Egyptian Royalty


Figure 1.--No Egyptian monarch has inspired more interest than Cleopatra who captured the heart of both Julius Ceasarand Mark Anthony. The depictions are largely imaginative. Here is one such depiction by Howard David Johnson.

The dynasties of ancient Egypt are roughly organized in to the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. After the Ptommies of the New Kingdom, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire. With the division of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western Empires, Egypt became a province in the Eastern Empire. The Eastern Empire became known as the or Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome (5th century). Egypt was conquered by the Arabs (7th century) and gradually Islamicized. The subsequent Egyptian dynasties are complicated by the fact that Egypt since the Arab conquest hasd been nominally a part of the Caliphate or Ottoman Empire. Even so Egyptians preserve a distinct national consciousness managed to retain a separate entity during the years of foreign conquest (Arab, Mameluke, Ottoman, and British). At times the foreign rullers exerted central control and at other times with the foreign power wained, Egyptian rulers were able to obtain a high degree of authonomy bordering on independence. After World War II, Egypt achieved complete independence under King Farouk I, but after only a few years he was deposed by Arab nationsalists led by Col. Nassar who established a republic.

Ancient Egypt

The dynasties of ancient Egypt are roughly organized in to the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Ancient Egypt is one of the principal fountainheads of Western civilization. Egypt was not the first of the great civilizations to emerge. Cities and advanced civilizations first develoved in Mesopotamia in the Tigris-Euprates Valley. Summerian cities emerged in the 5th millennium while culture in the Nile Valley had not emerged from the stone age. Egypt in the pre-dynastic era was settled by Hamitic people of the Caucasian race. Gradually once the Upper and Lower Kingdoms were united Africans played a significant role in Egypytian society as can be discerned by the African features on art work representing some pharaohs. This was an aspect of Egyptian civilization largelyignored or even suppressed by Egyptologists and the racial aspect of ancient Egypt is still a poorly understood area. Early Egyptian civilization must have borrowed heavily from Mesopotamia. Scholars differ, however, on the extent and nature of the exchanges between Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The chronological dating of Egyptian dynasties after about 2,000 BC is increasingly relaible. The dating of earlier dynasties is much more open to conjecture. The dating of New Kingdom dynasties for the most part are believed to be realtively reliable. One factor that has to be considered in dating the reigns of specific momarchies is the overlap as a result of coregencies. Government through coregencies is a matter of debate among Egyptologists, but was prevalent during most Egyoptian dynasties. The role of Egyptian princess is another distinctive dynastic development of some importance.

Foreign Conquests

Alexander conquered Egypt, but his death at a young age led to a new Greek dynasty--the Potolmies. It is often categorized as te last dynasty of pharoes. After the Ptommies of the New Kingdom, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire. The subsequent Egyptian dynasties are complicated by the fact that Egypt since the Arab conquest has been nominally a part of the Caliphate or Ottoman Empire. Even so Egyptians preserve a distinct national consciousness managed to retain a separate entity during the years of foreign conquest (Arab, Mameluke, Ottoman, and British). At times the foreign rullers exerted central control and at other times with the foreign power wained, Egyptian rulers were able to obtain a high degree of authonomy bordering on independence.

Roman Empire

The last Potomely was Cleopatra. Octavian's defeat of Cleopatra and Anthony at Actium ended even nomilal Egyptian independendence. It was a particularly rich province because of the agricultural productivity of the Nile.

Byzantine Empire

With the division of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western Empires, Egypt became a province in the Eastern Empire. The Eastern Empire became known as the or Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome (5th century). The royal dynastic was thus the Byzantine emperor

Caliphate

Egypt continued to be a part of the the Eastern or Byzantine Empire until conquered by the Arab general Anru ibn-al-As (640-646 AD). Egypt thus became part f the Islamic Caliphate and was gradually Islamicized.

Fatimites

The Fatimite family seized control of Egypt who made Cairo the new captal (10th century).

Ayyubites

Saladin founded the Ayyubite Dynasty.

Mamelukes (1250-1517)

The Mamelukes were slaves brought to Egypt by Fatimite caliphs (10th century) and Ayyubite suktans and trained for the military. Over time freed Mamelukes rose to high rank. The Mameluke Emir Eibek killed Sultan ???, the last Ayyubite ruler (1250). Eibek proclaimed himself Sultan. This began 250 years of Mameluke rule. They ruled Egypt and an extensive empire, including Asia minor. There were two Mameluke dynasties. The Bahrites (1250-1382) were Turks and Mongols. The Burjites (1382-1517) were Circassins. The expanding Ottoman Empire seized control of Egypt (1517). After the conquesrt, the Mamelukes were not destroyed, but incorporated within the Empite. They were appointed to high posts. A Mameluke rebellion against the Turks was put down by Napoleon (1798). Their power was permanetly destroyed by Mohammed Ali (1811).

Ottoman Empire (1517-1914)

The Ottomans conquuered Egypt (1517), but by the 18th century was only nominal rulers. The Mamelukes reexerted their control and as Ottomon power wained were only nominaly a part of the Empire. French forces under Napoleon managed to elude a Royal Navy squadron commanded by Nelson (1798). Napoleon's forces defeated the Mameluke forces. Nelson defeated the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile fought in Aboukir Bay (1799). [Meyerson] This isolated the French army. Napoleon soon found himself engaged not only with the Mamelukes, but the British and Ottomons as well. In the end, Napoleon abandoned his army and eluded the British fleet to get back to France. The Ottomans with Napoleon gone and the French unsable to supply their army ordered of Muhammad Ali Pasha to use troops from Rumelia (the Balkans) to regain control of Egypt. Muhammad Ali was easily able to seize control of Egypt, but he did more than that. He declared himself ruler of Egypt and quickly estanlished a loyal local base of support. The Ottoman Sultan (Porte) launched several attempts to dislodge and execute him. After repearly failing, the Sultan recognized Muhammad Ali as the Ottoman Pasha and Wāli (Governor) of Egypt (1805). That was not entirely acceptable to Ali who claimed for himself the more prestigious title of Khedive (Viceroy). His descendents (Ibrahim Pasha, Abbas I, and Sa'id) also dstyled themselves khedive. Thus a largely autonomous Egyptian state seveloped under a dynasty founded by Ali.

Khedivate (1867–1914)

Dating the Khedivate is a little complicated. It might be dated from when the Ottoman Empire was forced to recognize Muhammad Ali as the ruler of Egypt (1805). Ottoman officials, however, did not recognize the title of Khedive until much later (1867). The Ottomans recognized it as the title of Ismail Pasha. The Sultan also accepted the dynastic system adopted by Ismail so that the line of succession to be father to son, rather than brother to brother as was the Ottoman/Arab tradition. In the European colonial period as the Africa was divided, Britain and France began to focus on Egypt. It was a major link between Europe and India and other Afrcan ad Asian colonies. Having supported the Ottoman Empire against Russia, the British and French pressured Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II to remove Ismail Pasha because of his independence. This was accomplished (June 26, 1879). He was replaced with is son, Tewfik Pasha, who was more willing to work with the Europeans. Abbas Hilmi Pasha proved to be the last Khedive, deposed by the British at the outbreak of World War I (1914).

British Protectorate (1882-22)

The nationalist Urabi Revolt attempted to overthrow Tewfik Pasha and drive out the Europeans (1882), Britain invaded Egypt to support of Tewfik Pasha. They created a protectorate and would play a major role in Egypt into the 20th century. They did not overthrow the Khedivate, but rather exercized influence throughit. The British Protectorate left msajor aspects of gvernmerent to the Khedivate. The Muhammad Ali Dynasty under Tewfik Pasha and his son Abbas Hilmi Pasha continued to rule both Egypt and Sudan using the title Khedive. And even during the Protectorate, Egyopt continued to be nominally under Ottoman sovereignty. And the Sultan also exerted religious influemnce, important in a largely Moslem nation.

Sultanate (1914–22)

World War I broke out in Europe (August 1914). Germany had developed close ties with the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turks who dominated the Ottoman Empire saw the War as a way of recovering territority lost to Russia. Khedive Abbas Hilmi Pasha decided to back the Ottomans, hoping that with Ottoman and German aid that he could drive the British out of Egypt. Ottoman forces were on the border of Egypt as Palestine was an Ottoman province. The British deposed Abbas while he was on a visit to Vienna. This essentially eded the Khediviate. The British declared Abbas' uncle Husayn Kamil Sultan of Egypt. Husayn formally broke ties of Egypt and Sudan to the Ottoman Empire. Husayn Kamil and subsequently Fouad I issued a series of orders depriving Abbas of hiscproperty and prohibiting contributions to him. Abbas Pasha finally eventually accepted the his ouster and formally abdicated (1931). The Sultan declared a jihad, hoping to raise an Islamic revolt in Egypt. The Ottomans launched an unanticipated attack from Palestine, but were repulsed after heavy losses. The British launched an offensive into Palestine and with the Arab Army supported by Col. Lawrence on its flank pulverized the Ottomon Army and seized Damascus (1918). After World War I the Turkish Government in With "Article 17" of the Treaty of Lausanne formally ceded all remaining claims and rights in Egypt and Sudan (1923).

Independent Kingdom (1922-52)

Fouad become Sultan, but was consided a British puppet by most nationalists. Sa'ad Zaghloul and the Wafd Party during World War I demanded autonomy which the Brish rejected (1918). The British arrested and deported Fouad to Malta. This caused anti-British riots. After the War, the British ended the protectorate and recognized Egyptian independence (1922), although retaimed control over the government, economy, amd most critically the Suez Canal. Fouad was proclaimed King of Egypt (March 1922). Foaud I was Egypt's first constitutional monarch. An Anglo-Egyptian Treaty addressed the comolete withdrawl of the British (1936). British withdrawl was, howver, delayed by NAZI remilitarization and the drift toward war in Europe. It was a dangerous time for Britain to abandon such a strategic position. The British thus continued to station troops in Egypt and support the royal Government. The Italians and Germans attempted to seize the Suez Canal in the capaigns in the Western Desert (1940-42). After World War II, Egypt achieved complete independence. Prince Farouk was the only son of Fouad I, He was born in Cairo (1920). He was educated Cairo and then the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was at first popular seceeded to the Egyptian throne (1936). He was larfely sceen as a dedicated and promisdig young monarch. The struggle of the monarchy with populist forces dominated by Wafd Party soon emerged. King Farouk moved away from progressive reform to absolutism, and debauchery. Egypt's military reverses in the First Arab-Isreali War (1948-49) destroyed his reputation. He was deposed by Arab nationsalists led by Col. Nassar who established a republic (1952).








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Created: 6:07 AM 8/26/2009
Last updated: 6:07 AM 8/26/2009