An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

9. Egypt

From 1958 to 1961 Egypt was officially the Southern Region of the United Arab Republic, the Northern Region being Syria (5). With 26 million people to Syria's 41/2 million, Egypt was in every way the dominant partner in the union, which had much less effect on it than on Syria.

Egypt's population is crowded into the 4 per cent. of its total area which the Nile irrigates. Although the civilization of the Nile valley is so ancient, many links with the past have been broken by repeated waves of foreign invasion and conquest. Since the early invasions by Arabs who blended with the basic Hamitic stock, Egypt has been Arabic-speaking and predominantly Moslem, though there are over a million Christian Copts, and the chief cities contain large mixed communities originating from other Mediterranean countries such as Greece.

The British, who seized Egypt in 1882 from the already nominal rule of the Ottoman Turks, formally declared a protectorate only in 1914, and granted a qualified independence in 1936. During the second world war they reasserted their control, but afterwards withdrew their troops into the Suez Canal zone, where they hoped to retain a base for Middle East defence. Egyptian nationalists resented and harassed the British garrisons, which were finally withdrawn just before the Suez crisis of 1956 (7).

In 1952 a military coup deposed King Farouk, last of a dynasty founded by an Albanian soldier who had made himself ruler of Egypt and been recognized as such by the Turkish sultan, and overthrew Egypt's parliamentary government, which had been corrupted by cliques of rich men. In 1954 Colonel Abdul Gamal Nasser, the foremost of the young revolutionary officers, became president of the new republic. The ruling army junta attacked the old order of society with land reforms and other measures to improve the lot of the peasants, and sought to develop new industries. Its anti-western nationalism and growing dependence on barter trade with the communist powers (who took Egypt's cotton in return for armaments) made its relations with Russia seem disturbingly close at times. But the Egyptian communists were banned and jailed; the union with Syria in 1958 was largely an anti-communist move; and later there were periods of open antagonism between Cairo and Moscow.

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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