It began with brilliant individuals who dreamed of establishing something greater than themselves, such as their own nation, country, and long-lived dynasty, as it did with all great monarchs from history books. Muhammad Ali was one of those remarkable individuals who was able to realize his ambition.
Muhammad Ali Pasha Origin
Muhammad Ali Pasha (March 4, 1769 – August 2, 1849) began his career as an Ottoman Albanian commander in the Ottoman army and climbed to become Egypt’s ruler. Because of the vast changes to Egypt’s economic, military, and cultural elements, he is recognized as the father and founder of modern Egypt. He utilized his leadership abilities, political savvy, and guile to restore peace, wealth, law, and order to Egypt, which had grown into a genuine powerhouse with global clout at the time.
How did Muhammad Ali Pasha come to be Egypt’s ruler?
In 1798, Egypt was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, but it was also occupied by French forces led by Napoleon Bonaparte, who defeated the Mamluk rulers on the battlefield. However, in 1801 the French forces were forced to withdraw, leaving a vacuum, which Muhammad Ali took advantage of by appointing himself as the Ottoman “Wali” governor of Egypt. He utilized the public’s and religious establishment’s backing to gain more authority and command of the kingdom, as well as to overthrow the Mamluks, who had ruled Egypt for almost 600 years. The Mamluks assembled in the Cairo citadel on March 1, 1181, and Muhammad Ali’s men began slaughtering all sixty-four Mamluks, including twenty-four leaders. He then despatched his troops across Egypt to exterminate any surviving Mamluk forces. He wanted to establish his own dynasty and kingdom independent of the Ottoman Empire, thus he turned Egypt into a regional power and declared himself the natural heir. His dynasty governed Egypt from the year it was founded in 1805 to the Egyptian Revolution in 1953 AD.
Egypt’s Achievements by Muhammad Ali Pasha
He realized that in order to separate Egypt from the Ottoman Empire and make it really independent, he needed a stronger economic and military might. He devised an agricultural strategy in which he cultivated crops only for exports, such as rice, sugarcane, and, most notably, cotton. All of the revenue generated by agricultural output and export went into public works and national projects like irrigation, canals, dams, and barrages. He also dissolved his foreign army and replaced it with a fleet and an army of pure Egyptians led by Turks and taught in combat by French officers. With the construction of Western-style schools and colleges to create physicians, engineers, veterinarians, and other experts, he also launched an educational revolution. To complete his bureaucracy, he dispatched educational missions to Europe, where Europeans were taught contemporary techniques. He ushered in the Egyptian industrial period by constructing factories to produce sugar, glass, and textiles that could compete with European products, as well as ships and weaponry for Egypt’s new army and navy. His grand plan had a dark side, as he introduced extra taxes to pay for all of his expensive initiatives, causing him to lose a lot of popular favor. His monopolization of international commerce grew as a result of his over-control of agriculture, which led to a strained relationship and exchange with Britain, which viewed Egypt as a danger to their economic clout. In 1831, he attempted to expand his kingdom by invading Syria but was defeated by Britain, France, and Russia. Muhammad Ali had little option but to accept the 1841 treaty, which required him to relinquish all acquired lands save Sudan in exchange for the hereditary governorship of Egypt for life.
The Legacy of Muhammad Ali Pasha
In 1848, he transferred Egypt’s sovereignty to his son Ibrahim, who died soon after. He died in 1849. He was able to leave a lasting legacy, which can be seen at Cairo’s famed Muhammad Ali mosque. Egypt became a great nation during his leadership as a result of a sequence of fast economic development and modernization, and he joined the world community as an independent state rather than a province of the Ottoman Empire. He established a formidable army based on scientific principles, exposed Egypt to European economic and trade opportunities, and, most significantly, improved education to European standards. He transformed Egypt into an industrial nation, giving birth to what is now known as modern Egypt.
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