What Kind of Colony Did Egypt Become in 1882?

The British Naval Brigade used a Gatling gun to clear the streets of Alexandria in the war with Egypt in1882.
... Rischgitz/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At the beginning of the 19th century, Egypt was ruled by a strong dynasty led by Muhammad Ali, who modernized the country with the help of French and British investments. But when Egypt's economic strength waned because of poor investments by its rulers, European powers became involved with managing Egypt's debt under their own agency, called the Caisse de la Dette Publique. In 1882, Britain went to war with Egypt in response to the 'Urabi Revolt, which aimed to end European intervention. Britain sent its navy to Alexandria to quell the revolt and protect its economic interests.

1 Egypt as a British Protectorate

The bombardment of Alexandria was a British victory, and Egypt subsequently became occupied by British forces. The khedive, or viceroy, still technically ruled Egypt, but the country was now under the control of the British. This form of imperialism as occupation was called a "veiled protectorate" in the case of Egypt. Decisions about the country's foreign policy, economy and legal policies were made by the British general counsel and British appointees within the Egyptian government.

Dianne Laguerta is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in history and Middle Eastern studies. She studied and conducted research in Cairo, Egypt during the 2012 Egyptian elections, and has traveled throughout the Middle East.

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