Ismail Pasha
Arabic‘ismā¢īl bāshā


(1830-1895) Viceroy and khedive of Egypt 1863-1879.

Ismail was a very ambitious leader of Egypt, aiming at bringing the country back to former greatness. He extended the Sudanese dominions; he developed railways and built telegraph lines. But his policy was funded by foreign loans, and he also had enormous personal expenses. The result was actual bankruptcy for Egypt, directly leading to his fall as khedive and the British occupation in 1882.

Among Ismail’s most successful projects were to create not only a modern Cairo, but also parts of Alexandria, with wide avenues and buildings based upon European models. This was largely inspired by Paris.

From 1863 to 1876 he had increased the foreign debts of Egypt from £7 million to £100 million.


1830 December 31: Born in Cairo as the second son of Ibrahim Pasha.
— Receives an European style education in Paris, France.
1863: Succeeds his uncle Said Pasha as viceroy of Egypt under Ottoman suzerainty.
1866 November: Establishes the Chamber of Notables, an assembly of delegates, which had an advisory role towards him. The assembly was dominated by village chiefs.
1867: Receives the hereditary title of khedive from the Ottoman sultan.
1869 November: With the opening of the Suez Canal, Ismail turns the event into an international celebration of his own splendour.
1873: Obtains a decree from the Ottoman sultan, securing almost complete independence for Egypt.
1874: Annexes the Darfur province (western Sudan).
— His army is defeated while trying to invade Ethiopia.
1875: Ismail sells Egypt’s shares in the Suez Canal to the British Government for £4 million, thereby postponing a financial crisis.
1876: Ismail’s advisory assembly forces Ismail to reinstate a law giving tax advantages to landowners, thereby demonstrating the assembly’s force and iterating Ismail’s weak position.
1878: Being unable to pay his expenses and service his loans, Ismail has to transfer all his property to the state, becomes a constitutional sovereign and allows the establishment of a government with a British citizen as finance minister.
1879 June: Ismail is dismissed by the Ottoman sultan. He is succeeded by his son Tawfiq, and moves to Naples. Later, he is permitted to move to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Ottoman Empire
1895 March 2: Dies in Constantinople.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here