinet, which had consistently assailed the Egyptian policy of the old, was not unwilling to consider whether the flourishing condition of Egyptian finance, the prosperity of the country and the settled state of its affairs, with a capable and proved little army ready to hand, did not warrant an attempt being made to recover gradually the Sudan provinces abandoned by Egypt in 1885 on the advice of Mr Gladstone’s government.
Such being the condition of public and official sentiment, the crushing defeat of the Italians by the Abyssinians at the battle of Adowa on the 1st of March 1896, and the critical state of Kassala—held by Italy at British suggestion, and now closely invested by the dervishes—made it not only desirable but necessary to take immediate action.
On the 14th of March 1896 Major-General Sir H. Kitchener, who succeeded Sir Francis Grenfell as sirdar of the Egyptian army in 1892, received orders to reoccupy Akasha, 50 m. south of Sarras, and to carry the railway on from Sarras. Subsequent operations were to depend upon the amount of resistance he encountered. On the 20th of March Akasha was occupied without opposition by an advanced column of Egyptian troops under Major J. Collinson, who formed an entrenched camp there. The reserves of the Egyptian army were called out, and responded with alacrity. The troops were concentrated at Wadi Halfa; the railway reconstruction, under Lieutenant E. P. Girouard, R.E., pushed southward; and a telegraph line followed the advance. At the commencement of the campaign the Egyptian army, including reserves, consisted of 16 battalions of infantry, of which 6 were Sudanese, 10 squadrons of cavalry, 5 batteries of artillery, 3 companies of garrison artillery, and 8 companies of camel corps, and it possessed 13 gunboats for river work. Colonel H. M. L. Rundle was chief of the staff; Major F. R. Wingate was head of the intelligence department, with Slatin Bey as his assistant; and Colonel A. Hunter was in command of Sarras, and south. The 1st battalion of the North Staffordshire regiment moved up from Cairo to join the Egyptian army.
In the meantime the advance to Akasha had already relieved the pressure at Kassala, Osman Digna having withdrawn a considerable force from the investing army and proceeded with it to Suakin. To meet Osman Digna’s movement Lieutenant-Colonel G. E. Lloyd, the Suakin commandant, advanced to the Taroi Wells, 19 m. south of Suakin, on the 15th of April to co-operate with the “Friendlies,” and with Major H. M. Sidney, advancing with a small force from Tokar. His cavalry, under Major M. A. C. B. Fenwick, went out to look for Sidney’s force, and were surprised by a large number of dervishes. Fenwick, with some 40 officers and men, seized an isolated hill and held it through the night, repulsing the dervishes, who were the same night driven back with such heavy loss in attacking Lloyd’s zeriba that they retired to the hills, and comparative quiet again reigned at Suakin. At the end of May an Indian brigade arrived for garrison duty, and the Egyptian troops were released for service on the Nile.
The dervishes first came in contact with the Egyptian cavalry on the Nile near Akasha, on the 1st of May, and were repulsed. The army concentrated at Akasha early in June, and on the 6th Kitchener moved to the attack of Firket 16 m. away, where the amir Hamuda, with 3000 men, was encamped. The attack was made in two columns: one, under Colonel Hunter, marching along the river-bank, approached Firket from the north; while the other, under Major Burn-Murdoch, making a detour through the desert, approached it from the south. The co-operation of the two columns was admirably timed, and on the morning of the 7th the dervish camp was surrounded, and, after a sharp fight, Hamuda and many amirs and about 1000 men were killed, and 500 prisoners taken. The dash and discipline of the Egyptian troops in this victory were a good augury for the future.
By the end of June the railway was advanced beyond Akasha, and headquarters were at Kosha, 10 m. farther south. Cholera and fever were busy both with the North Staffordshire regiment at Gemai, whither they had been moved on its approach, and with the Egyptian troops at the front, and carried off many officers and men. The railway reached Kosha early in August; the cholera disappeared, and stores were collected and arrangements steadily made for a farther advance. The North Staffordshire moved up to the front, and in September the army moved on Kerma, which was found to be evacuated, the dervishes having crossed the river to Hafir. There they were attacked by the gunboats and Kitchener’s artillery from the opposite bank, and forced to retire, with their commander, Wad Bishara, seriously wounded. Dongola was bombarded by the gunboats and captured by the army on the 23rd of September. Bishara and his men retreated, but were pursued by the Egyptians until the retreat became a hopeless rout. Guns, small arms and ammunition, with large stores of grain and dates, were captured, many prisoners taken, while hundreds surrendered voluntarily, among them a brother of the amir Wad en Nejumi. The dervish Dongola army had practically ceased to exist. Debba was seized on the 3rd October, Korti and Merawi occupied soon after, and the principal sheiks came in and submitted to the sirdar. The Dongola campaign was over, and the province recovered to Egypt. The Indian brigade at Suakin returned to India, and was replaced by Egyptians. The North Staffordshire returned to Cairo. The work of consolidation began, and preparations were made for a farther advance when everything should be ready.
The railway up the right bank of the Nile was continued to Kerma, in order to evade the difficulties of the 3rd cataract; but the sirdar had conceived the bold project of cutting off the great angle of the Nile from Wadi Halfa to Abu
The Sudan campaign, 1897.
Hamed, involving nearly 600 m. of navigation and including the 4th cataract, by constructing a railway across the Nubian desert, and so bringing his base at Wadi Halfa within a few hours of his force, when it should have advanced to Abu Hamed, instead of ten days. Early in 1897 this new line of railway was commenced from Wadi Halfa across the great Nubian desert 230 m. to Abu Hamed. The first-mentioned line reached Kerma in May, and by July the second had advanced 130 m. into the desert towards Abu Hamed, when it became necessary, before it was carried farther, to secure that terminus by an advance from Merawi.
In the meantime the khalifa was not idle. He occupied Abu Klea wells and Metemma; recalled the amir Ibrahim Khalil, with 4000 men, from the Ghezira; brought to Omdurman the army of the west under Mahmud—some 10,000 men; entrusted the line of the Atbara—Ed Darner, Adarama, Asubri and El Fasher—to Osman Digna; constructed defences in the Shabluka gorge; and personally superintended the organization and drill of the forces gathered at Omdurman, and the collection of vast stores of food and supplies of camels for offensive expeditions.
Towards the end of June the chief of the Jaalin tribe, Abdalla wad Said, who occupied Metemma, angered by the khalifa, made his submission to Kitchener and asked for support, at the same time foolishly sending a defiant letter to the khalifa. The sirdar sent him rifles and ammunition across the desert from Korti; but before they arrived, Mahmud’s army, sent by the khalifa, swept down on Metemma on the 1st of July and massacred Abdalla wad Said and his garrison.
On the 29th of July, after several reconnaissances, Major-General Hunter, with a flying column, marched up the Nile from near Merawi to Abu Hamed, 133 m. distant, along the edge of the Monassir desert. He arrived on the 7th of August and captured it by storm, the dervishes losing 250 killed and 50 prisoners. By the end of the month the gunboats had surmounted the 4th cataract and reached Abu Hamed. Berber was found to be deserted, and occupied by Hunter on the 5th of September, and in the following month a large force was entrenched there. The khalifa, fearing an attack on Omdurman, moved Osman Digna from Adarama to Shendi. In the 23rd of October Hunter, with a flying column lightly equipped, left Berber for Adarama, which he burned on the 2nd of November, and after reconnoitring for 40 m. up the Atbara, returned to Berber. The Nile was falling, and Kitchener decided to keep the gunboats above the impassable rapid at Um Tuir, 4 m. north of the confluence of the Atbara with the Nile, where he constructed a fort. The gunboats made repeated reconnaissances up the river, bombarding Metemma with effect. The railway reached Abu Hamed on the 4th of November, and was pushed rapidly forward along the right bank of the Nile towards Berber.
The forces of the khalifa remaining quiet, the sirdar visited Kassala and negotiated with the Italian General Caneva for its restoration to Egypt. The Italians were anxious to leave it; and on Christmas day 1897 Colonel (afterwards General Sir Charles) Parsons, with an Egyptian force from Suakin, took it formally over, together with a body of Arab irregulars employed by the Italians. These troops were at once despatched to capture the dervish posts at Asabri and El Fasher, which they did with small loss.
On his return from Kassala to Berber the sirdar received information of an intended advance of the khalifa northward. He at once ordered a concentration of Egyptian troops towards Berber, and telegraphed to Cairo for a British brigade. By the end of January the concentration
Sudan campaign, 1898.
was complete, and the British brigade, under Major-General Gatacre, was at Dakhesh, south of Abu Hamed. Disagreement among the khalifa’s generals postponed the dervish advance and gave Kitchener much-needed time. But at the end of February, Mahmud crossed the Nile to Shendi with some 12,000 fighting men, and with Osman Digna advanced along the right bank of the Nile to Aliab, where he struck across the desert to Nakheila, on the Atbara, intending to turn Kitchener’s left flank at Berber. The sirdar took up a position at Ras el Hudi, on the Atbara. His force consisted of Gatacre’s British brigade (1st Warwicks, Lincolns, Seaforths and Camerons) and Hunter’s Egyptian division (3 brigades under Colonels Maxwell, MacDonald and Lewis respectively), Broadwood’s cavalry, Tudway’s camel corps and Long’s artillery. The dervish army reached Nakheila on the 20th of March, and entrenched themselves there in a formidable zeriba. After several reconnaissances in which fighting took place with Mahmud’s outposts, it was ascertained from prisoners that their army was short of provisions and that great leakage was going on. Kitchener, therefore, did not hurry. He sent his flotilla up the Nile and captured Shendi, the dervish depôt, on the 27th of March. On the 4th of April he advanced to Abadar. A final reconnaissance was made on the 5th. On the following day he bivouacked at Umdabia, where he constructed a strong zeriba, which was garrisoned by an Egyptian battalion, and on the night of the 7th he marched to the attack of Mahmud’s zeriba, which, after an hour’s bombardment on the morning of the 8th of April, was stormed with complete success. Mahmud and several hundred dervishes were captured, 40 amirs and 3000 Arabs killed, and many more wounded; the rest escaped to Gedaref. The sirdar’s casualties were 80 killed and 472 wounded.
Preparations were now made for the attack on the khalifa’s force at Omdurman; and in the meantime the troops were camped in the neighbourhood of Berber, and the railway carried on to the Atbara. At the end of July reinforcements were forwarded from Cairo; and on the 24th of August the following troops were concentrated for the advance at Wad Hamad, above Metemma, on the western bank of the 6th cataract:—British division, under Major-General Gatacre, consisting of 1st Brigade, commanded by Colonel A. G. Wauchope (1st Warwicks, Lincolns, Seaforths and Camerons), and 2nd Brigade, commanded by Colonel the Hon. N. G. Lyttelton (1st Northumberlands and Grenadier Guards, 2nd Lancashire and Rifle Brigade); Egyptian division, under Major-General Hunter, consisting of four brigades, commanded by Colonels MacDonald, Maxwell, Lewis and Collinson; mounted troops—21st Lancers, camel corps, and Egyptian cavalry; artillery, under Colonel Long, 2 British batteries, 5 Egyptian batteries, and 20 machine guns; detachment of Royal Engineers. The flotilla, under Commander Keppel, R.N., consisted of 10 gunboats and 5 transport steamers. The total strength was nearly 26,000 men.
While the army moved along the west bank of the river, a force of Arab irregulars or “Friendlies” marched along the east bank, under command of Major Stuart-Wortley and Lieutenant Wood, to clear it of the enemy as far as
Battle of Omdurman.
the Blue Nile; and on the 1st of September the gunboats bombarded the forts on both sides of the river and breached the great wall of Omdurman. Kitchener met with no opposition; and on the 1st of September the army bivouacked in zeriba at Egeiga, on the west bank of the Nile, within 4 m. of Omdurman. Here, on the morning of the 2nd of September, the khalifa’s army, 40,000 strong, attacked the zeriba, but was repulsed with slaughter. Kitchener then moved out and marched towards Omdurman, when he was again twice fiercely attacked on the right flank and rear, MacDonald’s brigade bearing the brunt. MacDonald distinguished himself by his tactics, and completely repulsed the enemy. The 21st Lancers gallantly charged a body of 2000 dervishes which was unexpectedly met in a khor on the left flank, and drove them westward, the Lancers losing a fifth of their number in killed and wounded. The khalifa was now in full retreat, and the sirdar, sending his cavalry in pursuit, marched into Omdurman. The dervish loss was over 10,000 killed, as many wounded, and 5000 prisoners. The khalifa’s black flag was captured and sent home to Queen Victoria. The British and Egyptian casualties together were under 500. The European prisoners of the khalifa found in Omdurman—Charles Neufeld, Joseph Ragnotti, Sister Teresa Grigolini, and some 30 Greeks—were released; and on Sunday the 4th of September the sirdar, with representatives from every regiment, crossed the river to Khartum, where the British and Egyptian flags were hoisted, and a short service held in memory of General Gordon, near the place where he met his death.
The results of the battle of Omdurman were the practical destruction of the khalifa’s army, the extinction of Mahdism in the Sudan, and the recovery of nearly all the country formerly under Egyptian authority.
The khalifa fled with a small force to Obeid in Kordofan. The British troops were quickly sent down stream to Cairo, and the sirdar, shortly afterwards created Lord Kitchener of Khartum, was free to turn his attention to the reduction of the country to some sort of order.
He had first, however, to deal with a somewhat serious matter—the arrival of a French expedition at Fashoda, on the White Nile, some 600 m. above Khartum. He started for the south on the 10th of September, with 5 gunboats and a small force, dispersed a body of 700 dervishes at
Reng on the 15th, and four days later arrived at Fashoda, to find the French Captain Marchand, with 120 Senegalese soldiers, entrenched there and the French flag flying. He arranged with Marchand to leave the political question to be settled by diplomacy, and contented himself with hoisting the British and Egyptian flags to the south of the French flag, and leaving a gunboat and a Sudanese battalion to guard them. He then steamed up the river and established a post at Sobat; and after sending a gunboat up the Bahr-el-Ghazal to establish another post at Meshra-er-Rek, he returned to Omdurman. The French expedition had experienced great difficulties in the swampy region of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, and had reached Fashoda on the 10th of July. It had been attacked by a dervish force on the 25th of August, and was expecting another attack when Kitchener arrived and probably saved it from destruction. The Fashoda incident was the subject of important diplomatic negotiations, which at one time approached an acute phase; but ultimately the French position was found to be untenable, and on the 11th of December Marchand and his men returned to France by the Sobat, Abyssinia and Jibuti. In the following March the spheres of interest of Great Britain and France in the Nile basin were defined by a declaration making an addition to Article IV. of the Niger convention of the previous year.
During the sirdar’s absence from Omdurman Colonel Hunter commanded an expedition up the Blue Nile, and by the end of September had occupied and garrisoned Wad Medani, Sennar, Karkoj and Roseires. In the meantime Colonel Parsons marched with 1400 men from Kassala on the 7th of September, to capture Gedaref. He encountered 4000 dervishes under the amir Saadalla outside the town, and after a desperate fight, in which he lost 50 killed and 80 wounded, defeated them and occupied the town on the 22nd. The dervishes left 500 dead on the field, among whom were four amirs. Having strongly entrenched himself, Parsons beat off, with heavy loss to the dervishes, two impetuous attacks made on the 28th by Ahmed Fedil. But the garrison of Gedaref suffered from severe sickness, and Colonel Collinson was sent to their aid with reinforcements from Omdurman. He steamed up the Blue Nile and the Rahad river to Ain-el-Owega, whence he struck across the desert, reaching Gedaref on the 21st of October, to find that Ahmed Fedil had gone south with his force of 5000 men towards Roseires. Colonel Lewis, who was at Karkoj with a small force, moved to Roseires, where he received reinforcements from Omdurman, and on the 26th of December caught Ahmed Fedil’s force as it was crossing the Blue Nile at Dakheila, and after a very severe fight cut it up. The dervish loss was 500 killed, while the Egyptians had 24 killed and 118 wounded. Two thousand five hundred fighting men surrendered later, and the rest escaped with Ahmed Fedil to join the khalifa in Kordofan.
On the 25th of January 1899 Colonel Walter Kitchener was despatched by his brother, in command of a flying column of 2000 Egyptian troops and 1700 Friendlies, which had been concentrated at Faki Kohi, on the White Nile, some 200 m. above Khartum, to reconnoitre the
Operations in the Sudan, 1899.
khalifa’s camp at Sherkela, 130 m. west of the river, in the heart of the Baggara country in Kordofan, and if possible to capture it. The position was found to be a strong one, occupied by over 6000 men; and as it was not considered prudent to attack it with an inferior force at such a distance from the river base, the flying column returned. No further attempt was made to interfere with the khalifa in his far-off retreat until towards the end of the year, when, good order having been generally established throughout the rest of the Sudan, it was decided to extend it to Kordofan.
In the autumn of 1899 the khalifa was at Jebel Gedir, a hill in southern Kordofan, about 80 m. from the White Nile, and was contemplating an advance. Lord Kitchener concentrated 8000 men at Kaka, on the river, 380 m. south of Khartum, and moved inland on the 20th of October. On arriving at Fongor it was ascertained that the khalifa had gone north, and the cavalry and camel corps having reconnoitred Jebel Gedir, the expedition returned. On the 13th November the amir Ahmed Fedil debouched on the river at El Alub, but retired on finding Colonel Lewis with a force in gunboats. Troops and transport were then concentrated at Faki Kohi, and Colonel Wingate sent with reinforcements from Khartum to take command of the expedition and march to Gedid, where it was anticipated the khalifa would be obliged to halt. A flying column, comprising a squadron of cavalry, a field battery, 6 machine guns, 6 companies of the camel corps, and a brigade of infantry and details, in all 3700 men, under Wingate, left Faki Kohi on the 21st of November. The very next day he encountered Ahmed Fedil at Abu Aadel, drove him from his position with great loss, and captured his camp and a large supply of grain he was convoying to the khalifa. Gedid was reached on the 23rd, and the khalifa was ascertained to be at Om Debreikat. Wingate marched at midnight of the 24th, and was resting his troops on high ground in front of the khalifa’s position, when at daybreak of the 25th his picquets were driven in and the dervishes attacked. They
Death of the khalifa.
were repulsed with great slaughter, and Wingate advancing, carried the camp. The khalifa Abdullah el Taaisha, unable to rally his men, gathered many of his principal amirs around him, among whom were his sons and brothers, Ali Wad Helu, Ahmed Fedil, and other well-known leaders, and they met their death unflinchingly from the bullets of the advancing Sudanese infantry. Three thousand men and 29 amirs of importance, including Sheik-ed-din, the khalifa’s eldest son and intended successor, surrendered. The dervish loss in the two actions was estimated at 1000 killed and wounded, while the Egyptian casualties were only 4 killed and 29 wounded. Thus ended the power of the khalifa and of Mahdism.
On the 19th of January 1900 Osman Digna, who had been so great a supporter of Mahdism in the Eastern Sudan, and had always shown great discretion in securing the safety of his own person, was surrounded and captured at Jebel Warriba, as he was wandering a fugitive among the hills beyond Tokar.
The reconquest of Dongola and the Sudan provinces during the three years from March 1896 to December 1898, considering the enormous extent and difficulties of the country, was achieved at an unprecedentedly small cost, while the main item of expenditure—the railway—remains a permanent benefit to the country. The figures are:—
Towards this expense the British government gave a grant-in-aid of £800,000, and the balance was borne by the Egyptian treasury. The railway, delayed by the construction of the big bridge over the Atbara, was opened to the Blue Nile opposite Khartum, 187 m. from the Atbara, at the end of 1899. (R. H. V.)
- ↑ The history of Hatshepsut has been very obscure, and the mutilations of her cartouches have been variously accounted for. Recent discoveries by M. Legrain at Karnak and Prof. Petrie at Sinai have limited the field of conjecture. The writer has followed M. Naville’s guidance in his biography of the queen (in T. M. Davis, The Tomb of Hatshopsîtû, London, 1906, pp. 1 et seq.), made with very full knowledge of the complicated data.
- ↑ This, it may be remarked, is the time vaguely represented by the Dodecarchy of Herodotus.
- ↑ Khosrev Pasha afterwards filled several of the highest offices at Constantinople. He died on the 1st of February 1855. He was a bigot of the old school, strongly opposed to the influences of Western civilization, and consequently to the assistance of France and Great Britain in the Crimean War.
- ↑ The work was carried out under the supervision of the Frenchman, Colonel Sève, who had turned Mahommedan and was known in Islam as Suleiman Pasha. The effectiveness of the new force was first tried in the suppression of a revolt of the Albanians in Cairo (1823) by six disciplined Sudanese regiments; after which Mehemet Ali was no more troubled with military émeutes.
- ↑ The Dynasty of Mehemet Ali.
- ↑ Part of this money was devoted to an expedition sent against Abyssinia in 1876 to avenge losses sustained in the previous year. The new campaign was, however, equally unsuccessful.
- ↑ Lord Cromer, writing in 1905, declared that the movement “was, in its essence, a genuine revolt against misgovernment,” and “was not essentially anti-European” (vide Egypt No. 1, 1905, p. 2).
- ↑ Except in so far as it was necessary to call out men to guard the banks of the Nile in the season of high flood.
- ↑ The Egyptians keep large numbers of pigeons, which are allowed to be shot only by permission of the village omdeh (head-man). After the occurrence here related, officers were prohibited from shooting pigeons in any circumstances.
- ↑ On the 8th of January 1908, the anniversary of the khedive’s accession, the whole of the Denshawai prisoners were pardoned and released. For the Denshawai incident see the British parliamentary papers, Egypt No. 3 and Egypt No. 4 of 1906.
- ↑ See Egypt No. 2 (1906), Correspondence respecting the Turco-Egyptian Frontier in the Sinai Peninsula (with a map).
Last edited on 25 January 2020, at 22:26
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.