Intervention and Colonization in Africa

By Norman Dwight Harris | Go to book overview

NOTE ON EGYPT

(See Chapter XIII, page 329)

AFTER the outbreak of the great European war in August, 1914, Constantinople became the scene of a lively diplomatic duel between the representatives of the Triple Entente and those of the Germanic Powers. At length, Germany, aided by the influence of Enver Bey and other pro-German sympathizers in the Turkish cabinet and by a skillfully arranged attack upon the Russian Black Sea ports on October 29, drew the Turkish Empire into the war as her ally. The Khedive of Egypt, Abbas Hilmi Pasha, was in the Turkish capital at the time. With his aid and that of the Turkish Sultan and Ulema, a "Holy War" was proclaimed on November 27, against England, France and Russia.

Great Britain replied to this challenge by deposing Abbas Hilmi Pasha on December 18, and appointing his uncle, Prince Hussein Kamil, as ruler of Egypt under the new title of "Sultan." An attempted Turkish invasion of Egypt from Asia Minor failed completely; and Hussein Kamil, a popular, capable and broad-minded man who had been devoting his energies for years to the economic development of his country, ascended the throne without incident amid the plaudits of his people.

Sir Henry MacMahon, a statesman of ability who had served Britain with pronounced success among the Mohammedans of India, arrived at Alexandria on January 9, 1915, as the new High Commissioner; and a new Régime began for Egypt, that promises to be permanent, progressive and beneficent. The British protectorate remains; but it will be possible now to institute, without European interference, many vital legal and political reforms which are needed to free the country from burdensome and hampering customs and conditions. The Turkish suzerainty over Egypt -- always a doubtful advantage or benefit -- has been ended forever; and the financial burden of a large yearly subsidy has been lifted from the land.

It is reasonably certain that no change will occur in the just and liberal policy of Great Britain. For the "aim of His Majesty's Government," says the official order establishing the new Protectorate, "is to secure individual liberty, to promote the spread of education, to further the development of the natural resources of the country, and, in such measure as the degree of enlightenment of public opinion may permit, to associate the governed in the task of government."

-374-

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