Antiqua Print Gallery Second Anglo-Egyptian War
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Second Anglo-Egyptian War

The Second Anglo-Egyptian War or the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War occurred in 1882 between Urabi Forces, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Developments before war

During the Alexandria expedition of 1807 Britain sought to replace Muhammed Ali with a puppet ruler favorable to British interests. Britain invaded with nearly 5,000 troops on March 17, 1807, led by General Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser, and seized the city of Alexandria. British forces suffered severe supply difficulties and were forced to evacuate Egypt on September 25.
Urabi forces wanted to end Western influence in the country after huge debts had politically destabilised the Khedive.
European governments sought to restore stability in order to protect their private investments. During the summer of 1882 an international conference of European nations met in Istanbul. Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid boycotted it, and would not send troops to Egypt. No agreement was reached at the conference. The British then decided to engage alone, and the French then withdrew their navy regiment from Alexandria.

Beginning of War

Main article: Bombardment of Alexandria (1882)

Riots broke out in Egypt, which resulted in the deaths of about 50 Europeans. The British sent a fleet, under the command of Admiral Seymour, to Alexandria. Urabi had his men being strengthening his defenses on the shore. Admiral Seymour demanded that Urabi surrender but Urabi continued to order his men to work. The British fleet bombarded Alexandria from July 11-13, followed by British marines occupying it. The bombardment was very one sided, the British did not lose a single boat. Much of the city was destroyed by fires that broke out as a result of the bombardment. Urabi had his men start these fires to ruin the city that the British were taking over. The British then installed the Khedive Tawfiq, who declared Urabi a rebel and took away his political rights.

Urabi response

Urabi then counteracted by obtaining a fatwa, which was authorized by Al Azhar shaykhs which stated that Tawfiq was a traitor who brought on the occupation of Egypt by a foreign nation and stated that he betrayed his religion. Urabi also ordered conscription and he declared war on the United Kingdom.

British Expeditionary Force

The British army tried to reach Cairo through Alexandria but was stopped for five weeks at Kafr-el-Dawwar. In August, a British army of over 40,000, commanded by Garnet Wolseley, invaded the Suez Canal Zone. He was authorized to destroy Urabi's forces and clear the country of all other rebels.

Battle of Tel el-Kebir

This important battle was fought on September 13, 1882. The Urabi forces were routed and the capital was captured. Khedive power was then restored as the authority of Egypt.

Trial of Urabi

A khedivial court had initially sentenced Urabi to death. However the British intervened and the sentence was changed to exile to Ceylon. His associates were also put on trial.

British occupation

British troops then occupied Egypt until the Anglo-Egytpian Treaty of 1922 and Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, giving gradual control back to the government of Egypt. By 1936, Egypt had full 'independence', but the King remained something of a British 'puppet' figure, whilst the British retained control of the Suez Canal Zone, from which they withdrew in 1956 after 72 years.

(Source Wikipedia)