Egypt and the Sudan History-Final Draft! (1)

Egypt & the Sudan!
By Sophie, Adam & Amy!
What happened in Egypt?
• The Suez canal opened in 1869, financed by France, but in 1875 Disraeli
brought the Khedive’s shares so Britain owned 44% of the canal.
• The Egyptian government took out huge loans, with the interest on these
loans reaching 20% and their debt rising to £100 million in 1869 there was
the potential for economic collapse.
• 1878 Britain and France took over the Egyptian economy.
• A nationalist movement led by Arabi Pasha was set up in 1882, described
as “an anti European movement”.
• Gladstone then sent a fleet to Alexandria as a warning but this resulted in
a national uprising, a 12 hour battle which the British won and so by 1882
the British occupied Egypt and stayed there until 1954, yet it was not a
formal British colony as Gladstone did not annex it.
Theory 1: Egyptian Nationalism
• Egyptian Nationalism can be seen to have dragged the British
in, with the uprising led by Pasha forcing the British to get
• Robinson and Gallagher’s theories fit in with the events in
Egypt, meaning that British involvement was motivated by
problems in Africa, in this case the uprising in Egypt, that
forced the British to intervene
• This is therefore a peripheral view
Theory 2: Strategic
It can also be seen that Britain became involved in Egypt to protect their own interests,
specifically their trading interests
The Suez Canal was a vital trade route between Britain and India, and as it reduced the size of
the journey between the two counties it made products cheaper
Therefore Britain could have gotten involved to make sure that nothing happened to the Suez
-would explain why Britain sent financial advisors in to Egypt, to prevent an economic collapse
as this could have resulted in another European power getting involved and attempting to
influence Ismail/Tewfik which could harm British trade interests, e.g. the belief that France or
even Russia would start to exploit the weakness of the Egyptian government.
-Crushed the rebellion led by Pasha as if the country began to run itself then Britain's trading
interests could become compromised, had to get involved as thought Turkey would do
something but when they didn't Britain had to do something to protect their interests in the
Suez Canal
-Britain then stayed in Egypt as if they left then there would be a power vacuum and either
another country could begin to influence Egypt or another nationalist uprising, which in
either case British trade interests would be compromised
Theory 2: Strategic
• Lord Palmerston 1860:
“ We do not want to have Egypt. What we wish about
Egypt is that it should be attached to the Turkish
Empire, which is security against it belonging to
another European power. We wish to trade with
Egypt and travel though Egypt” [2]
Theory 3: Financial motivations
Britain can also be seen to have gotten involved in Egypt due to financial reasons, as Britain owned
over 44% of the shares in the Suez Canal and so got involved to protect their investment, which
would therefore suggest that Britain’s involvement in Egypt was caused by financial interests
Lord Randolph Churchill described the involvement in Egypt as a “bondholder’s war”[3]
Eg Evelyn Baring/ Lord Cromer was nominated to act for the interests of British bondholders when
Britain sent financial advisers over to Egypt in 1876, even though the British government said it was
not responsible for private investments made abroad by British citizens, yet by appointing Cromer
they were clearly supporting the capitalists within Britain.
Cain and Hopkins “gentlemanly capitalism” can be seen to explain the events in Egypt, with the new
men with money joining with the elites, and this group then investing abroad (such as buying
bonds), with the government protecting these investments, not only because they have similar
views as generally from same sort of social class but also because their interests are similar as the
government also had invested in the Suez Canal. “There values were those taught in public schools”
Hobson can also be seen to provide an explanation to Britain’s involvement in Egypt, with the
government supporting “greedy capitalists” who invested abroad rather than in Britain
Basically driven by capitalists and investors, who would have either had shares/bonds in the canal
or needed the canal for trade with India if they made their money from exporting.
Other theories that could be used:
Some British people tried to justify their reasons for staying in Egypt through the
use of the “European superiority” argument, in that as Europeans are more
advanced than the native people it is their duty to stay and educate the people, eg
Lord Cromer’s book “modern Egypt” which states how since the British occupation
of Egypt the people have benefitted “the sick man can be nursed” or “the waters
of the Nile are now utilized in an intelligent manner”
Britain could also be seen to be not only motivated by their interests in
trade/Suez canal but also an element of European rivalry, as Britain clearly
didn’t want any other country having an influence within Egypt which could be
why they did not continue to allow France to have an involvement in Egypt,
yet this could be linked to their trade interests as another European power
having influence could threaten Britain’s use of the Suez Canal.
• Gladstone could have gotten involved in an attempt to gain support,
playing on the idea of popular nationalism and people’s pride in the
empire with a more forward policy than expected of him.
• A combination of different theories can be seen to best explain why the
British got involved in Egypt
• Nationalism dragged the British in, and so Robinson and Gallagher’s
theory is relevant
• yet the Nationalist uprising only dragged Britain in because of their
trading/strategic/financial interests and so Cain and Hopkins ideas are also
• Because the uprising threatened British interests, Britain was forced to get
involved to protect these interests
What happened in the Sudan?
Sudan was ruled by Egypt since 1823, which the people of Sudan were not happy about
for many different reasons (having to pay huge amounts of taxation, Egyptian rule was
corrupt, close connections with Europe who were non Islamic)
Most of the country were against the Egyptian rule, and became united under
Muhammed Ahmed, the Mahdi (religious leader) and then most of the country began
revolting against the Egyptian rule
Gladstone sent General Gordon into the Sudan to evacuate the Egyptian garrisons who
were commanded by British officers
Gordon ignored his orders and decided to attempt to fight the Mahdi in Khartoum, he
then needed reinforcements but when they arrived in January 1885 Gordon had been
killed two days earlier
Britain then withdrew from the Sudan and also forced Egypt to withdraw
In the late 1890s Britain returned to the Sudan, defeated the dervishes at the battle of
The Fashoda incident; where a French man claimed the upper nile, which the British
were not happy about and nearly led to war between Britain and France, until France
backed down
• Nationalism/the rise of Islam within the Sudan can be seen to have
dragged Britain in, as the Mahdi led the revolt against the Egyptian rule in
the Sudan because he wished to get rid of foreign involvement
• It was this uprising which dragged Britain in because the Nationalist
movement could have been seen to threaten British interests
• Britain wanted to keep Egypt safe and so when the Nationalist movement
began in the Sudan they had to get involved and crush the revolt
otherwise their interests in Egypt could become threatened and so it was
problems within the Sudan that caused the British to get involved and so
Robinson and Gallagher’s theory fits in well with the events in the Sudan.
Theory 2:Man on the Spot
• The ‘Man on the spot’ theory also has a major part to play in contributing
to the reasons behind the scramble for the Sudan.
• This theory places emphasis on individuals requesting support from
respective Governments in order to complete the process pleading
National gain as a cloak for personal gain.
• General Gordon can be seen as a perfect example here, as he didn’t follow
his governments orders and decided to attempt to fight the Mahdi in
Khartoum, he then needed reinforcements. The fact that he was killed
shows that this is a failed strategy.
• Other emphasis can be placed on individuals such as Rhodes in Southern
Africa, Peters and McKinnon in East Africa, Goldie in west Africa and
French and Belgian Colonel agents when considering acting in their own
interests rather than their respective countries’
Theory 3: European Rivalry
• A final theory that could be suggested when considering the
scramble for the Sudan is the theory of ‘Diplomatic expansion.’
• As the British had the biggest empire in the world in the 19th
century, it was important for Britain to increase the size of its gains.
• This is backed up by the fact that “Increasing emphasis was placed
on determining the power of a European Country by the size of its
empire” [6]
• This theory supports the interpretation that by a county increasing
the size of its empire by taking areas such as the Sudan, an attempt
would be made to warn off other European powers.
• The Fashoda incident is a good example of this, with Britain and
France willing to go to war, just to gain dominance over a certain bit
of territory.
Concluding which theories fit with the
events in the Sudan:
• As in Egypt, Nationalist events within the Sudan can be seen to have
dragged Britain in, as the actions of the Mahdi forced Britain to intervene
to protect their interests in Egypt, and so Robinson and Gallagher’s theory
fits well
• However, Gordon makes the situation worse so the Man on the Spot idea
can be seen to be relevant
• The Fashoda incident can be seen to be explained well by the idea of
European rivalry, with Britain refusing to allow France to gain any land
• However, it seems that the only reason Britain is concerned with what
happens in the Sudan is because of their interests in Egypt, and so the real
reason for Britain getting involved in the Sudan is to protect their
trading/strategic/financial interests in Egypt
• [1] – ‘The Rise And Fall Of Great Powers’ – Kennedy
• [2] – reference – Hey Sophie! Could you find where you
got this quote from and put it in here? (slide 5)
• [3] – Lord Randolph Churchill (1884)
• [4] – ‘Gentlemanly Capitalism’ – Cain and Hopkins –
• [5] – King Bell and King Acqua – letter to Gladstone –
(6th November 1881)
• [6] – ‘The Diplomatic Expansion’

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