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Kingdom of Egypt (1922 - 1953)

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This article is about the former 20th century state. For ancient kingdoms of Egypt, see Ancient Egypt. For the current nation, see Egypt.
Kingdom of Egypt
المملكة المصرية
al-Mamlakah al-Miṣrīyah


Green flag with a white crescent containing three five-pointed white stars.
Flag Coat of arms
"Eslami ya Misr"
Royal anthem
"Salam Affandina"
Green: Kingdom of Egypt
Lighter green: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan condominium
Lightest green: Ceded from Sudan to Italian North Africa in 1919.
Capital Cairo
Languages Arabic (official)[1]
Egyptian Arabic
Government Representative parliamentary
constitutional monarchy
 -  1922–1936 Fuad I
 -  1936–1952 Farouk I
 -  1952–1953 Fuad II a
British High Commissioner
 -  1922–1925 Sir Edmund Allenby
 -  1925–1929 Sir George Lloyd
 -  1929–1933 Sir Percy Loraine
 -  1933–1936 Sir Miles Lampson
Prime Minister
 -  1922 (first) Abdel Khaliq Sarwat Pasha
 -  1952–1953 (last) Muhammad Naguibb
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper house Shura Council
 -  Lower house Chamber of Deputies
Historical era Decolonization of Africa
 -  Independence recognized by the United Kingdom 28 February 1922
 -  Sultan Fuad I becomes King Fuad I 15 March 1922
 -  Constitution adopted 19 April 1923
 -  Anglo-Egyptian Treaty 27 August 1936
 -  Palestine War May 1948 – March 1949
 -  Revolution 23 July 1952
 -  Republic proclaimed 18 June 1953
 -  1937 census 3,418,400 km² (1,319,852 sq mi)
 -  1927 census est. 14,218,000 
 -  1937 census est. 15,933,000 
     Density 4.7 /km²  (12.1 /sq mi)
 -  1947 census est. 19,090,447 
Currency Egyptian pound
Today part of  Egypt
 South Sudan
a. Under regency.
b. Became first President of Egypt.
Area and density include inhabited areas only. The total area of Egypt, including deserts, is 994,000 km2.[2][3]

The Kingdom of Egypt (Arabic: المملكة المصرية‎; Egyptian Arabic: المملكه المصريه al-Mamlakah al-Miṣrīyah, "the Egyptian Kingdom") was the independent Egyptian state established under the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1922 following the Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence by the United Kingdom. Until the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936, the Kingdom was only nominally independent, since the British retained control of foreign relations, communications, the military and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Between 1936-52, the British continued to maintain military presence and political advisors, at a reduced level.

The legal status of Egypt had previously been highly convoluted, due to its de facto breakaway from the Ottoman Empire in 1805, its occupation by Britain in 1882, and its transformation into a sultanate and British protectorate in 1914. In line with the change in status from sultanate to kingdom, the Sultan of Egypt, Fuad I, saw his title changed to King.

The kingdom's sovereignty was subject to severe limitations imposed by the British, who retained enormous control over Egyptian affairs, and whose military continued to occupy the country. Throughout the kingdom's existence Sudan was formally united with Egypt. However, actual Egyptian authority in Sudan was largely nominal due to Britain's role as the dominant power in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

During the reign of King Fuad, the monarchy struggled with the Wafd Party, a broadly based nationalist political organization strongly opposed to British domination, and with the British themselves, who were determined to maintain control over the Suez Canal. Other political forces emerging in this period included the Communist Party (1925), and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious force.

King Fuad died in 1936 and Farouk inherited the throne at the age of sixteen. Alarmed by Italy's recent invasion of Abyssinia, he signed the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, requiring Britain to withdraw all troops from Egypt, except in the Suez Canal Zone (agreed to be evacuated by 1949).

The kingdom was plagued by corruption, and its citizens saw it as a puppet of the British. This, coupled with the defeat in the 1948-1949 Palestine War, led to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 by the Free Officers Movement. Farouk abdicated in favour of his infant son Fuad II. In 1953 the monarchy was formally abolished and the Republic of Egypt was established. The legal status of Sudan was only resolved in 1954, when Egypt and Britain agreed that it should be granted independence in 1956.

Sultanate and Kingdom[edit]

Further information: Sultanate of Egypt

In 1914, Khedive Abbas II sided with the Ottoman Empire and the Central Powers in the First World War, and was promptly deposed by the British in favor of his uncle Hussein Kamel. Ottoman sovereignty over Egypt, which had been hardly more than a legal fiction since 1805, now was officially terminated, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt, and the country became a British Protectorate.

Aftermath of World War I[edit]

A group known as the Wafd (meaning "Delegation") attended the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 to demand Egypt's independence. Included in the group was political leader, Saad Zaghlul, who would later become Prime Minister. When the group was arrested and deported to the island of Malta, a huge uprising occurred in Egypt.

From March to April 1919, there were mass demonstrations that turned into uprisings. This is known in Egypt as the First Revolution. British repression of the anti-occupation riots led to the death of some 800 people. In November 1919, the Milner Commission was sent to Egypt by the British to attempt to resolve the situation. In 1920, Lord Milner submitted his report to Lord Curzon, the British Foreign Secretary, recommending that the protectorate should be replaced by a treaty of alliance.

As a result, Curzon agreed to receive an Egyptian mission headed by Zaghlul and Adli Pasha to discuss the proposals. The mission arrived in London in June 1920 and the agreement was concluded in August 1920. In February 1921, the British Parliament approved the agreement and Egypt was asked to send another mission to London with full powers to conclude a definitive treaty. Adli Pasha led this mission, which arrived in June 1921. However, the Dominion delegates at the 1921 Imperial Conference had stressed the importance of maintaining control over the Suez Canal Zone and Curzon could not persuade his Cabinet colleagues to agree to any terms that Adli Pasha was prepared to accept. The mission returned to Egypt in disgust.

In December, 1921, the British authorities in Cairo imposed martial law and once again deported Zaghlul. Demonstrations again led to violence. In deference to the growing nationalism and at the suggestion of the High Commissioner, Lord Allenby, the UK recognized Egyptian independence in 1922, abolishing the protectorate, and converting the Sultanate of Egypt into the Kingdom of Egypt. Sarwat Pasha became prime minister. British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms. Britain retained control of the Canal Zone, Sudan and Egypt's external protection.

Representing the Wafd Party, Zaghlul was elected Prime Minister in 1924. He demanded that Britain recognize the Egyptian sovereignty in Sudan and the unity of the Nile Valley. On November 19, 1924, the British Governor-General of Sudan, Sir Lee Stack, was assassinated in Cairo and pro-Egyptian riots broke out in Sudan. The British demanded that Egypt pay an apology fee and withdraw troops from Sudan. Zaghlul agreed to the first but not the second and resigned.


With nationalist sentiment rising, Britain formally recognized Egyptian independence in 1922, and Hussein Kamel's successor, Sultan Fuad I, substituted the title of King for Sultan. However, British occupation and interference in Egyptian affairs persisted. Of particular concern to Egypt was Britain's continual efforts to divest Egypt of all control in Sudan. To both the King and the nationalist movement, this was intolerable, and the Egyptian Government made a point of stressing that Fuad and his son King Farouk I were "King of Egypt and Sudan".

World War II and after[edit]

During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region.

Following a ministerial crisis in February 1942, the British government, through its ambassador in Egypt, Sir Miles Lampson, pressed Farouk to have a Wafd or Wafd-coalition government replace Hussein Sirri Pasha's government. On the night of 4 February 1942, British troops and tanks surrounded Abdeen Palace in Cairo and Lampson presented Farouk with an ultimatum. Farouk capitulated, and Nahhas formed a government shortly thereafter. However, the humiliation meted out to Farouk, and the actions of the Wafd in cooperating with the British and taking power, lost support for both the British and the Wafd among both civilians and, more importantly, the Egyptian military.

British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the War. On July 22–July 23, 1952, the Free Officers Movement, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel, thereby launching the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

Popular expectations for immediate reforms led to the workers' riots in Kafr Dawar on 12 August 1952, which resulted in two death sentences. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, the Free Officers abrogated the 1953 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on 18 June 1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader, not only of Egypt but of the Arab World, promoting and implementing "Arab socialism."


The reign of Farouk was characterized by ever increasing nationalist discontent over the British occupation, royal corruption and incompetence, and the disastrous 1948 Arab-Israeli War. All these factors served to terminally undermine Farouk's position and paved the way for the Revolution of 1952. Farouk was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son Ahmed-Fuad who became King Fuad II, while administration of the country passed to the Free Officers Movement under Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser. The infant king's reign—now a pure legal fiction—lasted less than a year and on 18 June 1953, the revolutionaries formally abolished the monarchy and declared Egypt a republic, ending a century and a half of the Muhammad Ali dynasty.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Article 149 of the 1923 Constitution.
  2. ^ Bonné, Alfred (2003) [First published 1945]. The Economic Development of the Middle East: An Outline of Planned Reconstruction after the War. The International Library of Sociology. London: Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-415-17525-8. OCLC 39915162. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  3. ^ Shousha, Aly Tewfik (1947). "Cholera Epidemic in Egypt: A Preliminary Report". Bull. World Health Organ. (National Center for Biotechnology Information) 1 (2): 371. PMC 2553924. PMID 20603928.