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Mohamed Ali Dynasty
Mohamed Ali
ruled (1805 - 1848)
Mohamed Ali

Following the evacuation of the French troops from Egypt in 1801, Ottomans and Mamluks contended to control Egypt.
Mohamed Ali, an Albanian, became commander of the Albanian regiment of the Ottoman army in Egypt. He led several campaigns in Upper Egypt and restored order inside the army in 1804. The resentment of people over the instability incited a delegation of Cairenes to approach Mohamed Ali and invite him to install himself in power. The Ottoman Porte had to confirm the people's choice. Consequently Mohamed Ali was made a waliWhat does it mean? (viceroyWhat does it mean?) of Egypt. After his takeover, Mohamed Ali began stabilizing the rule. In 1807 Mohamed Ali defeated a British force which tried to invade Egypt on behalf of the Mamluks who wanted to restore their power.

Massacre of Mamluks in 1811
An imaginary scene of the massacre of Mamluks in the citadel.
Mamluks, who proved to be problematic to stability of power, became the main target for Mohamed Ali. In 1811, he invited a number of 470 senior Mamluk BeysWhat does it mean? and Lieutenants to celebrate the investiture of his son Tusun. After leading them to inside the citadel -where the celebrations were to take place- he gave order to slaughter them all. The brutal act exterminated the power of Mamluks forever and gave Mohamed Ali an absolute control over the country.

After eliminating his foes, Mohamed Ali turned to modernize Egypt.
He carried out an education development plan; He sent educational missions abroad particularly to France and invited many European experts. He also approved the establishment of secular schools.
In his reign, a massive upgrade and extension of the irrigation system took place.

Mohamed Ali
Lithograph by David Roberts of Mohamed Ali managing his rule
A government printing press was founded in 1821, which played an important role in creating new intellectual elite.
Medical and technical schools were opened to serve both the army and the people.
Translation of European literature became so common, a pace that enriched the Egyptian literature and knowledge. In 1820, Mohamed Ali approved the development of long-staple cotton plantations. In few years, Mohamed Ali began to sell cotton to European countries, which were in need of raw materials because of the emerged industrial revolution. The crop became Egypt's principle export and money began to flow to Egypt.

He also liberated peasants from the Ottoman tax-farming system that was only at the interest of tax collectors. Moreover, hundreds of plants and fruits were introduced to Egypt for the first time.

Egyptians, for the first time in decades, played an active role in the administration and held many important posts. They were even recruited in the army, something they didn't experience in centuries.
This was among a plan to streamline, modernize the army and change it to a European-style combating force.

The military reforms gave Mohamed Ali extensive capabilities among the international powers.
After eliminating foes, he launched several military campaigns whether internally, to chase the fleeing Mamluks, or externally, to expand his empire.
His expansionist military campaigns were directed by his sons: Tusun, Ibrahim and Ismail.

In 1811, at the request of the Ottoman Porte, Mohamed Ali sent a military campaign commanded by his son, Tusun, to quell the WahhabisWhat does it mean?, who founded a fundamentalist movement that threatened the Ottoman authority.
By 1818, Ibrahim PashaWhat does it mean?, who substituted his brother Tusun in the Arabian Peninsula, defeated the Wahhabis in their capital and took control of Western and Central Arabia. The next year, Ibrahim was made governor of Jeddah by the Ottoman Porte.
On the other hand Ismail was leading a conquest in NubiaWhat does it mean? in 1820-1821.
In 1821, the governorship of Crete was granted to Mohamed Ali.

In a campaign that intended to reassert the Ottoman power in Europe, Ibrahim Pasha led a campaign to Morea (now Peloponnesus) but both the Egyptian and the Ottoman fleets were defeated and sunk in the battle of Navarino by a combined European force which was provoked by the Egyptian-Ottoman victories.

Ibrahim Pacha
Ibrahim Pacha, son of Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali began to challenge the Ottoman power and in 1831 Ibrahim commanded a successful conquest in Syria in which he annexed cities of Acre, Damascus and Tripoli. He also defeated the Ottoman army at Homs and Konya and planned to push on into Anatolia. The Ottoman Empire was likely to fall if Ibrahim advanced further, but at that point the European powers intervened and a convention was reached under which Egypt was granted the control over Syria in return for an annual tribute to the Porte.

In 1839, Ottomans attempted to take back Syria but were overwhelmingly defeated by Ibrahim Pasha. Meanwhile, the Ottoman fleet surrendered to Mohamed Ali at Alexandria.
Once again, the European powers had to intervene as they were alarmed by the new situation. To them an ailing Ottoman Empire was preferable than a rising Egyptian danger.
At the same time, European warships anchored off the Syrian coast while Ibrahim Pasha was facing internal revolts inside Syria.
Ibrahim finally decided to withdraw from the province and an Egyptian similar withdrawal from Arabia followed.

In 1841, the Ottoman-European 'Treaty of London' was clinched by which Syria and Crete were taken from Mohamed Ali's control, the Egyptian army was reduced and the Egyptian navy was forbade from building new ships.
However in the next year, the Ottoman sultan added Sudan to Mohamed Ali's control and made the governorship of Egypt hereditary.

In 1848 Mohamed Ali fell gravely ill and his son, Ibrahim Pasha, was made a wali but died two months later. Abbas, Mohamed Ali's grandson and son of Tusun, succeeded Ibrahim.
Mohamed Ali himself died in 1849 at the age of 80. He was celebrated in history as the founder of modern Egypt.

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