/ee"jipt/, n.
1. Arab Republic of. a republic in NE Africa. 64,791,891; 386,198 sq. mi. (1,000,252 sq. km). Cap.: Cairo. Arabic, Misr. Formerly (1958-71), United Arab Republic.
2. an ancient kingdom in NE Africa: divided into the Nile Delta (Lower Egypt) and the area from Cairo S to the Sudan (Upper Egypt).

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Introduction Egypt
Background: Nominally independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty following World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile river in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to ready the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure. Geography Egypt -
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip
Geographic coordinates: 27 00 N, 30 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,001,450 sq km land: 995,450 sq km water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico
Land boundaries: total: 2,665 km border countries: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
Coastline: 2,450 km
Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Climate: desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
Terrain: vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Qattara Depression - 133 m highest point: Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc
Land use: arable land: 2.85% permanent crops: 0.47% other: 96.68% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 33,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms Environment - current issues: agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, shortest sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees People Egypt
Population: 70,712,345 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.96% (male 12,292,185; female 11,721,469) 15-64 years: 62.18% (male 22,190,637; female 21,775,504) 65 years and over: 3.86% (male 1,191,091; female 1,541,459) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.66% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 24.41 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 7.58 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/ female total population: 1.02 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 58.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.05 years female: 66.24 years (2002 est.) male: 61.96 years
Total fertility rate: 2.99 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.02% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Egyptian(s) adjective: Egyptian
Ethnic groups: Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%
Religions: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 51.4% male: 63.6% female: 38.8% (1995 est.) Government Egypt
Country name: conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt conventional short form: Egypt local short form: Misr former: United Arab Republic (with Syria) local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al- Arabiyah
Government type: republic
Capital: Cairo Administrative divisions: 26 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrah, Al Fayyum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah, Al Isma'iliyah, Al Jizah, Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah, Al Qalyubiyah, Al Wadi al Jadid, Ash Sharqiyah, As Suways, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id, Dumyat, Janub Sina', Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina', Suhaj
Independence: 28 February 1922 (from UK)
National holiday: Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)
Constitution: 11 September 1971
Legal system: based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions); accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK (since 14 October 1981) head of government: Prime Minister Atef Mohammed ABEID (since 5 October 1999) cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president elections: president nominated by the People's Assembly for a six-year term, the nomination must then be validated by a national, popular referendum; national referendum last held 26 September 1999 (next to be held NA October 2005); prime minister appointed by the president election results: national referendum validated President MUBARAK's nomination by the People's Assembly to a fourth term
Legislative branch: bicameral system consists of the People's Assembly or Majlis al-Sha'b (454 seats; 444 elected by popular vote, 10 appointed by the president; members serve five-year terms) and the Advisory Council or Majlis al- Shura - which functions only in a consultative role (264 seats; 176 elected by popular vote, 88 appointed by the president; members serve NA-year terms) elections: People's Assembly - three-phase voting - last held 19 October, 29 October, 8 November 2000 (next to be held NA November 2005); Advisory Council - last held 7 June 1995 (next to be held NA) election results: People's Assembly - percent of vote by party - NDP 88%, independents 8%, opposition 4%; seats by party - NDP 398, NWP 7, Tagammu 6, Nasserists 2, LSP 1, independents 38, undecided 2; Advisory Council - percent of vote by party - NDP 99%, independents 1%; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court Political parties and leaders: Nasserist Arab Democratic Party or Nasserists [Dia' al-din DAWUD]; National Democratic Party or NDP [President Mohammed Hosni MUBARAK] - governing party; National Progressive Unionist Grouping or Tagammu [Khalid MUHI AL-DIN]; New Wafd Party or NWP [No'man GOMA]; Socialist Liberal Party or LSP [leader NA] note: formation of political parties must be approved by the government Political pressure groups and despite a constitutional ban against
leaders: religious-based parties, the technically illegal Muslim Brotherhood constitutes MUBARAK's potentially most significant political opposition; MUBARAK tolerated limited political activity by the Brotherhood for his first two terms, but moved more aggressively since then to block its influence; civic society groups are sanctioned, but constrained in practical terms; trade unions and professional associations are officially sanctioned International organization ABEDA, ACC, ACCT, AfDB, AFESD, AL,
participation: AMF, BSEC (observer), CAEU, CCC, EBRD, ECA, ESCWA, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM, OAPEC, OAS (observer), OAU, OIC, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTAET, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador M. Nabil FAHMY chancery: 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008 consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco FAX: [1] (202) 244-4319 telephone: [1] (202) 895-5440 Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador C.
US: David WELCH (since 3 Aug. 2001) embassy: 5 Latin America St., Garden City, Cairo mailing address: Unit 64900, APO AE 09839-4900 telephone: [20] (2) 797-3300 FAX: [20] (2) 797-3200
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with the national emblem (a shield superimposed on a golden eagle facing the hoist side above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band; also similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars, and to the flag of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band Economy Egypt -
Economy - overview: Egypt improved its macroeconomic performance throughout most of the last decade by following IMF advice on fiscal, monetary, and structural reform policies. As a result, Cairo managed to tame inflation, slash budget deficits, and attract more foreign investment. In the past three years, however, the pace of reform has slackened, and excessive spending on national infrastructure projects has widened budget deficits again. Lower foreign exchange earnings since 1998 resulted in pressure on the Egyptian pound and periodic dollar shortages. Monetary pressures have increased since 11 September 2001 because of declines in tourism, Suez canal tolls, and exports, and Cairo has devalued the pound several times in the past year. The development of a gas export market is a major bright spot for future growth prospects.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $258 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2001 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 14% industry: 30% services: 56% (2001) Population below poverty line: 22.9% (FY95/96 est.) Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: 4.4%
percentage share: highest 10%: 25% (1995) Distribution of family income - Gini 28.9 (1995)
index: Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (2001)
Labor force: 20.6 million (2001 est.) Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 29%, industry 22%, services 49% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 12% (2001 est.)
Budget: revenues: $21.5 billion expenditures: $26.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.9 billion (2001)
Industries: textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metals Industrial production growth rate: 1.8% (2001 est.) Electricity - production: 69.592 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 77.1% hydro: 22.9% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 64.721 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables; cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats
Exports: $7.1 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil and petroleum products, cotton, textiles, metal products, chemicals
Exports - partners: EU 43% (Italy 18%, Germany 4%, UK 3.2%), US 15%, Middle East 11%, Asian countries 9%, (2000)
Imports: $164 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, wood products, fuels
Imports - partners: EU 36% (Germany 8%, Italy 8%, France 6%), US 18%, Asian countries 13%, , Middle East 6% (2000)
Debt - external: $29 billion (2001 est.) Economic aid - recipient: ODA, $2.25 billion (1999)
Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)
Currency code: EGP
Exchange rates: Egyptian pounds per US dollar - market rate - 4.5000 (January 2002), 4.4900 (2001), 3.6900 (2000), 3.4050 (1999), 3.3880 (1998), 3.3880 (1997)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June Communications Egypt Telephones - main lines in use: 3,971,500 (December 1998) Telephones - mobile cellular: 380,000 (1999)
Telephone system: general assessment: large system; underwent extensive upgrading during 1990s and is reasonably modern; Internet access and cellular service are available domestic: principal centers at Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta are connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat; 5 coaxial submarine cables; tropospheric scatter to Sudan; microwave radio relay to Israel; a participant in Medarabtel and a signatory to Project Oxygen (a global submarine fiber-optic cable system) Radio broadcast stations: AM 42 (plus 15 repeaters), FM 14, shortwave 3 (1999)
Radios: 20.5 million (1997) Television broadcast stations: 98 (September 1995)
Televisions: 7.7 million (1997)
Internet country code: .eg Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 50 (2000)
Internet users: 560,000 (2001) Transportation Egypt
Railways: total: 4,955 km standard gauge: 4,955 km 1,435- m gauge (42 km electrified; 1,560 km double-track) (2000 est.)
Highways: total: 64,000 km paved: 50,000 km unpaved: 14,000 km (1996)
Waterways: 3,500 km note: including the Nile, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in the delta; Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches), used by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 16.1 m of water
Pipelines: crude oil 1,171 km; petroleum products 596 km; natural gas 460 km
Ports and harbors: Alexandria, Al Ghardaqah, Aswan, Asyut, Bur Safajah, Damietta, Marsa Matruh, Port Said, Suez
Merchant marine: total: 175 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,331,186 GRT/1,987,964 DWT ships by type: bulk 23, cargo 58, container 2, liquefied gas 1, passenger 61, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 13, short-sea passenger 3 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience:, Denmark 1, Germany 1, Greece 6, Lebanon 3, Monaco 1, Ukraine 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 92 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 72 over 3,047 m: 13 2,438 to 3,047 m: 37 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 3 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 17 Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 20 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 under 914 m: 10 (2001) 914 to 1,523 m: 7
Heliports: 2 (2001) Military Egypt
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Command Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age (2002 est.) Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 19,030,030 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 12,320,902 (2002
service: est.) Military manpower - reaching military males: 712,983 (2002 est.)
age annually: Military expenditures - dollar figure: $4.04 billion (FY99/00) Military expenditures - percent of 4.1% (FY99/00)
GDP: Transnational Issues Egypt Disputes - international: Egypt and Sudan each claim to administer triangular areas which extend north and south of the 1899 Treaty boundary along the 22nd Parallel (in the north, the "Hala'ib Triangle", is the largest with 20,580 sq km); in 2001, the two states agreed to discuss an "area of integration" and withdraw military forces in the overlapping areas
Illicit drugs: transit point for Southwest Asian and Southeast Asian heroin and opium moving to Europe, Africa, and the US; transit stop for Nigerian couriers

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Country, Middle East.

Area: 385,210 sq mi (997,690 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 66,341,000. Capital: Cairo. The people are mainly a homogeneous mix of Hamitic and Semitic lineages. Language: Arabic (official). Religions: Islam (official), mostly Sunnite; Coptic Christianity (minority). Currency: Egyptian pound. Egypt occupies a crossroads between Africa, Europe, and Asia. The majority of its land is in the arid western and eastern deserts, separated by the country's dominant feature, the Nile River. The Nile forms a flat-bottomed valley, generally 5–10 mi (8–16 km) wide, that fans out into the densely populated delta lowlands north of Cairo. The Nile valley (which begins in Upper Egypt) and delta (Lower Egypt), along with scattered oases, support all of Egypt's agriculture and have virtually all of its population. It has a developing, mainly socialist, partly free-enterprise economy based primarily on industry, including petroleum production, and agriculture. It is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, while the head of government is the prime minister. It is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations. Upper and Lower Egypt were united с 3000 BC, beginning a period of cultural achievement and a line of native rulers that lasted nearly 3,000 years. Egypt's ancient history is divided into the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms, spanning 31 dynasties and lasting to 332 BC. The Pyramids date from the Old Kingdom, the cult of Osiris and the refinement of sculpture from the Middle Kingdom, and the era of empire and the Exodus of the Jews from the New Kingdom. An Assyrian invasion occurred in the 7th century BC, and the Persian Achaemenids established a dynasty in 525 BC. The invasion by Alexander the Great in 332 BC inaugurated the Macedonian Ptolemaic period and the ascendancy of Alexandria as a centre of learning and Hellenistic culture. The Romans held Egypt from 30 BC to AD 395; later it was placed under the control of the Byzantine Empire. After the Roman emperor Constantine granted tolerance to the Christians in 313, a formal Egyptian (Coptic) church emerged. Egypt came under Arab control in 642 and ultimately was transformed into an Arabic-speaking state, with Islam as the dominant religion. Held by the Umayyad and Abbāsid dynasties, in 969 it became the centre of the Fātimid dynasty. In 1250 the Mamlūk dynasty established a state that lasted until 1517, when Egypt fell to the Ottoman Empire. An economic and cultural decline ensued. Egypt became a British protectorate in 1914 and received nominal independence in 1922, when a constitutional monarchy was established. A group of army officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the monarchy in 1952. A union with Syria to form the United Arab Republic (1958–61) failed. Following three wars with Israel (see Arab-Israeli wars), Egypt, under Nasser's successor, Anwar el-Sādāt, made peace with the Jewish state, thus alienating many fellow Arab countries. Sādāt was assassinated by Islamic extremists in 1981 and was succeeded by Hosnī Mubārak, who continued to negotiate peace. Although Egypt took part in the coalition against Iraq during the Persian Gulf War (1991), it later began peace overtures with countries in the region, including Iraq.

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▪ 2009

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 74,805,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif

      Egypt experienced an unprecedented surge in 2008 in the political involvement of its citizens, whose activities flouted limitations imposed since 1981 by the state of emergency. This was manifested in widespread protests, ranging from food riots to confrontations about environmentally hazardous projects, and support for the breakout of the besieged population of Gaza into Egypt.

      In response to public outcry, the government delayed until 2009 the submission for parliamentary approval of a draft antiterrorism law to replace the 27-year-old state of emergency. Leaked parts of the draft raised public concern and brought condemnation by human rights activists. The government-appointed National Council for Human Rights criticized police torture practices, demanded full disclosure by the Ministry of the Interior, and denounced the trial of civilians before military tribunals as unconstitutional. The report also rejected the proposed restrictions on television satellite channels by license regulation. The independent Egyptian Organization for Human Rights accused the government of having manipulated incidents of violence to legalize the perpetuation of the state of emergency and documented in its annual report 226 cases of torture and 93 deaths in police custody in the previous seven years.

      Sparring continued between the government and the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the best-organized opposition group in the country. A military tribunal handed down various prison sentences to 25 leading members of the Brotherhood on charges of having funded the group's activities. The sentencing ignited student demonstrations in five universities, as the condemned included some university professors. An administrative court, however, ruled that military tribunals did not have the jurisdiction to try civilians. The presidency appealed the ruling, and a hearing was pending. In the meantime, the Interior Ministry began the release in March of some 500 pro- Islamic detainees; compensation also started to be paid to another 800 of an estimated 15,000 detainees who had won monetary awards after having endured years in detention.

      A strike on April 6 by textile workers in the Nile delta city of Al-Mahallah al-Kubra, the hub of Egypt's textile industry, marked a watershed in civil political action. An estimated 25,000 workers and thousands of irate supporters staged a preannounced strike to protest the government's failure to honour a promise it had made in September 2007 for an improved compensation package. Antiriot squads in full gear supported by thousands of security forces clashed with demonstrators as they went on a rampage, burning tires and pelting shops, vehicles, public transport, security forces' trucks, and a police station. Teargas bombs, rubber bullets, and batons were used to break up the demonstrations, which had been organized through Internet announcements. An estimated 111 persons were injured, including 41 security personnel, and a 15-year-old schoolboy was killed by stray bullets. In December an emergency State Security court sentenced 22 persons to prison terms of three to five years and acquitted 27 others. Poverty, rising food prices, scarcity of subsidized bread, unemployment, the poor quality of health services and education, and charges of nepotism and rampant corruption were among the many grievances in a country in which inflation reached 25.6% (food price inflation 35%) in August, unmitigated by a 30% increase in the salaries of public workers and 7% GDP growth. In October inflation was revised downward to 21%.

      Nationwide elections were organized on April 8 to fill 52,000 local council seats. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) won 44,000 seats uncontested. The Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the elections, and a minority of party-affiliated or independent candidates filled other seats.

      In August the historic Shura (Consultative) Council building (constructed in the mid-19th century in downtown Cairo) was gutted by fire, which was attributed to an electrical short circuit. Some documents were destroyed by the blaze, which also partially damaged the neighbouring People's Assembly (parliament) building. Another fire, also reportedly ignited by a short circuit, destroyed the National Theatre, built in 1921. In September a 1,000-ton loose boulder from the Muqattam plateau, east of Cairo, fell and crushed part of the shantytown below, killing 107 persons and setting off clashes between angry crowds and government security forces.

      In a surprise development, 11 European tourists and 8 Egyptian guides were kidnapped on September 19 while on a little-trodden desert trek at Jebel Oweinat in southwestern Egypt. Unidentified kidnappers asked for a ransom of €6 million ($9 million). Ten days later all hostages were safely released by their kidnappers.

Ayman M. El-Amir

▪ 2008

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 73,358,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif

      Egypt's prospects for more vigorous economic growth were mixed in 2007, and restrictions on the exercise of human rights and freedom of speech increased. The government intensified its campaign to contain political dissent led by the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group in the parliament, and initiated a series of arrests and a freeze on the group's funding sources.

      In March Pres. Hosni Mubarak called for a referendum to amend 34 articles of the constitution. Despite stiff resistance by opposition parties (who boycotted the vote) and professional unions, all amendments passed easily (75.9%), but voter turnout was low (the official number was 27%). The controversial amendments included a new antiterrorism law, which would replace the 1981 emergency law and provide the police with increased powers of arrest and surveillance; a new election law that would eliminate the need for judicial monitoring of each ballot box during elections; and a ban on the creation of political parties based on religion (widely viewed as aimed at the Muslim Brotherhood). Most of the amendments were seen as expanding the powers of the presidency.

      Elections and appointments to renew half the seats of the 264-member Shura (consultative) Council were held in June amid charges by human rights monitors and independent electoral observers that they were barred from carrying out their duties because of heavy interference by security forces. The winning candidates came predominantly from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). President Mubarak appointed 44 selected members to the Council, which serves as the upper house of the parliament. No independent candidates were elected or selected from the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Four editors in chief of opposition newspapers were convicted, fined, and sentenced to jail terms of one year each for having insulted “the symbols of the NDP” by publishing rumours about the health of President Mubarak; the court ruled that the reports tended to insult and degrade him. A fifth editor was fined and sentenced to two years' imprisonment on charges of offending and undermining the prestige of the judiciary and circulating false rumours about Mubarak's health. The sentences, which were being appealed, raised a furor among journalists, and 22 opposition and independent newspapers staged a strike on October 7 to protest the judgment and other journalists' arrests. The government-appointed National Council for Human Rights called for the implementation of Mubarak's pledge to the 2004 General Conference of Journalists to abolish convictions of journalists for freedom of expression. The U.S. issued a statement that expressed deep concern about the imminent closure of the Association of Human Rights Legal Aid as well as the conviction and sentencing of several newspaper editors. Meanwhile, an Egyptian administrative court rejected the plea of jailed opposition leader Ayman Nour for release on the grounds of poor health.

      Though government economic indicators showed an inflow of foreign investment ($11.1 billion for 2006–07) and a decline in unemployment (from 10.9% in 2005 to 9.5% in 2006) and the rate of inflation (from 12.8% in March to 8.5% in June), there was a 10.5% rise in the cost of living, with retail food prices soaring 16.4% in the cities and 19.3% in rural areas. The balance of payments showed an estimated $5 billion surplus, and the budget deficit was reduced by 5.5% of GDP. In the first quarter of 2007, economic growth registered 7.1%, compared with 6.9% during 2005–06. Nonetheless, 14 million Egyptians, representing 20% of the population, were classified as poor.

 On the cultural side, during excavations at the western desert oasis of Siwa, Egyptian archaeologists discovered what could be the oldest footprint in history, possibly dating back two million years. Egyptologists also confirmed the identity of the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. The broken tooth that they found in a wooden box associated with Hatshepsut fit in the jaw socket of the mummy.

Ayman M. El-Amir

▪ 2007

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 72,034,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif

      In 2006 Ayman Nour, the leader of Egypt's al-Ghad (“Tomorrow”) Party, who had been incarcerated on Dec. 5, 2005, continued serving a five-year term on charges that he had falsified documents when he petitioned to establish the party in October 2004. In May 2006 the Court of Cassation upheld Nour's conviction, suggesting to many that the Egyptian judiciary had ceased to act independently of government directives. Nour and his liberal supporters were greeted by many Egyptians as the possible nucleus of a political alternative to the corrupt and authoritarian regime of Pres. Hosni Mubarak. Nour's imprisonment seemed calculated to remove the possibility that Nour could successfully challenge and even defeat Mubarak's son Gamal, who was being groomed to run in the next presidential elections.

      The Ghad Party had been formed by members of the New Wafd Party who were disappointed by the antiliberalism of party chairman Numan Gomaa. The New Wafd leaders decided on Jan. 18, 2006, to oust Juma from all of his positions in the party. In April he tried unsuccessfully to take over the party headquarters by force, which led to clashes that resulted in injuries to 23 persons and the arrest and jailing of Gomaa and 14 of his supporters. The New Wafd Party elected Mahmud Abaza, a highly regarded liberal democrat, as its new leader.

      The government continued to use the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which increased its representation in the parliament from 17 to 88 deputies, as a bogeyman to block democratic change. While attending the World Economic Forum session in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt, Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Abu al-Ghayt claimed that a push for democracy could lead to “antimodernity” trends, by which he meant the Muslim Brotherhood.

 As Muslim fundamentalism was allowed to flourish, tensions between Egypt's Christian Coptic and Muslim populations increased. On April 15 three Coptic churches in Alexandria were attacked by knife-wielding Muslim fundamentalists; one worshipper was killed, and 17 were wounded. Sectarian clashes raged for two days afterward. The official explanation of the attacks—that they were the work of one mentally deranged person—was ridiculed by Coptic leaders and intellectuals.

      On April 24, the eve of the anniversary of the return by Israel of the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, the Red Sea resort area of Dahab was targeted for a terrorist incident. The attack was conducted by al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, an organization that was believed to be linked to al-Qaeda and whose members were recruited from disgruntled Bedouin tribesmen of the Sinai. Almost simultaneously, three coordinated suicide bombers attacked busy neighbourhoods frequented by Egyptian and European tourists, killing 30 persons and injuring more than 100. The Egyptian authorities managed to kill the group's commander, Nasr Khamis el-Malahi, and six others. Terrorist activities notwithstanding, the World Economic Forum convened as scheduled on May 20–22.

      The great Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz (Mahfouz, Naguib ) died on August 30 at the age of 94. (See Obituaries.) Mahfouz epitomized the golden age of liberalism in Egypt, which extended from the end of World War I until the military revolution of 1952.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2006

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 70,457,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif

      Egypt in 2005 saw, for the first time, the emergence of secular opposition to the regime of its authoritarian Pres. Hosni Mubarak. The Kifaya (“Enough”) movement and the al-Ghad (“Tomorrow”) Party, both of which had emerged in late 2004, became forces for mobilizing the secular opposition. Hitherto the main opposition to Mubarak had been the Muslim Brotherhood. This militant Islamist movement was tolerated because its very radicalism made Mubarak and his allies seem to be the only reasonable choice to govern the country. Fear of this new popularism prompted the authorities to arrest al-Ghad leader Ayman Nur on January 29. He was detained on fabricated charges that he had falsified petitions for the legalization of al-Ghad in October 2004. Nur was kept in prison for six weeks and was released only because of foreign pressure on the Egyptian authorities. Washington's call for democratic reforms forced Mubarak for the first time to allow multiple candidates in the presidential election and permit political opposition parties and organizations to demonstrate publicly. Some even shouted anti-Mubarak slogans; in one Kifaya rally on February 21, antiregime demonstrators chanted, “A quarter of a century in power is enough” and “Mubarak, admit you're a despot.”

      Many members of the Coptic Christian minority (estimated at 10 million) supported the Kifaya Movement and the al-Ghad Party, but Pope Shenuda III, the head of the Coptic Christian community, publicly professed his support for Mubarak's reelection bid, probably to deflect possible further government pressure on the Copts. Some members of the Christian community were critical of his stance, however, arguing that the head of the Coptic Church should not play a political role.

      The presidential elections took place on September 7, and Mubarak won 88.5% of the ballots, while Nur, his main challenger, got 7.6% The elections, however, were neither free nor fair. Television, radio, and most print periodicals were controlled by the regime, and opposition parties were prevented from early campaigning and establishing branches in the provinces.

      President Mubarak continued to be active in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. On February 8 in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Shaykh, he hosted a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Pres. Mahmoud Abbas at which a cease-fire between the two sides was declared after four years of violence. A new Egyptian ambassador, Muhammad Assem Ibrahim, arrived in Israel in March after the post had stood vacant for four years.

      On July 23 a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda targeted Sharm al-Shaykh—chosen undoubtedly because it was a major tourist resort and was the site of the Israeli-Palestinian peace summit. More than 60 persons were killed in three coordinated operations. A few days later in a videotaped message, the Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second in command, attacked American policy in the Middle East.

      Intellectual life in Egypt, too, was reinvigorated by the Kifaya Movement because it had dared to break the government's lock on freedom of thought. Hundreds of intellectuals organized themselves into an organization called Writers for Change, which actively worked against the Mubarak regime. Continuing tensions between Christian Copts and Muslims came to a head on October 21 when more than a thousand Muslims demonstrated outside the Coptic St. Gergis Church in a poor neighbourhood of Alexandria in protest against the DVD release of a play that they claimed was offensive to Muslims. The play, which was entitled I Was Blind but Now I Can See, had been performed at the church; it depicted a poor Christian university student who converts to Islam when a group of Muslim men promise him money. When he becomes disillusioned and decides to return to his original faith, he is threatened with physical violence.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2005

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 69,261,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Atef Ebeid and, from July 14, Ahmad Nazif

      A 34-member Egyptian cabinet presided over by the new prime minister, Ahmad Nazif, was officially sworn in on July 14, 2004. Many of the 14 new members had been handpicked by Gamal Mubarak, Pres. Hosni Mubarak's son. Nazif promised that his government would encourage the private sector to absorb the legions of unemployed in order to relieve pressure on the bloated public sector. The new government was especially keen on training Egyptians in information technology.

      President Mubarak sought to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Egyptians named as their envoy ʿUmar Sulayman, the director of the Egyptian Intelligence Services, and he made several visits and met with Israeli and Palestinian officials. In turn, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quray made six visits to Egypt during February–September 2004. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also loomed large during Mubarak's visit to the United States and his meeting with Pres. George W. Bush on April 12. Egypt volunteered to train up to 30,000 Palestinian security personnel to police the Gaza Strip after the expected Israeli withdrawal. Egypt canceled its participation in the ceremonies in Israel marking the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of March 26, 1979, after the assassination in Gaza by Israeli forces of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the Hamas spiritual leader. (See Obituaries (Yassin, Sheikh Ahmed ).)

      In mid-May Egyptian authorities arrested 54 prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood after the militant Islamist group mounted well-attended rallies following the assassinations of Yassin and another Palestinian leader, ʿAbd al-ʿAziz Rantisi. The Muslim Brotherhood was the most powerful opposition movement in Egypt, claiming more than two million members organized into thousands of clandestine cells. Its leader was Muhammad Mahdi ʿAkif, who had earlier been in charge of the organization's covert activities.

      The annual convention of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) was held in Cairo September 21–23. Gamal Mubarak, who chaired the powerful NDP Policies Committee, seemed clearly poised to succeed his father, whose term as president would expire in October 2005. A huge billboard showing Gamal welcoming home the Egyptian Olympic medalists was erected before the NDP convention in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Criticism by the opposition press finally got the billboard taken down but not before the message had been conveyed. The opposition held a simultaneous conference to counter the NDP gathering; it called for multicandidate presidential elections and the end of the emergency laws, which had been in force in Egypt since 1981.

      Following the death of Fuad Serageddin, the leader of the New Wafd Party in August 2000, his successor, Numan Gomaa, had changed the party's liberal, democratic philosophy into a Nasserite-Islamist ideology. Early in 2004 former Wafdists founded a new party called al-Ghad (“Tomorrow”) to regain the liberal and democratic ideals that had characterized Wafdism since its inception in 1918. The president of the new party was Ayman Nour, and the top three officers were all former members of the parliament. Though the Political Parties Court failed to approve the standing of the new party in September, it approved al-Ghad's formation in November.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2004

997,690 sq km (385,210 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 68,185,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Atef Ebeid

      On March 18, 2003, Saʿd al-Din Ibrahim, a professor of sociology and prominent human rights activist, was exonerated and declared innocent by the highest court of appeals, the Court of Cassation, of having illegally received funds from the European Union, embezzled the funds, and tarnished Egypt's image abroad. In 2001 he had been sentenced to seven years' hard labour, but he was granted a retrial in 2002. Ibrahim, a particularly harsh government critic, had spent 14 months in prison.

      In September Pres. Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) convened its first annual conference (hitherto its general conferences were held every few years). Mubarak's 40-year-old son, Gamal Mubarak, head of the NDP's Policies Secretariat, had a high profile in the conference—perceived by many as a clear indication that the president was preparing him for succession.

      Economic issues loomed large at the NDP conference. Since the Egyptian pound was floated in January, the prices of basic goods had risen by 40%. To remedy the situation, the chairman of the NDP's economics committee proposed to introduce to the parliament a number of legislative bills, including ones addressing consumer protection, tax reform, and monopolies. Following the conference, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights issued a statement demanding that the president be chosen not in a single-candidate referendum, the current system, but in a multicandidate election.

      The opposition political parties were skeptical of the promised reforms by the NDP, and opposition leaders called for the abolition of the state of emergency that had granted the government a wide scope of powers. Ibrahim Dusuqi Abaza, a prominent member of the liberal opposition New Wafd Party, expressed succinctly: “Nothing will be done in this country if we don't advance political reform. We need democracy to control the economy and to guide the economy so it can take off.”

      On the foreign-affairs front, Mubarak accepted the invitation of French Pres. Jacques Chirac to attend—along with other heads of state from Africa, Latin America, and Asia—the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations in Évian. The subject matter at the June 1 summit ranged from problems pertaining to economic and social development to public health issues, particularly AIDS.

      In an effort to prepare the groundwork for the resumption of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, President Mubarak hosted an Arab-U.S. summit in Sharm al-Shaykh on June 3. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah II of Jordan, King Hamad ibn Isa al-Khalifah of Bahrain, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (see Biographies (Abbas, Mahmoud )) met with U.S. Pres. George W. Bush to show their support for the road map for peace.

      After a hiatus of two years, the only peace movement that united the Israelis and the Arabs, the International Alliance for Arab-Israeli Peace, had its third meeting on May 8–9 in Copenhagen. One hundred Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, and Egyptians met. In a statement issued by the group, the declaration was made that “peace in the Middle East is not only possible but inevitable.” The head of the Egyptian delegation, former ambassador Adel al-Adawi, explained the reason for the resumption of the group's activities: “We can't leave those who are against peace to talk freely and loudly, while we just wait and do nothing.”

      The Egyptian minister of culture on June 8 denounced the placing of a sculpture of the head of Queen Nefertiti on an almost-naked statue in the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Ger. He called it a “shameful” act and asked for the return of this unique artifact to its home country.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2003

997,690 sq km (385,210 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 66,341,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Atef Ebeid

      Egypt began the year 2002 with a devalued currency. On Dec. 13, 2001, the government devalued the Egyptian pound 7.8%—to E£ 4.50 to the U.S. dollar—in an effort to boost the economy and help the tourist industry, which had been hit hard in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.

      Pres. Hosni Mubarak visited the U.S. and met Pres. George W. Bush on March 5. In a joint news conference, Mubarak proposed holding a summit in Egypt between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Mubarak urged the U.S. to play a more active role in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, and he also supported the peace initiative proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. (See Biographies (Abdullah, Crown Prince ).)

      President Mubarak was active in conferring with his Arab allies. He met Jordanian King Abdullah II on April 21 and again on June 19, the Saudi crown prince on May 11 in the Egyptian resort Sharm al-Shaykh, and Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad on May 11, June 19, and September 30. All these deliberations focused primarily on the revival of the dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

      To show Egypt's support for the Palestinians, Egyptian Minister of Information Safwat al-Sharif announced on April 3 that Egypt had suspended all contacts with Israel with the exception of diplomatic communications needed to help the Palestinians. When U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Egypt on April 9, large demonstrations in support of the Palestinians were sanctioned by the Egyptian government to send a message to the Bush administration.

      On June 7–8 President Mubarak met President Bush at Camp David, Maryland, and pressed him to set a timetable for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Mubarak stated that he did not expect that “anti-Israeli violence” could be stopped until some tangible progress had been made toward Palestinian statehood. Mubarak expressed the urgency of the matter by saying, “We have to exert or make the maximum effort to solve the Palestinian problem, to calm down the situation.” Without that, he warned, expanding the war on terrorism to Iraq would be “very dangerous.”

      The case of Saʿd al-Din Ibrahim—a professor at the American University in Cairo who had been sentenced in May 2001 to seven years' hard labour for having accepted money from overseas without obtaining government approval—continued to capture the limelight. His retrial and that of 27 staff members from his Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies began on April 27, 2002. On July 29 the 27 members were convicted of bribery and fraud charges and were sentenced to varying terms of one to three years in jail. Ibrahim was again sentenced to seven years of hard labour for having defamed Egypt and accepted foreign research funds without government approval. The U.S. Department of State expressed its deep disappointment, but its reaction was mild and ineffective. Leading foreign-affairs New York Times analyst Thomas Friedman (see Biographies (Friedman, Thomas L. )) took the Department of State to task and stated that it should have expressed its “outrage” for the Egyptian government's jailing of an innocent academic, human rights activist, and American citizen. Though Egypt was dependent on the U.S. for $2 billion in military and economic aid, the government's conviction of Ibrahim seemed intended to show the Egyptian people that their government was not subservient to the U.S. It appeared that President Mubarak was basking in this defiance. His foreign minister, Ahmad Maher, stated that the U.S. protest would not alter the verdict against Ibrahim, and he proudly announced, “Egypt … will not bow to pressure.”

      A new TV show, a 41-part series called Horseman Without a Horse, began airing in November. It told the story of an Egyptian journalist who struggled against British occupation and Zionism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the series was partly inspired by the forged “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Mubarak's spokesman, Nabil Osman, insisted that it was not anti-Jewish. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, however, declared that a disclaimer should appear before the airing of the show, making it clear that the Protocols were forged and that “different forms of expression should not be abused to propagate events that might incite hatred.” It was the first time that a domestic group had leveled criticism against the government.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2002

997,690 sq km (385,210 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 65,239,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Atef Ebeid

      During 2001 Pres. Hosni Mubarak sought to play a mediatory role in the Middle East peace process. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat made numerous visits to Egypt, but the violence that had begun when the Palestinian intifadah erupted and the subsequent election of Ariel Sharon (see Biographies (Sharon, Ariel )) as prime minister of Israel rendered all Egyptian mediatory efforts futile.

      Mubarak made his annual visit to the United States in early April. The deadlocked peace process and economic relations were uppermost on his agenda. Egypt's ties with the U.S. were vital if only for the continued $2 billion in military and economic aid Egypt received.

      In late February Egypt hosted a summit of the Developing Eight Group, or D-8, which included Egypt, Nigeria, and six non-Arab Muslim Asian countries. The leaders called for greater cooperation in international communication and set guidelines for a doubling of trade between the member states. On June 25 Egypt and the European Union signed an association agreement to establish a free-trade area for manufactured goods, with trade barriers to be phased out over 12 years.

      On February 5 a court in the town of Sawhaj in Upper Egypt convicted four Muslims and sentenced them to prison terms varying from one to 10 years for the execution-style killings in January 2000 of 21 Christian Copts. The lightness of the sentences was held up by many as an illustration of official discrimination against Christians—in this instance, by the Egyptian judiciary. In May Saʿd ad-Din Ibrahim, a professor at the American University in Cairo who had been arrested by the government in June 2000 for speaking out in seminars about this particular incident, was sentenced to seven years' hard labour by the Egyptian State Security Court. (See Biographies (Sa'd ad-Din Ibrahim ).)

      The September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States led to a flurry of visits by Arab leaders to Egypt. These included Arafat, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad. Mubarak's reaction to the acts of terrorism was to support the U.S.— but with reservations. He advised the U.S. to restrict its military actions against those accused of terrorism and not to extend terrorism to others. Egypt sought to shield its close allies, such as Libya and Syria, which had been known to sponsor terrorism in the past. Many Egyptians expressed their disbelief that Saudi Arabian-born businessman Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11 atrocities. (See Biographies (bin Laden, Osama ).) The general lack of freedom of communication in Egypt and the anti-Western tirades that had been the hallmark of the Egyptian media, including the government-owned press, contributed during the year to the spread of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in which Israel loomed large.

      Following the September tragedy, President Mubarak embarked on a European tour, which included stops in France, Italy, and Germany. He spoke of Egypt's need to coordinate actions with Western countries to combat terrorism. The intelligence information provided by the Egyptian authorities might be very valuable indeed; many leading members of Bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, including Ayman az-Zawahiri and Muhammad Atef (see Obituaries (Atef, Muhammad )), were Egyptian.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2001

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 65,871,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Atef Ebeid

      Egypt during 2000 witnessed six important developments. First, on February 24 Pope John Paul II made his first visit ever to Egypt. Although the vast majority of the estimated 10 million Christians in Egypt belonged to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the pope's visit boosted the morale of the Christian community, which continued to suffer from violence at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists and from discrimination at the hands of the Egyptian authorities. In hopes of dispelling the image of his country as lacking in religious freedom, Pres. Hosni Mubarak welcomed the pope's visit enthusiastically.

      The second major development took place on June 30, when the Egyptian-American sociologist Saad al-Din Ibrahim, who taught at the American University in Cairo, was arrested and imprisoned by the Egyptian government, accused of receiving funds from the European Union and of espionage for the U.S. Ibrahim was serving as director of a leading research institute, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, which was actively fighting for human rights to be granted to women, minorities, and political prisoners. The Egyptian authorities closed down the institute and arrested 27 staff members. Under pressure from the U.S., Ibrahim and some of his colleagues were freed on bail on August 10, but the research institute was not allowed to reopen. Ibrahim vowed after his release to continue to fight for democracy: “Nothing will deter me from what I was doing, even a trial by a security court. I am doing nothing wrong, except if [prosecutors] believe that defending democracy and human rights is a crime.” The government-controlled newspaper Akhbar al-Yawm stated that Ibrahim, through his news conferences and interviews following his release, was “leading a comic and funny play whose lone star deserves to be stoned.”

      In the year's third major development, President Mubarak remained active in the peace process. It was on Mubarak's urging that U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton met with Syrian Pres. Hafez al-Assad (see Obituaries (Assad, Hafez al- )) in Geneva on March 26. During March 27–29 Mubarak visited the U.S., where he met with President Clinton and congressional leaders. To keep the peace process alive, Mubarak received Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat many times and met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on July 10, prior to the convening by President Clinton of the Israeli-Palestinian Camp David conference, which eventually failed. Clinton made a brief visit to Egypt on August 29 to consult with Mubarak on the peace process. When violence erupted between the Palestinians and the Israelis, President Mubarak hosted a conference during October 16–17, in the town of Sharm ash-Shaykh, which Clinton convened and which was attended by Barak and Arafat. The agreements reached there between the Israelis and the Palestinians to halt the violence were, however, not implemented. The most positive role was played by Egypt during the Arab summit, held October 21–22 and attended by representatives from 22 Arab countries. Mubarak judiciously steered the conference away from the positions taken by hard-line Islamist governments in an effort to highlight regional peace and to emphasize that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement was a “primary objective” for the benefit of the whole region.

      A fourth major development during the year was an effort to emphasize the Mediterranean cultural dimension of Egypt. In this regard Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of the president, held a banquet at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on March 27 to promote the newly established Bibliotheca Alexandrina. This was an attempt to revive the Alexandria library that had been established in the 3rd century BC and that had for seven centuries remained the world's greatest library.

      Fifth, the Egyptian government held parliamentary elections during October and November. Amid charges that the voting was rigged and notwithstanding several violent clashes between protesters and the police, Mubarak's National Democratic Party won a large majority (388 of the 454 seats) in the new People's Assembly. Sixth and finally, Fuad Saraj al-Din, the charismatic president of the New Wafd Party, the main liberal opposition party, died on August 9 at the age of 89.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 2000

997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 64,560,000
Chief of state:
President Hosni Mubarak
Head of government:
Prime Minister Kamal al-Janzuri and, from October 10, ʿAtif Muhammad ʿUbayd

      Egypt's Pres. Hosni Mubarak continued to give active support to the Arab-Israeli peace process during 1999. Yasir Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority, visited Egypt and met with President Mubarak on numerous occasions. King Abdullah II of Jordan (see Biographies (Abdullah II )) visited on March 16 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian and the Israeli-Syrian negotiations. Mubarak also met twice in July in Alexandria with new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (see Biographies (Barak, Ehud )) and played the role of facilitator between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The International Alliance for Arab-Israeli Peace, which had been founded in Copenhagen in January 1997, held a conference in Cairo on July 6–7. The meeting was attended by large delegations of Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, and Jordanians, who demonstrated that these people had constituencies that favoured peace and that they were ready to collaborate among themselves to promote it.

      Egypt, working with Saudi Arabia and South Africa, was instrumental in resolving the deadlock over the surrender of two Libyans suspected of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scot., in December 1988. Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi met with President Mubarak on March 6–7, just a few weeks before the two Libyan suspects were handed over on April 5.

      On the domestic front, Egyptian authorities continued to prosecute militant Islamic organizations. On April 18 the Higher Military Court passed sentences—in absentia in some cases—on 87 members of the al-Jihad organization, including major leaders such as Ayman az-Zawahiri, who lived in Afghanistan and was a close associate of Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman suspected of having financed the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Nine al-Jihad organization members were sentenced to death. Az-Zawahiri's response was a determination to continue the holy war against the Egyptian government. Egyptian state security forces detained 23 members of Vanguards of Conquest, another militant Islamic group, in Sharqiya province, accusing them of attempted assassination and dissemination of subversive ideas. The Higher Military Court sentenced 20 members of the Islamic Group for having plotted to attack the al-Muntazah presidential palace in Alexandria in 1996. An unsuccessful attack on President Mubarak occurred in Port Said on September 6. Originally said to have been the act of a deranged person, the attack was later claimed to have been carried out by an Islamic mujahid. On September 7 four activists from the Islamic Group were killed by security forces in Giza province. Following their interrogation, 20 leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were accused of plotting to penetrate the syndicates in the forthcoming elections. On the other hand, the Egyptian government was expected to free more than 1,200 prisoners by the end of 1999, consistent with its policy of releasing from prison members of the Islamic Group who had served their sentences and who renounced the use of violence.

      Mubarak was reconfirmed for a fourth six-year term as president in a national referendum on September 26. Mubarak, the sole candidate, was “elected” with 93.79% of the total valid votes. He was the longest-serving president since the Egyptian military took over power in July 1952. A new Cabinet of 34 ministers headed by ʿAtif Muhammad ʿUbayd was announced on October 10. The priorities of the new government were to increase foreign investments, move the privatization process forward, and tackle the problem of unemployment, which was estimated at 8.2%.

      The country was shattered by the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 off the coast of Massachusetts on October 31. Suspicions voiced prematurely by U.S. officials that the Egyptian co-pilot might have deliberately crashed the plane triggered tirades against the U.S. in the Egyptian press and in the People's Assembly. Conspiracy theories loomed large; one newspaper headline accused the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, of having blown up the airliner, while a member of the assembly claimed that the incident was a deliberate assassination of a large number of Egyptian military officers on board.

Marius K. Deeb

▪ 1999

      Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 63,261,000

      Capital: Cairo

      Chief of state: President Hosni Mubarak

      Head of government: Prime Minister Kamal al-Janzuri

      One of the major problems that the Egyptian government had to face during 1998 was the uproar by human rights activists and expatriate Copts concerning the persecution of the Christian Coptic minority in Egypt. Maurice Sadiq, the head of the Egyptian Human Rights Centre for National Unity, called upon the Egyptian authorities to confront the issue of persecution, to which the Copts were subjected on both official and popular levels. To demonstrate this persecution Sadiq was quoted in April saying, "Building a cabaret in Egypt does not require a decision by the highest echelons nor a presidential decree, whereas building or renovating a church or even repairing its water system required a decree by the president of the republic." Discrimination on the official level was revealed by the fact that Copts were barred from holding in the Egyptian Cabinet the powerful portfolios of foreign affairs, defense, and interior and from holding positions of governor, security chief, and president of a university. The Coptic language was not taught in any Egyptian university. Also, although Christian Coptic students were obliged to study and memorize Qurʾanic verses, "all school curricula do not contain a single verse of the Bible." On the popular level, Sadiq said that Christians were cursed in a large number of mosques at every prayer and made a serious charge against the Egyptian authorities in the following statement: "I invite everyone to go to the Cairo Security Directorate every Saturday to see Christians, mostly underage girls or employees, who are threatened with dismissal from their jobs, declare their conversion to Islam."

      Pres. Hosni Mubarak during the year tried to bolster his position in the Middle East by playing a role in the Arab-Israeli peace process but without any tangible success. On April 28 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Mubarak. In May during a visit to France, Mubarak and French Pres. Jacques Chirac proposed an international conference "to revive the stalled peace talks." Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat consequently visited Mubarak in Cairo on May 24, and another meeting was held in Cairo, on July 5, that included Mubarak, Arafat, and King Hussein of Jordan to coordinate their efforts for the peace process. Nothing, however, came of these efforts.

      President Mubarak was also involved in the Syrian and Lebanese aspects of the peace process. On January 14 he met with Syrian Pres. Hafez al-Assad in Damascus. When on April 1 the Israeli Cabinet accepted UN Resolution 425 of March 19, 1978, which called for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon, the Syrian president rushed to Cairo to elicit the support of Mubarak to prevent the Israeli withdrawal. Mubarak obliged and fully supported the Syrian position; the Israeli initiative could have ended the conflict perpetuated by Lebanon's Hezbollah organization, which was supported and armed by Syria. Assad made two more visits to Egypt, on April 24 and July 26, to coordinate his efforts with those of Mubarak.

      On April 22 the Cairo Society for Peace, the first Arab organization that openly called for peace between the Arabs and Israel, was established. Its membership of 70 included prominent intellectuals and writers.

      In successful shuttle diplomacy during October, President Mubarak was able to defuse the mounting tension between Turkey and Syria. Turkey had accused Syria of aiding the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party and allowing its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to operate against Turkey from Syria and Lebanon.

      The Egyptian government continued its campaign against Islamic fundamentalists. Although incidents that involved militants decreased during 1998, attacks continued in Upper Egypt, south of Cairo. On March 23 police killed four supporters of Islamic militants in Manfalut and arrested two others, and on May 16 police killed four Islamic militants in Mallawi. The Ministry of the Interior had pursued a policy of releasing Islamic militants whose repentance had been confirmed or who had severed their relations with Islamic organizations that were involved in terrorism. Hundreds were released and handed over to their families in the presence of their representatives in the People's Assembly, who pledged to guarantee their good behaviour. The Ministry of Religious Endowments by the end of 1998 controlled only 35,000 mosques of the 65,000 that existed in Egypt. The ministry hoped to achieve its goal of controlling all the mosques by 2000.


▪ 1998

      Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 62,110,000

      Capital: Cairo

      Chief of state: President Hosni Mubarak

      Head of government: Prime Minister Kamal al-Janzuri

      Continued support of the Middle East peace process was a major concern for Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak in 1997. Early in the year Mubarak held talks with both Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir ˋArafat and King Hussein of Jordan, and during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switz., in February, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In March Netanyahu visited Cairo to discuss the peace process as well as espionage charges against an Israeli Arab, ˋAzzam ˋAzzam, whom Egypt's state security court sentenced in August to 15 years of hard labour for spying for Israel. Another meeting between the two leaders was held in May in Sharm ash-Shaykh, Egypt. Also in May, Mubarak tried to revive Israeli-Syrian negotiations, meeting with Syrian Pres. Hafez al-Assad in Sharm ash-Shaykh for that purpose. By the end of 1997, the Middle East peace process was in such doldrums—despite Mubarak's efforts—that Egypt decided not to attend the Middle East and North Africa Economic Summit in Qatar on November 16-18.

      During the year Egypt attempted to mend fences with both Iran and Iraq. On May 6 Iranian Foreign Minister ˋAli Akbar Velayati visited Egypt to discuss bilateral relations with his Egyptian counterpart, ˋAmr Musa. Egyptian-Iraqi relations improved, and Egypt opposed the use of force after U.S. members of the UN Special Commission overseeing the elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were asked to leave Iraq. Consequently, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq ˋAziz visited Egypt on November 20.

      In June Mubarak met Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in Tobruk, Libya. The tangible result of the meeting between the two leaders was the decision to establish a joint free-trade zone and to construct a joint airport. The close relationship between Egypt and Libya became particularly controversial when U.S. officials claimed in September that the kidnapping of a prominent Libyan opposition leader, Mansur al-Kikhya, by Libyan agents in Egypt in December 1993 had been done in complicity with Egyptian security officers. Mubarak categorically denied the charges.

      Sectarian tensions came to the forefront of public attention when Mustafa Mashhur, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the two major political opposition organizations in Egypt, said in an interview in April that Copts (Egyptian Christians) should not serve in the Egyptian army and should pay a religious tax, which implied that Copts could not be trusted. The uproar that followed led to a claim by Mashhur that he was misquoted but left the impression that anti-Coptic feeling was strong even among the mainstream Islamic fundamentalists. Copts were again the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic militants in Upper Egypt. On February 12 militants of the al-Jamaˋa al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) attacked a Coptic church in Abu Qurqas, killing 10 worshipers and wounding at least 4. On March 13 militants suspected of belonging to the Islamic Group killed 13 people in the mostly Coptic village of Najˋ Dawud.

      The Egyptian government's struggle against the militants of the Islamic Group and the al-Jihad organization continued unabated but was marred by major setbacks in 1997. On September 18 a tour bus in Cairo was attacked, and the Egyptian driver and nine German tourists were killed. On November 17 militants of the Islamic Group attacked tourists in the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Luxor in Upper Egypt, killing some 60 foreign tourists, more than the total number of foreigners previously killed by Islamic militants in Egypt since their violent campaign began in 1992. It was regarded as the bloodiest incident by Islamic militants since the assassination of Anwar as-Sadat on Oct. 6, 1981. The militants had a number of demands, among them the release of their spiritual leader, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was serving a life sentence in the U.S. for plotting to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. The booming Egyptian tourist industry, which brought in $3 billion per year and had an estimated record number of 4.2 million visitors in 1997, suffered a major blow. Mubarak reacted by increasing the security measures in tourist areas.

      Unless Mubarak opened up the political system by allowing free elections (the last free elections in Egypt were held in January 1950) and poured massive aid to the underdeveloped regions of Upper Egypt, the recruitment of militants among unemployed and impoverished Egyptian youth was likely to continue. On February 23 the People's Assembly approved a presidential decree extending martial law for three more years. Martial law allowed detention without trial and extended the jurisdiction of military courts to civilians. One of the basic demands of all political opposition parties in Egypt was the abrogation of martial law.


▪ 1997

      A republic of North Africa, Egypt has coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red seas. Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 60,896,000. Cap.: Cairo. Monetary unit: Egyptian pound, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of LE 3.40 to U.S. $1 (LE 5.36 = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Hosni Mubarak; prime ministers, Atef Sedki and, from January 3, Kamal al-Janzuri.

      Four major developments took place in Egypt during 1996. First was the active role that Pres. Hosni Mubarak played in the peace process for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Second was Egypt's continuing role in the Arab world as a regional power of moderation and stability. Third was the status of the major opposition political parties and their discontent with the Egyptian government's unwillingness to move forward in the democratization process as manifested in the seriously flawed legislative elections of 1995. Fourth was the Egyptian government's continuing struggle against domestic and regional terrorism.

      The year began with the formation on January 3 of a new Egyptian Cabinet of 32 members, headed by the new prime minister, Kamal al-Janzuri. In foreign affairs the new Cabinet emphasized Egypt's leading role in the Arab world as an advocate of peace and stability in the Middle East.

      The continued support of the peace process was a major concern of President Mubarak. On March 13 he served as host of the "Summit of Peacemakers" in Sharm ash-Shaykh in response to terrorist operations by the Palestinian organization Hamas in Israel on February 25 and March 3-4. Mubarak also was host of an unprecedented Arab summit in Cairo on June 22-23. It was attended by all Arab League members except Iraq, with the leaders of 12 nations attending in person to evaluate the peace process in the aftermath of the election victory of Benjamin Netanyahu (see BIOGRAPHIES (Netanyahu, Benjamin )) over Shimon Peres in Israel. Although it was an Arab summit primarily concerned with the peace process, it clearly projected Egypt as the leader of the Arab world. Mubarak emerged from the conference a strong advocate of reconciliation and moderation with strong ties to the West and in particular to the U.S. His role in reviving the peace process was manifested when he was host to Netanyahu in July.

      Hamid Abu an-Nasr, the leader of Egypt's largest Islamic fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, died on January 20. Mustafa Mashhur, his first deputy, was chosen unanimously to succeed him. In his youth Mashhur had been an active member of the underground secret apparatus (al-Jihaz al-Sirri) of the Muslim Brotherhood, and he had spent a total of 16 years in prison. His election as the new leader of the Muslim Brotherhood did not improve the latter's image in the eyes of the Egyptian government. There were two trends in the Brotherhood. The first, the hard-line, was represented by Mashhur, who Egyptian authorities believed could lead his organization to violence and underground activity. The Egyptian interior minister, Hasan al-Alfi, in a speech in January did not mince his words when he talked about the Muslim Brotherhood: "We will continue to lie in wait for this organization and monitor its maneuvers and vile attempts at infiltration. We will monitor the steps it takes and confront it when the time is right." Thus, it was not surprising that the offices of the Brotherhood in Cairo, Al-Jizah, and Al-Fayyum were raided by the security forces of the Ministry of Interior on February 20, which led to the arrest of 46 members and the confiscation of "a very large number of inflammatory leaflets containing extremist [Muslim] Brotherhood ideas."

      The second, more flexible trend was represented by a relatively younger generation of leaders. In January some prominent members of this group attempted to join some prominent Christian Copts in the formation of a party called the Centre (al-Wasat). The objective of the Muslim Brothers who formed this party was to demonstrate that they were not sectarian and to circumvent the law that banned parties that were established on a religious basis. The Coptic participation was a reaction to the ruling National Democratic Party's failure to nominate any Copts among its 439 candidates in the November-December 1995 legislative elections despite the fact that the Christian Coptic community constituted some 10% of the Egyptian population.

      The major opposition party, the New Wafd Party, held elections on June 16 to choose 40 members of the Wafdist High Command; 20 additional members were selected by the leader of the party, Fuad Saraj ad-Din.

      Egyptian authorities continued to face violent actions by the Islamic Group and al-Jihad organizations. Eighteen Greek tourists, who presumably were mistaken for Israelis, were killed and 21 wounded by the Islamic Group on April 18. Terrorist operations against civilians and security forces continued throughout Egypt but mostly in Al-Minya and Asyut provinces in Upper Egypt. During the first six months of the year, 45 Islamic militants were killed and 6 were wounded, while 34 civilians were killed and 21 wounded. For the security forces 17 were killed and 20 were wounded. During the same sixth months, 2,004 Islamic militants were imprisoned.

      In August an Egyptian court upheld a judge's ruling that a married man must divorce his wife because his writings insulted Islam. The man, who was a university professor of Arabic, had appealed the original ruling, which was praised by Egypt's Islamic militants. He and his wife, who was also a professor, had fled to The Netherlands after the initial ruling in order to remain together and to teach there. In September a judge ordered a stay of the August decision, and in December the stay was upheld by the Giza Emergency Appeals Court; the original ruling was suspended indefinitely.

      Egypt was instrumental in the UN Security Council vote on January 31 to call upon The Sudan to extradite three suspects, members of the Islamic Group, in the assassination attempt on President Mubarak on June 26, 1995, in Ethiopia.

      (MARIUS K. DEEB)

▪ 1996

      A republic of North Africa, Egypt has coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red seas. Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 59,695,000. Cap.: Cairo. Monetary unit: Egyptian pound, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of LE 3.40 to U.S. $1 (LE 5.37 = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Hosni Mubarak; prime minister, Atef Sedki.

      There were four major developments in Egypt during 1995: Pres. Hosni Mubarak continued his active support of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations; he made an official visit to the U.S. in April; the militants of al-Jama`a al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) and the al-Jihad organization continued their violent challenge of Egyptian authorities, and the government linked the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood movement to these radical groups by imprisoning the movement's leaders; and there was an attempt on Mubarak's life while he was visiting Ethiopia to attend the Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit.

      The year began with the euphoria that accompanied the convening of the tripartite summit of the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria in Alexandria, Egypt, on Dec. 28-29, 1994. It was hailed by the Egyptian press as the revival of Egypt's historic leadership role in the Arab world. President Mubarak followed this meeting with a summit with King Hussein I of Jordan, on January 21, his first visit to Jordan since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. To save the peace process and show that Egypt had regained its pivotal role in the region, but without being at loggerheads with Israel, a summit was convened in Cairo on February 2 that included Mubarak, Hussein, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasir Arafat.

      In his meetings with members of Congress and with President Clinton, President Mubarak explained how Egypt had been the pioneer of peace in the Middle East by taking the first steps in that direction. Mubarak pointed to the continued Egyptian role of mediating between the PLO and Israel whenever problems arose and also to the frequent contacts between Egypt and Syria. On September 28 Mubarak attended the White House ceremony of signing the peace accord between the PLO and Israel and was praised by Arafat for his tireless mediating efforts that enabled the two sides to reach an agreement. Later, on November 5, Mubarak made his first visit to Israel since he came to power in 1981, to attend the funeral of the Prime Minister Rabin. (See OBITUARIES (Rabin, Yitzhak ).)

      The challenge to the government by the Islamic Group in Upper (southern) Egypt continued unabated. The Islamic Group's main battleground with Egyptian authorities during the year was in al-Minya, where it enjoyed support from the local population. A new head of security for al-Minya province was appointed in January, an indication that the government's campaign against the Islamic Group had not been successful. The lull since January in attacking foreign tourists ended in November when trains carrying tourists were attacked in Qina province.

      Minister of Interior Hasan al-Alfi continued to accuse the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood of playing "a very clear role in supporting the terrorist groups," whose ultimate objective was to overthrow the existing regime. On January 23, 28 prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested and charged with forming a secret organization that maintained cells within the various government organizations, infiltrated political parties and professional associations, and obstructed the law and constitutional principles.

      Documents written by 'Isam al-'Uryan, the assistant secretary-general of the Physicians Association and a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, revealed an alliance between the Brotherhood and the Islamic Group and al-Jihad in confronting and ultimately overthrowing the present Egyptian regime. On March 30 the Egyptian government arrested four prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing them of exploiting the Physicians Association's Humanitarian Relief Committee to send young members of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Islamic Group abroad, under the cover of working for relief projects, to receive military training on the use of weapons and explosives. Interior Minister al-Alfi attended a meeting of Arab ministers of the interior in Tunis, Tunisia, in January to coordinate efforts with other Arab countries in the fight against militants of the various Islamic organizations that had resorted to violence.

      The Egyptian authorities in February accused members of al-Jihad, the group that assassinated Pres. Anwar as-Sadat in 1981, of having reactivated their organization under the name Tala`i' al-Fath (Vanguard of the Conquest) and of plotting to kill President Mubarak. On June 26 there was an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Mubarak on his arrival in Addis Ababa to attend the meeting of the OAU. Investigations carried out by the Ethiopian government revealed that leading members of the Islamic Group who were living in exile in The Sudan planned the attack in coordination with the real power behind the Sudanese regime, Hasan at-Turabi.

      Elections for the People's Assembly were held on November 29. All legally recognized political parties participated. Shortly before the polling, however, Mubarak again cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood. Its headquarters in Cairo was closed, and a military court sentenced 54 members of the group, mostly middle-class professionals, to prison terms.

      The government won an overwhelming victory. When the results were tallied, the National Democratic Party effectively held 416 of the 444 seats. The opposition parties won 13 seats, and independents held the remainder. Violence marred the elections, and there were charges of widespread electoral fraud. (MARIUS K. DEEB)

▪ 1995

      A republic of North Africa, Egypt has coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red seas. Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 58,466,000. Cap.: Cairo. Monetary unit: Egyptian pound, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of LE 3.39 to U.S. $1 (LE 5.39 = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Hosni Mubarak; prime minister, Atef Sedki.

      Political violence and attacks on tourists escalated in 1994 despite harsh government action against Islamic militants and the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Pres. Hosni Mubarak gained international prestige by serving as host to the signing of the accords on the Gaza Strip and Jericho between Israel and the Palestinians in Cairo on May 4, but on the economic front his government was still embroiled in disputes with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and faced criticism for moving too slowly in its program of opening up the economy to market forces.

      In February Islamic militants opened another front by starting a wave of bombings against banks that charged interest, considered unacceptable by Muslim fundamentalists. The death in April of military commander Talaat Yasin Himam seemed to have little effect on al-Jama`a al-Islamiya, the principal terrorist group.

      The government's security clampdown was extended in June to the officially banned Muslim Brotherhood, which government sources said was "at one" with the extremists. On May 21 a leading Brotherhood sheikh, Muhammad al-Ghazali, was barred from delivering a sermon to 30,000 worshipers for a religious feast. Meanwhile, the Education Ministry banned schoolgirls from wearing the veil before the age of 11, and only then with parental consent. On September 15, however, lawyers won a court ruling reversing the ban.

      Egyptian lawyers protested against the unexplained death in police custody on April 27 of 'Abd al-Harith Madani, a defense attorney for Islamic militants. A week of mass rallies in Cairo culminated on May 17 in a general strike and an aborted march on the presidential palace. The reaction to the protests underlined the extent to which Islamic militants had come to dominate lawyers' professional associations.

      After a brief lull, terrorist attacks on vacationers resumed in August to coincide with the new tourist season and preparation for the UN population conference in Cairo. In September, for the first time, foreign tourists were attacked at a beach resort, indicating that terrorists were now operating far from their strongholds in the Nile valley.

      On October 14 Naguib Mahfouz, the 82-year-old novelist who in 1988 had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, was stabbed by Islamic militants in Cairo in a further escalation of violence against the secular establishment. Although police shot one of the attackers dead in a raid two days later, demonstrations of protest against the outrage were also quelled. By October the total number of people killed since March 1992, when Islamic groups stepped up their campaign to overthrow the government, had reached 460, with 800 injured. Seven foreign tourists were among the casualties, and there were 53 among the wounded. By late 1994 the government had sentenced 58 Islamic fundamentalists to death, of whom 41 had been executed, 16 were at large, and 1 was on death row.

      The government angered many politicians when the People's Assembly on April 11 passed a new law abolishing local elections and allowing village mayors to be appointed by the Interior Ministry, but the cause of political pluralism was advanced in other ways. On May 29 President Mubarak formed a committee to organize a national dialogue between spokesmen for the ruling National Democratic Party and other public figures, including opposition leaders. In inaugurating the 40-member preparatory commission, the president nevertheless excluded communists and the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Coptic groups, although individual Copts were allowed. On July 7 the conference submitted a number of recommendations to the president for action, including a switch to a party system in parliamentary elections.

      Egypt's political leadership was disappointed that its role in maintaining the momentum in the Middle East peace process had apparently been given scant recognition in the West. This went some way toward explaining Egypt's decision at the end of the year to apply for membership in the Arab Maghreb Union. The signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements went ahead only after intensive last-minute pressure by Egypt on Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasir Arafat, some of which took place in a side room during the ceremony.

      The UN International Conference on Population and Development, attended by some 10,000 delegates from 156 countries in Cairo in September, was a showcase for the Egyptian government. (See Sidebar (REFUGEES: The Cairo Conference ).) The Muslim Brotherhood branded the conference un-Islamic for condoning abortion, and six countries boycotted the event, including Saudi Arabia. Although the conference passed without incident, Iran stated publicly that it would never have diplomatic relations with Egypt, and a row erupted over the continuation of female circumcision in rural Egypt. A proposed law to outlaw mutilation of the female genitalia was put on hold for two years for fear of driving the practice underground.

      Talks between the Egyptian government and the IMF foundered over continued disagreement on the technical issues surrounding exchange-rate competitiveness and in particular the devaluation of the Egyptian pound. A meeting in early September between the president and the managing director of the IMF failed to break the deadlock. The dispute led to further delay in finalizing Egypt's debt-reduction program with its major creditors.

      Relations with The Sudan reached their lowest ebb in several years. Early in September The Sudan alleged that Egypt had sent troops to the disputed border region and kidnapped a Sudanese officer. The Sudanese responded by impounding a passenger ferry. Egypt then seized a Sudanese minister's aircraft during a refueling stop in Cairo.

      On May 31 Egypt served as host to the 111th ministerial conference on the Non-Aligned Movement, but it lost to Colombia in its bid to chair the organization. Egypt relinquished the chairmanship of the Organization of African Unity to Tunisia on June 14, and on June 24, freed from diplomatic constraints, it sent "observers" to join the French-led military mission to protect civilians in Rwanda. On May 10 Egypt resumed diplomatic relations with South Africa, interrupted 30 years previously to protest the policy of apartheid. (JOHN WHELAN)

▪ 1994

      A republic of North Africa, Egypt has coastlines on the Mediterranean and Red seas. Area: 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 57,109,000. Cap.: Cairo. Monetary unit: Egyptian pound, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of LE 3.32 to U.S. $1 (LE 5.03 = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Hosni Mubarak; prime minister, Atef Sedki.

      Islamic militants carried out a new wave of political violence and attacks on tourists as Pres. Hosni Mubarak faced renewed pressure for reform from both the establishment and the legitimate opposition. Abroad the president played a central role in the Middle East peace process, while a new three-year program was agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), providing further evidence of Egypt's progress toward liberalization of the economy.

      On October 4 a nationwide presidential referendum endorsed Mubarak for a third six-year term. A major campaign by the ruling National Democratic Party left Cairo plastered in "Yes, to Mubarak" posters, and the president, who was the only candidate, duly received 96% of the valid votes cast. However, only about 19 million Egyptians, or some 33% of the total population, bothered to register for what was seen by many as a foregone conclusion.

      The day after the referendum, the president promoted the defense minister, Gen. Muhammad Hussain Tantawi, to the rank of field marshal—only the fifth Egyptian army commander to receive this honour in 40 years. Nevertheless, Mubarak declined to name a vice president—and, therefore, heir apparent—at the beginning of his third term. The government's alliance with the military remained strong, with Tantawi stating on October 11 that the armed forces were ready to intervene as a last line of defense against the regime's increasingly violent Islamic opponents.

      During his inauguration on October 13, the president promised the People's Assembly "new blood," but when his new Cabinet was announced, it was hallmarked by continuity rather than change. Prime Minister Atef Sedki, in office since 1986, was retained and became the longest serving Egyptian prime minister since Gamal Abdel Nasser's coup in the 1950s. Eleven new ministers joined the 34-member Cabinet, but the key portfolios of foreign affairs, defense, interior, finance, petroleum, and information were untouched.

      Among the major ministerial changes were the appointments of Ismail Hassan, a seasoned commercial banker, as the new central bank governor with Cabinet rank; Atef Obeid as minister for the public business sector and environmental affairs; Mahmoud Muhammad Mahmoud as minister of economy and foreign trade; and Mamdouh Beltagui as tourism minister. The latter promotion was at the expense of Fouad Sultan, a popular figure with the business community, who was fired from the top job at tourism.

Domestic Affairs.
      The new government quickly affirmed its determination to continue iron-fisted policies against fundamentalist-inspired violence, which had led to the killing of more than 200 people in 18 months and a severe slump in tourism. Although attacks on Coptic Christians diminished, assaults on tourists intensified in 1993. On June 8 a bomb was thrown at a tourist bus in Giza's Pyramid Road, killing an Egyptian and wounding five foreigners and nine Egyptians. Later in the year a gunman shot dead two Americans and one Frenchman as they dined at Cairo's expatriate-managed Semiramis Hotel. In March, the bloodiest month for militant attacks, 45 people were killed (including at least 29 killed by security forces) in bomb attacks, raids, and shootouts between religious extremists and the security forces; about 700 suspects were rounded up. On March 29, al-Jama`a al-Islamiya, an extremist group, claimed responsibility for an explosion at the pyramid of Chephren. In a fax to news organizations on March 5, it warned investors "to liquidate their investments in Egypt at the earliest opportunity," as they could become a target. A second fax sent on March 30 warned tourists and investors to quit Egypt before it was too late.

      On March 20, Egypt's Nobel Prize-winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz published a warning to the government in an Italian newspaper, which was widely quoted in the local press. He urged the authorities to heed demands for democratic reforms and said growing corruption in government was making Egyptians respond favourably to extremists.

      On April 18 the interior minister, Muhammad 'Abd al-Halim Moussa, was sacked in what was seen as a signal to militants that there would be no negotiated truce. Moussa had embarrassed the government by sanctioning mediation efforts with the militants through the efforts of a television evangelist, Sheikh Muhammad Mitwalli ash-Sharaawi. His successor, Hassan Muhammad al-Alfi, a former governor of Asyut, promised a new approach through tougher police action. On August 18 terrorists detonated a bomb as Alfi's motorcade neared the Interior Ministry—the second abortive attempt to assassinate a member of the Egyptian government. In April guerrillas had ambushed the minister of information, Muhammad Safwat ash-Sharif, who was slightly wounded. The August bomb killed 5 people and wounded 16, including Alfi. It was carried out by the Vanguards of Conquest, a hitherto unknown extremist splinter group. Prime Minister Sedki escaped injury in a car-bomb attack on November 25, which killed a schoolgirl and wounded 21 others. On December 29 government forces arrested a number of militants thought to be planning the assassination of officials.

      The government also cracked down on the more moderate Islamic movement, represented by the banned Muslim Brotherhood, by rushing through new laws restricting trade unions. In elections to the journalists union on March 21, a Mubarak supporter was elected chairman, defeating an Islamic candidate. Nevertheless, a government appeal for constitutional parties to unite against extremists was supported by only 5 of Egypt's 11 political parties and 10 of the 22 unions. The Muslim Brotherhood and its proxy, the Socialist Labour Party, were excluded from the appeal.

      On August 14 government policy suffered a setback when a civil judge acquitted Islamic fundamentalist suspects of the 1990 murder of parliamentary speaker Rifaat al-Mahgoub because evidence allegedly had been extracted under torture. By the end of October, however, the mass trials by the military courts—denounced by the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International as a "travesty of justice"—had passed at least 30 death sentences.

      On May 24 the 1993-94 budget was passed by the People's Assembly with a 4.5% rise in total expenditure, less than half the rate of inflation. Egypt managed in 1992-93 to cut its budget deficit to a little over the IMF target of 3.5-4%. Expenditure on food subsidies was to be cut, but the prime minister stressed that there would be no rise in the price of bread. On September 20 the IMF approved a three-year fund facility program for Egypt, backed by about $569 million, but with $17 billion in international reserves Egypt was not expected to draw down the funds. Having received the IMF loan, Egypt was free to enter the second stage of its 1991 Paris Club debt-restructuring agreement. To achieve the IMF deal, Egypt accepted preconditions that included further steps on economic reform.

Foreign Affairs.
      Egypt's support for the Middle East peace process was a major boost for U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton, although Cairo felt slighted at the lack of recognition of its mediation role. Egyptian mediation efforts also extended to its western neighbour, Libya. In November Jordan's King Hussein visited Cairo for talks with Mubarak, ending the three years of bitter relations that had begun with the Persian Gulf crisis in 1990.

      On May 9-16, Mubarak undertook a tour of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in an effort to isolate Iran, which Egypt accused of backing Islamic extremist groups. Mubarak claimed he had details of Iranian "mobilizations" of warships around Port Sudan, 100 km (160 mi) south of the disputed Hala`ib border area, and threatened to strike immediately if the warships used the port. The GCC states, however, were nervous about offending Iran and declined to give explicit public support. Mubarak was more successful in cutting off Gulf state funds for the militants in Egypt, as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates issued decrees banning nongovernmental Muslim charities from sending money abroad.

      The 29th summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) took place in Cairo on June 28-30, presided over by Mubarak as the new OAU chairman—the second time in 10 years. At the meeting Mubarak met the Sudanese president, Lieut. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, and agreed to halt a war of words with the Sudanese government. On June 22, The Sudan had ordered Egypt to close its consulates in Port Sudan and al-Ubbayid as tension mounted over Egypt's military warning to The Sudan over movements in the Hala`ib border area.

      On July 4, Egypt requested the extradition from the U.S. of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual mentor of al-Jama`a al-Islamiya, over alleged involvement in violence in 1989. Sheikh Omar was arrested in the U.S. on July 2 on immigration charges. Fourteen men with links to the sheikh were also indicted in the U.S. in connection with the February 26 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City and other crimes. Lawyers queried the validity of Cairo's request, as Egypt's only extradition treaty with Washington dated to 1874. (JOHN WHELAN)

* * *

Egypt, flag of   country located in the northeastern corner of Africa. Egypt's heartland, the Nile River valley and delta, was the home of one of the principal civilizations of the ancient Middle East and, like Mesopotamia farther east, was the site of one of the world's earliest urban and literate societies. Pharaonic Egypt thrived for some 3,000 years through a series of native dynasties that were interspersed with brief periods of foreign rule. After Alexander the Great conquered the region in 323 BC, urban Egypt became an integral part of the Hellenistic world (Hellenistic Age). Under the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty, an advanced literate society thrived in the city of Alexandria, but what is now Egypt was conquered by the Romans in 30 BC. It remained part of the Roman Republic and Empire and then part of Rome's successor state, the Byzantine Empire, until its conquest by Arab Muslim armies in AD 639–642.

      Until the Muslim conquest, great continuity had typified Egyptian rural life. Despite the incongruent ethnicity of successive ruling groups and the cosmopolitan nature of Egypt's larger urban centres, the language and culture of the rural, agrarian masses—whose lives were largely measured by the annual rise and fall of the Nile River, with its annual inundation—had changed only marginally throughout the centuries. Following the conquests, both urban and rural culture began to adopt elements of Arab culture, and an Arabic vernacular eventually replaced the Egyptian language as the common means of spoken discourse. Moreover, since that time, Egypt's history has been part of the broader Islamic world, and though Egyptians continued to be ruled by foreign elite—whether Arab, Kurdish, Circassian, or Turkish—the country's cultural milieu remained predominantly Arab.

      Egypt eventually became one of the intellectual and cultural centres of the Arab and Islamic world, a status that was fortified in the mid-13th century when Mongol armies sacked Baghdad and ended the ʿAbbāsid caliphate. The Mamlūk sultans of Egypt, under whom the country thrived for several centuries, established a pseudo-caliphate of dubious legitimacy. But in 1517 the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamlūks and established control over Egypt that lasted until 1798, when Napoleon I led a French army in a short occupation of the country.

      The French occupation, which ended in 1801, marked the first time a European power had conquered and occupied Egypt, and it set the stage for further European involvement. Egypt's strategic location has always made it a hub for trade routes between Africa, Europe, and Asia, but this natural advantage was enhanced in 1869 by the opening of the Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The concern of the European powers (namely France and the United Kingdom (British Empire), which were major shareholders in the canal) to safeguard the canal for strategic and commercial reasons became one of the most important factors influencing the subsequent history of Egypt. The United Kingdom occupied Egypt in 1882 and continued to exert a strong influence on the country until after World War II (1939–45).

      In 1952 a military coup installed a revolutionary regime that promoted a combination of socialism and Pan-Arab nationalism. The new regime's extreme political rhetoric and its nationalization of the Suez Canal Company prompted the Suez Crisis of 1956, which was only resolved by the intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union, whose presence in the Mediterranean region thereafter kept Egypt in the international spotlight.

      During the Cold War, Egypt's central role in the Arabic-speaking world increased its geopolitical importance as Arab nationalism and inter-Arab relations became powerful and emotional political forces in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt led the Arab states in a series of wars against Israel but was the first of those states to make peace with the Jewish state, which it did in 1979.

 The ancient Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the “gift of the Nile.” Indeed, the country's rich agricultural productivity—it is one of the region's major food producers—has long supported a large rural population devoted to working the land. Present-day Egypt, however, is largely urban. The capital city, Cairo, is one of the world's largest urban agglomerations, and manufacturing and trade have increasingly outstripped agriculture as the largest sectors of the national economy. Tourism has traditionally provided an enormous portion of foreign exchange, but that industry has been subject to fluctuations during times of political and civil unrest in the region. Egypt itself, however, has experienced a high level of political stability despite ongoing tension with Islamic militant groups that have engaged in sporadic political violence since the 1980s.

      Egypt's land frontiers border Libya to the west, The Sudan (Sudan, The) to the south, and Israel to the northeast. In the north its Mediterranean coastline is about 620 miles (1,000 km), and in the east its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba (Aqaba, Gulf of) is about 1,200 miles (1,900 km).

 The topography of Egypt is dominated by the Nile (Nile River). For about 750 miles (1,200 km) of its northward course through the country, the river cuts its way through bare desert, its narrow valley a sharply delineated strip of green, abundantly fecund in contrast to the desolation that surrounds it. From Lake Nasser (Nasser, Lake), the river's entrance into southern Egypt, to Cairo in the north, the Nile is hemmed into its trenchlike valley by bordering cliffs, but at Cairo these disappear, and the river begins to fan out into its delta. The Nile and the delta form the first of four physiographic regions, the others being the Western Desert (Arabic Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Gharbiyyah), the Eastern Desert (Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Sharqiyyah), and the Sinai Peninsula.

      The Nile divides the desert plateau through which it flows into two unequal sections—the Western Desert, between the river and the Libyan frontier, and the Eastern Desert, extending to the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Suez, and the Red Sea. Each of the two has a distinctive character, as does the third and smallest of the Egyptian deserts, the Sinai (Sinai Peninsula). The Western Desert (a branch of the Libyan Desert) is arid and without wadis (dry beds of seasonal rivers), while the Eastern Desert is extensively dissected by wadis and fringed by rugged mountains in the east. The desert of central Sinai is open country, broken by isolated hills and scored by wadis.

      Egypt is not, as is often believed, an entirely flat country. In addition to the mountains along the Red Sea, mountainous areas occur in the extreme southwest of the Western Desert and in the southern Sinai Peninsula. The high ground in the southwest is associated with the ʿUwaynāt mountain mass, which lies just outside Egyptian territory.

      The coastal regions of Egypt, with the exception of the delta, are everywhere hemmed in either by desert or by mountain; they are arid or of very limited fertility. The coastal plain in both the north and east tends to be narrow; it seldom exceeds a width of 30 miles (48 km). With the exception of the cities of Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez and a few small ports and resorts such as Marsā Maṭrūh (Marsā Maṭrūḥ) and Al-ʿAlamayn (El-Alamein), the coastal regions are sparsely populated and underdeveloped.

The Nile valley and delta
 The Nile delta, or Lower Egypt, covers an area of 9,650 square miles (25,000 sq km). It is about 100 miles (160 km) long from Cairo to the Mediterranean, with a coastline stretching some 150 miles (240 km) from Alexandria to Port Said. As many as seven branches of the river once flowed through the delta, but its waters are now concentrated in two, the Damietta Branch to the east and the Rosetta Branch to the west. Though totally flat apart from an occasional mound projecting through the alluvium, the delta is far from featureless; it is crisscrossed by a maze of canals and drainage channels. Much of the delta coast is taken up by the brackish lagoons of lakes Maryūṭ, Idkū, Burullus, and Manzilah. The conversion of the delta to perennial irrigation has made possible the raising of two or three crops a year, instead of one, over more than half of its total area.

      The cultivated portion of the Nile valley between Cairo and Aswān varies from 5 to 10 miles (8 to 16 km) in width, although there are places where it narrows to a few hundred yards and others where it broadens to 14 miles (23 km). Since the completion of the Aswān High Dam (Aswan High Dam) in 1970, the 3,900-square mile (10,100 square km) valley has been under perennial irrigation.

      Until it was flooded by the waters impounded behind the High Dam to form Lake Nasser, the Nubian valley of the Nile extended for 160 miles (250 km) between the town of Aswān and the Sudanese border—a narrow and picturesque gorge with a limited cultivable area. The 100,000 or so inhabitants were resettled, mainly in the government-built villages of New Nubia, at Kawm Umbū (Kom Ombo), north of Aswān. Lake Nasser was developed during the 1970s for its fishing and as a tourist area, and settlements have grown up around it.

      The Eastern Desert comprises almost one-fourth of the land surface of Egypt and covers an area of about 85,690 square miles (221,900 square km). The northern tier is a limestone plateau consisting of rolling hills, stretching from the Mediterranean coastal plain to a point roughly opposite Qinā on the Nile. Near Qinā, the plateau breaks up into cliffs about 1,600 feet (500 metres) high and is deeply scored by wadis, which make the terrain very difficult to traverse. The outlets of some of the main wadis form deep bays, which contain small settlements of seminomads. The second tier includes the sandstone plateau from Qinā southward. The plateau is also deeply indented by ravines, but they are relatively free from obstacles, and some are usable as routes. The third tier consists of the Red Sea Hills and the Red Sea coastal plain. The hills run from near Suez to the Sudanese border; they are not a continuous range but consist of a series of interlocking systems more or less in alignment. A number of peaks in the Red Sea Hills rise to more than 6,000 feet (1,800 metres), and the highest, Mount Shāʿib al-Banāt, reaches 7,175 feet (2,187 metres). They are geologically complex, with ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks. These include granite that, in the neighbourhood of Aswān, extends across the Nile valley to form the First Cataract—that is, the first set of rapids on the river. At the foot of the Red Sea Hills the narrow coastal plain widens southward, and parallel to the shore there are almost continuous coral reefs. In popular conception and usage, the Red Sea littoral can be regarded as a subregion in itself.

The Western Desert
 The Western Desert comprises two-thirds of the land surface of Egypt and covers an area of about 262,800 square miles (680,650 square km). From its highest elevation—more than 3,300 feet (1,000 metres)—on the plateau of Al-Jilf al-Kabīr in the southeast, the rocky plateau slopes gradually northeastward to the first of the depressions that are a characteristic feature of the Western Desert—that containing the oases of Al-Khārijah and Al-Dākhilah. Farther north are the oases of Al-Farāfirah and Al-Baḥriyyah. Northwestward from the latter the plateau continues to fall toward the Qattara Depression (Munkhafaḍ al-Qaṭṭārah), which is uninhabited and virtually impassable by modern vehicles. West of the Qattara Depression and near the Libyan border is the largest and most populous oasis, that of Siwa (Siwa Oasis). It has been inhabited for thousands of years and is less influenced by modern development. South of the Qattara Depression, and extending west to the Libyan border, the Western Desert is composed of great ridges of blown sand interspersed with stony tracts. Beyond the Qattara Depression northward, the edge of the plateau follows the Mediterranean Sea, leaving a narrow coastal plain.

      The Sinai Peninsula comprises a wedge-shaped block of territory with its base along the Mediterranean Sea coast and its apex bounded by the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba; it covers an area of approximately 23,000 square miles (59,600 square km). Its southern portion consists of rugged, sharply serrated mountains. These reach elevations of more than 8,000 feet (2,400 metres); among them is Mount Catherine (Jabal Kātrīnā), Egypt's highest mountain, which has an elevation of 8,668 feet (2,642 metres). The central area of Sinai consists of two plateaus, Al-Tīh and Al-ʿAjmah, both deeply indented and dipping northward toward Wadi al-ʿArīsh. Toward the Mediterranean Sea, the northward plateau slope is broken by dome-shaped hills; between them and the coast are long, parallel lines of dunes, some of which are more than 300 feet (100 metres) high. The most striking feature of the coast itself is a salt lagoon, Lake Bardawīl, which stretches for some 60 miles (95 km).

      Apart from the Nile, the only natural perennial surface drainage consists of a few small streams in the mountains of the southern Sinai Peninsula. Most of the valleys of the Eastern Desert drain westward to the Nile. They are eroded by water but normally dry; only after heavy rainstorms in the Red Sea Hills do they carry torrents. The shorter valleys on the eastern flank of the Red Sea Hills drain toward the Red Sea; they, too, are normally dry. Drainage in the mountains of the Sinai Peninsula is toward the gulfs of Suez and Aqaba; as in the Red Sea Hills, torrent action has produced valleys that are deeply eroded and normally dry.

      The central plateau of the Sinai drains northward toward Wadi al-ʿArīsh, a depression in the desert that occasionally carries surface water. One of the features of the Western Desert is its aridity, as shown by the absence of drainage lines. There is, however, an extensive water table beneath the Western Desert. Where the water table comes near the surface it has been tapped by wells in some oases.

      Outside the areas of Nile silt deposits, the nature of such cultivable soil as exists depends upon the availability of the water supply and the type of rock in the area. Almost one-third of the total land surface of Egypt consists of Nubian sandstone, which extends over the southern sections of both the Eastern and Western deserts. Limestone deposits of Eocene age (i.e., some 35 to 55 million years old) cover a further one-fifth of the land surface, including central Sinai and the central portions of both the Eastern and Western deserts. The northern part of the Western Desert consists of limestone dating from the Miocene Epoch (25 to 5 million years ago). About one-eighth of the total area, notably the mountains of the Sinai, the Red Sea, and the southwest part of the Western Desert, consists of ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks.

      The silt, which constitutes the present-day cultivated land in the delta and the Nile valley, has been carried down from the Ethiopian Highlands by the Nile's upper tributary system, consisting of the Blue Nile (Blue Nile River) and the Aṭbarahʿ rivers. The depth of the deposits ranges from more than 30 feet (10 metres) in the northern delta to about 22 feet (7 metres) at Aswān. The White Nile, which is joined by the Blue Nile at Khartoum, in The Sudan, supplies important chemical constituents. The composition of the soil varies and is generally more sandy toward the edges of the cultivated area. A high clay content makes it difficult to work, and a concentration of sodium carbonate sometimes produces infertile black-alkali soils. In the north of the delta, salinization has produced the sterile soils of the so-called barārī (“barren”) regions.

      Egypt lies within the North African desert belt; its general climatic characteristics, therefore, are low annual precipitation and a considerable seasonal and diurnal (daily) temperature range, with sunshine occurring throughout the year. In the desert, cyclones stir up sandstorms or dust storms, called khamsins (khamsin) (Arabic: “fifties,” as they are said to come 50 days per year), which occur most frequently from March to June; these are caused by tropical air from the south that moves northward as a result of the extension northeastward of the low-pressure system of The Sudan. A khamsin is accompanied by a sharp increase in temperature of 14 to 20 °F (8 to 11 °C), a drop in relative humidity (often to 10 percent), and thick dust; winds can reach gale force.

      The climate is basically biseasonal, with winter lasting from November to March and summer from May to September, with short transitional periods intervening. The winters are cool and mild, and the summers are hot. Mean January minimum and maximum temperatures show a variation between 48 and 65 °F (9 and 18 °C) in Alexandria and 48 and 74 °F (9 and 23 °C) at Aswān. The summer months are hot throughout the country's inland, with mean midday high temperatures in June ranging from 91 °F (33 °C) at Cairo to 106 °F (41 °C) at Aswān. Egypt enjoys a very sunny climate, with some 12 hours of sunshine per day in the summer months and between 8 and 10 hours per day in winter. Extremes of temperature can occur, and prolonged winter cold spells or summer heat waves are not uncommon.

      Humidity diminishes noticeably from north to south and on the desert fringes. Along the Mediterranean coast the humidity is high throughout the year, but it is highest in summer. When high humidity levels coincide with high temperatures, oppressive conditions result.

      Precipitation in Egypt occurs largely in the winter months; it is meagre on average but highly variable. The amount diminishes sharply southward; the annual average at Alexandria is about 7 inches (175 mm), Cairo has about 1 inch (25 mm), and Aswān receives virtually nothing—only about 0.1 inch (2.5 mm). The Red Sea coastal plain and the Western Desert are almost without precipitation. The Sinai Peninsula receives somewhat more precipitation: the northern sector has an annual average of about 5 inches (125 mm).

Plant and animal life
 In spite of the lack of precipitation, the natural vegetation of Egypt is varied. Much of the Western Desert is totally devoid of any kind of plant life, but where some form of water exists the usual desert growth of perennials and grasses is found; the coastal strip has a rich plant life in spring. The Eastern Desert receives sparse rainfall, but it supports a varied vegetation that includes tamarisk, acacia, and markh (a leafless, thornless tree with bare branches and slender twigs), as well as a great variety of thorny shrubs, small succulents, and aromatic herbs. This growth is even more striking in the wadis of the Red Sea Hills and of the Sinai and in the ʿIlbah (Elba) Mountains in the southeast.

      The Nile and irrigation canals and ditches support many varieties of water plants; the lotus of antiquity is to be found in drainage channels in the delta. There are more than 100 kinds of grasses, among them bamboo and esparto (ḥalfāʾ), a coarse, long grass growing near water. Robust perennial reeds such as the Spanish reed and the common reed are widely distributed in Lower Egypt, but the papyrus, cultivated in antiquity, is now found only in botanical gardens.

      The date palm, both cultivated and subspontaneous, is found throughout the delta, in the Nile valley, and in the oases. The doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica; an African fan palm) is identified particularly with Upper Egypt (the southern part of the Nile valley) and the oases, although there are scattered examples elsewhere.

      There are very few native trees. The Phoenician juniper is the only native conifer, although there are several cultivated conifer species. The acacia is widely distributed, as are eucalyptus and sycamore. Several species of the genus Casuarina (beefwood order), imported in the 19th century, are now the country's most important timber trees. Other foreign importations, such as jacaranda, royal poinciana (a tree with orange or scarlet flowers), and lebbek (Albizia lebbek; a leguminous tree), have become a characteristic feature of the Egyptian landscape.

      Domestic animals include buffalo, camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats, the last of which are particularly noticeable in the Egyptian countryside. The animals that figure so prominently on the ancient Egyptian friezes—hippopotamuses, giraffes, and ostriches—no longer exist in Egypt; crocodiles are found only south of the Aswān High Dam. The largest wild animal is the aoudad (a type of bearded sheep), which survives in the southern fastnesses of the Western Desert. Other desert animals are the Dorcas gazelle, the fennec (a small, desert-dwelling fox), the Nubian ibex, the Egyptian hare, and two kinds of jerboa (a mouselike rodent with long hind legs for jumping). The Egyptian jackal (Canis lupaster) still exists, and the hyrax is found in the Sinai mountains. There are two carnivorous mammals: the Caffre cat (Egyptian wildcat), a small feline predator, and the ichneumon, or Egyptian mongoose. Several varieties of lizard are found, including the large monitor. Poisonous snakes include more than one species of viper; the speckled snake is found throughout the Nile valley and the Egyptian cobra (Naje haje) in agricultural areas. Scorpions are common in desert regions. There are numerous species of rodents. Many varieties of insects are to be found, including the locust.

      Egypt is rich in birdlife. Many birds pass through in large numbers on their spring and autumn migrations; in all, there are more than 200 migrating types to be seen, as well as more than 150 resident birds. The hooded crow is a familiar resident, and the black kite is characteristic along the Nile valley and in Al-Fayyūm. Among the birds of prey are the lanner falcon and the kestrel. Lammergeiers and golden eagles (golden eagle) live in the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Peninsula. The sacred ibis (a long-billed wading bird associated with ancient Egypt) is no longer found, but the great white egret and cattle egret appear in the Nile valley and Al-Fayyūm, as does the hoopoe (a bird with an erectile fanlike crest). Resident desert birds are a distinct category, numbering about 24 kinds.

      The Nile contains about 190 varieties of fish, the most common being bulṭī (Tilapia nilotica; a coarse-scaled, spiny-finned fish) and the Nile perch. The lakes on the delta coast contain mainly būrī (gray mullet). Lake Qārūn in Al-Fayyūm governorate (muḥāfaẓah) has been stocked with būrī and Lake Nasser with bulṭī, which grow very large in its waters.

People (Egypt)

Ethnic groups
      The population of the Nile valley and the delta, which are home to the overwhelming majority of Egyptians, forms a fairly homogeneous group whose dominant physical characteristics are the result of the admixture of the indigenous African population with those of Arab ancestry. Within urban areas (the northern delta towns especially), foreign invaders and immigrants—Persians, Romans, Greeks, Crusaders, Turks, and Circassians—long ago left behind a more heterogeneous mixture of physical types. Blond and red hair, blue eyes, and lighter complexions are more common there than in the rural areas of the delta, where peasant agriculturists, the fellahin, have been less affected by intermarriage with outside groups.

      The inhabitants of what is termed the middle Nile valley—roughly the area from Cairo to Aswān—are known as the Saʿīdī (Upper Egyptians). Though the Saʿīdī as a group tend to be more culturally conservative, they are ethnically similar to Lower Egyptians. In the extreme southern valley, Nubians differ culturally and ethnically from other Egyptians. Their kinship structure goes beyond lineage; they are divided into clans and broader segments, whereas among other Egyptians of the valley and of Lower Egypt only known members of the lineage are recognized as kin. Although Nubians (Nubia) have mixed and intermarried with members of other ethnic groups—particularly with Arabs—the dominant physical characteristics tend to be those of sub-Saharan Africa.

 The deserts of Egypt contain nomadic, seminomadic, and sedentary but formerly nomadic groups, with distinct ethnic characteristics. Apart from a few tribal groups of non-Arab stock and the mixed urban population, the inhabitants of the Sinai and the northern section of the Eastern Desert are all fairly recent immigrants from Arabia, who bear some physical resemblances to Arabian Bedouin. Their social organization is tribal, each group conceiving of itself as being united by a bond of blood and as having descended from a common ancestor. Originally tent dwellers and nomadic herders, many have become seminomads or even totally sedentary, as in the northern Sinai Peninsula.

      The southern section of the Eastern Desert is inhabited by the Beja, who bear a distinct resemblance to the surviving depictions of predynastic Egyptians. The Egyptian Beja are divided into two tribes—the ʿAbābdah and the Bishārīn. The ʿAbābdah occupy the Eastern Desert south of a line between Qinā and Al-Ghardaqah (Ghurdaqah, Al-); there are also several groups settled along the Nile between Aswān and Qinā. The Bishārīn live mainly in The Sudan, although some dwell in the ʿIlbah Mountain region, their traditional place of origin. Both the ʿAbābdah and Bishārīn people are nomadic pastoralists who tend herds of camels, goats, and sheep.

      The inhabitants of the Western Desert, outside the oases, are of mixed Arab and Amazigh ( Berber) descent. They are divided into two groups, the Saʿādī (not to be confused with the Saʿīdī, Upper Egyptians) and the Mūrābiṭīn. The Saʿādī regard themselves as descended from Banū Hilāl and Banū Sulaym, the great Arab tribes that migrated to North Africa in the 11th century. The most important and numerous of the Saʿādī group are the Awlād ʿAlī. The Mūrābiṭīn clans occupy a client status in relation to the Saʿādī and may be descendants of the original Amazigh inhabitants of the region. Originally herders and tent dwellers, the Bedouin of the Western Desert have become either seminomadic or totally sedentary. They are not localized by clan, and members of a single group may be widely dispersed.

      The original inhabitants of the oases of the Western Desert were Amazigh. Many peoples have since mixed with them, including Egyptians from the Nile valley, Arabs, Sudanese, Turks, and, particularly in the case of Al-Khārijah, sub-Saharan Africans—for this was the point of entry into Egypt of the Darb al-Arbaʿīn (Forty Days Road), the caravan route from the Darfur region of Sudan (Sudan, The).

      In addition to the indigenous groups, there are in Egypt a number of small foreign ethnic groups. In the 19th century there was rapid growth of communities of unassimilated foreigners, mainly European, living in Egypt; these acquired a dominating influence over finance, industry, and government. In the 1920s, which was a peak period, the number of foreigners in Egypt exceeded 200,000, the largest community being the Greeks, followed by the Italians, British, and French. Since Egypt's independence the size of the foreign communities has been greatly reduced.

      The official language of Egypt is Arabic (Arabic language), and most Egyptians speak one of several vernacular dialects of that language. As is the case in other Arab countries, the spoken vernacular differs greatly from the literary language. Modern literary Arabic (often called Modern Standard Arabic or al-fuṣḥā, “clear” Arabic), which developed out of classical or medieval Arabic, is learned only in school and is the lingua franca of educated persons throughout the Arab world. The grammar and syntax of the literary form of the language have remained substantially unchanged since the 7th century, but in other ways it has transformed in recent centuries. The modern forms of style, word sequence, and phraseology are simpler and more flexible than in Classical Arabic and are often directly derivative of English or French.

      Alongside the written language, there exist various regional vernaculars and dialects of Arabic (these are termed collectively al-ʿammiyyah, “common” Arabic), which differ widely from the literary variant as well as from one another. Within the amorphous grouping referred to as Egyptian colloquial, a number of separate vernacular groups can be discerned, each fairly homogeneous but with further strata of variation within the group. (Variations from one locale to another are often subtle but at other times are quite profound.) One of these is the dialect of the Bedouin of the Eastern Desert and of the Sinai Peninsula; the Bedouin of the Western Desert constitute a separate dialect group. Upper Egypt has its own vernacular, markedly different from that of Cairo. The Cairo dialect is used, with variations, throughout the towns of the delta, but rural people have their own vernacular. Direct contact with foreigners over a long period has led to the incorporation of many loanwords into Cairene colloquial Arabic. (Cairo's prominence as a centre of the Arab film industry has also ensured that its dialect is widely understood throughout the Arab world.) The long contact with foreigners and the existence of foreign-language schools also explain the polyglot character of Egyptian society. Most educated Egyptians are fluent in English or French or both, in addition to Arabic.

      There are also other minor linguistic groups. The Beja of the southern section of the Eastern Desert use an Afro-Asiatic language (Afro-Asiatic languages) of the Cushitic (Cushitic languages) branch known as To Bedawi (though some speak Tigre and many use Arabic). At Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert there are groups whose language is related (but not too closely) to the Berber languages (Amazigh languages) of the Afro-Asiatic family. Nubians speak Eastern Sudanic languages that, although technically of the Nilo-Saharan language (Nilo-Saharan languages) family, contain some Cushitic features. There are other minority linguistic groups, notably Greek, Italian, and Armenian, although they are much smaller than they once were.

      At the time of the Islamic conquest, the Coptic language, a latter incarnation of the ancient Egyptian language, was the medium of both religious and everyday life for the mass of the population. By the 12th century, however, Arabic had come into common use even among Christian Copts, whose former tongue continued only as a liturgical language for the Coptic Orthodox Church.

 Islam (Islāmic world) is the official religion of Egypt, and most Egyptians adhere to its Sunni branch. The country has long been a centre of Islamic scholarship, and al-Azhar University (Azhar University, al-)—located in Cairo—is widely considered the world's preeminent institution of Islamic learning. Likewise, many Muslims, even those outside Egypt, consider al-Azhar's sheikhs to be among the highest religious authorities in the Sunni world. The Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational religio-political organization that seeks to expand conservative Muslim values, was founded in Egypt in 1928. Sufism (Ṣūfism) is also widely practiced.

 Copts are far and away the largest Christian denomination in the country. In language, dress, and way of life they are indistinguishable from Muslim Egyptians; their church ritual and traditions, however, date from before the Arab conquest in the 7th century. Ever since it broke with the Eastern Church in the 5th century, the Coptic Orthodox Church (Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria) has maintained its autonomy, and its beliefs and ritual have remained basically unchanged. The Copts have traditionally been associated with certain handicrafts and trades and, above all, with accountancy, banking, commerce, and the civil service; there are, however, rural communities that are wholly Coptic, as well as mixed Coptic-Muslim villages. The Copts are most numerous in the middle Nile valley governorates of Asyūṭ, Al-Minyā, and Qinā. About one-fourth of the total Coptic population lives in Cairo.

      Among other religious communities are Coptic Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian Orthodox and Catholic, Maronite, and Syrian Catholic churches as well as Anglicans and other Protestants. Few Jews remain in the country.

Settlement patterns
      Physiographically, Egypt is usually divided into four major regions—the Nile valley and delta, the Eastern Desert, the Western Desert, and the Sinai Peninsula. When both physical and cultural characteristics are considered together, however, the country may be further divided into subregions—the Nile delta, the Nile valley from Cairo to south of Aswān, the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coast, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Western Desert and its oases.

      About half of the population of the delta are peasants (fellahin)—either small landowners or labourers—living on the produce of the land. The remainder live in towns or cities, the largest of which is Cairo. As a whole, they have had greater contact with the outside world, particularly with the rest of the Middle East and with Europe, than the inhabitants of the more remote southern valley and are generally less traditional and conservative than those in other regions of the country.

      The inhabitants of the valley from Cairo up to Aswān governorate, the Ṣaʿīdīs, are more conservative than the delta people. In some areas women still do not appear in public without a veil; family honour is of great importance, and the vendetta remains an accepted (albeit illegal) means of resolving disputes between groups. Until the building of the High Dam, the Aswān governorate was one of the poorest regions in the valley and the most remote from outside influences. It has since experienced increased economic prosperity.

      The majority of the sedentary population of the Eastern Desert lives in the few towns and settlements along the coast, the largest being Raʿs Ghārib. No accurate figures are available for the nomadic population, but they are believed to constitute about one-eighth of the region's total population. They belong to various tribal groups, the most important being—from north to south—the Ḥuwayṭāt, Maʿāzah, ʿAbābdah, and Bishārīn. There are more true nomads in the Eastern Desert than the Western Desert because of the greater availability of pasture and water. They live either by herding goats, sheep, or camels or by trading—mainly with mining and petroleum camps or with the fishing communities on the coast.

      Outside the oases, the habitable areas of the Western Desert, mainly near the coast, are occupied by the Awlād ʿAlī tribe. Apart from small groups of camel herders in the south, the population is no longer totally nomadic. Somewhat less than half are seminomadic herdsmen; the remainder are settled and, in addition to maintaining herds of sheep and goats, pursue such activities as fruit growing, fishing, trading, and handicrafts. The Western Desert supports a much larger population than the Eastern Desert. Marsā Maṭrūḥ, an important summer resort on the Mediterranean Sea, is the only urban centre. Other scattered communities are found mainly near railway stations and along the northern cultivated strip. The oases, though geographically a part of the Western Desert, are ethnically and culturally distinct. The southern oases of Al-Khārijah and Al-Dākhilah have been developed to some extent as part of a reclamation project centred on exploiting underground water resources. Other oases include Al-Farāfirah, Al-Baḥriyyah, and Siwa.

      The majority of the population in the Sinai Peninsula are Arabs, many of whom have settled around Al-ʿArīsh and in the northern coastal area, although substantial numbers in the central plateau and the Sinai mountains continue to be nomadic or seminomadic. Another concentration of sedentary population is found at Al-Qanṭarah, on the east side of the Suez Canal.

Rural settlement
 The settled Egyptian countryside, throughout the delta and the Nile valley to the High Dam, exhibits great homogeneity, although minor variations occur from north to south.

      The typical rural settlement is a compact village surrounded by intensively cultivated fields. The villages range in population from 500 to more than 10,000. They are basically similar in physical appearance and design throughout the country, except for minor local variations in building materials, design, and decoration. Date palms, sycamore and eucalyptus trees, and Casuarina species are common features of the landscape. Until comparatively recently, the only source of drinking water was the Nile; consequently, many of the villages are built along the banks of its canals. Some of the oldest villages are situated on mounds—a relic of the days of basin irrigation and annual flooding.

      In the delta the houses, one or two stories high, are built of mud bricks plastered with mud and straw; in the southern parts of the valley more stone is used. The houses are joined to one another in a continuous row. In a typical house the windows consist of a few small round or square openings, permitting scant air or light to enter. The roofs are flat and built of layers of dried date-palm leaves, with palm-wood rafters; corn (maize) and cotton stalks, as well as dung cakes used for fuel, are stored on them. For grain storage, small cone-shaped silos of plastered mud are built on the roof and are then sealed to prevent the ravages of insects and rodents. Rooftops are also a favourite sleeping place on hot summer nights.

      The houses of the poorer peasants usually consist of a narrow passageway, a bedroom, and a courtyard; part of the courtyard may be used as an enclosure for farm animals. Furniture is sparse. Ovens are made of plastered mud and are built into the wall of the courtyard or inside the house. In the larger and more prosperous villages, houses are built of burnt bricks reinforced with concrete, are more spacious, and often house members of an extended family. Furniture, running water, bathroom installations, and electricity are additional signs of prosperity.

      Typical features of the smaller Egyptian village, in both the delta and the valley, are a mosque or a church, a primary school, a decorated pigeon cote, service buildings belonging to the government, and a few shops. Most of the people in the smaller villages engage in agriculture. In the larger villages, there may be some professional and semiprofessional inhabitants as well as artisans, skilled workers, and shopkeepers. Outside the larger settlements, combined service units—consisting of modern buildings enclosing the social service unit, village cooperative, health unit, and school—are still sometimes found, although most of such government establishments had been disbanded by the early 21st century. Much of the rural community has turned to similar services offered by nongovernmental Islamic organizations.

      Unless situated on a highway, villages are reached by unpaved dirt roads. Inside the villages the roads consist mainly of narrow, winding footpaths. All villages, however, have at least one motorable road.

      The Western Desert oases are not compact villages but small, dispersed agglomerations surrounded by green patches of cultivation; they are often separated from each other by areas of sand. Al-Khārijah, for example, is the largest of five scattered villages. Traditionally, the houses in the oases were up to six stories high, made of packed mud, and clustered close together for defense. Modern houses are usually two stories high and farther apart.

Urban settlement
 Although for census purposes Egyptian towns are considered to be urban centres, some of them are actually overgrown villages, containing large numbers of fellahin and persons engaged in work relating to agriculture and rural enterprises. Some of the towns that acquired urban status in the second half of the 20th century continue to be largely rural, although their residents include government officials, people engaged in trade and commerce, industrial workers, technicians, and professional people. One characteristic of towns and, indeed, of the larger cities is their rural fringe. Towns and cities have grown at the expense of agricultural land, with urban dwellings and apartment buildings mushrooming haphazardly among the fields. There is little evidence of town or city planning or of adherence to building regulations; often mud village houses are embraced within the confines of a city.

      Buildings in towns and smaller cities are usually two-storied houses or apartment blocks of four to six stories. The better ones are lime-washed, with flat roofs and numerous balconies; other houses and buildings are often of unpainted red brick and concrete.

      Whereas most of the cities of Egypt do not have many distinctive features, some, such as Cairo, Alexandria, and Aswān, have special characteristics of their own. Cairo is a complex and crowded metropolis, with architecture representing more than a millennium of history. Greater Cairo (including Al-Jīzah and other suburban settlements) and Alexandria, together with the most important towns along the Suez Canal—Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez—are, like most other major urban centres worldwide, modern in appearance.

Demographic trends
 Most of Egypt's people live along the banks of the Nile River, and more than two-fifths of the population lives in urban areas. Along the Nile, the population density is one of the highest in the world, in excess of 5,000 persons per square mile (2,000 per square km) in a number of riverine governorates. The rapidly growing population is young, with roughly one-third of the total under age 15 and nearly three-fifths under 30. In response to the strain put on Egypt's economy by the country's burgeoning population, a national family planning program was initiated in 1964, and by the 1990s it had succeeded in lowering the birth rate. Improvements in health care also brought the infant mortality rate well below the world average by the turn of the 21st century. Life expectancy averages about 70 years for men and women.

      Although the constitution of 1971 describes the economy as one based on socialism, with the people controlling all means of production, the public sector thoroughly dominated the economy for only about two decades following the revolution of 1952—prior to which time the country had a free market. Most major nationalization took place between 1961 and the early 1970s, when most important sectors of the economy either were public or were strictly controlled by the government. This included large-scale industry, communications, banking and finance, the cotton trade, foreign trade as a whole, and other sectors. During that time, private enterprise came gradually to find its scope restricted, but some room to maneuver was still left in real estate and in agriculture and, later, in the export trade. Personal income, as well as land ownership, was strictly limited by the government.

      Moreover, the government, when not actually in possession of the means of production, regulated all important aspects of production and distribution. It imposed controls on agricultural prices, controlled rent, ran the internal trade, restricted foreign travel and the use of foreign exchange, and appointed and supervised the boards of directors of corporations. The government initiated projects and allocated investment.

      As part of the infitah ("opening") economic policy adopted in the early 1970s, some of these restrictions were relaxed in the last quarter of the 20th century, permitting greater private-sector participation in various areas. Although the everyday running of corporations is now left to their boards of directors, those boards receive instructions from public boards, and the chairmen of boards often coordinate their production policies with the appropriate state minister. The government formulates five-year development plans to guide economic development. Likewise, since the early 1970s, the Egyptian government has campaigned for increased foreign investment—initially receiving financial aid from the oil-rich Arab states. Although Arab aid was suspended as a punitive measure after Egypt signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel (see Camp David Accords), the subsequent return of several Western and Japanese corporations, encouraged by the normalization of Egyptian relations with Israel, increased the potential for further foreign investment in the country. Much of the effort exerted by the government in the early 1980s was devoted to adjusting the economy to the situation resulting from the 1979 treaty. Defense expenditures were reduced, and increased allocations were made available for developing roads, bridges, oil pipelines, telephone lines, and other infrastructure. Egypt's economy began to become more resilient, primarily because of new oil and natural gas discoveries but also because Western aid increased. In the late 1990s Egypt's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose markedly, as the government sought to raise domestic production and foreign trade.

      However, the economy has continued to face many hurdles. The general standard of living in Egypt remains rather low, and in relation to the size of its population, its economic resources are limited. Land remains its main source of natural wealth, but the amount of productive land is insufficient to support the population adequately. Increases in population have put pressure on resources, producing chronic underemployment, and many Egyptians have sought employment abroad.

Agriculture and fishing
 About 96 percent of Egypt's total area is desert. Lack of forests, permanent meadows, or pastures places a heavy burden on the available arable land, which constitutes only about 3 percent of the total area. This limited area, which sustains on the average 8 persons per acre (20 per hectare), is, however, highly fertile and is cropped more than once a year.

      Agriculture remains an important sector of the Egyptian economy. It contributes nearly one-sixth of the GDP, employs roughly one-fourth of the labour force, and provides the country—through agricultural exports—with an important part of its foreign exchange. The rapid increase in Egypt's population prompted an intensification of cultivation almost without parallel elsewhere. Heavy capital is invested in the form of canals, drains, dams, water pumps, and barrages; the investment of skilled labour, commercial fertilizers, and pesticides is also great. Strict crop rotation—in addition to government controls on the allocation of area to crops, on varieties planted, on the distribution of fertilizers and pesticides, and on marketing—contributes to high agricultural yield.

      Unlike the situation in comparable developing countries, Egyptian agriculture is geared overwhelmingly toward commercial rather than subsistence production. Field crops contribute some three-fourths of the total value of Egypt's agricultural production, while the rest comes from livestock products, fruits and vegetables, and other specialty crops. Egypt has two seasons of cultivation, one for winter and another for summer crops. The main summer field crop is cotton, which absorbs much of the available labour and represents a notable portion of the value of exports. Egypt is the world's principal producer of long-staple cotton (1.125 inches [2.85 cm] and longer), normally supplying about one-third of the world crop; total Egyptian cotton production, however, constitutes just a tiny fraction of the global yield.

 Among other principal field crops are corn (maize), rice, wheat, sorghum, and fava (broad) beans (fūl). Despite a considerable output, the cereal production in Egypt falls short of the country's total consumption needs; a substantial proportion of foreign exchange is spent annually on the import of cereals and milling products. Other important crops include sugarcane, tomatoes, sugar beets, potatoes, and onions. Many varieties of fruit are grown, and some, such as citrus, are exported.

 Until the completion of the Aswān High Dam (Aswan High Dam) in 1970, the pattern of inundation and falling water, of high Nile and low Nile, established the Egyptian year and controlled the lives of the Egyptian farmers—and most Egyptians were tied to a life on the land—from birth to death, from century to century. On the regular behaviour of the Nile rested the prosperity, the very continuity, of the land. The three seasons of the Egyptian year were even named after the land conditions produced by the river: akhet, the “inundation”; peret, the season when the land emerged from the flood; and shomu, the time when water was short. When the Nile behaved as expected, which most commonly was the case, life went on as normal; when the flood failed or was excessive, disaster followed.

      Construction of the Aswān High Dam enabled not only control of the Nile's floods but also the reclamation of vast tracts of land for farming. The total land reclaimed as a result of the Aswān High Dam project reached more than 1,000,000 acres (400,000 hectares) by 1975, in addition to some 700,000 acres (284,000 hectares) converted from basin (one crop per year) irrigation to perennial irrigation. During the same period, however, an agricultural area almost as large was lost to industry and growing towns. Conscious of the need to conserve and to increase arable land, the Egyptian government has encouraged the establishment of new settlements in desert areas and has promoted projects to bring large areas of unproductive desert under cultivation. The New Valley project, which was begun in 1997, is slated to bring roughly 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) under production in the southern Western Desert by pumping water from Lake Nasser through a long canal. Major construction was completed by 2003. Similar programs have been undertaken in the western delta and the Sinai Peninsula.

      Egypt has been the scene of one of the most successful attempts at land reform. In 1952 a limit of 200 acres (80 hectares) was imposed on individual ownership of land, and this was lowered to 100 acres (40 hectares) in 1961 and to 50 acres (20 hectares) in 1969. By 1975 less than one-eighth of the total cultivated area was held by owners with 50 acres or more. The success of Egyptian land reform is indicated by the substantial rise of land yields after 1952. This was partly the result of several complementary measures of agrarian reform, such as regulation of land tenure and rent control, that accompanied the redistribution of the land. Rent control has since been discontinued for land and new constructions but remains in effect for older real estate.

      Egypt's biological resources, centred around the Nile, have long been one of its principal assets. There are no forests or any permanent vegetation of economic significance apart from the land under cultivation. Water buffalo, cattle, asses, goats, and sheep are the most important livestock. Although animal husbandry and poultry production have been promoted by the government, growth has been sluggish.

      Following the construction of the Aswān High Dam, the Egyptian government encouraged the development of a fishing industry. Construction of such projects as a fish farm and fishery complex at Lake Nasser have led to a considerable increase in the number of freshwater fish and in the size of the yearly total catch. At the same time, catches of sea fish in the waters off the Nile delta have declined, because of the change in the flow and character of Nile water after the construction of the Aswān High Dam.

Resources and power
      Compared with the physical size of the country and the level of its population, Egypt has scanty mineral resources. The search for petroleum began earlier in Egypt than elsewhere in the Middle East, and production on a small scale began as early as 1908, but it was not until the mid-1970s that significant results were achieved, notably in the Gulf of Suez and portions of the Western Desert. By the early 1980s Egypt had become an important oil producer, although total production was relatively small by Middle Eastern standards.

      The bulk of Egypt's petroleum comes from the Morgan, Ramadan, and July fields (both onshore and offshore) in the Gulf of Suez, which are operated by the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (commonly known as Gupco), and from the Abū Rudays area of the Sinai on the Gulf of Suez. Egypt also extracts oil from fields at Al-ʿAlamayn (El-Alamein) and Razzāq in the Western Desert. Active drilling for oil, involving several international interests, including those of the United States and several European countries, has continued in both the Eastern and the Western deserts, with marked success during the 1990s and early 21st century.

      In the process of searching for oil, some significant natural gas deposits have been located, including substantial deposits in the delta and in the Western Desert, as well as offshore under the Mediterranean Sea. Wells have been established in the Abū Qīr area, northeast of Alexandria. A joint Egyptian-Italian gas discovery was made in the north delta near Abū Māḍī in 1970; this was developed partly to supply a fertilizer plant and partly to fuel the industrial centres in the north and northwest delta. In 1974 Abū Māḍī became the first Egyptian gas field to begin production. Other natural gas fields are located in the Western Desert, the delta, the Mediterranean shelf, and the Gulf of Suez, and by the early 21st century natural gas production had begun to rival that of oil, both as a source for domestic consumption and as a commodity for future export.

      Egypt has several oil refineries, two of which are located at Suez. The first of Egypt's twin crude pipelines, linking the Gulf of Suez to the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria, was opened in 1977. This Suez-Mediterranean pipeline, known as Sumed, has the capacity to transmit some 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. The Sumed pipeline was financed by a consortium of Arab countries, primarily Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt. In 1981 a crude oil pipeline was opened to link Raʾs Shukhayr, on the Red Sea coast, with the refinery at Musṭurud, north of Cairo. Additional oil pipelines link Musṭurud with Alexandria, and fields near Hurghada to terminals on the Red Sea.

      Several of Egypt's major known phosphate deposits are mined at Isnā, Ḥamrāwayn, and Safājah. Coal deposits are located in the partially developed Maghārah mines in the Sinai Peninsula. Mines located in the Eastern Desert have been the primary source for manganese production since 1967, and there are also reserves of manganese on the Sinai Peninsula. Iron ore is extracted from deposits at Aswān, and development work has continued at Al-Baḥriyyah Oasis. Chromium, uranium, and gold deposits are also found in the country.

      The Nile constitutes an incomparable source of hydroelectric energy. Before the completion of the Aswān High Dam (Aswan High Dam) power station in 1970, only a small volume of Egyptian electricity was generated by hydropower, with thermal plants burning diesel fuel or coal being the principal producers. For several years after the High Dam station went into operation, most of the country's electricity was generated there. Its original 12 turbines have a generating capacity of about 2 million kilowatts; the Aswan II hydroelectric power station (completed 1986) has added another 270,000 kilowatts of capacity to the system. Actual power production from the High Dam has been limited, however, by the need to reconcile demands for power with the demands for irrigation water. Moreover, Egypt's booming population and growing need for energy has forced the government to construct additional thermal plants, many of them fueled by the country's abundant reserves of natural gas. Thermal plants now generate some four-fifths of the country's electricity.

      During the 20th century, manufacturing grew to be one of the largest sectors of Egypt's economy, accounting (along with mining) for roughly one-fourth of the GDP by the 21st century. Domestic manufactures were weak from the late 19th century until about 1930 because of free trade policies that favoured importing foreign products. Motivated by the need to increase national income, to diversify the economy, and to satisfy the aspirations of nascent nationalism, the government imposed a customs tariff on foreign goods in 1930 that promoted the development of Egyptian manufactures. The Bank of Egypt also extended loans to Egyptian entrepreneurs in the 1920s and '30s to help stimulate Egyptian domestic production. A succession of companies were founded that engaged in printing, cotton ginning, transport, spinning and weaving (linen, silk, and cotton), vegetable oil extraction, and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and rayon. Egypt was a major Allied base during World War II (1939–45) but was largely cut off from European imports; this situation further fueled the development of manufacturing, particularly of textile products.

      Most large-scale manufacturing establishments were nationalized beginning in the 1950s, and emphasis was placed on developing heavy industry after a long-term trade and aid agreement was reached with the Soviet Union in 1964. Another aid agreement with the Soviets in 1970 provided for the expansion of an iron and steel complex at Ḥulwān and for the establishment of a number of power-based industries, including an aluminum complex that uses power generated by the High Dam. An ammonium nitrate plant was opened in 1971, based on gases generated in the coking unit of the steel mill at Ḥulwān. There is also a nitrate fertilizer plant at Aswān.

      By the beginning of the 21st century, most large manufacturing enterprises were still owned or operated by the state, although the government had begun to sell substantial holdings to the private sector. Major manufactures included chemicals of all sorts (including pharmaceuticals), food products, textiles and garments, cement and other building materials, and paper products as well as derivatives of hydrocarbons (including fuel oil, gasoline, lubricants, jet fuel, and asphalt). Iron, steel, and automobiles were of growing importance to the Egyptian economy.

      Modern banking activities date from the mid-19th century. The Bank of Egypt opened in 1858 and the Anglo-Egyptian Bank in 1864. The French bank Crédit Lyonnais began operations in Egypt in 1866, followed by the Ottoman Bank (1867) and then other French, Italian, and Greek banks. The National Bank of Egypt (1898) and the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (1902) were founded with British capital. The first purely Egyptian Bank was the Banque Misr (1920).

      From its inception the National Bank of Egypt assumed the main functions of a central bank, a status that was confirmed by law in 1951. In 1957 all English and French banks and insurance companies were nationalized and taken over by various Egyptian joint-stock companies; thereafter, all shareholders, directors, and managers of those financial institutions were bound by law to be Egyptian citizens. Banque Misr, long responsible for controlling a number of industrial companies in addition to conducting ordinary banking business, was nationalized in 1960. As of 1961 the National Bank of Egypt—which had also been nationalized in 1960—was divided into a commercial bank that maintained the original name and the Central Bank of Egypt, which functioned as a central bank. Later that year, all remaining financial institutions were nationalized, and their operations were concentrated in five commercial banks, in addition to the central bank, the government-sponsored Public Organization for Agricultural Credits and Co-operatives, the Development Industrial Bank, and three mortgage banks. The national currency, the Egyptian pound (Arabic: ginīh), is issued by the central bank.

      The government again reorganized the banking system in the early 1970s, merging some of the major banks and assigning special functions to each of the rest. Two new banks were created, and foreign banks were again permitted in the country as part of a program aimed at liberalizing the economy. Of particular interest were joint banking ventures between Egyptian and foreign banks. In 1980 Egypt's first international bank since the revolution was opened and a national investment bank was established. Islamic banks have been set up in Egypt, paying dividends to their investors instead of interest, which is proscribed under Islamic law. In 1992 the stock exchanges at Cairo (1903) and Alexandria (1881), which had been closed since the early 1960s, were reopened, and in 1997 they were fully merged as the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange.

      The supply of money has, in general, followed the development of the economy; the authorities have aimed at tolerable increases in the price level, although some prices soared during the 1970s and '80s. Long pegged to the U.S. dollar, the pound was allowed to float in January 2003.

      Egypt is a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Since World War II the international liquidity of the Egyptian economy, including the Special Drawing Rights, added in 1970, has been depressed. In the late 1970s both internal and external debts rose, primarily because of large government subsidies to the private sector. In the 1980s and '90s the government gradually introduced price increases on goods and services, effectively reducing (though not eliminating) subsidies for food and fuel. In 1991 Egypt signed an agreement with the IMF and the World Bank called the Economic Reform and Structural Adjustment Program, which reduced the fiscal deficit, removed consumer subsidies, eliminated price controls, liberalized trade, reformed labour laws, and privatized state-owned enterprises. Although the program strengthened Egypt's economy during the 1990s, economic growth slowed in the early 21st century.

      The value of imports into Egypt is usually equal to about one-third and exports about one-tenth of the GDP. Since World War II exports have tended to fall short of imports. The trade deficit was particularly sizable from 1960 to 1965 as expenditure on development rose, reaching a peak in 1966. After the 1973 war with Israel, there was a decided effort to restrict imports and stimulate exports, but this met with little success. The trade deficit rose to record highs in the early and mid-1980s, largely because of the decline in revenue from petroleum exports and the increase in food imports. These problems have persisted in the early 21st century. The large visible trade deficit was partially offset by transfers from abroad, such as aid from Western governments and remittances from Egyptians working in other countries.

      Nearly two-fifths of imports consist of raw materials, mineral and chemical products, and capital goods (machinery, electrical apparatuses, and transport equipment), some one-fifth are foodstuffs, and the remainder are other consumer goods. Roughly half of the exports by value consist of petroleum and petroleum products, followed by raw cotton, cotton yarn, and fabrics. Raw materials, mineral and chemical products, and capital goods are also exported. Among agricultural exports are rice, onions, garlic, and citrus fruit. Egypt's most important trading partners include the United States, Italy, Germany, and France.

      The service sector—including retail sales, tourism, and government services—is one of the largest in the economy. The government alone is one of the biggest employers in the country, and government contracts help fuel other sectors of Egypt's still heavily socialized economy. Despite privatization and fiscal austerity measures in the late 20th century, construction projects, particularly major public-works projects, have been an important source of employment and a major source of national spending. Tourism has traditionally been an important source of foreign exchange, with millions visiting Egypt each year, although the number of tourists and volume of tourism revenues have fallen in times of political instability. In general, however, the number of tourists per year and the amount they spend in Egypt have risen. Most foreign visitors come from western Europe and from other Arab countries. Warm winters, beaches, and gambling casinos draw as many tourists as do Egypt's ancient monuments.

Labour and taxation
      Nearly one-fourth of the population derives its living from agriculture, although a growing proportion of the labour force—more than one-tenth—is engaged in manufacturing and mining. Most of the rest of the working population is employed in the service, trade, finance, and transportation sectors. Because of the shortage of land, labour underemployment began to be manifest in agriculture early in the 20th century. Since then the development of nonagricultural jobs has failed to keep pace with a rapidly growing labour force, and unemployment grew during the 1990s as the government shed large numbers of unproductive positions from the bureaucracy as part of a fiscal austerity policy. The rural population, especially landless agricultural labourers, has the lowest standard of living in the country. The salaries of professional groups are also low. Industrial and urban workers enjoy, on the whole, a higher standard. The highest wages are earned in petroleum, manufacturing, and other industries, where many workers receive additional benefits of social insurance and extra health and housing facilities. To some extent, low wages had been partly offset by the low cost of living, but since the late 1970s this advantage has been neutralized by persistent high inflation rates.

      Trade unions are closely controlled by the government through the Egyptian Trade Union Federation and umbrella organizations with close ties to the government. Workers obtain a share of the profits earned by corporations and elect their representatives to company boards of directors; they are also heavily represented in the National Assembly (legislature). In all these activities, however, official selection works side by side with free elections. Trade unions are often vocally active in national policy making but are seldom the instrument for negotiating higher wages or better work conditions. Labour legislation of the early 21st century legalized some strikes, provided the union gives advance notice. However, unauthorized strikes also have taken place. There are well-defined rules regarding child labour—children as young as age 12 may work in seasonal agriculture, and children age 14 and older may engage in industrial work part-time only—but authorities have found these rules difficult to enforce. In farm families, for instance, everyone works, and even Egyptians who have left rural life may still regard children as economic assets. Discrimination based on gender is illegal, but social custom has rendered a wide variety of occupations inaccessible to women. As in many Islamic countries, the workweek is Sunday through Thursday. Since the 1960s, several new employers' associations have arisen, and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI; 1922) has regained powers it had once lost, such as the authority to reject government-proposed trade boycotts.

      With the majority of the population earning very low incomes, direct taxation falls on the few wealthy; income-tax rates are made sharply progressive in an attempt to achieve a degree of equality in income distribution. Nevertheless, the income gap between rich and poor Egyptians has widened noticeably since the 1960s. Direct taxes on income, mostly levied on businesses, account for about one-fourth of governmental revenue. Sales taxes also generate about one-fourth of revenue, and customs duties (including fees from the Suez Canal) raise another one-seventh.

Transportation and telecommunications
 Almost the entire communications system is state-controlled. It is adequate in terms of coverage, but stresses sometimes arise from excessive usage. The main patterns of transport flow reflect the topographical configuration of the country—that is to say, they follow the north-south course of the Nile, run along the narrow coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea, and expand into a more complex system in the delta.

      About four-fifths of Egypt's total road network is paved. Rural roads, made of dried mud, usually follow the lines of the irrigation canals; many of the desert roads are little more than tracks. The Cairo-Alexandria highway runs via Banhā, Ṭanṭā, and Damanhūr. The alternate desert road to Cairo from Alexandria has been extensively improved, and a good road links Alexandria with Libya by way of Marsā Maṭrūḥ on the Mediterranean coast. There are paved roads between Cairo and Al-Fayyūm, and good roads connect the various delta and Suez Canal towns. A paved road parallels the Nile from Cairo south to Aswān, and another paved road runs from Asyūṭ to Al-Khārijah and Al-Dākhilah in the Western Desert. The coastal Red Sea route to Marsā al-ʿAlam is poorly paved, as are the connecting sections inland.

      Railways connect Cairo with Alexandria and with the delta and canal towns and also run southward to Aswān and the High Dam. Branchlines connect Cairo with Al-Fayyūm and Alexandria with Marsā Maṭrūḥ. A network of light railway lines connects the Fayyūm area and the delta villages with the main lines. Diesel-driven trains operate along the main lines; electric lines connect Cairo with the suburbs of Ḥulwān and Heliopolis. The Cairo Metro consists of two commuter rail lines, with plans for further expansion.

 The Suez Canal, which was closed at the time of the Six-Day War with Israel in 1967, was reopened in 1975 and was subsequently expanded to accommodate larger ships; it serves as a major link between the Mediterranean and Red seas. The Nile and its associated navigable canals provide an important means of transportation, primarily for heavy goods. There are roughly 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of navigable waterways—about half of this total is on the Nile, which is navigable throughout its length. The inland-waterway freight fleet consists of tugs, motorized barges, towed barges, and flat-bottomed feluccas (two- or three-masted lateen-rigged sailing ships).

 Blessed with a long coastline, Egypt has nine ports, of which the busiest are Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez. Alexandria, which has a fine natural harbour, handles most of the country's imports and exports, as well as the bulk of its passenger traffic. Port Said, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal, lacks the berthing and loading facilities of Alexandria. Suez's main function is that of an entry port for petroleum and minerals from the Egyptian Red Sea coast and for goods from Asia.

      Cairo is an important communication centre for world air routes. The enlarged airport at Heliopolis, Cairo International Airport, with its second terminal building completed in 1986 and a third under construction since 2006, is used by major international airlines, as is Nuzhah Airport at Alexandria. The national airline, EgyptAir, runs external services throughout the Middle East, as well as to Europe, North America, Africa, and the Far East; it also operates a domestic air service.

      In the mid-19th century, Egypt was one of the first countries in the Middle East to establish a telegraph system, followed shortly by a telephone system. Since that time, Egypt has been a regional leader in the telecommunications field. The telecommunications infrastructure is better developed in urban areas, especially in Lower Egypt; in addition, the government has dedicated extensive resources to upgrading it. Telephone density is relatively high, with about one phone line for every 10 people, and is growing rapidly. Cellular phones were introduced in the mid-1990s, and within a decade their use had surpassed that of land lines. State-owned Telecom Egypt has formed joint ventures with various foreign-owned companies to provide the country's cellular telephone services.

      Television and radio are ubiquitous. In 1998 the government-owned Egyptian Radio and Television Union launched Egypt's first communication satellite, Nilesat, which offers access to private television broadcasters. Satellite dishes, which receive Egyptian and foreign broadcasts, are popular and relatively common among middle-class and affluent households. The Internet is still in its youth in Egypt; only a small fraction of the population has direct access. Many Egyptians, however, visit Internet cafés to connect to the network, as ownership of personal computers remains limited.

Government and society
      Egypt has operated under several constitutions, both as a monarchy and, after 1952, as a republic. The first and most liberal of these was the 1923 constitution, which was promulgated just after Britain declared Egypt's independence. That document laid the political and cultural groundwork for modern Egypt, declaring it an independent sovereign Islamic state with Arabic as its language. The vote was extended to all adult males. This constitution provided for a bicameral parliament, an independent judiciary, and a strong executive in the form of the king. In 1930 this constitution was replaced by another one, which gave even more powers to the king and his ministers. Following vigorous protest, it was abrogated five years later. The 1923 constitution again came into force but was permanently abolished after the revolution in 1952. The Republic of Egypt was declared in 1953. The new ruling junta—led by a charismatic army officer, Gamal Abdel Nasser (Nasser, Gamal Abdel)—abolished all political parties, which had operated with relative freedom under the monarchy, and a new constitution, in which women were granted the franchise, was introduced in 1956. To replace the abolished political parties, the regime formed the National Union in 1957—from 1962 the Arab Socialist Union (ASU)—which dominated political life in Egypt for the next 15 years. An interim constitution was promulgated in 1964.

      At the heart of the postrevolutionary regime was a commitment to Pan-Arabism, the nationalist philosophy that called for the establishment of a single Arab state, and during the following decades Egypt engaged in several abortive attempts to forge transnational unions with other Arab countries. In 1958 Egypt and Syria were merged into one state, called the United Arab Republic, a name that was retained by Egypt for a decade after Syria's secession in 1961. In 1971 Egypt, Libya, and Syria agreed to establish the Federation of Arab Republics, but the federation never actually materialized. A draft constitution was accepted by the heads of state of each country and was approved by referenda in each of the three member states. The capital of the federation would be Cairo. In 1977, however, deteriorating relations between Egypt and other Arab states over Egypt's peace negotiations with Israel led to the end of the federation and to Egypt's suspension from the Arab League, a regional organization of which it had been a founding member.

Constitutional framework
      Egypt's current constitution was approved by referendum on Sept. 11, 1971. It proclaimed the Arab Republic of Egypt to be “a democratic, socialist state,” with Islam as its state religion and Arabic as its national language. It recognized three types of ownership—public, cooperative, and private—and guaranteed the equality of all Egyptians before the law and their protection against arbitrary intervention by the state in the legal process. It also affirmed the people's rights to peaceful assembly, education, and health and social security and the right to organize into associations or unions and to vote.

      According to the constitution and its subsequent amendments, the president of the republic is the head of state and, together with the cabinet, constitutes the executive authority. The president must be Egyptian, born of Egyptian parents, and at least 40 years old. The presidential term is six years and may be extended to an unlimited number of additional terms. The president has the power to appoint and dismiss one or more vice presidents, the prime minister, ministers, and deputy ministers. In 2005 Egypt held its first presidential election where multiple candidates vied for the office and which was conducted by popular vote. Prior to that time, a single candidate had been chosen by the legislature then confirmed by national plebiscite.

      The president is the supreme commander of the armed forces and has the right to grant amnesty and reduce sentence, the power to appoint civil and military officials and to dismiss them in a manner prescribed by the law, and the authority to call a referendum on matters of supreme importance. The president can, in exceptional cases and by investiture of the legislature, issue decrees having the force of law—but only for a defined time period.

      Legislative power resides in the People's Assembly, which is composed primarily of elected members, some of whom must be women; a few members are appointed by the president. Members of the assembly are elected, under a complex system of proportional representation, for terms of five years. All males age 18 and older are required to vote, as well as all women on the register of voters. The president convenes and closes the sessions of the People's Assembly.

      The People's Assembly must ratify all laws and examine and approve the national budget. It also approves the program of each newly appointed cabinet. Should it withdraw its confidence from any member of the cabinet, that person is required to resign. The president cannot dissolve the assembly except under special circumstances and only after a vote of approval by a people's referendum. Elections for a new assembly must be held within 60 days of dissolution.

      A second body, the Consultative Assembly, was formed in 1980. It acts in many ways as an upper house of the legislature and may propose new amendments to the constitution, advise the president on issues of foreign policy and economic development, and conduct studies of any issues submitted to it by the president. Roughly two-thirds of the Consultative Assembly is elected. The remainder consists of presidential appointees. Members serve six-year terms.

      The constitution also provides for a judiciary, independent of other authorities, whose functions and authority are governed by special legislation. The National Defence Council, presided over by the president of the republic, is responsible for matters relating to security and defense.

      Until 1960 all government administration was highly centralized, but in that year a system of local governance was established to decentralize administration and promote greater citizen participation at the local level. The 1960 Local Administration Law provides for three levels of subnational administration—muḥāfaẓāt (governorates; sing. muḥāfaẓah), markaz (districts or counties), and qariyyah (villages). The structure combines features of both local administration and local self-government. There are two councils at each administrative level: a people's council that is mostly elected and an executive council that is appointed. Although these councils exercise broad legislative powers, they are controlled by the central government.

      The country is divided into 27 governorates. Five cities—Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Suez, and Luxor—have governorate status. The governor is appointed and can be dismissed by the president of the republic. The governor is the highest executive authority in the governorate, has administrative authority over all government personnel except judges in the governorate, and is responsible for implementing policy.

      The governorate council is composed of a majority of elected members. According to law, at least half of the members of the governorate council are to be farmers and workers. In practice, however, it has not been possible to achieve this ratio, in part because farmers work long hours with little spare time to run for office, let alone attend long meetings. Moreover, many older farmers and workers do not have a high enough level of formal education to serve effectively. The town or district councils and the village councils are established on the same principles as those underlying the governorate councils.

      The local councils perform a wide variety of functions in education, health, public utilities, housing, agriculture, and communications; they are also responsible for promoting the cooperative movement and for implementing parts of the national plan. Local councils obtain their funds from national revenue, a tax on real estate within the governorate, miscellaneous local taxes or fees, profits from public utilities and commercial enterprises, and national subsidies, grants, and loans.

      The Egyptian constitution emphasizes the independent nature of the judiciary. There is to be no external interference with the due processes of justice. Judges are subject to no authority other than the law; they cannot be dismissed and are disciplined in the manner prescribed by law. Judges are appointed by the state, with the prior approval of the Supreme Judicial Council under the chairmanship of the president. The council is also responsible for the affairs of all judicial bodies; its composition and special functions are specified by law.

      The court structure can be regarded as falling into four categories, each of which has a civil and criminal division. These courts of general jurisdiction include district tribunals, tribunals of the first instance, courts of appeal, and the Court of Cassation; the latter is the highest court of appeal and has the power to override the rulings of lower courts. Court sessions are public, except where consideration of matters of public order or decency decides otherwise. Sentence is passed in open session.

      In addition, there are special courts, such as military courts and courts of public security—the latter dealing with crimes against the well-being or security of the state. The Council of State is a separate judicial body, dealing especially with administrative disputes and disciplinary actions. The Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo is the highest court in Egypt. Its functions include judicial review of the constitutionality of laws and regulations and the resolution of judicial conflicts among the courts.

      Egypt was the first Arab country to abolish the Sharīʿah (Islamic law) court system (1956); other courts dealing with religious minorities were also closed. Personal status issues—such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance—are now adjudicated by civil courts. The civil and penal codes as well as court procedure are based on French law, but these are influenced by Sharīʿah.

Political process
      After 1962 all popular participation and representation in the political process were through the Arab Socialist Union (ASU). In 1976, however, the ASU was split into three “pulpits”: left, centre, and right. Other political parties soon formed and were recognized by a law adopted in June 1977. Having been eclipsed by the new political parties by 1978, the ASU was officially abolished by constitutional amendment in 1980.

      The National Democratic Party (NDP), formed by Pres. Anwar el-Sādāt in 1978, serves as the official government party and holds nearly all the seats in the People's Assembly. The left-wing opposition is the National Progressive Unionist Party, joined by the Nasserist Party during the 1990s. The Liberal Socialist Labour Party is the legitimate right-wing opposition. The prerevolutionary Wafd Party has been re-formed, and the moderate religious groups have established an Islamic Alliance. Officially unrepresented are the communists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the extreme religious groups. However, dozens of candidates who were elected as “independents” in the 2005 election for People's Assembly were actually members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

      Theoretically, the Political Parties Affairs Committee must approve all new parties, but it has actually accepted and registered very few. In some cases, the Supreme Court has overriden the committee by permitting other parties to register.

      Egypt maintains one of the largest and strongest military forces in the region. Roughly three-fourths of its overall military strength is in the army. The remainder is divided between the air force (including the air defense command) and navy. The army is equipped with large numbers of state-of-the-art main battle tanks along with field artillery and other armoured equipment. The air force has several hundred high-performance combat aircraft, and the navy has a small fleet composed mostly of coastal patrol craft, but that also includes frigates, destroyers, and submarines. Most importantly, the country is one of the few in the region with its own military industrial complex. Egyptian firms connected with the government manufacture light armoured vehicles and missiles (short and medium range) and assemble some of their heavy armoured vehicles under contracts with foreign firms. The officer corps has traditionally played a prominent role in politics. As part of the peace process with Israel, the United States has provided the country with large amounts of military aid.

      There are a number of paramilitary units, which are mostly responsible for internal security. The largest of these, the Central Security Forces (CSF), reports to the Ministry of the Interior and maintains troop strength nearly as high as the army. Much smaller are the National Guard, Border Guard Forces, and the Coast Guard. As is the case with many countries of the region, the intelligence services are ubiquitous and play an important role in internal security.

      Both the military and paramilitary services rely on conscription to fill their ranks, with the service obligation for males beginning at age 18. An additional period of service in the military reserve is generally required after discharge. Living conditions, particularly for members of the CSF, are poor and pay is low. A short rebellion by members of the CSF in the mid-1980s led to several hundred deaths.

      The Ministry of the Interior has direct control and supervision over all police and security functions at the governorate, district, and village levels. At the central level, the deputy minister for public security is responsible for general security, emigration, passports, port security, criminal investigation, ministerial guards, and emergency services. The deputy minister for special police is responsible for civil defense, traffic, prison administration, tourist police, and police transport and communications.

Health and welfare
      The budget of the Ministry of Health has reflected an increasing expenditure on public-health programs, especially since the 1990s. The numbers of government health centres, beds in public hospitals, doctors, and dentists have increased significantly. An important aspect of health-care development in Egypt always has been the expansion of facilities in the rural areas. In the mid-20th century, rural people had access to health care primarily through a local facility that functioned simultaneously as a health centre, school, social-welfare unit, and agricultural extension station. By the early 21st century, hundreds of hospitals and thousands of smaller health units were serving rural communities. The quality of these facilities was often low, however, prompting many rural residents to seek treatment at Islamic health care centres, which were generally superior to those of the government.

      Well-trained physicians and specialists are available in large numbers in the cities and larger towns. The medical profession has prestige, and only the better qualified high school graduates are accepted into medical schools.

      Significant efforts have been made to promote preventive medicine. Compulsory vaccination against smallpox, diphtheria, tuberculosis, and poliomyelitis is enforced for all infants during their first two years. schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that is widespread among the rural population, presents a serious health problem. All health centres offer treatment against it, but reinfection can easily occur. Epidemics of malaria have been eliminated, but the disease still exists in endemic form, mainly in southern Egypt. Treatment for malaria is provided at all health centres, and the spraying of houses in mosquito-breeding areas is carried out regularly. Attention has also been given to the problem of tuberculosis; centres have been established in every governorate, and mass X-ray and immunization campaigns have been carried out.

      The government has attempted to socialize medicine through such measures as nationalizing and controlling pharmaceutical industries, nationalizing hospitals run by private organizations and associations, and expanding health insurance. Since the 1970s, however, private hospitals and clinics have outstripped the quality of state-run facilities. A health insurance law, passed in 1964, provides for compulsory health coverage for workers in firms employing more than 100 persons, as well as for all governmental and public employees. Poorer Egyptians often seek medical care at clinics or hospitals run by Islamic groups.

      Egypt has faced a serious urban housing shortage since World War II. The situation subsequently became aggravated by increased migration from rural to urban areas, resulting in extreme urban overcrowding. Although there is considerable concern over the housing problem, the combined efforts of both public and private sectors have struggled to meet the growing demand. Nearly three-fifths of all private investment went into residential construction during the mid-1980s. In the late 1990s, enormous resources were devoted to improving hundreds of identified slums, and nearly a score of new development areas and cities were constructed. Confounding the problem, however, was the increase in the urban population, estimated at more than two-fifths during the same period. In 2004 the available housing amounted to roughly a quarter million units, but the demand continued greatly to exceed that supply. Furthermore, many units remained vacant because they were overpriced or subject to assorted legal restrictions and other bureaucratic obstacles.

      In the rural areas villagers build their own houses at little cost with the materials available; however, local contractors are forbidden by law from converting valuable topsoil into bricks. The government has experimented in aiding self-help projects with state loans. Ambitious rural housing projects have been carried out on newly reclaimed land; entire villages with all the necessary utilities have been built.

      At the end of the 19th century, there were only three state-sponsored secondary and nine higher schools in Egypt; the educational structure continued to be based on maktabs, or kuttābs (schools devoted to teaching the Qurʾān), for primary education, and on madrasahs (Islamic colleges) for higher education. In 1923 a law was passed providing free compulsory education between the ages of 7 and 12, although that was not fully enforced until the early 1950s. There was a sharp increase in funding for education after World War II, and following the revolution of 1952 progress accelerated. One of the most significant features of this progress has been the spread of women's education, and there has been a sharp increase in the number of women attending university. Women are no longer confined to the home; many fields of employment, including the professions and even politics, are now open to them. A further result of the expansion of education has been the emergence of an intellectual elite and the growth of a middle class, consisting of members of the professions, government officials, and businessmen. Because of advances in the provision of education services, literacy rates have gradually risen; a growing two-thirds of men are literate, while the proportion for women—though increasing quickly—is still roughly half.

      There are three stages of state general education—primary (six years), preparatory (three years), and secondary (three years). Primary education between ages 6 and 12 is compulsory. Pupils who are successful in examinations have the opportunity to continue their education first at the preparatory and then at the secondary level. There are two types of secondary schools, general and technical. General high schools offer a scientific, a mathematical, and a liberal arts curriculum; most technical schools are either commercial, agricultural, or industrial.

      Alongside the Ministry of Education's system of general education, there is that provided by the institutes associated with al-Azhar University (Azhar University, al-), centred on al-Azhar Mosque (founded 970) in the old quarter of Cairo. Al-Azhar has been an Islamic teaching centre for more than 1,000 years. Instruction is given at levels equivalent to those of the state schools, but in order to allow for greater emphasis on traditional Islamic subjects, the duration of training is lengthened by one year at the preparatory stage and two at the secondary. A large-scale modernization of the college-level curriculum, making it comparable to those of other state universities, has been carried out since 1961.

      In the 1950s there were almost 300 foreign schools in Egypt, the majority of them French; many of these have since become, to varying degrees, Egyptianized. Pupils who attend these schools, at all levels, sit for the same state certificate examinations as those in the normal state system.

      The oldest state universities are Cairo (1908), Alexandria (1942), ʿAyn Shams (1950), and Asyūṭ (1957). More universities were added to the state system during and since the 1970s. There are also several private universities, the oldest being the American University in Cairo (1919).

      There are many institutes of higher learning, such as the Academy of Arts, comprising the higher institutes of ballet, cinema, theatre, Arab music, Western music, folklore, art criticism, and child care. Other institutes specialize in commerce, industry, agriculture, the arts, physical culture, social service, public health, domestic economy, and languages. Courses of study lead to a degree.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      In spite of the many ancient civilizations with which it has come into contact, Egypt unquestionably belongs to a social and cultural tradition that is Arab and Islamic. This tradition remains a constant factor in determining how Egyptians view both themselves and the world.

      The story of the cultural development of modern Egypt is, in essence, the response of this traditional system to the intrusion, at first by conquest and later by the penetration of ideas, of an alien and technology-oriented society of the West. This response covered a broad spectrum—from the rejection of new ideas and reversion to traditionalisms through self-examination and reform to the immediate acceptance of new concepts and the values that went with them. The result has been the emergence of a cultural identity that has assimilated much that is new, while remaining distinctively Egyptian. The process is at work in all branches of contemporary culture.

Daily life and social customs
 The population density of the inhabited area is such that the presence of people is obvious everywhere, even in the open countryside. In the early morning and the late afternoon, the fellahin can be seen in large numbers on the roads, going to or coming from the fields with their farm animals. During the entire day, the men, with their long tunics, or djellabas (gallābiyyahs), tucked up around the waist, can be seen working the land with age-old implements such as the fās (hoe) and minjal (sickle); occasionally a modern tractor is seen. In the delta older women in long black robes, younger ones in more colourful cottons, and children over age 6 help with the less strenuous tasks. In some parts of the valley, however, women over age 16 do not work in the field, and their activities are confined to the household. They seldom appear in public except with a black muslin headdress covering their heads and faces (ḥijāb). Young children can be seen everywhere—an omnipresent reminder of the country's high birth rate.

 Lifestyles in the larger cities vary greatly from those of the countryside and are, in many ways, more akin to patterns found in urban culture worldwide. Although modesty is maintained in urban modes of dress—particularly given the tendency from the early 1980s onward for women to return to wearing the ḥijāb—urban clothing styles differ only marginally from those found in many European cities. Likewise, foreign manners and values, mostly Western, have heavily influenced urban tastes in art, literature, cuisine, and other areas.

      Throughout Egypt, the family remains the most important link in the social chain. In rural areas, particularly among the Saʿīdī of Upper Egypt and the Bedouin of the deserts, tribal identity is still strong, and great stock is put into blood relationships. There, where the control of the state is weakest, the vendetta is still a pervasive threat to civil order. Tribal affiliations are all but extinct in urban areas, but even there the day-to-day navigation of state bureaucracy and business relationships is commonly facilitated by extensive patronage systems linking the local family with far-reaching groups of relatives and friends.

      Foreign influences on Egyptian cuisine as a whole have come mostly from other areas of the Mediterranean, including Greece, Turkey, and the Levant. Urban tastes, however, have been most heavily and diversely influenced from abroad. Rural tastes are represented by such dishes as fūl mudammis (ful medmes), consisting of slowly cooked fava (broad) beans and spices that is usually served with side dishes and bread and is widely considered the national food. Also much loved is mulūkhiyyah, a thick, gelatinous soup based on the leaf of the Jew's mallow (Corchorus olitorius) that is served with meat or fowl. Kuftah, a type of spiced meatball, is also common fare. Two types of bread predominate: a whole-grain flatbread known as ʿaysh baladī (“native bread”), and a variety from refined flour known as ʿaysh shāmī (“Syrian bread”). Falafel, a fried cake of legumes, is a staple throughout the region and probably originated in Egypt. Because of the country's dominant riverine culture, fish are prevalent, but they do not make up an enormous part of the diet. As in other countries of the Middle East, mutton is the most commonly consumed meat. Chicken is ubiquitous, and pigeon is extremely popular as a delicacy (with pigeon cotes a common sight in many villages). Some desserts have been adapted from Turkish dishes, which can be seen in the common use of the paper-thin sheets of phyllo pastry in them. Honey is the most common sweetener, and native fruits—particularly figs and dates—are used in most puddings and other desserts. Although the consumption of alcoholic beverages is proscribed under Islam, locally brewed and fermented drinks are found, and some are imported. Coffee and tea are popular refreshments.

      Egyptians celebrate a number of secular and religious holidays. The former include Labor Day, Revolution Day (1952), and Armed Forces Day. Religious holidays include the two ʿīds ( Īd al-Aḍḥāʿ and Īd al-Fiṭrʿ), the Prophet's birthday, ( mawlid), and Coptic Christmas (January 7).

The arts
      Egypt is one of the Arab world's literary centres and has produced many of modern Arabic literature's foremost writers. The impact of the West is one of the recurring themes in the modern Egyptian novel, as in Tawfīq Ḥakīm (Ḥakīm, Tawfīq al-)'s Bird of the East (1943) and Yaḥyā Ḥaqqī's novella The Lamp of Umm Hashim (1944). A further theme is that of the Egyptian countryside—depicted romantically at first, as in Muḥammad Ḥusayn Haykal's Zaynab (1913), and later realistically, as in ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sharqāwī's The Land (1954) and The Peasant (1968) and in Yūsuf Idrīs (Idrīs, Yūsuf)'s Al-Ḥarām (1959; “The Forbidden”). A capacity to catch the colour of life among the urban poor is a characteristic quality of the early and middle work of Egypt's greatest modern novelist, Naguib Mahfouz (Mahfouz, Naguib) (Najīb Maḥfūẓ), notably in Midaq Alley (1947). Mahfouz later won the Nobel Prize for Literature for The Cairo Trilogy (1956-57).

      The modern theatre in Egypt is a European importation—the first Arabic-language plays were performed in 1870. Two dramatists, both born at the turn of the 20th century, dominated its development—Maḥmūd Taymūr and Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm. The latter, a versatile and cerebral playwright, has reflected in his themes not only the development of the modern theatre but also, in embryo, the cultural and social history of modern Egypt. The changes in Egyptian society are reflected in the themes adopted by younger dramatists.

      With the country's low rates of literacy, electronic media have played an important role in spreading mass popular culture. Egyptian television has had a powerful influence on regional tastes, and viewers throughout the Arab world tune in to Egyptian programs. The country's most popular actors enjoy wide recognition abroad.

      There is a relatively long tradition of filmmaking in Egypt dating to World War I, but it was the founding of Miṣr Studios in 1934 that stimulated the growth of the Arabic-language cinema. Modern Egyptian films are shown to audiences throughout the Arab world and are also distributed in Asian and African countries. The industry is owned privately and by the state—there are many private film-production companies, as well as the Ministry of Culture's Egyptian General Cinema Corporation. Outside Egypt, the best-known Egyptian director is Youssef Chahine, who has directed films since 1950. Others include Salah Abu Sayf and Muhammad Khan. Actor Omar Sharif, who was well known among Western moviegoers of the 1960s and '70s, first emerged as an Egyptian film celebrity in 1954 and continued to star in Egyptian films into the 21st century. Prominent singers and composers such as Umm Kulthūm, Layla Murad, Farid al-Atrash, and Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab also earned immense sums for their movie acting. Notable films include Flirtation of Girls (1949), Cairo Station (1958), Terrorism and the Kebab (1993), and Nasser 56 (1996).

      Music and dance have long played an important part in Egyptian culture. Given the country's ethnic heterogeneity, traditional Egyptian musical styles are quite diverse. Yet the types of instruments found throughout the country are similar to those used elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. They include the ūdʿ, qānūn (a type of zither), nāy (flute), riqq (tambourine), and rabāb (type of two-string fiddle). Although much Egyptian music might suggest a minor key to the Western ear, numerous genres and repertoires employing an array of scales (or melodic frameworks) in fact yield great musical variety. Many religious groups technically eschew music, but musical traditions are ubiquitous. Muslims of the Sufi branch, for instance, are noted for their dhikr, communal repetition of the names of God, often with instrumental accompaniment and dancing. Especially in the rural south, the zār is a common purification ceremony involving singing, dancing, and playing of musical instruments. Although the muezzin's call to prayer and the recitation of the Qurʾān have obvious melodic qualities, these practices stand in a category separate from, and not to be confused with, that of music. Nevertheless, famous Qurʾān reciters frequently have mass followings similar to those of pop stars. A variety of martial dances have been practiced by groups throughout the country, particularly among Bedouin tribes, and in earlier generations, a class of female singers known as ʿawālim (singular ʿālimah, “learned”) thrived in urban areas, performing in private venues and in the salons of the elite. During this same period, bawdy female street dancers known as ghawāzī (singular ghāziyyah) were seen as disreputable, yet that term today is often applied with much less disapprobation to women who practice rural dances. The art of raqs sharqī (“eastern dance”)—or belly dancing, as it is known in the West—thrives among a class of professional dancers who entertain at weddings, birthdays, and other holidays.

      Contemporary Egyptian music embraces indigenous forms, traditional Arab music, and Western-style music. The revival of traditional Arab music, both vocal and instrumental, owes much to state sponsorship. The advent of musical recordings and, later, of radio and motion pictures fueled the rise of popular stars. The first of these was Sayyid Darwīsh (1892–1923). Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (c. 1900–91) was one of the leading figures in the development of this genre, as both a composer and a singer. Umm Kulthūm (1904–75) was the leading female vocalist not only of Egypt but also of the whole Arab world for almost 50 years. ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Ḥāfiẓ (1929–77) had a successful career as both a singer and an actor. Western-style music has been a familiar component in Egyptian musical culture since the 19th century. Pioneers such as Yūsuf Greiss (1905–61) and Abū Bakr Khayrat (1910–63) succeeded in incorporating Arab elements into their Western-style compositions to give them a national colour.

      A return to local lore as a source of inspiration for the arts is a generalized phenomenon in modern Egyptian culture. It has resulted in a revived interest in traditional crafts, in the collection of indigenous music, and the maintaining, with government sponsorship, of two folkloric dance ensembles—the Riḍā Troupe and the National Folk Dance Ensemble. In the visual arts the innovative and striking use of local themes gave rise to an active school of Egyptian painting and sculpture. An early product of the new aesthetic was The Awakening of Egypt (1928), a statue by Maḥmūd Mukhtār, which stands in front of Cairo University.

 Egypt has one of the richest architectural traditions in the world, one that spans thousands of years and includes edifices from the Pharaonic, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine, Islamic, and European traditions. Numerous locations in the country have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites (World Heritage site) for both their historic and architectural significance. From the ancient world, these locations include the ruins of the ancient city of Memphis and its necropolis, located south of Cairo, and adjacent pyramid fields—including the Pyramids of Giza (Giza, Pyramids of) and the stepped pyramid at Dahshūr; the city and necropolis at Thebes in Upper Egypt, including such prominent features as the nearby villages of Karnak and Luxor and the many tombs and ruins associated with the Valley of the Kings (Kings, Valley of the) and the Valley of the Queens (Queens, Valley of the); and a series of monuments running from the ones at Abu Simbel to the Nile island of Philae in far southern Egypt. Sites from the Roman and Byzantine periods include the early Christian church of St. Menas (Abū Mīnā) near Alexandria and the Byzantine monastery of Saint Catherine's on Mount Sinai. From the Islamic period, the old city of Cairo—often termed Islamic Cairo—is replete with prominent mosques, citadels, madrasahs (Islamic colleges), and bathhouses and fountains.

      Contemporary European influences can be seen, particularly in Alexandria and Cairo, where sections of each city's corniche are fronted by townhouses, hotels, and mansions of a distinctly European design. In all of the major cities, there are sections where such styles are dominant. Western influence can also be seen in many public buildings—particularly those from the colonial period—such as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (1900). Ultramodern structures include the new incarnation of the ancient Library of Alexandria (Alexandria, Library of), Bibliotheca Alexandrina (opened 2002). There has also been a movement, beginning in the late 20th century, to combine European and Islamic architectural styles in new construction.

Cultural institutions
 The oldest secular learned academy in Egypt, the Institut d'Égypte, was founded in 1859, but its antecedents go back to the institute established by Napoleon in 1798. The Academy of the Arabic Language (1932), which was presided over by the veteran educator Ṭaha Ḥusayn (Ṭāhā Ḥusayn), became, in terms of prestige and influence, one of the most important cultural institutions in Egypt.

      Learned societies in Egypt support a wide variety of interests, including the physical and natural sciences, medicine, agriculture, the humanities, and the social sciences. The government has long been concerned with research, especially in science and technology. The National Research Centre was founded in 1947, and laboratory work in both pure and applied science began there in 1956. The Atomic Energy Organization was established the following year. The Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, the government body that oversees the work of many specialized research institutes, was inaugurated in 1971.

      Most of the learned societies and research institutes have library collections of their own. In addition to large collections at the universities, the municipalities of Alexandria, Al-Manṣūrah, and Ṭanṭā maintain libraries. There is also a central public library in each governorate, with branches in small towns and service points in the villages. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the Egyptian National Library (1870; Dār al-Kutub) and the National Archives (1954), both in Cairo, and the Public Libraries Administration. The Egyptian National Library, which has a large collection of printed materials, is also a centre for the collection and preservation of manuscripts. Construction of the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina was a joint venture between UNESCO and the Egyptian government.

      The Ministry of Culture is also responsible for the Egyptian Museum (1902), the Coptic Museum (1910), and the Museum of Islamic Art (1881), all in Cairo; the Greco-Roman Museum (1892) in Alexandria; and for other institutions, including fine-arts museums such as the Mukhtār Museum (which houses the sculptures of Maḥmūd Mukhtār), the Nājī (Nagui) Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, all in Cairo, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Alexandria.

Sports and recreation
      The sporting culture of modern Egypt traces its roots to ancient Egypt, where wrestling, weightlifting, stick fencing, and ball games were practiced for both amusement and physical training. The 1952 revolution resulted in unprecedented government investment in sports infrastructure for schools, universities, training institutes, and clubs in an effort to expand the country's international status.

      Contemporary sports culture reveres prominent wrestlers, weightlifters (who have won most of Egypt's Olympic medals), boxers, and swimmers. Since the early 1980s, basketball's popularity in Egypt has risen thanks to the achievements of the men's national team, which won the African championship in 1983. Volleyball is another team sport that enjoys a wide following, and various martial arts (including judo and tae kwon do) are popular individual sports. However, football (soccer) remains the most popular sport in the country. The Cairo clubs al-Ahlī and Zamālik can attract as many as 100,000 spectators to their games, and between them the two teams have won dozens of domestic championships and continentwide trophies. The national team, the Pharaohs, was the first African representative at the World Cup (1934) and has won the African Cup of Nations a number of times since competitions began in 1957.

      The Egyptian Olympic Committee was founded in 1910, and an Egyptian first participated in the Summer Games in 1912. On several occasions Egypt has boycotted the Olympics (Olympic Games) for political reasons, first in 1956 (in protest over the Suez Crisis) and again in 1976 (against apartheid in South Africa) and 1980 (over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan). Egypt has not sent athletes to the Winter Games.

Media and publishing
      Although privately owned periodicals are permitted, all newspapers and magazines in Egypt are subject to supervision through the government's Supreme Press Council. Daily newspapers include the long-established Al-Ahram, published in Cairo, and other Arabic-language papers, together with dailies in English and French. The government owns and operates the Egyptian Radio and Television Corporation, which provides programs in a variety of languages. Independent satellite companies began broadcasting in the 1990s. Egypt launched its first satellite toward the end of that decade, and Egyptians increasingly have watched programs of international origin. Despite government and Islamic censorship, all sorts of arts and information are accessible through the Internet, as well as video compact discs (VCDs) and digital videodiscs (DVDs). Cairo long has been the largest centre of publishing in the Middle East, a position increasingly challenged by Beirut and other Arab cities.

Derek Hopwood Charles Gordon Smith Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.

      This section presents the history of Egypt from the Islamic conquests of the 7th century AD until the present day. For a discussion of Egypt's earlier history, see Egypt, ancient.

From the Islamic conquest to 1250
      The period of Egyptian history between the advent of Islam and Egypt's entrance into the modern period opens and closes with foreign conquests: the Arab invasion led by ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ in AD 639–642 and the Napoleonic expedition of 1798 mark the beginning and end of the era. Within the context of Egyptian internal history alone, this era was one in which Egypt cast off the heritage of the past to embrace a new language and a new religion—in other words, a new culture. While it is true that the past was by no means immediately and completely abandoned and that many aspects of Egyptian life, especially rural life, continued virtually unchanged, it is nevertheless clear that the civilization of Islamic (Islāmic world) Egypt diverged sharply from that of the previous Greco-Roman period and was transformed under the impact of Western occupation. The subsequent history of Egypt is therefore largely a study of the processes by which Egyptian Islamic civilization evolved, particularly the processes of Arabization and Islamization. But to confine Egyptian history to internal developments is to distort it, for during that entire period Egypt was a part of a great world empire; and within this broader context, Egypt's history is a record of its long struggle to dominate an empire—a struggle that is not without its parallels, of course, in both ancient and modern times.

Period of Arab and Turkish governors (639–868)
      The sending of a military expedition to Egypt from the caliphal capital in Medina came in a second phase of the first Arab conquests. Theretofore the conquests had been directed against lands on the northern borders of Arabia and were in the nature of raids for plunder; they had grown in scale and momentum as the Byzantine Empire and Persian Sāsānian dynasty—the two dominant political entities of the time—put up organized resistance. By 635 the Arabs had realized that in order to meet this resistance effectively they must begin the systematic occupation of enemy territory, especially Syria, where the Byzantine army was determined to halt the Arab forays.

The Arab conquest
      The Arabs defeated the Byzantines and occupied the key cities of Syria and Palestine, and they vanquished the Persian army on the eastern front in Mesopotamia and Iraq. The next obvious step was to secure Syria against a possible attack launched from the Byzantine province of Egypt. Beyond this strategic consideration, Arab historians call attention to the fact that Amr ibn al-ʿĀṣʿ, the Arab general who later conquered Egypt, had visited Alexandria as a youth and had himself witnessed Egypt's enormous wealth. In spite of the obvious economic gain to be had from conquering Egypt, the caliph Umar Iʿ, according to some sources, showed reluctance to detach ʿAmr's expedition from the Syrian army and even tried to recall the mission once it had embarked; but ʿAmr, with or without the caliph's permission, undertook the invasion in 639 with a small army of some 4,000 men (later reinforced). With what seems astonishing speed, the Byzantine forces were routed and had withdrawn from Egypt by 642. An attempt by a Byzantine fleet and army to reconquer Alexandria in 645 was quickly defeated by the Arabs.

      Various explanations have been given for the speed with which the conquest was achieved, most of which stress the weakness of Byzantine resistance rather than Arab strength. Certainly the division of the Byzantine government and army into autonomous provincial units militated against the possibility of a concerted and coordinated response. Although there is only dubious evidence for the claim that the Copts welcomed the Arab invasion in the belief that Muslim religious tolerance would be preferable to Byzantine enforced orthodoxy and repression, Coptic support for their Byzantine oppressors was probably unenthusiastic at best. (See Coptic Orthodox Church (Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria).)

Early Arab rule
      In Egypt—as in Syria, Iraq, and Iran—the Arab conquerors did little in the beginning to disturb the status quo; as a small religious and ethnic minority, they thus hoped to make the occupation permanent. Treaties concluded between ʿAmr and the muqawqis (presumably a title referring to Cyrus, archbishop of Alexandria) granted protection to the native population in exchange for the payment of tribute. There was no attempt to force, or even to persuade, the Egyptians to convert to Islam; the Arabs even pledged to preserve the Christian churches. The Byzantine system of taxation, combining a tax on land with a poll tax, was maintained, though it was streamlined and centralized for the sake of efficiency. The tax was administered by Copts, who staffed the tax bureau at all but the highest levels.

      To the mass of inhabitants, the conquest must have made little practical difference, because the Muslim rulers, in the beginning at least, left them alone as long as they paid their taxes; if anything, their lot may have been slightly easier, because Byzantine religious persecution had ended. (See Melchite, monophysite, Council of Chalcedon (Chalcedon, Council of).) Moreover, the Arabs deliberately isolated themselves from the native population, according to ʿUmar's decree that no Arab could own land outside the Arabian Peninsula; this policy aimed at preventing the Arab tribal armies from dispersing and at ensuring a steady revenue from agriculture, on the assumption that the former landowners would make better farmers than would the Arab nomads.

      As was their policy elsewhere, the conquerors refrained from using an established city such as Alexandria as their capital; instead, they founded a new garrison town (Arabic: miṣr), laid out in tribal quarters. As the site for this town they chose the strategic apex of the triangle formed by the Nile delta—at that time occupied by the Byzantine fortified township of Babylon. They named the town Al-Fusṭāṭ (Fusṭāṭ, Al-), which is probably an Arabized form of the Greek term for “encampment” and gives a good indication of the nature of the earliest settlement. Like garrison towns founded by the Arabs in Iraq—Al-Baṣrah and Al-Kūfah—Al-Fusṭāṭ became the main agency of Arabization in Egypt, inasmuch as it was the only town with an Arab majority and therefore required an extensive knowledge of Arabic (Arabic language) from the native inhabitants.

      The process of Arabization, however, was slow and gradual. Arabic did not displace Greek as the official language of state until 706, and there is evidence that Coptic continued to be used as a spoken language in Al-Fusṭāṭ. Given the lack of pressure from the conquerors, the spread of their religion must have been even slower than that of their language. A mosque was built in Al-Fusṭāṭ bearing the name of ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ, and each quarter of the town had its own smaller mosque. ʿAmr's mosque served not only as the religious centre of the town but also as the seat of certain administrative and judicial activities.

      Although Alexandria was maintained as a port city, Al-Fusṭāṭ, built on the Nile bank, was itself an important port and remained so until the 14th century. ʿAmr enhanced the port's commercial significance by clearing and reopening Trajan's Canal, so that shipments of grain destined for Arabia could be sent from Al-Fusṭāṭ to the Red Sea by ship rather than by caravan.

Egypt under the Caliphate
      For more than 200 years—that is, throughout the Umayyad (Umayyad Dynasty) caliphate and well into the ʿAbbāsid (Abbāsid Dynastyʿ)—Egypt was ruled by governors appointed by the caliphs. As a province in an empire, Egypt's status was much the same as it had been for centuries under foreign rulers whose main interest was to supply the central government with Egyptian taxes and grain. In spite of evidence that the Arab governors tried in general to collect the taxes equitably, taking into account the capacities of individual landowners to pay and the annual variations in agricultural yield, resistance to paying the taxes increased in the 8th century and sometimes erupted into rebellion in times of economic distress. Periodically, religious unrest was manifested in the form of political insurrections, especially in those exceptional times when a governor openly discriminated against the Copts by forcing them to wear distinctive clothing or, worse, by destroying their icons. Still, the official policy, especially in Umayyad times, was tolerance, partly for fiscal reasons. In order to maintain the higher tax revenues collected from non-Muslims, the Arab governors discouraged conversion to Islam and even required those who did convert to continue paying the non-Muslim tax. New Christian churches were sometimes built, and the government took an interest in the selection of patriarchs.

      More than just a source of grain and taxes, Egypt also became a base for Arab-Muslim expansion by both land and sea. The former Byzantine shipyards in Alexandria provided the nucleus of an Egyptian navy, which between 649 and 669 joined in expeditions with Muslim fleets from Syria against the islands of Rhodes, Cyprus, and Sicily and defeated the Byzantine navy in a major battle at Phoenix (present-day Finike, Tur.) in 655. By land, the Arab armies advanced both to the south and to the west. As early as 651–652 the governor of Egypt invaded Nubia and imposed a treaty that required the Nubians to pay an annual tribute and to permit the unmolested practice of Islam in the province. Raids against North Africa by Arab armies based in Egypt began in 647; by 670 the Arabs had succeeded in establishing a garrison city in Ifrīqiyyah (now Tunisia), called Kairouan (Al-Qayrawān), which thenceforth displaced Egypt as the base for further expansion.

      While some Arabs were passing through Egypt on their way to campaign in North Africa, others were being sent to the Nile valley on a permanent basis. In addition to tribal contingents that at times escorted newly appointed governors to Egypt (some of which settled in towns), tribesmen were sometimes imported and settled in an effort to increase the Arab-Muslim concentration in the vicinity of Al-Fusṭāṭ. The settlement of large numbers of anarchic tribesmen in Egypt, with tribal ties and allegiances elsewhere in the empire, meant that Egypt often became embroiled in political difficulties with the central government. Civil strife centring on the assassination of the caliph Uthmān ibn ʿAffānʿ (656) began in Egypt, where the tribesmen resented the favouritism shown by the caliph to members of his own family. Uprisings led by the dissident Khārijite sect were frequent in the mid-8th century. In the 9th century the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Maʾmun (Maʾmūn, al-) (reigned 813–833) himself led an army from Iraq to put down a rebellion raised both by tribesmen and by Copts; repression of the Copts accompanying their defeat in 829–830 is usually cited as an important factor in accelerating conversion to Islam.

      The difficulty inherent in ruling Egypt from Baghdad, which was itself undergoing stress and turbulence, is evident from the rapid turnover in governors assigned to Egypt; al-Maʾmūn's father, the caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd (Hārūn ar-Rashīd) (ruled 786–809), for example, appointed 24 governors in a reign of 23 years. In order to strengthen their armies, the ʿAbbāsid caliphs had begun early in the 9th century to form contingents of Turkish (Turkic peoples) slaves known as mamlūks (“owned men”). To finance these new military formations and, in particular, to pay the Turkish commanders who headed them, the caliphs began to give them administrative grants (iqṭāʿ in Arabic, usually translated, albeit inaccurately, “fief”) consisting of tax revenues from certain territories.

      Possibly as a means of both removing the governorship from the level of tribal strife and paying the central government's Turkish mamlūks, the caliphs began assigning the administration of Egypt to Turks rather than to Arabs. But this policy resulted in no tangible improvement in the administration of Egyptian affairs until 868, when Egypt was granted as a fief to the Turkish general Babak, who chose to remain in Iraq but appointed his stepson, a young mamlūk named Aḥmad ibn Ṭūlūn, as his agent in Egypt. Ibn Ṭūlūn's great achievement was that he quickly established his own authority in Egypt and backed it up with an army of his own creation, powerful enough to defy the central government of Baghdad and to embark upon foreign expansion.

      Though short-lived, the Ṭūlūnid Dynasty succeeded in restoring a measure of Egypt's ancient glory and inaugurated a new phase of Egyptian history. For the first time since the pharaohs, Egypt became virtually autonomous and the bulk of its revenues remained within its borders. What is more, Egypt became the centre of a small empire when Aḥmad conquered Syria and Palestine in 878–879. These developments were paralleled in other provinces of the ʿAbbāsid empire and were the direct result of the decline of the caliph's power.

The Ṭūlūnid Dynasty (868–905)
 Aḥmad's first step upon his arrival in Egypt was to eliminate possible rivals. From an early date the administration of Egypt had been divided between the amīr (military governor), appointed by the caliph, and the ʿāmil (fiscal officer), who was sometimes appointed by the caliph, sometimes by the governor. When Aḥmad entered Egypt in 868 he found the office of ʿāmil filled by one Ibn al-Mudabbir, who over a period of years had gained control of Egyptian finances, enriching himself in the process, and was therefore reluctant to acknowledge Aḥmad's authority. A struggle for power soon broke out between the two, which ended four years later with the transfer of Ibn al-Mudabbir to Syria and the assumption of his duties and powers by Aḥmad. An even more important step for Aḥmad was the acquisition of an army that would be independent of the caliphate and loyal to him. To build such an army, Aḥmad resorted to the same method the caliphs themselves used—the purchase of mamlūks who could be trained as military units loyal to their owner.

      In 877, when Aḥmad failed to pay Egypt's full contribution to the ʿAbbāsid campaign during the Zanj rebellion in Iraq, the caliphal government, dominated by the caliph's brother al-Muwaffaq, realized that Egypt was slipping from imperial control. An expedition dispatched by al-Muwaffaq to remove Aḥmad from the governorship failed. Taking advantage of the caliphate's preoccupation with the revolt, Aḥmad in 878 invaded Palestine and Syria, where he occupied the principal cities and garrisoned them with his troops. Thereafter he signified his autonomy by imprinting his name on the coinage along with that of the caliph. Although the regent al-Muwaffaq lacked the resources to engage Aḥmad in battle, he did have him publicly cursed in the mosques of the empire as a means of retaliation.

      Internally, Aḥmad took active measures to raise Egyptian agricultural productivity and thereby to increase tax revenues; the huge surplus he left in the state treasury at his death in 884 is a measure of his success. Another tangible indication of his achievement for Egypt is the enormous mosque, the Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun, which he erected in a suburb of Al-Fusṭāṭ that is now Cairo; in contrast, no building comparable in grandeur had even been contemplated by the governors who preceded him.

      The great benefits Aḥmad had gained for Egypt by keeping its resources within the country were squandered by his son and successor, Khumārawayh. He expended huge sums on luxurious appointments for his residence and paid a fortune as a dowry for a daughter he married to the caliph al-Muʿtaḍid (Muʿtaḍid, al-) (reigned 892–902) in 895. Nevertheless, Khumārawayh was able to maintain the Egyptian armies in the field, and he led them to victory both in Syria and in Mesopotamia. He resolved his father's conflict with the caliphate by a combination of arms and diplomacy, so that Khumārawayh's authority over Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia was given official caliphal recognition. This apparent strength evaporated when Khumārawayh was murdered in 896, leaving no funds with which his 14-year-old heir could pay the troops. The entire country fell into anarchy, which lasted until 905 when a caliphal army invaded Egypt and momentarily restored it to the status of a province ruled by governors sent from Baghdad.

The Ikhshīdid dynasty (Ikhshīdids Dynasty) (935–969)
      For 30 years the governors were unable to restore stability in Egypt. During this time, Egypt was subjected to attacks from the Shīʿite Fāṭimid Dynasty based in North Africa and to the rampages of an unruly domestic army. The appointment of Muḥammad ibn Ṭughj, from Sogdiana in Central Asia, as governor in 935 led to a repetition of Aḥmad's achievement; by bold measures Muḥammad established his authority over the treasury and the army, reasserted Egyptian influence in Syria, thwarted the Fāṭimids, and won the governorship of the holy cities of Arabia (Mecca and Medina). In addition, he founded a dynasty; his sons inherited his Sogdian princely title of ikhshīd, but their authority was usurped by their Abyssinian (Ethiopian) slave tutor, Abū al-Misk Kāfūr (Kāfūr, Abū al-Misk), who eventually ruled Egypt with the caliph's sanction. When Kāfūr died in 968 the Ikhshīdids were unable to maintain order in the army and the bureaucracy. In the following year the Fāṭimids took advantage of the disorder in Egypt to launch yet another attack, this one so successful that it led to the occupation of the country by a Berber army led by the Fāṭimid general Jawhar.

The Fāṭimid Dynasty (969–1171)
      The establishment of the Fāṭimid caliphate in 973 in the newly built palace city of Cairo had dramatic consequences for the evolution of Islamic Egypt. Politically, the Fāṭimids went a step further than the Ṭūlūnids by setting up Egypt as an independent rival to the ʿAbbāsid caliphate. In fact, an avowed aim of the early Fāṭimid propagandists (Arabic: duʿāh, singular dāʿī) was to achieve world dominion, eradicating the ʿAbbāsid caliphate in the process. For a variety of reasons they achieved neither of these goals; nevertheless, at the height of Fāṭimid power at the beginning of the 11th century, the Fāṭimid caliph could claim sovereignty over the whole of coastal North Africa, Sicily, the Hejaz and Yemen in Arabia, and southern Syria and Palestine. Although actual political-military control was never firm except in Egypt, allegiance paid to the Fāṭimids by their provinces was just as meaningful as that paid to the ʿAbbāsids and for a time was certainly more widespread. Even when the Fāṭimid state fell into decline later in the 11th century and abandoned its imperial vision, Egypt continued to play an independent role in the Islamic world under the leadership of Armenian generals who had gained control of the Fāṭimid armies.

      It is difficult to estimate the religious change effected by the new dynasty except on the level of the governmental elite, which espoused the official doctrine of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿism (Ismāʿīl I)—the branch that held all authority to inhere in the line of Ismāʿīl (Ismāʿīlīte), who had predeceased his father, the sixth ʿAlid imām Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad. Because they believed that the Fāṭimid caliph was the only legitimate leader, the practice of Sunni (Sunnite) Islam was theoretically outlawed in Fāṭimid domains. But the practical difficulties which the Ismāʿīlī minority faced in imposing its will on the Sunnī majority meant that the Muslim population of Egypt remained predominantly Sunni throughout the Fāṭimid period. Certainly there was no public outcry when Saladin, who founded the Ayyūbid dynasty, restored Egypt to Sunni rule in 1171. Regarding non-Muslims, the Fāṭimids, with one notable exception, were known for their tolerance, and the Copts continued to serve in the bureaucracy. Several Copts held the highest administrative post—the vizierate—without changing their religion. Jews also figured prominently in the government; in fact, a Jewish convert to Islam, Ibn Killis, was the first Fāṭimid vizier and is credited with laying the foundations of the Fāṭimid administrative system, in which the viziers exercised great power. Christians and Jews even managed to survive the reign of the so-called mad caliph, al-Ḥākim (Ḥākim, al-) (reigned 996–1021), who ordered the destruction of Christian churches in Fāṭimid territory, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and offered his non-Muslim subjects the choice of conversion to Islam or expulsion from Fāṭimid territory. This period of persecution undoubtedly accelerated the rate of conversion to Islam, if only on a temporary and superficial level.

      In comparison with Iraq, Egypt contributed relatively little to Arabic literature and Islamic learning during the early ʿAbbāsid period. But the Fāṭimids' intense interest in propagating Ismāʿīlī Shīʿism through a network of missionary propagandists made Egypt an important religious and intellectual centre. The founding of the mosque-college of al-Azhar (Azhar University, al-) as well as of other academies drew Shīʿite scholars to Egypt from all over the Muslim world and stimulated the production of original contributions in literature, philosophy, and the Islamic sciences.

      The Arabization of Egypt continued at a gradual pace. The early Fāṭimids' reliance on Amazigh (Berber) troops was soon balanced by the importation of Turkish, Sudanese, and Arab contingents. The Fāṭimids are said to have used thousands of nomadic Arabs in the Egyptian cavalry and to have further stimulated Arabization by settling large numbers of Arabian tribesmen in Upper Egypt to deprive the Qarmaṭians (Qarmatian)—their Ismāʿīlī rivals in Iraq and Arabia—of Arab tribal support. On the other hand, the Fāṭimids reduced the Arab population of Egypt in the mid-11th century when they incited the Banū Hilāl and the Banū Ṣulaym tribes to emigrate from Egypt into the neighbouring Amazigh kingdom of Ifrīqiyyah.

Growth of trade
      One of the most far-reaching changes in Fāṭimid times was the growth of Egyptian commerce, especially in Al-Fusṭāṭ, which had become the port city for Cairo, the Fāṭimid capital. Theretofore, Iraq in the east and Tunisia in the west had been flourishing centres for trade conducted both within the Muslim world and between the Muslim and the Christian empires of the West. A number of factors contributed to alter this situation in favour of Egypt. As centralized power declined in Iraq, Mesopotamia, and Syria during the 9th and 10th centuries, traffic on the trade routes across these areas also declined. In Egypt, however, the establishment of a strong government, which soon controlled the Red Sea and maintained a strong navy in the eastern Mediterranean, offered an attractive alternative for the international transit trade between the Eastern and Western worlds. In addition to having the political stability essential for trade, the Fāṭimids encouraged commerce by their low tariff policy and their noninterference in the affairs of merchants who did business in Egypt. These factors, along with increased European mercantile activity in the Italian cities, helped restore Egypt as a great international entrepôt.

The end of the Fāṭimid dynasty
      The Fāṭimid achievement in restoring to Egypt a measure of its ancient glory was remarkable but brief. Halfway through their history the political-religious authority of the Fāṭimid caliphs was vitiated by military uprisings that could be put down only by force. By 1163 the Fāṭimid caliph had been shunted aside in a power struggle between the vizier and the chamberlain, who were themselves so impotent that they had to seek help from the Sunni and even from the Crusader powers of Syria and Palestine. Thus began a series of invasions at the behest of Fāṭimid officials, which ended in 1169 with the occupation of Egypt by an army from Syria, one of whose commanders— Saladin—was appointed Fāṭimid vizier. Two years later Saladin restored Egypt to ʿAbbāsid allegiance, abolished the Fāṭimid caliphate, and, in effect, established the Ayyūbid dynasty.

The Ayyūbid dynasty (1171–1250)
 Under Saladin and his descendants, Egypt was reintegrated into the Sunni world of the eastern caliphate. Indeed, during the period of the Crusade (Crusades)s, Egypt became champion of that world against the Crusaders and, as such, chief target of the Crusader armies. But this was a gradual process that required Saladin first to build an army strong enough to establish his power in Egypt and then to unite the factions of Syria and Mesopotamia under his leadership against the Europeans. By so doing he reconstituted the Egyptian empire, which included, in addition to the areas just named, Yemen, the Hejaz, and, with his victory at Ḥaṭṭīn (Ḥaṭṭīn, Battle of) and subsequent capture of Jerusalem (1187), a major part of the Holy Land.

      The abolition of the Fāṭimid caliphate and the official reinstitution of Sunni Islam seems to have caused little perturbation in Egypt except for an uprising by the Fāṭimid palace guard, quickly suppressed. This undoubtedly meant that Ismāʿīlī Shīʿism was confined to Fāṭimid ruling circles.

Saladin's policies
 Saladin's remission of all taxes not explicitly sanctioned by Islamic law must have contributed to his own popularity as well as to the stability of his regime. To ensure the defense of his state against both internal and external enemies, he strengthened the fortifications of Cairo by building a citadel and extending the Fāṭimid city walls. Despite the major military and propagandistic efforts he mounted against the Crusaders, Saladin continued to treat the Christians of Egypt with tolerance; the Coptic Church thrived under the Ayyūbids, and Copts still served the government. Saladin also treated the Christians of Jerusalem with magnanimity after the conquest of that city. Under Saladin the Jewish community enjoyed protection, and such noted scholars as Moses Maimonides (Maimonides, Moses)—who was the sultan's personal physician—settled there.

      Much to the consternation of the popes, trade between Egypt and the Italian city-states remained brisk, and the Egyptians were able to use raw materials provided by the Italian merchants to forge weapons against the Crusaders. The administration of Egypt stayed in the hands of the vast, mainly civilian, bureaucracy but was supervised by military officials.

Power struggles
      The Ayyūbids introduced a significant change in the governance of their empire that was decisive for the history of their rule in Egypt. Though the Ayyūbids were themselves of Kurdish descent, Saladin followed the Turkish practice of assigning the provinces as fiefdoms to members of his family. In theory, such a measure would ensure the loyalty of the provinces to the central government of Egypt through the loyalty of Ayyūbid kinsmen to their family leader. In practice, however, the measure led to recurrent power struggles in which each governor used his province as a base from which to defy the supreme Ayyūbid power of Egypt. The sultans al-Malik al-ʿĀdil (reigned 1207–18) and al-Malik al-Kāmil (Kāmil, al-Malik al-) (reigned 1218–38) each succeeded in reuniting Syria and Egypt under his own leadership. Kāmil, especially, was able to exploit Frankish attacks—in the form of the Fifth Crusade, directed against Damietta—to rally family and provincial support for the defense of Egypt. Nevertheless, given the dissension within the Ayyūbid empire, it was clearly in the interest of the Egyptian sultan to reach a peaceful settlement with the Crusaders; this was achieved in 1229 by a truce between Kāmil and the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II. The agreement stipulated that Kāmil exchange possession of Jerusalem and other territory in the Holy Land for Frederick's guarantee to support the sultan against aggression from any source.

Growth of Mamlūk armies
      The only real security for Ayyūbid Egypt lay in its independent military strength. This explains why one of the last sultans, al-Ṣāliḥ Ayyūb (Ṣāliḥ Ayyūb, aṣ-) (reigned 1239, 1245–49), resorted to increased purchase of Turkish (Turkic peoples) mamlūks as a means of manning his armies. Although slave troops had formed an important part of Egyptian armies since the time of Aḥmad ibn Ṭūlūn, their strength had been checked by racial dissension among the various slave units and by the presence of nonslave elements. But after the death of al-Ṣālih Ayyūb in the course of the Crusade of Louis IX—which mamlūk troops were crucial in thwarting—a group of rebellious mamlūks assassinated his son and successor Tūrān-Shah and elevated al-Ṣālih's wife Shajar al-Durr to the throne in 1250. Her brief rule marked the first time a woman had ruled Egypt since Roman times, but, pressured by the rebellious Ayyūbid emirs in Syria and by the ʿAbbāsid caliph in Baghdad (all of whom demanded that a man rule Egypt), she married a mamlūk general named Aybak. The assassination in 1257 of both queen and consort occurred barely a year before Mongol (Yuan dynasty) armies stormed Baghdad and put an end to the ʿAbbāsid caliphate, leaving military slaves to rule Egypt with no legitimizing authority. High ranking mamlūks had played a role in politics in the Islamic world since the 9th century; some had even seized political control (as in the Ghaznavid Dynasty of Turkey). But for the first time a system arose—in what otherwise might have been a dynastic interregnum—wherein former slaves stood at the head of a self-perpetuating slave dynasty. This new order, which came at a time when the light of Baghdad had been extinguished and which lasted for two and a half centuries, brought Egypt to a new cultural and political flowering.

The Mamlūk and Ottoman periods (1250–1800)
The Mamlūk rulers (1250–1517)
      During the Mamlūk period Egypt became the unrivaled political, economic, and cultural centre of the eastern Arabic-speaking zone of the Muslim world. Symbolic of this development was the reestablishment in 1261 under the Mamlūk rulers of the ʿAbbāsid (Abbāsid Dynastyʿ) caliphate—destroyed by the Mongols in their sack of Baghdad three years earlier—with the arrival in Cairo of a youth claiming ʿAbbāsid lineage. Although the caliph enjoyed little authority, had no power, and was of dubious authenticity, the mere fact that the Mamlūks chose to maintain the institution in Cairo is a measure of their determination to dominate the Arab-Islamic world and to legitimize their own rule. It is curious that the Mamlūks—all of whom were of non-Arab (most were Turks and, later, Circassians), non-Muslim origin and some of whom knew little if any Arabic—founded a regime that established Egypt's supremacy in Arab culture.

      Mamlūk legitimacy also rested on the regime's early military successes, particularly those against the Mongols, who were seen by many contemporaries as undefeatable and as a threat to the very existence of Islam as a political culture. In 1260, two years after the demoralizing sack of Baghdad, the Mongol leader sent an ambassador to Egypt to deliver terms of surrender. The Mamlūk leader, Quṭuz, who had come to power after the death of Aybak and Shajar al-Durr, ordered the Mongol ambassador put to death, thus insuring war against what seemed an unbeatable adversary. After their victory at the Battle of ʿAyn Jālūt (Ayn Jālūt, Battle ofʿ) later that year, however, the Mamlūks were able to roll back the Mongol armies from the Levant. This victory, and the success of subsequent Mamlūk sultans against the Crusaders in Syria and Palestine, lent a certain sanction to Mamlūk rule that it may otherwise never have attained.

Political life
      The political history of the Mamlūk state is complex; during their 264-year reign, no fewer than 45 Mamlūks gained the sultanate, and once, in desperate circumstances, a caliph (in 1412) was briefly installed as sultan. At times individual Mamlūks succeeded in establishing dynasties, most notably Sultan Qalāʾūn (reigned 1279–90), whose progeny ruled Egypt, with two short interruptions, until 1382. Often the Mamlūks chose to allow a sultan's son to succeed his father only for as long as it took another Mamlūk to build up enough support to seize the throne for himself. In reality there was no principle of legitimacy other than force, for without sufficient military power a sultan could expect to be overthrown by a stronger Mamlūk. It was a period of raw political brutality seldom paralleled in world history.

      Nevertheless, several sultans succeeded in harnessing the energies of the Mamlūk system to establish internal stability and to embark on foreign conquests. Soon after the Mamlūk victory over the Mongols at ʿAyn Jālūt in 1260, Baybars I seized power by assassinating Quṭuz. He was the true founder of the Mamlūk state, and he campaigned actively and with success against the remaining Crusader possessions in Palestine and Syria. He ruled until 1277. During the long reign of al-Malik al-Nāṣir (reigned 1293–1341), the Mamlūks concluded a truce with the Mongols (1323) after several major battles and, despite widespread famine, outbreaks of religious strife, and Bedouin uprisings, maintained economic prosperity in Egypt and peaceful relations with foreign powers both Muslim and Christian.

      Although the state began to decline politically and economically after the death of Nāṣir in 1341, Egypt continued to dominate the eastern Arab world. But the cumulative effect of the plague (Black Death) (which swept Egypt in 1348 and on many occasions subsequently), Timur's victory in Syria in 1400, and Egypt's loss to the Portuguese of control over the Indian trade, along with the sultans' inability to keep their refractory Mamlūk corps under control, gradually sapped the strength of the state. The best efforts of such a vigorous sultan as Qāʾit Bāy (reigned 1468–96) failed to make Egypt strong enough to defend its Syrian provinces against raids by the Turkoman states of Anatolia and Azerbaijan and campaigns of the Ottoman Empire.

Contributions to Arabic culture
      By the time of the Mamlūks, the Arabization of Egypt must have been almost complete. Arabic had been the language of the bureaucracy since the early 8th century and the language of religion and culture even longer. Moreover, the prevalence of Arabic as a written and spoken language is attested by the discovery in the genizah (storeroom) of a Cairo synagogue of thousands of letters and documents—called the Genizah Documents—dating from the 11th through the 13th century. Though often written in Hebrew characters, the actual language of most of these documents is Arabic (Arabic language), which proves that Arabic was widely used even by non-Muslims. The main incentive for learning Arabic must have come from the desire of a subject population to learn the administrative and scholarly language of the ruling and learned elite. The immigration of Arab tribesmen during the early centuries of the occupation, and their intermarriage with the indigenous inhabitants, must also have contributed to the gradual spread of Arabic in Egypt.

      The specific Mamlūk contribution to Arabic culture (i.e., the ethnically diverse community united by the Arabic language), however, lay above all in military achievement. By defeating the Mongols, the Mamlūks provided a haven in Syria and in Egypt for Muslims fleeing from Mongol devastation. The extent of this haven was narrowed by subsequent Mongol attacks against Syria, one of which led to a brief Mongol occupation of Damascus in 1294–95, so that Egypt received an influx of refugees from Syria itself as well as from areas farther east.

      This accidental displacement of scholars and artisans into Egypt does not, however, wholly account for the efflorescence of certain types of cultural activity under the Mamlūks. In the same way that they supported the caliphate as a visible symbol of their legitimate claim to rule Islamic territory, the Mamlūks cultivated and patronized religious leaders whose skills they needed in administering their empire and in directing the religious sentiments of the masses into safe (i.e., nondisruptive) channels. Those divines who cooperated with the state were rewarded with government offices in the case of the ʿulamāʾ (ulama) (religious scholars) and with endowed s (zāwiyah) (monasteries) in the case of the Sufis (mystics). On the other hand, those who dared criticize the prevailing social and moral order were thrown into prison; such was the fate of renowned legist Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), who, having emigrated from Mesopotamia to escape the Mongols, was incarcerated in Cairo by the Mamlūks for spreading doctrines that their religious functionaries considered heresy.

      Concrete evidence of the stimulus the Mamlūks gave to cultural life in an era of economic prosperity can be found chiefly in the fields of architecture and historiography. Dozens of public buildings erected under Mamlūk patronage are still standing in Cairo and include mosques, madrasahs (colleges), hospitals, zāwiyahs, and caravansaries (caravansary). Historical writing under the Mamlūks was equally monumental, in the form of immense chronicles, biographical dictionaries, and encyclopaedias. (See Ibn Khallikān, al-ʿUmarī (Umarī, al-ʿ), Ibn Kathīr, Ibn Khaldūn.)

Religious life
      The Mamlūk period is also important in Egyptian religious history. With few and therefore notable exceptions, the Muslim rulers of Egypt had seldom interfered with the lives of their Christian (Christianity) and Jewish (Jew) subjects so long as these groups paid the special taxes (known as jizyah (jizya)) levied on them in exchange for state protection. Indeed, both Copts and Jews had always served in the Muslim bureaucracy, sometimes in the very highest administrative positions. Even the Crusades apparently failed to upset the delicate balance between Muslims and Christians. Trade with the Italian city-states had certainly continued, and there is no evidence that the local Christians were held accountable for the Crusader invasions of Egypt.

      With the establishment of the Mamlūk sultanate, however, it is generally agreed that the lot of the Christians, both in Egypt and in Syria, took a distinct turn for the worse. One indication of this change is the increased production of anti-Christian polemics written by Muslim theologians. A possible reason for the change may have been the association of Christians with the Mongol peril. Because the Mongols used Christian auxiliaries in their armies—Georgians and Armenians in particular—they often spared the Christian populations of towns they conquered, while slaughtering the Muslims. Also, the diplomatic efforts aimed at uniting the Mongols with Christian European powers in a joint Crusade against the Muslims might have contributed to the Mamlūks' distrust of the Christians. But the dissatisfaction seems to have originated not so much with the Mamlūk rulers as with the masses, and it seems to have been directed not so much against Christians' sympathy for the Mongols as against their privileged position and role in the Mamlūk state.

      On several occasions popular resentment against the Copts' conspicuous wealth and their employment in the government was manifested in public demonstrations. Both Muslims and Christians resorted to arson, burning the others' sanctuaries to express their hatred. Under such pressure, the Mamlūk government dismissed Christians from the bureaucracy on no fewer than nine occasions between 1279 and 1447. (It was usually necessary to appoint new Copts, since they alone understood the accounting system that had been used since pharaonic times.) In 1301 the Mamlūks ordered all the churches in Egypt to be closed. As a result of these intermittent persecutions and the destruction of churches, it is believed that the rate of conversion to Islam accelerated markedly in the Mamlūk period and that Coptic virtually disappeared except as a liturgical language. By the end of Mamlūk rule, the Muslims may well have reached the same numerical superiority that they enjoy in modern times—a ratio of perhaps 10:1.

Economic life
      In trade and commerce, the Mamlūk period marks the zenith of medieval Egyptian economic history. During the 13th and 14th centuries (as long, that is, as the sultanate was able to maintain order in Egypt), trade was heavy with Mediterranean and Black sea ports and with India. The Oriental trade was controlled largely by a group of Muslim merchants known as the Kārimīs; the Mediterranean trade was left to European traders, whom the Mamlūks allowed certain privileges in Alexandria. By the 15th century, however, Egypt's commercial importance rapidly deteriorated as the result of population losses caused by the plague, increased government interference in commerce, Bedouin raiding, and Portuguese competition in the Indian trade.

The Ottomans (Ottoman Empire) (1517–1798)
 With the Ottomans' defeat of the Mamlūks in 1516–17, Egyptian medieval history had come full circle, as Egypt reverted to the status of a province governed from Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Again the country was exploited as a source of taxation for the benefit of an imperial government and as a base for foreign expansion. The economic decline that had begun under the late Mamlūks continued, and with it came a decline in Egyptian culture.

      Some historians attribute the lethargy of Egypt in this era solely to the rule of Constantinople. But, although Ottoman policy was geared to imperial, not Egyptian, needs, it was obviously to the rulers' benefit to provide a stable government that would maintain Egyptian agriculture (agricultural economics) at a high level of productivity and would promote the transit trade. To a certain extent Ottoman actions served these purposes. The decisive factor that ultimately undermined Ottoman policies was the perpetuation of the former Mamlūk elite; though they collaborated with the Ottoman government, they often defied it and ultimately came to dominate it. By and large, the history of Ottoman Egypt concerns the process by which the conquered Mamlūks reasserted their power within the Egyptian state.

The Ottoman conquest
 From the conquest itself, the Ottoman presence in Egypt was entangled with Mamlūk factionalism. There is no doubt that the Ottomans invaded Syria in 1516 to thwart an incipient coalition against Ottoman expansion between the Ṣafavid Dynasty of Persia and the Mamlūks of Egypt and Syria. The long-standing enmity between the Ottomans and the Mamlūks arose from their contest to control the Turkoman frontier states north of Syria. After the Ottomans strengthened their hold over eastern Anatolia in 1514, it was only natural that the Mamlūks should attempt to bolster their forces in northern Syria and exchange diplomatic missions with the Ṣafavids. The Ottoman sultan Selim I (the Grim) (Selim I) responded by attacking the reinforced Mamlūk army in Syria, probably as a preliminary step in a new campaign against the Ṣafavids. In 1516, after Selim had defeated the Mamlūks at Marj Dābiq (north of Aleppo), Ottoman goals had probably been met, especially since the Mamlūk sultan Qānṣūh al-Ghawrī died in the battle. But the Mamlūks rallied around a new sultan in Cairo who refused to accept Selim's terms for a settlement. Spurred on by the Mamlūk traitor Khayr Bey, Selim marched against Egypt in 1517, defeated the Mamlūks, and installed Khayr Bey as Ottoman governor. Khayr Bey died in 1522; thereafter, the Ottoman viceroy (called vali), with the title of pasha, was sent from Constantinople.

Ottoman administration
      In 1525 the Ottoman administration of Egypt was defined and codified by the Ottoman grand vizier, İbrahim Paşa, who was dispatched to Egypt for this purpose by the sultan Süleyman I (the Magnificent). According to the terms of İbrahim Paşa's decree (kanun-name), Egypt was to be ruled by a viceroy aided by an advisory council ( divan) and an army comprising both Ottoman and local corps. The collection of taxes (taxation) and the administration of the four provinces into which Egypt was divided were assigned to inspectors (kashifs). Although the Egyptian government was headed by bureaucratic officials sent from Constantinople, and supported by Ottoman troops, the Mamlūks were able to penetrate both the bureaucracy and the army. The kashifs were often drawn from Mamlūk ranks; three of the seven military corps formed by the Ottomans in the 16th century were recruited in Egypt, one of which—the Circassians—was composed of Circassian Mamlūks. Their service in the army enabled the Mamlūk amirs to secure high-ranking military posts that entitled them to serve on the divan itself.

      By the 17th century a distinct elite bearing the title of bey had emerged, which consisted largely of Mamlūk emirs (emir). These beys held no specific offices but were nevertheless paid a salary by the Ottoman government. The elite was perpetuated through the old Mamlūk system of purchasing slaves, giving them military training, then freeing them and attaching them to one of the great Mamlūk houses of Egypt. Thus, for all practical purposes, the Mamlūks maintained themselves as an elite throughout the Ottoman period. They were no longer the only political-military elite, as they had been in the past, but they ultimately succeeded in reestablishing their dominance. Yet the chief obstacle to the growth of their power was not so much the Ottoman ruling hierarchy as it was their own factionalism. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Mamlūks were divided into two great rival houses—the Faqāriyyah and the Qāsimiyyah—whose mutual hostility often broke out into fighting and impaired the strength of the Mamlūks as a bloc.

Mamlūk power under the Ottomans
      In spite of internal dissension and the resistance of the non-Mamlūk hierarchy, the Mamlūks had emerged by the early 18th century as the supreme power in Egyptian politics. While the beys continued to acknowledge the authority of the Ottoman viceroy and to send tribute to Constantinople, the strongest single figure in Egypt was the bey who held the newly coined title of shaykh al-balad (“chief of the city”), which signified that he was recognized by the other beys as their chief. The Mamlūks' rise to power was climaxed by the careers of two emirs— Alī Beyʿ and Abū Dhahab—both of whom secured from the Sublime Porte (Ottoman government) de facto recognition of their autonomy in Egypt (1769–75) and even undertook military campaigns in Syria and the Hejaz. The Ottomans attempted to end the Mamlūk domination by sending an army to Egypt in 1786. Although it was initially successful, this attempt failed and the troops were withdrawn a year later. A Mamlūk duumvirate (two-person ruling coalition) was reestablished consisting of Murād Bey and Ibrāhīm Bey and lasted until Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798.

      During the 16th century, when their regime in Egypt was strongest, the Ottomans used Egypt as a base for expansion to the south. Like the Mamlūk rulers before them, they attempted to control the southern approaches to Egypt by instituting their authority in Nubia; this they achieved by annexing Nubia as far south as the Third Cataract of the Nile River. Elsewhere, they undertook to reassert Egyptian command of the Red Sea, which the Portuguese had begun to contest during the early 16th century. Ottoman fleets and troops captured Yemen and Aden (1536–46) and thus dominated the lower Red Sea; in 1557 they strengthened this position by setting up a colony on the Abyssinian coast at Mitsiwa (now Massawa, Eritrea). In the 17th century these outposts began to lose their importance as Ottoman and Portuguese power started to decline and the Dutch took over the spice trade.

      Given the political instability and the economic (economic systems) decline that had prevailed in Egypt since late Mamlūk times, it is not surprising that the culture of Ottoman Egypt lacked vitality. Perhaps the most telling example of intellectual quiescence was the dramatic decline in the quantity of historical works produced in Egypt. As already noted, the Mamlūk period is renowned for the number and quality of its historians, partly because the emirs patronized court historians; by contrast, in almost three centuries of Ottoman rule, Egypt produced only one historian worthy of note, Abd al-Rahman al-Jabartī in the late 18th to early 19th century, famous for his observations on the French occupation. The Ottomans also fell short of the Mamlūks' achievement in architecture; there is no lack of public buildings erected under Ottoman patronage, but even the best of these are imitations of the Byzantine basilica, which had been adopted as the model for mosques.

Religious affairs
      Like all previous Muslim (Islāmic world) governments, the Ottomans continued to employ Copts (Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria) in the financial offices of the bureaucracy. The Ottomans allowed the Caliphate, so assiduously preserved in its nominal form by the Mamlūks, to lapse. At first the caliph was installed in Constantinople by Selim I. Later the caliph—purportedly the last of the ‘Abbāsid line—returned to Egypt, where he died in the reign of Süleyman. The claim that the caliph had transferred his authority to the Ottoman sultan is generally considered an 18th-century invention.

Donald P. Little Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.

From the French to the British occupation (1798–1882)
The French occupation and its consequences (1798–1805) (French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars)
      Although several projects for a French occupation of Egypt had been advanced in the 17th and 18th centuries, the purpose of the expedition that sailed under Napoleon I from Toulon in May 1798 was specifically connected with the war against Britain. Napoleon had discounted the feasibility of an invasion of England but hoped, by occupying Egypt, to damage British (British Empire) trade, threaten India, and obtain assets for bargaining in any future peace settlement. Meanwhile, as a colony under the benevolent and progressive administration of Revolutionary France, Egypt was to be regenerated and would regain its ancient prosperity. The military and naval forces were therefore accompanied by a commission of scholars and scientists to investigate and report the past and present condition of the country.

      Eluding the British Mediterranean fleet under Horatio Nelson (Nelson, Horatio Nelson, Viscount), the French landed at Abū Qīr (Abū Qīr Bay) (Aboukir) Bay on July 1 and took Alexandria the next day. In an Arabic proclamation, Napoleon assured the Egyptians that he came as a friend to Islam and the Ottoman sultan, to punish the usurping Mamlūks and to liberate the people. From Alexandria the French advanced on Cairo, defeating Murād Bey at Shubrākhīt (July 13), and again decisively at Imbābah, opposite Cairo in the Battle of the Pyramids (Pyramids, Battle of the) on July 21. Murād fled to Upper Egypt, while his colleague, Ibrāhīm Bey, together with the Ottoman viceroy, made his way to Syria.

 After entering Cairo (July 25), Napoleon sought to conciliate the population, especially the religious leaders (ʿulamāʾ), by demonstrating his sympathy with Islam and by establishing councils (divans) as a means of consulting Egyptian opinion. The destruction of the French fleet at Abū Qīr by Nelson in the Battle of the Nile (Nile, Battle of the) on August 1 virtually cut Napoleon's communications and made it necessary for him to consolidate his rule and to make the expeditionary force as self-sufficient as possible. The savants, organized in the Institut d'Égypte, played their part in this. Meanwhile, Egyptian resentment of alien rule, administrative innovations, and the growing fiscal burden of military occupation was exacerbated when the Ottoman sultan, Selim III (1789–1807), declared war on France on September 11. An unforeseen revolt in Cairo on October 21 was suppressed after an artillery bombardment that ended any hopes of cordial Franco-Egyptian coexistence.

      Ottoman Syria, dominated by Aḥmad al-Jazzār, the governor of Acre (now Akkoʿ, Israel), was the base from which French-occupied Egypt might most easily be threatened, and Napoleon resolved to deny it to his enemies. His invasion force crossed the frontier in February 1799 but failed to take Acre after a protracted siege (March 19–May 20), and Napoleon evacuated Syrian territory. A seaborne Ottoman invading force landed at Abū Qīr in July but failed to maintain its bridgehead. At this point Napoleon resolved to return to France, and he succeeded in slipping away, past the British fleet, on August 22.

      His successor as general in chief, Jean-Baptiste Kléber (Kléber, Jean-Baptiste), viewed the situation of the expeditionary force with pessimism and, like many of the soldiers, wished to return to the theatre of war in Europe. He therefore entered into negotiations with the Ottomans and by the Convention of Al-ʿArīsh (Jan. 24, 1800) agreed to evacuate Egypt. Sir Sydney Smith, the British naval commander in the eastern Mediterranean, sponsored the convention, but in this he had exceeded his powers and was instructed by his superior officer, Admiral Lord Keith, to require the French to surrender as prisoners of war. Although the Ottoman reoccupation was well under way, Kléber and the French determined on resistance and defeated the Turkish forces at the Battle of Heliopolis (March 20). A second revolt of Cairo, fomented by Ottoman fugitives, took about a month to suppress; but French authority had been restored when Kléber was assassinated by a Syrian Muslim, Sulaymān al-Ḥalabī, on June 14.

      His successor, ʿAbd Allāh Jacques Menou, a French officer (and former nobleman) who had turned Muslim, was determined to maintain the occupation and administered at first a tolerably settled country, although he lacked the prestige of his two predecessors. In 1801 a threefold invasion of Egypt began. British troops were landed at Abū Qīr in March, while the Ottomans advanced from Syria. Shortly afterward, British Indian forces were landed at Quṣayr on the Red Sea coast. The French garrison in Cairo capitulated in June and Menou himself at Alexandria in September.

      The brief episode of the French occupation was to be significant for Egypt (Egyptology) in several ways. The arrival of a European army accompanied by scholars and scientists appropriately inaugurated the impact of the West, which was to be felt increasingly afterward. Egypt, insulated for centuries by the Mamlūk and Ottoman sultanates, was no longer immune from European influence; it had become an object of the contending policies of France and Britain, a part of the Eastern Question. Napoleon's savants had little success in interpreting Western culture to the traditionalist ʿulamāʾ of Cairo; their achievement was rather to unveil Egypt to Europe. They uncovered the celebrated Rosetta Stone, which held a trilingual inscription making it possible to decipher hieroglyphs and which thus laid the foundation of modern Egyptology. Their reports and monographs were collected in the monumental Description de l'Égypte (“Description of Egypt”), which was published in parts from 1809 to 1828 in Paris.

      Of more immediate consequence for Egypt was the effect of the French occupation on internal politics. The Mamlūk ascendancy was fatally weakened. Murād Bey, who had made his peace with the French, died shortly before their capitulation in 1801; and Ibrāhīm Bey, who returned to Egypt with the Ottomans, had henceforward little power. The new Mamlūk leaders, ʿUthmān Bey al-Bardīsī (died 1806) and Muḥammad Bey al-Alfī (died 1807), former retainers of Murād, headed rival factions and had in any case to reckon with the British and Ottoman occupation forces. In March 1803 the British troops were evacuated in accordance with the Treaty of Amiens (Amiens, Treaty of) (March 27, 1802). But the Ottomans, determined to reassert their control over Egypt, remained, establishing their power through a viceroy and an occupying army, in which the most effective fighting force was an Albanian contingent. The Albanians, however, acted as an independent party and in May 1803 mutinied and installed their leader as acting viceroy. When he was assassinated shortly afterward, the command of the Albanians passed to his lieutenant, Muḥammad ʿAlī (reigned 1805–49), who, during the ensuing two years, cautiously strengthened his own position at the expense of both the Mamlūks and the Ottomans.

Muḥammad ʿAlī and his successors (1805–82)
 In May 1805 a revolt broke out in Cairo against the Ottoman viceroy, Khūrshīd Pasha. The ʿulamāʾ invested Muḥammad ʿAlī as viceroy. For some weeks there was street fighting, and Khūrshīd was besieged in the citadel. In July Sultan Selim III confirmed Muḥammad ʿAlī in office and the revolt ended.

      Muḥammad ʿAlī's viceroyalty was marked by a series of military successes, some of which were attended by political failures that frustrated his wider aims. After the renewal of war between Britain and Napoleonic France in 1803, Egypt again became an area of strategic significance. A British expedition occupied Alexandria in 1807 but failed to capture Rosetta and, after a defeat at the hands of Muḥammad ʿAlī's forces, was allowed to withdraw.

Military expansion
 In Arabia (Arabia, history of), the domination of Islam's holy cities, Mecca and Medina, by puritanical Wahhābī Muslims was a serious embarrassment to the Ottoman sultan, who was the titular overlord of the Arabian territory of the Hejaz and the leading Muslim sovereign. At the invitation of Sultan Mahmud II (reigned 1808–39), Muḥammad ʿAlī sent an expedition to Arabia that between 1811 and 1813 expelled the Wahhābīs from the Hejaz. In a further campaign (1816–18), Ibrāhīm Pasha (Ibrahim Pasha), the viceroy's eldest son, defeated the Wahhābīs in their homeland of Najd and brought central Arabia within Egyptian control. In 1820–21 Muḥammad ʿAlī sent an expedition up the Nile River and conquered much of what is now the northern portion of the Sudan. By so doing, he made himself master of one of the principal channels of the slave trade and began an African empire that was to be expanded under his successors.

      After the outbreak of the Greek insurrection against Ottoman rule, Muḥammad ʿAlī, at Mahmud's request, suppressed the Cretan revolt in 1822. In 1825 Ibrāhīm began a victorious campaign in the Morea in southern Greece, where his military success provoked intervention by the European powers and brought on the destruction of the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets at the Battle of Navarino (Navarino, Battle of) (Oct. 20, 1827). The Morea was evacuated the following year.

      In 1831 Muḥammad ʿAlī embarked upon the invasion of Syria. His pretext was a quarrel with the governor of Acre, but deeper considerations were involved, particularly the growing strength of the sultan, which might threaten his own autonomy. Syria, moreover, was strategically important; and its products, especially timber, usefully complemented the Egyptian economy. The viceroy's forces defeated the Ottomans at Kütahya near Konya in Anatolia (December 1832), and in 1833 the sultan ceded his Syrian provinces to Muḥammad ʿAlī.

      In 1839 Ottoman forces reentered Syria but were defeated by Ibrāhīm at the Battle of Nizip (Nizip, Battle of) (June 24). A fortnight later Mahmud II died, and the Ottoman Empire seemed on the verge of dissolution; it was saved only by European intervention. In 1840 the European powers compelled Ibrāhīm to evacuate Syria. Muḥammad ʿAlī's Arabian empire (which since 1833 had extended into Yemen) crumbled at the same time. Although in 1841 the new sultan, Abdülmecid I (reigned 1839–61), conferred on the family of Muḥammad ʿAlī the hereditary rule of Egypt, the viceroy's powers were declining. Because of the viceroy's growing senility, Ibrāhīm took power in July 1848. But the son's reign lasted only a few months until his death the following November. The next viceroy was Abbās Iʿ (reigned 1848–54), the eldest grandson of Muḥammad ʿAlī (who died in 1849).

Administrative changes
      Muḥammad ʿAlī's military exploits would not have been possible but for radical changes in the administration of Egypt itself. Muḥammad ʿAlī was a pragmatic statesman whose principal objective was to secure for himself and his family the unchallenged possession of Egypt. His immediate problem on his accession was to deal with the Mamlūks, who still dominated much of the country, and the ʿulamāʾ, who had helped him to power. The strength of these two groups rested largely on their control of the agricultural land of Egypt and the revenues arising therefrom. Gradually, between 1805 and 1815, Muḥammad ʿAlī eroded the system of tax (taxation) farming ( iltizām) that had diverted most of the revenues to the Mamlūks and other notables, imposed the direct levy of taxes, expropriated the landholders, and carried out a new tax survey. In 1809 he divided and outmaneuvered the ʿulamāʾ, and in 1811 he lured many of the Mamlūk leaders to a celebration at the citadel, where he had them massacred. Ibrāhīm expelled their survivors from Upper Egypt, effectively destroying them as a political force.

      Muḥammad ʿAlī thus became effectively the sole landholder in Egypt, with a monopoly over trade in crops, although later in his reign he made considerable grants of land to his family and dependents. The monopoly system was extended in due course from primary materials to manufactures, with the establishment of state control over the textile industry. Muḥammad ʿAlī's ambitious hopes of promoting an industrial revolution in Egypt were not realized, fundamentally because of the lack of available sources of power. The monopolies were resented by European merchants in Egypt and clashed with the economic doctrine of free trade upheld by the British government. Although a free-trade convention that was concluded between Britain and the Ottoman Empire in 1838 (the Convention of Balta Liman) was technically binding on Egypt, Muḥammad ʿAlī succeeded in evading its application up to and even after the reversal of his fortunes in 1840–41.

      The old-style military forces (including the Albanians) on whom Muḥammad ʿAlī relied against his internal opponents and who conquered the Hejaz, Najd, and the Sudan were heterogeneous and unruly. An attempt to introduce Western methods of training in 1815 provoked a mutiny. Muḥammad ʿAlī then decided to form an army of slave (slavery) troops dependent wholly upon himself and trained by European instructors. The conquest of the Sudan was intended to provide the recruits. But the slaves, encamped at Aswān, died wholesale, and Muḥammad ʿAlī had to seek most of his troops elsewhere. In 1823 he took the momentous step of conscripting Egyptian peasants for the rank and file of his “new model army.” On the other hand, the officers were mostly Turkish-speaking Ottomans, while the director of the whole enterprise, Sulaymān Pasha (Col. Joseph Sève), was a former French officer. The conscription was brutally administered and military life harsh. There were several ineffective peasant revolts, and some potential inductees fled to the towns or to the desert.

      As reorganization proceeded, the viceroy gradually built a new administrative structure. While institutions were created and discarded according to his changing needs, Muḥammad ʿAlī depended essentially upon the members of his own family, particularly Ibrāhīm, and loyal servants, such as his Armenian confidant Boghos Bey. Characteristic of his governmental system were councils of officials, convened to deliberate on public business, and administrative departments (divans) that bore some resemblance to the ministries of European governments. In local administration, Muḥammad ʿAlī established a highly centralized system with a clear chain of command from Cairo through the provincial governors, down to the village headmen. Initiative was not encouraged, but firm control had taken the place of anarchy.

      These changes necessitated the training of officers and officials in the new Europeanized ways of working; and this in turn resulted in the creation of a range of educational institutions (education) alongside the traditional Muslim schools that prepared the ʿulamāʾ (ulama). Much of the foundation work was done by expatriates, while missions of Egyptian students were sent to Europe, especially to Paris. One of these missions was accompanied by Rifāʿah Rāfiʿ al-Ṭahṭāwī (Ṭahṭāwī, Rifāʿah Rāfiʿ aṭ-) (1801–73), who served as its religious teacher and later played the leading part in inaugurating the translation of European works into Arabic. He thus was a pioneer both in the interpretation of European culture to Egypt and in the renaissance of literary Arabic. The establishment of a government printing press in 1822 facilitated the wide dissemination of the new books.

Abbās Iʿ and Saʿīd, 1848-63
      The reign of ʿAbbās I (1848–54) indicates how precarious was the advance of westernization in Egypt. The effort had already been relaxed in the last decade of Muḥammad ʿAlī's rule, and ʿAbbās showed himself to be a traditionalist. It was typical of his policy that he closed the school of languages and the translation bureau and sent their director, al-Ṭahṭāwī, to virtual exile in the Sudan. The French, who had played so large a part in Muḥammad ʿAlī's reforms, fell into disfavour, and for diplomatic support ʿAbbās turned to their British (British Empire) rivals, whose help was needed against the Ottomans. Although initially ʿAbbās was ostentatiously loyal to the sultan, he resented an attempt made at that time to curtail his autonomy. The British, for their part, managed to enhance their communications with India by winning from ʿAbbās a concession to build a railway from Alexandria to Cairo; the line was completed between 1851 and 1856 and was extended to Suez two years later. Saʿīd (Saʿīd Pasha) (reigned 1854–63), who succeeded on ʿAbbās's mysterious and violent death, inaugurated another reversal of policy. While he lacked Muḥammad ʿAlī's energy and ability, he was not unsympathetic to the Westernizers. To his French friend Ferdinand de Lesseps (Lesseps, Ferdinand, vicomte de) (who had been a friend to Muḥammad ʿAlī as well) he granted in 1854 a concession for the cutting of a canal across the isthmus of Suez (Suez Canal). This embroiled him both with the sultan, whose prerogative had been encroached upon, and the British, whose overland railway route was threatened by the project; a deadlock lasted throughout his reign.

Ismāʿīl (Ismāʿīl Pasha), 1863–79
      Ismāʿīl (Ismāʿīl Pasha), the son of Ibrāhīm Pasha, who succeeded on the death of Saʿīd, displayed some of his grandfather's dynamic energy and enthusiasm for modernization. He lacked caution, however, and his reign ended in catastrophe. From his predecessors he inherited a precarious economy and a burden of debt. The decline in North American cotton exports caused by the American Civil War (American Civil War) (1861–65) greatly increased Britain's demand for Egyptian long-staple cotton. This product had been introduced and developed in Muḥammad ʿAlī's time, but its production had languished until the interruption of supplies of American cotton caused a fourfold increase in price during the war years. When peace returned, prices collapsed with disastrous consequences for the Egyptian economy. In the management of his finances, Ismāʿīl was both extravagant and unwise and laid himself open to unscrupulous exploitation. Ismāʿīl was committed to the Suez Canal project, but he modified the grant in two important respects: by withdrawing the cession of a strip of land from the Nile River to the Suez isthmus, along which a freshwater canal was to be constructed, and by refusing to provide unlimited (and largely unpaid) peasant labour for the project, a practice that had stirred great outcry in England and continental Europe. The matter was submitted to arbitration; a large indemnity was imposed on Ismāʿīl, who also agreed to pay for a large block of shares put by de Lesseps into Saʿīd's account. French pressure on the sultan succeeded at last in overcoming resistance to the canal project at Constantinople, and a firman (decree from the sultan) authorizing its construction was granted in March 1866. Work had in fact already been going on for seven years, and in November 1869 the Suez Canal was opened to shipping by the empress Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III of France. The incident symbolized the political and cultural orientation of Egypt in the middle decades of the 19th century.

      Ismāʿīl, in other ways, presented himself as the ruler of a new and important state. Although his relations with his suzerain, Sultan Abdülaziz (reigned 1861–76), were normally friendly, he was no less eager than his predecessors to secure the autonomy of his dynasty. In 1866 he obtained a firman establishing the succession by primogeniture in his own line—abandoning the contemporary Ottoman rule of succession by the eldest male. A year later a firman conferred upon Ismāʿīl the special title of khedive, which had in fact been used unofficially since Muḥammad ʿAlī's time and which distinguished the viceroy of Egypt from other Ottoman governors. A period of strained relations developed between the khedive and the sultan arising from Ismāʿīl's implied pretensions to sovereignty at the time of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, but the two were later reconciled; a firman reconfirmed the khedive's privileges in 1873. These concessions by the sultan, however, cost Ismāʿīl heavy expenditure—in bribes to Ottoman officials in Constantinople—and an increase in the annual Egyptian tribute and were another factor in the growth of Ismāʿīl's indebtedness.

      Ismāʿīl had inherited an African empire in the northern area of the Sudan. Since the middle of the century, in consequence of the abolition of the monopolies, merchants had penetrated south and southwest, up the White Nile (White Nile River) and the Al-Ghazāl (Baḥr al-Ghazāl) rivers, in search of ivory. An ancillary slave trade that had developed distressed Europeans, who forgot that their depredations against Africans had continued virtually unabated until the early 19th century, and they prevailed on the khedive to abolish this commerce. Thus, acting on humanitarian and expansionist motives, Ismāʿīl sought to extend Egyptian rule into these remoter regions. He made considerable use of expatriates, notably the Englishmen Sir Samuel White Baker (Baker, Sir Samuel White) and Sir Charles George (“Chinese”) Gordon (Gordon, Charles George), who extended the khedive's nominal authority to the African Great Lakes. Another series of events led to the conquest in 1874 of the sultanate of Darfur in the west. The khedive also wished to make Egypt the dominant power in the Red Sea region. The sultan granted him the old Ottoman ports of Sawākin and Mitsiwa in 1865. Egyptian control was established on the Somali coast, and in 1875 the city of Hārer was captured. Attempts to invade Abyssinia in 1875 and 1876 were, however, unsuccessful and marked the limits of Ismāʿīl's imperial expansion.

 Like other parts of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt was bound by the capitulations (capitulation)—a system of privileges derived from earlier Western treaties with former sultans. Under the capitulations, European and American residents in Egypt were exempt from local taxation and were subject only to their own consular courts. By patient negotiations over several years, Nūbār Pasha, Ismāʿīl's Armenian minister, succeeded in establishing the Mixed Courts in 1875. These had jurisdiction in civil cases involving Egyptians and foreigners, or foreigners of different nationalities, and had both foreign and Egyptian judges, who administered codes based on French law.

      By that time the social consequences of the agrarian and political changes inaugurated by Muḥammad ʿAlī were clearly appearing. The khedive and his family were Egypt's principal landholders, possessing extensive personal estates quite apart from the state lands. Around the khedivial family was a parvenu aristocracy that held the principal civil and military offices. Many of its members were also great landowners; most of them were Turkish or Circassian by origin. Although the peasantry's condition had been harmed by military conscription, by corvées for public works (including large-scale demands for labour on the railways and the Suez Canal), and by ill-considered economic and industrial experiments, the rights of cultivators on their land gradually increased. The richer peasants, from whom the village headmen were recruited, in particular increased in importance. When, in November 1866, Ismāʿīl set up the consultative council known as the Assembly of Delegates, the members of which were chosen by indirect election, the great majority of those elected were village headmen. While Ismāʿīl did not intend to give any of his powers to the Assembly, its establishment and composition pointed to the political growth that would occur among native Egyptians in the next 60 years. Conscription had affected the makeup of the army. The power of the entrenched Turco-Circassians was challenged by native Egyptian officers, who resented the privileges of their foreign colleagues. The defeat of the Circassian commander in chief, Rātib Pasha, by the Abyssinians in 1876 was a blow from which the prestige of the old officer group never recovered.

      From the Assembly, the army, and the westernized intelligentsia emerged politically conscious individuals and groups who drew their ideas from both Western and Islamic sources. Their organization was for the most part small-scale and ephemeral, and their outlook was subversive, being hostile to the autocracy of the khedive, the dominance of the Turco-Circassians, and the pervasive power of the Europeans.

      Political tension increased in the last years of Ismāʿīl's reign. Various expedients to postpone bankruptcy (e.g., the khedive's sale in 1875 of his Suez Canal shares to Britain) had failed, and in 1876 the Caisse de la Dette Publique (Commission of the Public Debt) was established for the service of the Egyptian debt. Its members were nominated by France, Britain, Austria, and Italy. In the same year, Egyptian revenue and expenditure were placed under the supervision of a British and a French controller (the Dual Control). After an international enquiry in 1878, Ismāʿīl accepted the principle of ministerial responsibility for government and authorized the formation of an international ministry under Nūbār that included the British and French controllers in his cabinet. Ismāʿīl, however, was not willing to give up his autocracy. In 1879 he exploited an army demonstration against the European ministers to dismiss Nūbār, and he worked in alliance with the Assembly of Delegates to destroy international control over Egypt. By this time, however, his standing outside Egypt had been lost; and in June 1879, Sultan Abdülhamid II (reigned 1876–1909), instigated by France and Britain, deposed him in favour of his son, Muḥammad Tawfīq. (Tawfīq Pasha, Muḥammad)

Renewed European intervention, 1879–82
      European domination was immediately reasserted. The Dual Control was revived, with Evelyn Baring (Cromer, Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of, Viscount Errington Of Hexham, Viscount Cromer, Baron Cromer Of Cromer) serving as the British controller. By the Law of Liquidation (July 1880), the annual revenues were divided into two approximately equal portions, one of which was assigned to the Caisse de la Dette, the other to the Egyptian government. The Assembly of Delegates was dissolved. The forces of resistance that Ismāʿīl had stimulated were not, however, allayed by these means. There had already come into existence a nationalist group within the Assembly, prominent among whom was Muḥammad Sharīf, prime minister from April to August 1879. In the army a group of Egyptian officers, whose leader was Aḥmad ʿUrābī (Urābī Pashaʿ) (Arabi), was disaffected from the khedive and resentful of European control of Egypt. By 1881 these two groups had allied to form what was called the National Party (al-Ḥizb al-Waṭanī).

      Tension surfaced when a petition was presented in January 1881 by ʿUrābī and two of his colleagues against the war minister, ʿUthmān Rifqī, a Circassian. They were arrested and court-martialed but were later set free by mutineers. Tawfīq gave in, dismissed Rifqī, and appointed Maḥmud Sāmī al-Bārūdī Pasha, one of ʿUrābī's allies, as war minister. But the ʿUrābists still feared reprisals; a military demonstration in Cairo in September 1881 forced Tawfīq to appoint a new ministry under Sharīf and to convene a new Assembly. But the alliance between the officers and Sharīf was uneasy.

      Meanwhile, the European powers were becoming increasingly alarmed. A joint English and French note sent in January 1882 with the intention of strengthening the khedive against his opponents had the opposite effect. The Assembly of Delegates swung toward the ʿUrābists. Sharīf resigned and al-Bārūdī became premier with ʿUrābī as war minister. Rioting ensued on June 11 after British and French naval forces had been sent to Alexandria. From this point Britain took the initiative. The French refused to join in a bombardment of Alexandria (July 11), while an international conference held at Constantinople was boycotted by the Ottomans and produced no solution of the problem. The British government finally resolved to intervene, having secured Tawfīq's support, and sent an expeditionary force under Sir Garnet Wolseley (Wolseley, Garnet, 1st Viscount) to the Suez Canal. The ʿUrābists were soundly defeated at Tall al-Kabīr (Sept. 13, 1882), and Cairo was occupied the next day.

The period of British domination (1882–1952)
The British occupation and the Protectorate (1882–1922)
      The British (British Empire) occupation marked the culmination of developments that had been at work since 1798: the de facto separation of Egypt from the Ottoman Empire, the attempt of European powers to influence or control the country, and the rivalry of France and Britain for ascendancy in the country. Because of the last-minute withdrawal of the French, the British had secured the sole domination of Egypt. William Ewart Gladstone (Gladstone, William Ewart)'s liberal government was, however, reluctant to prolong the occupation or to establish formal political control, which it feared would antagonize both the sultan and the other European powers; but the British were unwilling to evacuate Egypt without securing their strategic interests, and this never seemed possible without maintaining a military presence there.

      An incident at the outset of the occupation was a sign of future tensions. On British insistence, the khedive's government was obliged to place ʿUrābī and his associates on public trial and then to commute the resulting death sentences to exile. Tawfīq's prestige, slight enough at his accession, and diminished in the three years before the occupation, was still further undermined by this intervention of the British government. Meanwhile, Lord Dufferin (Dufferin and Ava, Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of, Earl Of Ava, Earl Of Dufferin, Viscount Clandeboye, Baron Clandeboye, Baron Dufferin And Clan{{[}}d{{]}}eboye Of Ballyleidy And), the British ambassador in Constantinople, visited Egypt and prepared a report on measures to be taken for the reconstruction of the administrative system. The projects of reform that he envisaged would necessitate an indefinite continuation of the occupation. The implications of this for British policy were slowly and reluctantly accepted by the ministry in London, under pressure from its representative in Cairo, the British agent and consul general, Sir Evelyn Baring, who in 1892 became Lord Cromer.

      Two principal problems confronted the occupying power: first, the acquisition of some degree of international recognition for its special but ambiguous position in Egypt, second, a definition of its relationship to the khedivial government, which formed the official administration of the country. The main European opponents of recognition of the British position were the French, who resented the abolition of the Dual Control (December 1882). The Caisse de la Dette continued to exist, and until 1904 the British had to set their policies to deal with French opposition in this institution. In the early years of the occupation, when Egyptian finances were in disarray, French hostility posed an obstacle, but from 1889 onward there was a budget surplus and consequently greater freedom of action for the Egyptian government. A moderate degree of international agreement over Egypt was attained by the Convention of London (1885), which secured an international loan for the Egyptian government and added two further members (nominated by Germany and Russia) to the Caisse de la Dette. In 1888 the Convention of Constantinople (Istanbul) provided that the Suez Canal should always be open to ships of all countries, in war and peace alike. This was, however, a statement of principle rather than fact; without British cooperation it remained a dead letter.

      In matters concerning Egypt's international status, the decisions were made in London, but where the internal administration of the country was concerned, Cromer usually set the policies. Although throughout the occupation the facade of khedivial government was retained, British advisers attached to the various ministries were more influential than their ministers, while Cromer himself steadily increased his control over the whole administrative machine.

      Tawfīq himself gave little trouble, but his prime ministers were more tenacious. Sharīf, premier at the beginning of the occupation until 1884, and his successors, Nūbār Pasha (1884–88) and Muṣṭafa Riyāḍ (Riaz) Pasha (1888–91), resigned because of clashes over administrative control. From then until November 1908, with a break in 1893–95, the prime minister was Muṣṭafā Fahmī Pasha, who proved to be Cromer's obedient instrument.

ʿAbbās Ḥilmī II (Abbās IIʿ), 1892–1914
      The death of Tawfīq and the accession of his 17-year-old son, Abbās IIʿ (Ḥilmī), in 1892 opened a new phase of opposition to the occupation. The new khedive would not submit to Cromer's tutelage, while the British agent resented the attempts of one so much his junior to play a serious role in Egyptian politics. ʿAbbās dismissed Muṣṭafā Fahmī in January 1893 and tried to appoint his own nominee as prime minister. Cromer, backed by the British government, frustrated these endeavours, and Fahmī eventually returned to office. ʿAbbās provoked another crisis in January 1894 by publicly criticizing British military officers, especially Horatio Herbert Kitchener (Kitchener, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl), the sirdar (commander in chief). Once again Cromer stepped in and forced ʿAbbās to make a public apology.

      Other considerations apart, the behaviour of ʿAbbās in the early years of his reign indicated the emergence of a new generation who had only been children when the occupation began. One of ʿAbbās's contemporaries was Muṣṭafā Kāmil (Kāmil, Muṣṭafā) (1874–1908), who had studied in France and come to know a group of writers and politicians opposed to the British occupation. On returning to Egypt in 1894, he had reached an understanding with the khedive on the basis of their common opposition to the British occupation. By his speeches and writings (in 1900 he founded his own newspaper, al-Liwā), he endeavoured to create an Egyptian patriotism that would rally the entire nation around the khedive. A boost was given to nationalism by the campaigns for the reconquest of the Sudan (1896–98)—to which Egypt provided most of the money and troops, although the commanding officers were British—and by the 1899 Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreements, which nominally gave Egypt and Britain joint responsibility for the administration of the reconquered territory but in effect made the Sudan a British possession.

      A final episode in the reconquest of the Sudan, the confrontation of British and French at Fashoda on the White Nile in 1898 (the Fashoda Incident), was followed by the reconciliation of the two powers in the Entente Cordiale (1904), which, inter alia, gave Britain a free hand in Egypt. This deflated the hopes of Muṣṭafā Kāmil and his alliance with the khedive, who became more willing to cooperate with Cromer. Muṣṭafā Kāmil now turned to Sultan Abdülhamid. When a dispute (the Tābah Incident, 1906) arose between the Ottomans and the occupying power over the Sinai Peninsula, Muṣṭafā Kāmil sought to rally Egyptian nationalist opinion in favour of the sultan, but some Egyptians accused him of harming their national interest in order to favour Islamic unity.

      British domination in Egypt and Cromer's personal ascendancy never seemed more secure than in the period following the Entente Cordiale. But the “veiled protectorate” had hidden weaknesses. Cromer was both out of touch and out of sympathy with the new generation of Egyptians. The occupation had become to all intents and purposes permanent, and the consequent growth of the British official establishment frustrated educated Egyptians, who sought government posts for themselves and their sons. The British, however, saw themselves as the benefactors of the Egyptian peasantry, whom they had delivered from the corvée and the lash. The Dinshawāy Incident (Dinshaway Incident) showed them in another light. In June 1906 a fracas between villagers at Dinshawāy and a party of British officers out pigeon shooting resulted in the death of a British officer. The special tribunal set up to try the matter imposed exemplary and brutal sentences on the villagers. In the bitter aftermath of this affair, which strengthened Muṣṭafā Kāmil's nationalists, Cromer retired in May 1907.

      Sir John Eldon Gorst (Gorst, Sir John Eldon), who succeeded Cromer, had served in Egypt from 1886 to 1904 and brought a fresh mind to bear on the problems of the occupation. He reached an understanding with the khedive and sought to diminish the growing power and numbers of the British establishment. At the same time, he tried to give more effective authority to Egyptian political institutions. Muṣṭafā Fahmī's long premiership ended, and he was followed by a Copt, Buṭrus Ghālī. When Gorst died prematurely in July 1911, he had attained only limited success. Many British officials resented his policies, which at the same time failed to conciliate the nationalists. Muṣṭafa Kāmil had died in 1908 and had been succeeded by Muḥammad Farīd, who led the National Party toward greater extremism in its opposition to the British. A project to extend the Suez Canal Company's 99-year concession by 40 years was thrown out by the General Assembly (a quasi-parliamentary body, set up in 1883), while Buṭrus Ghālī, who had advocated it, was assassinated a few days later by a nationalist. The appointment of Lord Kitchener (Kitchener, Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl) to succeed Gorst portended the end of conciliation of the khedive. But Kitchener, although autocratic, was not wholly conservative; his attempts to limit the power and influence of ʿAbbās served the interests of the moderate Egyptians who did not belong to the National Party. The Organic Law of 1913 created a new and more powerful Legislative Assembly that served as a training ground for the nationalist leaders of the postwar period. At the same time, the peasants were helped by improved irrigation and by legal protection of their landholdings from seizure for debt.

World War I and independence
      In November 1914 Britain declared war on the Ottoman Empire and in December proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt, deposed ʿAbbās, and appointed his uncle, Ḥusayn Kāmil, with the title of sultan. Kitchener was succeeded by Sir Henry McMahon, and he by Sir Reginald Wingate (Wingate, Sir Reginald, 1st Baronet), both with the title of high commissioner. Although Egypt did not have to provide troops, the people, especially the peasantry, suffered from the effects of war. The declaration of martial law and the suspension of the Legislative Assembly temporarily silenced the nationalists. Ḥusayn Kāmil died in October 1917 and was succeeded by his ambitious brother, Aḥmad Fuʾād (Fuʾād I).

 On Nov. 13, 1918, two days after the Armistice, Wingate was visited by three Egyptian politicians headed by Saʿd Zaghlūl (Zaghlūl, Saʿd), who demanded autonomy for Egypt and announced his intention of leading a delegation (Arabic Wafd) to state his case in England. The British government's refusal to accept a delegation, followed by the arrest of Zaghlūl, produced a widespread revolt in Egypt; and Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby (Allenby, Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount) (later Lord Allenby), the victor over the Ottomans in Palestine, was sent out as special high commissioner. Allenby insisted on concessions to the nationalists, hoping to reach a settlement. Zaghlūl was released and subsequently led his delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (1919–20), where it was denied a hearing to plead for Egypt's independence. The Wafd, in the meanwhile, had become a countrywide organization that dominated Egyptian politics. The Milner Commission (1919–20), sent to report on the establishment of constitutional government under the protectorate, was boycotted, but Lord Alfred Milner (Milner, Alfred Milner, Viscount), who headed the commission, later had private talks with Zaghlūl in London. Finally, hoping to outmaneuver Zaghlūl and to build up a group of pro-British politicians in Egypt, Allenby pressed his government to promise independence without previously securing British interests by a treaty. The declaration of independence (Feb. 28, 1922) ended the protectorate but, pending negotiations, reserved four matters to the British government's discretion: the security of imperial communications, defense, the protection of foreign interests and of minorities, and the Sudan. On March 15 the sultan became King Fuʾād I (reigned 1922–36) of Egypt.

The Kingdom of Egypt (1922–52)
      The new kingdom was in form a constitutional monarchy. The constitution, based on that of Belgium and promulgated in April 1923, defined the king's executive powers and established a bicameral legislature. An electoral law provided for universal male suffrage and the indirect election of deputies to the Assembly; the Senate was half elected and half appointed. But Egyptian constitutionalism proved as illusory as Egyptian independence. A political struggle was continually waged among three opportunist contestants—the king, the Wafd, and the British.

The interwar period
      Never popular, Fuʾād felt insecure and was therefore prepared to intrigue with the nationalists or with the British to secure his position and powers. The Wafd, with its mass following, elaborate organization, and (until his death in 1927) charismatic leader Zaghlūl, was Egypt's only truly national party. Ideologically, it stood for national independence against British domination and for constitutional government against royal autocracy. In practice—and increasingly as time went on—its leaders were prepared to make deals with the British or the king to obtain or retain power. Personal and political rivalries led to the formation of splinter parties, the first of which, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party, broke off as early as 1922. The primary aim of the British government, represented by its high commissioner (after 1936, its ambassador), was to secure imperial interests, especially the control of communications through the Suez Canal. The need for a treaty to safeguard these interests led Britain on more than one occasion to conciliate nationalist feeling by supporting the Wafd against the king.

      The first general election, in January 1924, gave the Wafd a majority, and Zaghlūl became prime minister for a few months marked by unsuccessful treaty discussions with the British and tension with the king. When in November 1924 Sir Lee Stack, the sirdar and governor-general of the Sudan, was assassinated in Cairo, Allenby immediately presented an ultimatum that, though later modified by the British government, caused Zaghlūl to resign. The general election of March 1925 left the Wafd still the strongest party, but the parliament no sooner met than it was dissolved. For more than a year Egypt was governed by decree. The third general election, in May 1926, again gave the Wafd a majority. The British opposed a return of Zaghlūl to the premiership, and the office went instead to the Liberal Constitutionalist ʿAdlī Yakan, while Zaghlūl held the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies until his death in 1927. Once again, tension developed between the parliament and the king, and in April 1927 ʿAdlī resigned, to be succeeded by another Liberal Constitutionalist, ʿAbd al-Khāliq Tharwat (Sarwat) Pasha, who negotiated a draft treaty with the British foreign secretary. The draft treaty, however, failed to win the approval of the Wafd. Tharwat resigned in March 1928, and Muṣṭafā al-Naḥḥās Pasha (Naḥḥās Pasha, Muṣṭafā al-), Zaghlūl's successor as head of the Wafd, became prime minister. But the king dismissed him in June and dissolved the parliament in July. In effect, the constitution was suspended, and Egypt was again governed by decree under a Liberal Constitutionalist premier, Muḥammad Maḥmūd Pasha.

      Draft treaty proposals were agreed upon in June 1929, but because Maḥmūd could not overcome Wafdist opposition, Britain pressed for a return to constitutional government, hoping that a freely elected parliament would approve the proposals. In the fourth general election (December 1929), the Wafd won a majority, and al-Naḥḥās again became premier. Treaty negotiations resumed but broke down over the issue of the Sudan, from which the Egyptians had been virtually excluded since 1924. Al-Naḥḥās also clashed with the king, whose influence he sought to curtail. He resigned in June 1930, and Fuʾād appointed Ismāʿīl Ṣidqī Pasha (Ṣidqī, Ismāʿīl) to the premiership. The constitution of 1923 was abrogated, replaced by another promulgated by royal decree. This, with its accompanying electoral law, strengthened the king's power. By this and other measures, Ṣidqī sought to break the power of the Wafd, which boycotted the general election of June 1931. The strong government of Ṣidqī lasted until September 1933, when the king dismissed him. For the next two years palace-appointed governments ruled Egypt.

      But Fuʾād, whose health was failing, could not hold out indefinitely against the internal pressure of the Wafd and the external pressure of Britain, which increasingly wanted a treaty with Egypt negotiated specifically through the Wafd. In April 1936 the constitution of 1923 was restored, and a general election in May 1936 gave the Wafd a majority once more. Fuʾād had died in the previous month and was succeeded by his son Fārūq I (Farouk I) (reigned 1936–52), who was still a minor when he ascended the throne. Al-Naḥḥās became prime minister for the third time. Agreement was quickly reached with Britain, and the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, a document calling for mutual defense and alliance between the two countries, was signed in August 1936. At the conference in Montreux, Switz., held in the following year, Egypt, backed by Britain, obtained the immediate abolition of the capitulations (capitulation) and the extinction of the Mixed Courts after 12 years. Also in 1937, Egypt became a member of the League of Nations (Nations, League of).

      Al-Naḥḥās had reached the height of his power, but only briefly. In July 1937 the young king Fārūq came of age and assumed his full royal powers. Popular, with ambitions to rule, Fārūq soon turned against his prime minister. A split developed in the Wafd: Maḥmūd Fahmī al-Nuqrāshī Pasha (Nuqrāshī, Maḥmūd Fahmī al-) and Aḥmad Māhir Pasha (Māhir, Aḥmad) were expelled and formed the Saʿdist Party. The Wafdist youth movement, known as the Blueshirts, fought with the Greenshirts of Young Egypt, an ultranationalist organization. In December 1937 King Fārūq dismissed al-Naḥḥās. In the ensuing general election (April 1938), the Wafd won only 12 seats.

World War II and its aftermath
      Although Egypt provided facilities for the British war effort during World War II (1939–45) in accordance with the 1936 treaty, few Egyptians backed Britain and many expected its defeat. In 1940 the British brought pressure on the king to dismiss his prime minister, ʿAlī Māhir (Māhir Pasha, ʿAlī), and to appoint a more cooperative government. When, early in 1942, German forces threatened to invade Egypt, a second British intervention—often termed the 4 February Incident—compelled King Fārūq to accept al-Naḥḥās as his prime minister. The Wafd, its power confirmed by overwhelming success in the general election of March 1942, cooperated with Britain. Nevertheless, Britain's February intervention had disastrous consequences. It confirmed Fārūq's hostility to both the British and al-Naḥḥās and tarnished the Wafd's pretensions as the standard-bearer of Egyptian nationalism. The Wafd was weakened also by internal rivalries and allegations of corruption.

      Al-Naḥḥās was dismissed by the king in October 1944. His successor, Aḥmad Māhir, was acceptable to the British, but he was assassinated in February 1945, at the moment Egypt declared war on Germany and Japan. He was succeeded by a fellow Saʿdist, al-Nuqrāshī.

      At the end of World War II, Egypt was in a thoroughly unstable condition. The Wafd declined and its political opponents took up the nationalist demand for a revision of the treaty of 1936—in particular for the complete evacuation of British troops from Egypt and the ending of British control in the Sudan. Politics was passing into the hands of radicals. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, developed from a mainstream Islamic reformist movement into a militant mass organization. Demonstrations in Cairo became increasingly frequent and violent. The pressure prevented any Egyptian government from settling its two main external problems: the need to revise the treaty with Britain, and the wish to back the Arabs in Palestine. Negotiations with Britain, undertaken by al-Nuqrāshī and (after February 1946) by his successor, Ṣidqī, broke down over the British refusal to rule out eventual independence for the Sudan. Egypt referred the dispute to the United Nations (UN) in July 1947 but failed to win its case.

      Until the interwar period neither the Egyptian public nor the politicians had shown much interest in Arab affairs generally; Egyptian nationalism had developed as an indigenous response to local conditions. After 1936, however, Egypt became involved in the Palestine problem, and in 1943–44 it played a leading part in the formation of the Arab League, which opposed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. After World War II, Egypt became increasingly committed to the Arab cause in Palestine, but its unexpected and crushing defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war (Arab-Israeli wars) (1948–49), which had been launched with Syria, Iraq, and Jordan in response to the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, contributed to disillusionment and political instability. The Muslim Brotherhood stepped up its violent activities. Al-Nuqrāshī, again prime minister, tried to suppress the organization and was assassinated in December 1948. The Brotherhood's leader, Ḥasan al-Bannāʾ, was murdered two months later.

      The Wafd won the general election in January 1950, and al-Naḥḥās again formed a government. Failing to reach agreement with Britain, in October 1951 he abrogated both the 1936 treaty and the Condominium Agreement of 1899. Anti-British demonstrations were followed by guerrilla warfare against Britain's garrison in the canal zone. British reprisals in Ismailia led to the burning of Cairo on Jan. 26, 1952. Al-Naḥḥās was dismissed, and there were four prime ministers in the ensuing six months.

Peter M. Holt Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.

The revolution and the Republic
The Nasser (Nasser, Gamal Abdel) regime
 At mid-century Egypt was ripe for revolution. Political groupings of both right and left pressed for radical alternatives. From an array of contenders for power, it was a movement of military conspirators—the Free Officers led by Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser (Nasser, Gamal Abdel)—that toppled the monarchy in a coup on July 23, 1952. In broad outline, the history of contemporary Egypt is the story of this coup, which preempted a revolution but then turned into a revolution from above. For more than five decades, rule by Free Officers brought just enough progress at home and enhancement of standing abroad to make Egypt an island of stability in a turbulent Middle East.

      The 1952 coup was fueled by a powerful but vague Egyptian nationalism rather than by a coherent ideology. It produced a regime whose initially reformist character was given more precise form by a domestic power struggle and by the necessity of coming to terms with the British, who still occupied their Suez Canal base.

 The domestic challenge to Nasser came in February–April 1954 from Maj. Gen. Muḥammad Naguib (Naguib, Muḥammad), an older officer who served as figurehead for the Free Officers and had been president since June 1953, when Egypt officially became a republic. Political parties had been abolished in January of that year. To supplement his power base in the military forces, Nasser drew on the police and on working-class support mobilized by some of the trade unions. The small middle class, the former political parties, and the Muslim Brotherhood all rallied to Naguib. In the end, Naguib was placed under house arrest, and Nasser assumed the premiership. Nasser's triumph meant that the government would thereafter rely on its military and security apparatus coupled with carefully controlled manipulation of the civilian population.

      Obscured in the West was Nasser's initial moderation regarding Egypt's key foreign policy challenges—the Sudan, the British presence, and Israel. An agreement signed in February 1953 established a transitional period of self-government for the Sudan, which became an independent republic in January 1956. Prolonged negotiations led to the 1954 Anglo-Egyptian Agreement, under which British troops were to be evacuated gradually from the canal zone. Some Egyptians criticized the treaty from a nationalist perspective, fearing that external events could permit the British to reoccupy the canal bases.

      An attempt to assassinate Nasser by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in October 1954 was used as a pretext to crush that organization. A number of its members were executed and hundreds were imprisoned under brutal conditions. In the decades to come, these incarcerations were to bear bitter fruit as a generation of Brotherhood militants became hardened and drew new conclusions about the nature of the state in Egypt. One of them, a formerly secularist writer and scholar named Sayyid Quṭb who had come late to the Brotherhood, drew upon his prison experience to draft a template for modern Islamic holy war that was afterward embraced by a large number of Egypt's Muslim militants.

      In retrospect, it is clear that Nasser was a reluctant champion of the Arab struggle against Israel. Domestic development was his priority. A dangerous pattern of violent interactions, however, eventually drew the Egyptians into renewed conflict with Israel. Small groups of Palestinian raiders (fedayeen (fedayee)), including some operating from Egyptian-controlled Gaza, were infiltrating Israel's borders. Early in 1955 the Israeli government began its policy of large-scale retaliation. One such strike—an attack on Gaza in February 1955 that killed 38 Egyptians—exposed the military weakness of the Free Officer regime, which tried, but failed, to buy weapons from Western countries.

      In September 1955 Nasser announced that an arms agreement had been signed between Egypt and Czechoslovakia (acting for the Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)). The way to improved Soviet-Egyptian relations had been prepared by Nasser's refusal to join the Baghdad Pact (the Middle East Treaty Organization, later known as the Central Treaty Organization), which had been formed earlier that year by Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, with the support of the United States, to counter the threat of Soviet expansion in the Middle East. With the 1955 arms deal, the Soviet Union established itself as a force in the region.

      The erosion of Nasser's initially pro-Western orientation hastened when the United States and Britain refused to give Egypt funds they had previously promised for the construction of the Aswān High Dam (Aswan High Dam). Defiantly, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company in July 1956 in order to use its proceeds to finance the dam. Britain (British Empire) and France, major shareholders in the company, were angered by Nasser's actions (France was equally infuriated by Egyptian aid to the Algerians who were revolting against French rule) and sought to regain control of the canal by an intricate ruse. In collaboration with France and Britain, Israel, which continued to suffer raids by Egyptian-supported guerrillas, attacked Egypt in October. The two European powers then brought in their own troops, claiming to be enforcing a UN peace resolution, and reoccupied the canal zone. Pressure on the invading powers by the United States and the Soviet Union, however, soon ended the so-called Suez Crisis, leaving Nasser, despite his military losses, in control of the canal. The following year, Egypt agreed to the placement of a UN Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Sinai Peninsula to act as a buffer between Egyptian and Israeli forces.

      Nasser, who, as the sole candidate, had been elected president in June 1956, pursued a more radical line in the ensuing decade. He created the National Union as an instrument of mobilizing the people and launched an ambitious program of domestic transformation, a revolution from above that was paralleled by a drive for Egyptian leadership in the Arab world. Early in 1958 Egypt combined with Syria to form the United Arab Republic (U.A.R.), but Egyptian dominance antagonized many Syrians, and the union was dissolved in bitterness in September 1961 (Egypt retained the name United Arab Republic until 1971). Nasser blamed the secession on Syrian reactionaries, and in direct response he pushed his revolution in Egypt further to the left. The following spring a National Charter proclaimed Egypt's regime to be one of scientific socialism, with a new mass organization, the Arab Socialist Union (ASU), replacing the National Union. Most large manufacturing firms, banks, transport services, and insurance companies were nationalized or sequestered.

      Egypt made dramatic domestic gains. In 1950 manufacturing contributed 10 percent to the total national output; by 1970 that figure had doubled. However, these achievements in industry were not matched in agriculture, and they were further undercut by Egypt's rapid population growth. In a landmark move toward agricultural reform, Nasser enacted a policy in 1952 that limited land ownership to 200 feddans (208 acres [84 hectares]) per person.

      Throughout this period the potential military danger from Israel was a constant factor in the calculations of the U.A.R. government. It worked to strengthen ties with the Soviet bloc and to promote cooperation among the Arab states, even though such attempts usually failed. Nasser masked essential Egyptian moderation on the Israeli issue with a militant rhetoric of confrontation in order to preserve his standing in the Arab world.

      The failure of the union with Syria had been a blow to Nasser's pan-Arab policy. To regain the initiative, Nasser intervened in 1962–67 on the republican side in Yemen's civil war. This action led the U.A.R. into conflict with Saudi Arabia, which supported the Yemeni royalists, and with the United States, which backed the Saudis. Until then, Nasser had managed to obtain substantial aid from both the Soviet Union and the United States. Owing to congressional opposition to Nasser's policies, U.S. aid was cut off in 1966.

      This series of reversals figured prominently in Nasser's decision to abandon his policy of “militant inaction” toward Israel. For 10 years, relative peace on the border with Israel had been maintained precariously by the presence of the UNEF stationed on the Egyptian side. In the Arab summit conferences of 1964 and 1965, Nasser had counseled restraint, but in 1966 events eluded his control. Palestinian incursions against Israel were launched with greater frequency and intensity from bases in Jordan, Lebanon, and, especially, Syria. A radical Syrian regime openly pledged support to the Palestinian guerrilla raids. On Nov. 13, 1966, an Israeli strike into Jordan left 18 dead and 54 wounded. Taunted openly for hiding behind the UNEF, Nasser felt he had to act. The Egyptian president requested the UNEF's withdrawal from the Sinai border. But that included, as UN Secretary-General U Thant interpreted the order, removing UN troops stationed at Sharm al-Shaykh at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba (Aqaba, Gulf of). Egyptian troops there proceeded to close the gulf to Israeli shipping.

      Israel (Arab-Israeli wars) had made it clear that blockading the gulf would be a cause for war. On June 5, 1967, Israel launched what it called a preemptive attack on Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, which led to a short conflict that came to be known as the Six-Day (or June) War (Six-Day War). Israel's victory over Egypt and its allies was rapid and overwhelming. Within the first hours of the war, all of Egypt's airfields were struck, and most Egyptian planes were demolished on the ground. In the Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian forces were defeated and put to flight. An estimated 10,000 Egyptians died, and the Israelis reached the Suez Canal on June 8. During the war, Israel occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula (along with territories belonging to the other Arab belligerents), and the Suez Canal was closed to traffic. Instead, the waterway became a fortified ditch between the two warring sides.

      Egypt was crushed by the loss, all the more because the government media had painted a rosy but misleading picture of Egyptian operations during the opening days of the war. Nasser, humiliated, resigned, but there was a popular outpouring of support, only partially manipulated by the government, for him to remain in office. Regardless, the Nasser era was, in fact, over. Egypt rearmed rapidly and a low-level conflict, later known as the War of Attrition, soon began along the canal with the Israeli army (particularly its air force). In both domestic and foreign affairs, however, Nasser began a turn to the right that his successor, Anwar el-Sādāt (Sādāt, Anwar el-), was to accelerate sharply.

The Sādāt (Sādāt, Anwar el-) regime
      Nasser died on Sept. 28, 1970, and was succeeded by his vice president, Sādāt, himself a Free Officer. Although then viewed as an interim figure, Sādāt soon revealed unexpected gifts for political survival. In May 1971 he outmaneuvered a formidable combination of rivals for power, calling his victory the “Corrective Revolution.” Sādāt then used his strengthened position to launch a war with Israel in October 1973, thereby setting the stage for a new era in Egypt's history.

 The Sādāt era really began with the October (Yom Kippur (Yom Kippur War)) War of 1973. The concerted Syrian-Egyptian attack on October 6 should have come as no surprise, given the continuing tensions along the canal zone (although the War of Attrition had ended shortly before Nasser's death), but the Arab attack caught Israel completely off guard. Egypt held no illusions that Israel could be vanquished. Rather, the war was launched with the diplomatic aim of convincing a chastened, if still undefeated, Israel to negotiate on terms more favourable to the Arabs. Preparation for the war included Sādāt's announcement in July 1972 that nearly all Soviet military advisers would leave Egypt—partly because the Soviets had refused to sell offensive weapons to the Arab countries.

      Egypt did not win the war in any military sense. As soon as Israel recovered from the initial shock of Arab gains in the first few days of fighting—and once the United States abandoned its early neutrality and resupplied Israel with a massive airlift of military supplies—the Israelis drove the Egyptians and Syrians back. A cease-fire was secured by the United States while Egyptian troops remained east of the Suez Canal and Israeli forces had crossed over to its western side.

 Still, the initial successes in October 1973 enabled Sādāt to pronounce the war an Egyptian victory and to seek an honourable peace. Egyptian interests, as Sādāt saw them, dictated peace with Israel. Despite friction with his Syrian allies, Sādāt signed the Sinai I (1974) and Sinai II (1975) disengagement agreements that returned the western Sinai and secured large foreign assistance commitments to Egypt. When Israeli inflexibility combined with Arab resistance to slow events, Sādāt made a dramatic journey to Jerusalem on Nov. 19, 1977, to address the Israeli Knesset (parliament). Tortuous negotiations between Egypt and Israel ensued. The climactic meeting in September 1978 of Sādāt, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (Begin, Menachem), and U.S. Pres. Jimmy Carter (Carter, Jimmy) at Camp David (Camp David Accords) in Maryland produced a pair of agreements known as the Camp David Accords. Both Sādāt and Begin were awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize for Peace for these negotiations, and on March 26, 1979, the two leaders formally signed the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. The agreement provided for peace between Egypt and Israel and set up a framework for resolving the complex Palestinian issue. Its provisions included the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces and civilians from Sinai within three years, the establishment of special security arrangements on the peninsula, the creation of a buffer zone along the Sinai-Israel border to be patrolled by UN peacekeeping forces, and the normalization of economic and cultural relations between the two countries, including the exchange of ambassadors. The status of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza territories and the issue of Palestinian autonomy were to be negotiated.

      Sādāt linked his peace initiative to the task of economic reconstruction, and proclaimed an open-door policy (Arabic: infitāḥ), hoping that a liberalized Egyptian economy would be revitalized by the inflow of Western and Arab capital. The peace process did produce economic benefits, notably a vast U.S. aid program, begun in 1975, that exceeded $1 billion annually by 1981.

      The Sādāt peace with Israel was not without its costs, however. As the narrowness of the Israeli interpretation of Palestinian autonomy under the Camp David agreement became clear, Sādāt could not convince the Arab world that the accords would ensure legitimate Palestinian rights. Egypt lost the financial support of the Arab states and, shortly after signing the peace treaty, was expelled from the Arab League.

      At home, a new constitution promulgated in 1971 significantly increased the power of individual citizens to participate in the political process, and by 1976 laws were instituted permitting the creation of political parties. But democratization of political life did not prove to be an acceptable substitute for economic revitalization. On Jan. 18–19, 1977, demonstrations provoked by economic hardship broke out in Egypt's major cities. Nearly 100 people were killed, and several thousand were either injured or jailed. The removal of the most oppressive features of Nasser's rule, the return in controlled form to a multiparty system, and (at least initially) the Sādāt peace with Israel were all welcomed. But, as Egypt entered the 1980s, the failure to resolve the Palestinian issue and to relieve mass economic hardships, heightened by the widening class gaps, undermined Sādāt legitimacy. The West failed to notice this until, in September 1981, Sādāt arrested some 1,500 of Egypt's political elite.

      Perhaps more ominous during the 1970s were the signs of rising Muslim extremism throughout the country. Under Nasser, the Muslim Brotherhood had been firmly squelched. Sayyid Quṭb had been executed in 1966 for treason, but large numbers of Muslim activists—many of them radicalized by imprisonment and by Quṭb's writings on jihad and the apostasy of modern Muslim culture—went underground. Under Sādāt, groups of Muslim activists were given wide latitude to proselytize, particularly on Egypt's university campuses, where it was hoped that they would counter lingering left-wing and Nasserite sentiment among the students, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood were released from prison and allowed to operate with relative freedom. Yet during that time there was a growing rise in religious violence, particularly directed against the country's Coptic community but also, with growing frequency, against the government. The group al-Takfīr wa al-Hijrah (roughly, “Identification of Unbelief and Flight from Evil”—founded in 1967 after Quṭb's execution) engaged in several terrorist attacks (terrorism) during the decade, and other groups, namely Islamic Jihad (al-Jihād al-Islāmī) and the Islamic Group (al-Jamāʿah al-Islāmiyah), formed with the goal of overthrowing Egypt's secular state.

Egypt after Sādāt
 Sādāt's assassination on Oct. 6, 1981, by militant soldiers associated with Islamic Jihad was greeted in Egypt by uprisings in some areas but mostly by a deafening calm. It was with a profound sense of relief that Egyptians brought Hosnī (Ḥusnī) Mubārak (Mubārak, Hosnī), Sādāt's handpicked vice president, to power, with a mandate for cautious change. As an air force general and hero of the Yom Kippur War, Mubārak had worked closely with Sādāt since 1973.

      During his first year as president, Mubārak struck a moderate note, neither backing away from the peace with Israel nor loosening ties with the United States. By pursuing that steady course, he was able to prevent any delay in the return of the occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian sovereignty in April 1982. At the same time, Mubārak tried to contain the disaffections that had surfaced in the last year of Sādāt's era. He announced the end of the reign of the privileged minority that had dominated the invigorated private sector during the Sādāt years. He also released Sādāt's political prisoners, while prosecuting vigorously the Islamic militants who had plotted the late president's assassination. Unfortunately, Egypt's worsening economic problems could not be solved quickly. But in his very first speeches Mubārak did frankly and perceptively identify Egypt's economic shortcomings.

      These solid beginnings were undercut when Israel invaded Lebanon in June 1982, only five weeks after the Jewish state's final withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. In Egypt the invasion was perceived as an Israeli attempt to destroy Palestinian nationalism, and Mubārak was accused by his foes of allowing Israel to exploit Egypt's disengagement. Official relations with Israel were severely strained until Israel initiated its partial withdrawal from Lebanon in 1985. However, Mubārak's cautious policies did enable Egypt to repair its relationships with most of the moderate Arab states. At an Arab League summit in 1987, each government was authorized to restore diplomatic relations with Egypt as it saw fit; Iraq—which had been a leading critic of Sādāt's peace with Israel but by then was in a protracted war with Iran—took that opportunity to purchase military supplies from Egypt. Egypt resumed membership in the league two years later.

      Within the country, opposition to a variety of political, economic, and social policies continued, chiefly among discontented labour and religious groups. The government contained labour strikes, food riots, and other incidents of unrest and adopted several measures aimed at curbing a determined drive by Islamic extremists to destabilize the regime.

Raymond William Baker Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.
      In the late 1980s Egypt's economy suffered markedly from falling oil prices and was further weakened by a drop in the number of remittances from its three million workers abroad. In spite of a rising debt burden, the government continued to rely heavily on foreign economic aid, leading to growing interference by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Egypt's economic policies; in 1991 the Egyptian government signed the Economic Reform and Structural Adjustment Program with the IMF and the World Bank. The country's currency, the Egyptian pound, had to be devalued several times, interest rates were raised, and subsidies were lowered on food and fuel. These policies especially harmed the poorest Egyptians, who often looked to Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood for assistance. Some Muslim extremists, however, including Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Group, continued to resort to terrorism against political leaders, secularist writers, Copts, and even foreign tourists, the last-named being a major source of Egypt's foreign exchange.

      Politics in Egypt continued to follow authoritarian patterns, as Mubārak was reelected to the presidency without opposition in 1987, 1993, and 1999, and although opposition candidates contested the 2005 election, he was reelected that year as well. His National Democratic Party continued to increase its majority of delegates in the People's Assembly in the elections held every five years. The Muslim Brotherhood, unofficially allowed to revive under Sādāt but never authorized to become a political party, threw its popular support to the New Wafd in one election and to the Liberal Socialists in another. It was widely believed that voting results were rigged to ensure that Mubārak's supporters would win.

      Although Egypt's press was freer than it had been under Nasser or Sādāt, Mubārak introduced a law in 1995 that would imprison journalists or party leaders who published news injurious to a government official. Popular pressure caused the Assembly to scale down the law, which was eventually voided by Egypt's Constitutional Court. However, the growing censorship by the Islamic courts and the rector of al-Azhar University tempered freedom of speech and the press in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

      In its struggle against Islamist terrorism, Mubārak's regime resorted to preventive detention and, allegedly, torture. Egyptian terrorists, for their part, assassinated several government ministers, nearly killed Mubārak himself in Addis Ababa, Eth., in 1995, and gunned down tourists near Egypt's most famous monuments—including an especially violent attack at Luxor in 1997. A leading Islamist, Sheikh ʿUmar ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, escaped to the United States, where he took part in a 1993 truck bomb attack on New York City's World Trade Center and was later sentenced to life imprisonment for that crime and for conspiracy to commit further attacks. Another Islamist leader, a Cairene pediatrician named Ayman al-Zahahiri, fled to Afghanistan, where he led members of Islamic Jihad in joining the transnational terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda (Qaeda, al-). Despite government initiatives to control the problem, domestic terrorism remains a threat to Egypt's stability.

      Some social and economic problems either stemmed from or were exacerbated by Egypt's involvement in the Persian Gulf War (1990–91) on the side of the U.S.-led coalition. Egyptian troops took part in the conflict, as did soldiers from many Arab countries. Although Egypt was rewarded for its participation by forgiveness of billions of dollars that it owed for the purchase of arms from the West, many Egyptian expatriate workers lost their jobs in Iraq because of that country's invasion of Kuwait. Likewise, Egypt's hopes that its contractors would win bids to help rebuild Kuwait after the war were disappointed, and a plan to station Egyptian and Syrian troops as peacekeepers in the region was rejected by the Persian Gulf states. Perhaps understandably, financially strapped Egyptians began to resent wealthy Saudis, Kuwaitis, and other gulf Arabs who often spent their vacations gambling in Cairo's luxury hotels.

      The Egyptian public also grew skeptical of ongoing efforts by successive U.S. presidents and by their own president to promote peace between Israel and other Arab countries and, particularly, the Palestinians. In a changing global economy, there was a popular suspicion that such attempts at fostering better relations might have some ulterior motive. In particular, many Egyptians feared a possible U.S. and Israeli attempt to manipulate Egypt's industries, especially since computer and information technology—both of which Egypt depended heavily on the West to obtain and use—became more vital to economic growth. Since 2004, however, expansion of the country's Internet connectivity has ranked particularly high on the economic agenda of Egypt's prime minister, Ahmad Nazif, himself a computer engineer.

      In fact, Mubārak's commitment to domestic development was evident in his choice of three successive economic planners to serve as prime minister during the 1990s. And though Egypt was becoming ever more sophisticated economically, it was doing so at a high price. Its independence was being curtailed by interference from international lenders such as the IMF, and a growing disparity in income and access to resources was straining relations between its rich and poor citizens as well as contributing to the erosion of unity between its Muslims and Copts. While some Muslims accused the Copts of serving as agents for foreign powers and of controlling Egypt's economy, some Copts accused Muslims of destroying churches and compelling Egyptian Christians to convert to Islam. Although both Muslim and Christian Egyptians have, for the most part, made an effort to minimize their differences publicly in order to maintain national unity, rapid and uneven development has ultimately posed a threat to Egypt's political and cultural leadership of the Arab world.

Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.

Additional Reading

General works
Overviews are provided in Egypt Almanac (2003), a commercial publication by Egypto-File that is articulate, accurate, and amply furnished with statistics and historical information; Jaromir Malek (ed.), Egypt: Ancient Culture, Modern Land (1993), surveying Egypt's geography, history, government, and culture; Barbara Watterson, The Egyptians (1997), a well-written overview of Egypt from the Stone Age to modern times; T.G.H. James, Egypt: The Living Past (1992), which also stresses the continuity of ancient and modern Egypt, with colour photographs; Hisham Youssef, John Rodenbeck, and Hans Hoefer (eds.), Egypt, 4th ed. (1997), which includes clearly written descriptions and beautiful photographs as well as sound guidance for the traveler; and Ahmed Fakhry, The Oases of Egypt, 2 vol. (1973, reissued 1982), a description of the oases of the Western Desert.

Colbert C. Held, Middle East Patterns: Places, People, and Politics, 4th ed. (2005), gives basic geographical information; M.S. Abu al-ʿIzz, Landforms of Egypt, trans. by Yusuf A. Fayid (1971; originally published in Arabic, 1966), provides a detailed outline of physiographic regionalization; and Martin A.J. Williams and Hugues Faure (eds.), The Sahara and the Nile: Quaternary Environments and Prehistoric Occupation in Northern Africa (1980), is a detailed geologic and anthropological study. Other specialized works include Rushdi Said (ed.), The Geology of Egypt (1962, reissued 1990), and The Geological Evolution of the River Nile (1981); Julian Rzóska (ed.), The Nile: Biology of an Ancient River (1976), containing discussion of the biological effects of the Aswān High Dam; John Waterbury, Hydropolitics of the Nile Valley (1979); Jean Kérisel, The Nile and Its Masters: Past, Present, and Future: Source of Hope and Anger (2001), trans. by Philip Cockle; as well as Bonnie M. Sampsell, A Traveler's Guide to the Geology of Egypt (2003). Among the works that discuss plants and animals are Vivi Täckholm, Gunnar Täckholm, and Mohammed Drar, Flora of Egypt, 4 vol. (1941–69, reprinted 1973), the standard work on the subject; Richard Meinertzhagen, Nicoll's Birds of Egypt, 2 vol. (1930), a primary source, copiously illustrated; and John Anderson, William E. De Winton, and George A. Boulenger, Zoology of Egypt, 3 vol. in 4 (1898–1907, reprinted 1965), an authoritative and amply illustrated standard work.

Henry Habib-Ayrout, The Fellaheen, trans. by Hilary Wayment (1945, reprinted 1981; originally published in French, 1938), contains observations on the customs, dress, and psychology of the Egyptian peasant; and Hamid Ammar, Growing Up in an Egyptian Village (1954, reprinted 1973), is an excellent and full account of village life in Egypt. Abbas M. Ammar, The People of Sharqiya, 2 vol. (1944), offers a physical anthropologist's description of the inhabitants of the eastern delta; Robert A. Fernea, Nubians in Egypt: Peaceful People (1973), is an illustrated ethnographic essay; Joseph J. Hobbs, Bedouin Life in the Egyptian Wilderness (1989), focuses on an Arab tribe living in the Eastern Desert; and Anwar G. Chejne, The Arabic Language: Its Role in History (1969, reissued 1980), discusses the background of classical Arabic and the dichotomy between it and the various dialects. Extensive coverage of the indigenous Christian population of Egypt can be found in Aziz S. Atiya (ed.), The Coptic Encyclopedia, 8 vol. (1991). Other studies of religions of Egypt include Otto F.A. Meinardus, Christian Egypt, Ancient and Modern, 2nd rev. ed. (1977), on the Christian communities; Michael M. Laskier, The Jews of Egypt, 1920–1970: In the Midst of Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Middle East Conflict, new ed. (1992); and Denis J. Sullivan and Sana Abed-Kotob, Islam in Contemporary Egypt: Civil Society vs. the State (1999), on the Muslim majority. Veronica Ions, Egyptian Mythology, new rev. ed. (1982, reissued 1990), presents a popular introduction to the religion of Egypt.

Studies of aspects of the Egyptian economy include Galal A. Amin, Egypt's Economic Predicament: A Study in the Interaction of External Pressure, Political Folly, and Social Tension in Egypt, 1960–1990 (1995), and Whatever Happened to the Egyptians?: Changes in Egyptian Society from 1950 to the Present (2000); as well as Robert L. Tignor, State, Private Enterprise, and Economic Change in Egypt, 1918–1952 (1984); Charles Issawi, Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis (1963, reprinted 1986); David William Carr, Foreign Investment and Development in Egypt (1979); Khalid Ikram, Egypt, Economic Management in a Period of Transition (1980); Ibrahim M. Oweiss (ed.), The Political Economy of Contemporary Egypt (1990); Phebe Marr (ed.), Egypt at the Crossroads: Domestic Stability and Regional Role (1999); John Waterbury, The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two Regimes (1983); and Eberhard Kienle, A Grand Delusion: Democracy and Economic Reform in Egypt (2001).

Government and society
Topics related to government and society are covered in Richard H. Adams, Jr., Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt (1986); Nazih N.M. Ayubi, Bureaucracy and Politics in Contemporary Egypt (1980); Ninette S. Fahmy, The Politics of Egypt: State-Society Relationship (2002); Nathan J. Brown, The Rule of Law in the Arab World: Courts in Egypt and the Gulf (1997); James B. Mayfield, Local Institutions and Egyptian Rural Development (1974); and Helmi R. Tadros, Rural Resettlement in Egypt's Reclaimed Lands (1978). Education is the subject of Amir Boktor, The Development and Expansion of Education in the United Arab Republic (1963), an important general survey; Bayard Dodge, Al-Azhar: A Millennium of Muslim Learning (1961, reissued 1974); Donald Malcolm Reid, Cairo University and the Making of Modern Egypt (1990, reissued 2002); and Lee Wilcox, Arab Republic of Egypt (1988), which contains detailed information about Egypt's educational institutions for American university registrars. Other works on social conditions include Margot Badran, Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (1995); Evelyn A. Early, Baladi Women of Cairo: Playing with an Egg and a Stone (1993); Azza M. Karam, Women, Islamisms, and the State: Contemporary Feminism in Egypt (1998); Unni Wikan, Life Among the Poor in Cairo, trans. by Ann Henning (1980; originally published in Norwegian, 1976); Andrea B. Rugh, Family in Contemporary Egypt (1984); and Sherifa Zuhur, Revealing Reveiling: Islamist Gender Ideology in Contemporary Egypt (1992).

Works dealing with arts and culture of Egypt include Walter Armbrust, Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt (1996), on popular culture; Joel Gordon, Revolutionary Melodrama: Popular Film and Civic Identity in Nasser's Egypt (2002); M.M. Badawi, Modern Arabic Drama in Egypt (1987), on the Egyptian theatre; Virginia Danielson, The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song and Egyptian Music in the Twentieth Century (1997), on vocal music; Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798–1939 (1962, reissued 1983), a study of the interaction of Western and indigenous culture in its historical context; Jacob M. Landau, Studies in the Arab Theater and Cinema (1958); Farouk Abdel Wahab (comp.), Modern Egyptian Drama (1974); Roger Allen, The Arabic Novel: An Historical and Critical Introduction, 2nd ed. (1995); Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Roger Allen (eds.), Modern Arabic Drama: An Anthology (1995); Denys Johnson-Davies (trans.), Egyptian Short Stories (1978, reissued 1995); Hilary Kilpatrick, The Modern Egyptian Novel: A Study in Social Criticism (1974); Mounah A. Khouri, Poetry and the Making of Modern Egypt, 1882–1922 (1971); Mustafa Darwish, Dream Makers on the Nile: A Portrait of Egyptian Cinema (1998); Pierre Du Bourguet, Coptic Art, trans. by Caryll Hay-Shaw (also published as Art of the Copts, 1971; originally published in French, 1968); Liliane Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art, 1910–2003, new rev. ed. (2005), on the visual arts; W. Forman and B. Forman and Ramses Wissa-Wassef, Tapestries from Egypt Woven by the Children of Harrania, trans. from the Czech by Jean Layton (1961); and Sherifa Zuhur (ed.), Images of Enchantment: Visual and Performing Arts of the Middle East (1998).

Good general histories include Harry Adès, A Traveller's History of Egypt (2007); and Glenn E. Perry, The History of Egypt (2004).

Egypt from c. 630 to c. 1800
Two standard works that survey medieval Egyptian history as a whole are Stanley Lane-Poole, A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages, 4th ed. (1968); and Gaston Wiet, L'Égypte arabe de la conquête arabe à la conquête ottomane, 642–1517 de l'ère chrétienne, vol. 4 in Gabriel Hanotaux, Histoire de la nation égyptienne, 7 vol. (1931–40). Each of these is outdated in many respects, but each presents an accurate summary of the political history of the period, based on primary Arabic sources; also, both are strong on Egyptian architecture as an insight into political, social, and economic history. A valuable later reference source with comprehensive coverage of the period is Joan Wucher King, Historical Dictionary of Egypt (1984). At the cutting edge of the study of Egypt's history since Islam is Carl F. Petry and M.W. Daly (eds.), Cambridge History of Egypt, 2 vol. (1998). Economic history is detailed in Subhi Labib, “Egyptian Commercial Policy in the Middle Ages,” in Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East: From the Rise of Islam to the Present Day, edited by M.A. Cook, pp. 63–77 (1970), which is a summary of Labib's more detailed work, Handelsgeschichte Ägyptens im Spätmittelalter, 1171–1517 (1965). E. Ashtor, A Social and Economic History of the Near East in the Middle Ages (1976), and Levant Trade in the Later Middle Ages (1983), are also important. Aziz S. Atiya, A History of Eastern Christianity (1968, reissued 1980), is authoritative for Coptic history. The beginnings of Muslim Egypt are covered in Francesco Gabrieli, Muhammad and the Conquests of Islam, trans. by Virginia Luling and Rosamund Linell (1968, reissued 2002; originally published in Italian, 1967); and Daniel Clement Dennett, Conversion and the Poll Tax in Early Islam (1950). The Ṭūlūnids are the subject of Zaki Muhammad Hasan, Les Tulunides, études de l'Égypte musulmane à la fin du IXe siècle, 868–905 (1933). Fāṭimid studies have been transformed by S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (1967–88, reissued 1999). Three articles by Hamilton A.R. Gibb that are definitive for Egypt under the Ayyūbids and during the Crusades appear in Kenneth M. Setton (ed.), A History of the Crusades, 2nd ed., 6 vol. (1969–89): “The Caliphate and the Arab States,” 1:81–98; “The Rise of Saladin, 1169–1189,” 1:563–589; and “The Aiyūbids,” 2:693–714. Mamlūk and Ottoman Egypt are considered in F.R.C. Bagley (ed. and trans.), The Last Great Muslim Empires (1969, reissued 1996), part 3 of The Muslim World: A Historical Survey, 3 vol. (1960–69; originally published in German, 1952–59). Mamlūk political organization is explained in Daniel Pipes, Slave Soldiers and Islam: The Genesis of a Military System (1981). An account of the early Mamlūk state is found in Robert Irwin, The Middle East in the Middle Ages: The Early Mamluk Sultanate, 1250–1382 (1986); and the Ottoman period alone is discussed in Michael Winter, Egyptian Society Under Ottoman Rule, 1517–1798 (1992).

Egypt since 1800
General references include Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr.,, A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt (1999); and Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. and Robert Johnston, Historical Dictionary of Egypt, 3rd ed. (2003). Edward William Lane, An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, 5th ed. (1860, reissued 2003), is a classic study of everyday life during the second quarter of the 19th century. Ties between economic and religious forces in early modern Egypt are described in Peter Gran, Islamic Roots of Capitalism: Egypt, 1760–1840 (1979, reissued 1998). Analyses of the political developments of the period are offered in F. Robert Hunter, Egypt Under the Khedives, 1805–1879: From Household Government to Modern Bureaucracy (1984, reissued 1999); Ehud R. Toledano, State and Society in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Egypt (1990); Afaf Lutfi Al-Sayyid-Marsot, Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali (1984); Khaled Fahmy, All the Pasha's Men: Mehmed Ali, His Army, and the Making of Modern Egypt (1997, reissued 2002); and Juan R.I. Cole, Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East: Social and Cultural Origins of Egypt's Úrabi Movement (1993). Jamal Mohammed Ahmed, The Intellectual Origins of Egyptian Nationalism (1960), is particularly concerned with the secular nationalists of the period from 1892 to 1914. Other useful works are Gabriel Baer, A History of Landownership in Modern Egypt, 1800–1950 (1962); P.M. Holt, Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, 1516–1922 (1966); P.M. Holt (ed.), Political and Social Change in Modern Egypt (1968); Jacob M. Landau, Parliaments and Parties in Egypt (1953, reprinted 1979); Helen Anne B. Rivlin, The Agricultural Policy of Muḥammad ʿAlī in Egypt (1961); Robert L. Tignor, Modernization and British Colonial Rule in Egypt, 1882–1914 (1966); Roger Owen, Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul (2004); and Nadav Safran, Egypt in Search of Political Community: An Analysis of the Intellectual and Political Evolution of Egypt, 1804–1952 (1961, reissued 1981). A good survey of Egypt between the 1919 and 1952 revolutions is Selma Botman, Egypt from Independence to Revolution, 1919–1952 (1991); a collection of recent studies is Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr., Amy J. Johnson, and Barak A. Salmoni (eds.), Re-Envisioning Egypt, 1919–1952 (2005). P.J. Vatikiotis, Nasser and His Generation (1978), offers a fine biography, especially for the years between 1930 and 1952; Nasser's revolution is the subject of Joel Gordon, Egypt's Blessed Movement: Egypt's Free Officers and the July Revolution (1992); Kirk J. Beattie, Egypt During the Nasser Years: Ideology, Politics, and Civil Society (1994), examines the dynamics of the Nasser regime; and Raymond William Baker, Egypt's Uncertain Revolution Under Nasser and Sadat (1978), and Sadat and After: Struggles for Egypt's Political Soul (1990), analyze the effects of the Egyptian revolution on Egyptian society. Raymond A. Hinnebusch, Jr., Egyptian Politics Under Sadat: The Post-Populist Development of an Authoritarian-Modernizing State, updated ed. (1988), is also an important study. It may be followed with Nazih N. Ayubi, The State and Public Policies in Egypt Since Sadat (1991); Kirk J. Beattie, Egypt During the Sadat Years (2000); and Robert Springborg, Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order (1989). Derek Hopwood, Egypt, Politics, and Society, 1945–1990, 3rd ed. (1991), is a general comprehensive introduction. P.J. Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak, 4th ed. (1991); Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid-Marsot, A Short History of Modern Egypt, new ed. (1996); and Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr., Modern Egypt: The Formation of a Nation State, 2nd ed. (2004), provide modern history surveys.Arthur Eduard Goldschmidt, Jr.

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