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EGYPT

Egypt Through the Ages

Bankruptcy and Foreign Control

   

 

After the death of Muhammad Ali in 1849, Egypt came increasingly under European influence. His son, Said Pasha, made some attempt to modernize the government, but left a huge debt when he died. His successor, Ismail Pasha, increased the national debt by borrowing lavishly from European bankers to develop the country and pay for the Suez Canal, which was opened in 1869. These spendthrift rulers drove the country into bankruptcy and ultimately into the control of their British and French creditors. In 1876 an Anglo-French commission took charge of Egypt's finances, and in 1879 the sultan deposed Ismail in favor of his son Tawfik Pasha. Army officers, disgusted by the government's weakness, then led a rebellion to end foreign control. Tawfik appealed to the British for help, and they occupied Egypt in 1882.

 


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