The National Movements in Egypt
In September 1918, Egypt made the first moves towards the formation of a wafd, or delegation. This delegation attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 in order to voice its demands for independence. The idea for a wafd had originated among prominent members of the Umma Party, including Lutfi al Sayyid, Saad Zaghlul, Muhammad Mahmoud, Ali Sharawy, and Abd al-Aziz Fahmy. The demanding of independence in international conferences frightened the British of the influence of Saad Zaghlul and his party leading to his deporting to Malta Island.
The popular national sentiment was expressed through 1919 Revolution. The political awareness grew amongst people and it was not confined to men only, since also women participated in political movements led by Safia Zaghlul (wife of Saad Zaghlul), Huda Sharawy (originator of the Egyptian Feminist Union), and Mona Fahmy Wissa. 300 veiled upper-class Egyptian women staged a demonstration against the British Occupation, an event that marked the entrance of Egyptian women into public life. These conscious women and others were the pioneers of woman share in public life in Egypt. Lower-class women also demonstrated in the streets and in the countryside, they engaged in activities like cutting rail lines.
By the end of 1919, Britain sent Milner Commission to Egypt in an attempt to solve the situation. In 1920, negotiations were held between Britain and Egypt in London. However, with Britain's insistence on maintaining control over the Suez Canal Zone, the Egyptian mission returned disappointed. In December 1921, the colonizers imposed martial law and deported Zaghlul to Seychelles Island. In 1922, Britain declared the abolition of the protectorate, the independence of Egypt and the establishment of The Egyptian Kingdom. Sultan Ahmad Fuad became King Fuad I. However, Britain continued to interfere in the Egyptian political life and imposed control over the Canal Zone, Sudan and other Egypt's external properties.
A triangular struggle over domination characterized the years after independence. Such struggle was found among the British, the King and the Nationalist Wafd Party, which had the support of the population. The first Egyptian Constitution was issued in 1923. An electoral law was also issued that introduced a new phase in Egypt's political development represented by the parliamentary elections. In 1924, Saad Zaghlul was elected Prime Minister. Besides the Wafd Party, other political powers emerged at that time, such as the Communist Party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928) with its leader Hassan al-Banna, which eventually became an effective political and religious power. In1936, King Fuad I died and his son, Farouk succeeded him. He signed the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, demanding Britain to evacuate the Egyptian Land of all British troops, except at the Suez Canal, which agreed to be evacuated by 1949.
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