Egypt and the Suez Canal 1882–1900


Map Code: Ax01188

By 1882, increasingly hostile internal opposition towards Egypt’s Khedive Tewfiq had forced him into retreat in Alexandria. Britain and France both had interests in Egypt and the Suez Canal, with many British politicians having personal investments. A combined British and French fleet was sent to Alexandria to monitor the situation, further heightening anti-European sentiment and leading to rioting. After evacuating Alexandria’s European population, Britain issued an ultimatum to the Egyptian commander ‘Urabi who was amassing forces within the city. The British fleet opened fire on Egyptian positions on 11 July and landed troops on 14 July 1882. ‘Urabi then began gathering Egyptian forces through conscription and repelled a British reconnaissance attack at Kafr El Dawwar on 5 August. A subsequent British victory at Tell el-Kebir led to the capture of Cairo on 14 September. Britain would then go on to conduct a long term occupation of Egypt to protect its economic interests in the country.

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