The English Occupation of Egypt

In 1881 , the Egyptian army officers demonstrated their strength and their ability to intimidate the Khedive . The army society included Colonel Ahmad Urabi , who would become the leader of the nationalist movement , and Colonels Ali Fahmi and Abd El-All Hilmi . In 1881 , a link was formed between the Urabists and the National Society . This expanded group took the name 'El Hizb al Watani El Ahli' (the National Popular Party) . A large military demonstration in September 1881 forced the Khedive Tawfik to dismiss his Prime Minister . By the beginning of the year 1882 , Urabi joined the government as undersecretary for war .
In January 1882 , Britain and France sent a joint note declaring their support for the Khedive . In April 1882 , France and Britain sent warships to Alexandria to support the Khedive amidst a turbulent climate , spreading fear of invasion throughout the country . The nationalist movement grew stronger and several popular revolts broke out . However , the Urabi Revolution , in 1882 , ended up with Egypt being occupied by Britain . In July 1882 , the British fleet began bombarding Alexandria . The British installed the khedive in the Ras al Tin Palace . In August , they
invaded the Suez Canal Zone . The decisive battle was fought at Tall El Kabir on September 13 , 1882 . Urabi was caught and banished to Ceylon Island .
The purpose of the invasion had been to restore political stability to Egypt under a government of the Khedive and international controls which were in place to streamline Egyptian financing since 1876 . In fact , Sultan Abd El-Hamid had refused Britain's request to intervene in Egypt against Urabi and to preserve the khedival government . Also , Britain's influence in Istanbul was declining while that of Germany was rising . Moreover , Britain's invasion of Egypt gave it the opportunity to supplant French influence in the country . Finally , Britain was determined to preserve its control over the Suez Canal and to safeguard the vital route to India .
Between 1883 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914 , there were three British consuls in Egypt: Lord Cromer (1883-1907) , Sir John Eldon Gorst (1907-11) , and Lord Herbert Kitchener (1911-14) . In 1883 , being the British administrator , Lord Cromer became the effective ruler of the country . In 1906 , the Denshawai Incident provoked a questioning of British rule in Egypt .

In 1906 , in a village called Denshawai , near the Egyptian Delta , British officers were shooting pigeons for sport but they accidentally wounded an Egyptian woman . Feeling outrage , the villagers surrounded the British officers and , in the confusion , wounded two of them . The officers in response opened fire and fled . Eventually , one of them died of his wounds while returning to camp . The ensuring response from the British was explosive . An Egyptian peasant was beaten to death by British soldiers after the dead officer was found . Fifty-two Egyptians involved in the incident were charged , and four sentenced to death with others sentenced heavily with hard labor or public flogging . National sentiments were increased after the incident and political parties started to form in protest to British rule with the ultimate aim of independence .
In 1907 , Gorst had to face a growing Egyptian nationalism that demanded British evacuation from the country . His attempts to pacify the nationalists went in vain . In 1911 , Kitchener arrived in Egypt . He was already famous for being the man who had avenged the death of General Charles Gordon in Khartoum in 1885 during the Mahdist uprising . Kitchener introduced a new constitution in 1913 which gave the country some representative institutions both
locally and nationally . The Organic Law of 1913 provided for a legislative assembly with an increased number of elected members and expanded powers . The Egyptians' desire to attain self-determination was reinforced when the allies used the country as a barracks during the First World War .
When the Ottoman Empire entered World War I in 1914 on the side of the Central Powers , Martial law was declared in Egypt . The British Government declared Egypt a protectorate , severing the country from the Ottoman Empire . Britain deposed Khedive Abbas II , who had succeeded Khedive Tawfik upon the latter's death in 1892 , because Abbas II , who was in Istanbul when the war broke out , was suspected of pro-German sympathies . Khedive Tawfik was quite obedient to the British colony . Then , Kitchener was recalled to London to serve as minister of war .


One of the the collection of warlike canons on display at El Amein Military Museum



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