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Gamal Abdel Nasser
Egyptian Arabic: gamal ¢abd an-nāsir
(in other Arab countries he is often called Jamal)

Gamal Abdel Nasser
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Gamal Abdel Nasser as a young boy.
Gamal Abdel Nasser in the military.

Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Gamal Abdel Nasser.

(1918-1970) Egyptian President 1956-1970, Prime Minister 1954-1956.
Nasser's political system was called Arab socialism. With this program he confiscated 243,000 hectares (2,430 km²) farm land from a small group of rich landowners, he nationalized banks and industries as well as the Suez Canal. He ended the 72-year British presence in Egypt, following peaceful negotiations. All of this was a direct continuation of his activities before the 1952 coup.
As president, he promulgated a new constitution, giving himself increased power. His power was extended in 1967, when he added the office of prime minister to the presidential office.
Nasser was early on active in fighting the non-constitutional British all- pervasive presence, the landowning elite and the weak and morally corrupt king.
Through the late 1950's, Nasser emerged as a star in the Arab world, a fighter for Arab unity. But with the complete defeat in the Six-Day War, he was so humiliated that he offered to resign, but the people demonstrated in such numbers in his favour, that he continued. In the same, he took the position as Prime Minister, making Egypt increasingly dependent on military and economic aid from the Soviet Union.

1918 January 15: Born in the village Bani Mor, near Assyut, as the son of a postman.
1938: Begins his education at the Royal Military Academy in Cairo.
1939: Graduates from the Military Academy,serves in the army in Sudan.
1948: Participates in the First Palestinian War with the ranks of major.
1949: Joins the Free Officers.
1950: Promoted to colonel.
1952 July 22: The Free Officers stage a coup that deposes King Faruk. The coup would make Muhammad Naguib president the following year, but Nasser would be in constant opposition.
1954 February: Nasser has the Muslim Brotherood banned, doing this without consulting Naguib.
November 14: Nasser removes Naguib, allegedly for having known of the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt on Nasser's life in the month before. Nasser becomes Prime Minister.
1956: USA and Great Britain withdraw a promised support for the construction of a new Aswan Dam, and Nasser responds with the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company, as he wanted to finance the construction of the dam with the income from tolls on the traffic on the canal.
1956: The nationalization of Suez Canal causes an Israeli invasion of the Sinai peninsula and an Anglo-French invasion of the Canal Zone (see Suez-Sinai War). But the invading forces were put under pressure from the UN, and had to withdraw. Egypt kept the full ownership of the Suez Canal.
1958: Egypt and Syria form the United Arab Republic, with Nasser as the head. This was at this time considered as the first step towards Arab unity.
1959: Publishes the book, The Philosophy of the Revolution, which contains his principle ideas.
1961: The United Arab Republic breaks up, after a coup in Syria. Nasser kept the name although only Egypt was member of the united republic.
1966 November: Signs a defense pact with Syria.
1967 May 30: Signs a defense pact with Jordan, too, which had been anti-Nasser for long.
— He precipitated the third war with Israel, expelling United Nations peace keeping forces from the Gaza Strip and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba for traffic on Israel's port Eilat.
June 5: Israel attacks Egypt, beginning the Six-Day War. The Israeli strength was so superior that Egypt was effectively beaten within the first day. Fighting continued for 3 days more. The only effective action of the Egyptians was to close the Suez Canal for all ships.
December: Withdraws Egyptian forces from the North Yemen Civil War, thereby creating a better relationship with Saudi Arabia.
1968 June: Launches the so-called War of Attrition.
1970 August 7: Agrees to end fighting with Israel.
September 28: Dies in Cairo of a heart attack.

By Tore Kjeilen