Egypt / Politics /
From Turkish: Küçük Mehmet Sait Pasha
Arabic: muhammad sa¢īd bāshā
(1822-1863) Egyptian viceroy 1854-1863 under Ottoman suzerainty.
Said's reign was a liberal one, involving many reforms inspired by trends of contemporary Europe. He introduced important reforms for landownership, taxation and even tried to abolish the slave trade.
The land reforms promoted individual landownership and reduced the influence of the shaykhs, who had exercised a local power of almost feudal character. Said taxed the big landowners directly, taking away a burden which rested hard on the peasants. Some of the land of the largest landowners was also confiscated.
His attempts to end the slave trade was unsuccessful; there was too much wealth and important people involved.
1822: Born in Cairo as the fourth son of Muhammad Ali.
Receives an European-style education in Paris, France.
1855: Enacts a law that permits the male descendants of a peasant to inherit land.
1858: Introduces a law that limits landownership to only Muslims. He also introduced a law that gave a peasant who had held a plot of land for 5 consecutive years and paid his taxes to obtain the full ownership to the land.
1954: Grants a concession to the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps to start building the Suez Canal.
1959: Work on the Suez Canal starts, but both Said and the Ottoman sultan has by now come to oppose the plan. de Lesseps start the work without official permission.
1861: Establishes a commission to work out a municipal code for Egyptian cities. This initiative came to be hindered by foreign powers.
1863 January 18: Dies in Alexandria.