Egyptian History : A Short Timeline
There is celebration in the streets of Cairo today in response to the news that President Hosni Mubarak has resigned, handing the country over to the military.
But what do you know of the events that led up to this historic day? Here’s a brief timeline of Egyptian history, in classic reverse-chronological order. The timeline shows that we’ve been down this road (civil disobedience leading to a new government) before. What will be different this time?
Modern Egypt : Post-WWII (1952-2011)
- 2011: Protests begin on January 25, 2011; Mubarak resigns on February 11, 2011.
- 2008: Egyptian bread riots.
- 2005: Egypt’s Parliament amends the constitution, allowing candidates other than Mubarak to run for the Presidency.
- 1997: More than 60 tourists and Egyptians killed at the temple of Hatshepsut near Luxor.
- 1986 – February 25: Police riot near the pyramids, the largest street violence since the 1977 bread riots.
- 1981-2011: Sadat’s delegate Mohammed Husni Mubarak becomes Egypt’s fourth President
- 1979: Camp David Accord orchestrated by President Jimmy Carter; Israel withdraws from the Sinai.
- 1977: Egyptian Bread riots.
- 1973: Egyptian troops cross the Suez Canal and destroy the Bar Lev Line
- 1970-1981 : Anwar Al-Sadat is President. He is assassinated.
- 1967 – June: Israel defeats Egypt in the Six Day War.
- 1967 – May: Egypt expels the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Sinai Peninsula; it had been stationed there since 1957 following the 1956 Tripartite Aggression.
- 1966 – August 29: Egyptian fundamentalist scholar Sayyid Qutb is executed after being accused of plotting against the government. He had joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1951.
- 1961: Syria leaves the UAR. Egypt continues to be known as the “United Arab Republic” until 1971.
- 1958 : Egypt unites with Syria, creating the United Arab Republic (UAR). The 1956 Constitution is abrogated.
- 1956 – October-November: The Tripartite Anglo-French-Israeli aggression. Israel invades Gaza and Sinai; the British and French attack the Canal Zone. Military action ceases under pressure from the USSR, US and UN.
- 1956 – July-August: The the US and Britain withdraw funding for the High Dam project at Aswan; World Bank funding falls though afterwards. Subsequently the USSR offers to fund the dam.
- 1956 – January 16: Nasser announces a new Constitution that sets up a presidential system of government that gives the president the power to appoint and dismiss ministers.
- 1956 – 1970 : Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein is the second President of Egypt and the first President of the United Arab Republic
- 1954: The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed, turning it into an illegal political organization.
Modern Egypt : British Influence (1882-1952)
- 1952 – September 9: The Agrarian Reform Law redistributes land among peasant farmers and limits land ownership to 200 feddans (1 feddan = 1.038 acres = 4200 square metres).
- 1952 – July 28: the monarchy is abolished and Egypt is declared a republic. Naguib becomes Egypt’s first President.
- 1952 – July 26: King Farouk was ousted and his son Ahmed Fuad II was appointed king of Egypt.
- 1952 – July 23: July 23 Revolution began with a began with a military coup d’état led by “The Free Officers Organization” which had been founded by Major Gamal Abdul Nasser; Anwar As-Sadat read the revolution’s first statement on behalf of General Mohammed Naguib. July 23rd is Egypt’s corollary to July 4th in the U.S. King Farouk unsuccessfully sought the intervention of the U.S.
- 1952 – January 25: British troops attacked the Egyptian police in Ismailia; 50 Egyptian police officers were killed and 100 were wounded. Egypt erupted. The riots known as the Cairo Fires “are seen as the beginning of the end of the monarchy.”
- 1952 – 1954: General Mohammed Naguib is the first President of Egypt.
- 1948: Egypt defeated in the war with Palestine.
- 1923: Egyptian Constitution
- 1922 – February 22: Britain grants Egypt unilateral independence.
- 1919: The 1919 Revolution was a non-violent revolution against the British occupation of Egypt. Months of civil disobedience followed the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul. The uprising was more violent in the Egyptian countryside, “involving attacks on British military installations, civilian facilities and personnel.”
- 1914: The British name Hussein Kamel as Sultan of Egypt after deposing his nephew Khedive Abbas Hilmi II. The Sultanate of Egypt becomes a British protectorate.
- 1882 – September: The British defeated the Egyptian Army at Tel El Kebir and ensured that Khedive Tewfiq remained in control of the country over the protests of those opposed to European domination.
Modern Egypt : European Influence (1798-1881)
- 1881: A large military demonstration forced the Khedive Tewfiq to dismiss his Prime Minister.
- 1879: The British inform Ismail that his son, Tewfik, has been appointed his successor.
- 1876: A British analysis showed national bankruptcy was inevitable.
- 1863 – 1879: The reign of Ismail.
- 1840: Although Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia signed the London Convention, which granted Ali hereditary rule over Egypt and the administration for life over the governatorate of Acre in exchange for the withdrawal of his troops from the Syria, Ali refused the terms. This triggered a multilateral European military intervention. In November, Ali agreed to the terms of the Convention. He renounced his claims over Crete and the Hijaz and downsized his navy and his standing army “provided that he and his descendants would enjoy hereditary rule over Egypt — an unheard-of status for an Ottoman viceroy.”
- 1827: While under the command an Ottoman representative, the entire Egyptian navy was sunk by the European Allied fleet. Muhammad Ali asked for the territory of Syria in compensation.
- 1824: At the request of Ottoman Sultan, Muhammed Ali sent his fleet and 17,000 troops to quell a Greek uprising. Britain, France and Russia intervened to protect the Greeks.
- 1805: Muhammad Ali is appointed Ottoman viceroy of Egypt.
- 1805 – 1849: Muhammad Ali rules Egypt.
- 1801: A British-Ottoman expedition drives out the French.
- 1798: The French army, lead by Napoleon Bonaparte, defeats a Mamluk-Ottoman army at the Battle of the Pyramids.
Rulers of Modern Egypt
Walis of Egypt and Sudan : 1805–1867
- Muhammad Ali Pasha, 1805–1848
- Ibrahim Pasha, 1848
- Muhammad Ali, (restored) 1848–1849
- Abbas I, 1849–1854
- Sa’id I, 1854–1863
- Ismai’l I, 1863–1867
Khedives of Egypt and Sudan : 1867–1914
- Ismai’l I, 1867–1879
- Tewfik I, 1879–1892
- Abbas II, 1892–1914
Sultans of Egypt and Sudan : 1914-1922
- Husayn I
- Fuad I
Kings of Egypt and Sudan : 1922–1953
- Fuad I, 1922–1936
- Farouk I, 1936–1952
- Fuad II, 1952–1953
Presidents of Egypt : 1953-2011
- General Mohammed Naguib, 1952-1954
- Gamal Abdel Nasser, 1956-1970
- Anwar Al-Sadat, 1970-1981
- Mohammed Husni Mubarak, 1981-2011