Muhammad Ali dynasty

Muhammad Ali dynasty
(Alawiyya dynasty)
(الأسرة العلوية)
Coat of arms of Kingdom of Egypt.svg
CountryEgypt and Sudan
EthnicityEgyptian of Albanian descent
Founded1805: Muhammad Ali's consolidation of power
FounderMuhammad Ali Pasha
Final rulerFuad II
TitlesWāli, self-declared as Khedive (1805–1867)
Khedive officially recognized (1867–1914)
Sultan (1914–1922)
King (1922–1953)
ReligionSunni Islam
Estate(s)Egypt and Sudan
Deposition1953, abolition of monarchy following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952

The Muhammad Ali dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Egypt and Sudan from the 19th to the mid-20th century. It is named after its progenitor, Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. It was also more formally known as the Alawiyya dynasty (Arabic: الأسرة العلويةal-Usra al-'Alawiyya). Because a majority of the rulers from this dynasty bore the title Khedive, it was often referred to by contemporaries as the 'Khedival dynasty'.


Egypt under Muhammad Ali Dynasty

Muhammad Ali was a commander in the Ottoman army that was sent to drive Napoleon's forces out of Egypt, but upon the French withdrawal, seized power himself and forced the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II to recognize him as Wāli, or Governor of Egypt in 1805. He traced his ancestry back to Ibrahim Aga, from Korca, Albania, who had moved to Kavala. Demonstrating his grander ambitions, he took the title of Khedive; however, this was not sanctioned by the Sublime Porte.

Muhammad Ali transformed Egypt into a regional power which he saw as the natural successor to the decaying Ottoman Empire. He constructed a military state with around four percent of the populace serving the army to raise Egypt to a powerful positioning in the Ottoman Empire in a way showing various similarities to the Soviet strategies (without communism) conducted in the 20th century.[1] Muhammad Ali summed up his vision for Egypt in this way:

I am well aware that the [Ottoman] Empire is heading by the day toward destruction. ... On her ruins I will build a vast kingdom ... up to the Euphrates and the Tigris.

— Georges Douin, ed., Une Mission militaire française auprès de Mohamed Aly, correspondance des Généraux Belliard et Boyer (Cairo: Société Royale de Géographie d'Égypte, 1923), p.50
Portrait of Muhammad Ali Pasha in the Cairo Citadel museum

At the height of his power, Muhammad Ali and his son Ibrahim Pasha's military strength did indeed threaten the very existence of the Ottoman Empire as he sought to supplant the Osman Dynasty with his own. Ultimately, the intervention of the Great Powers prevented Egyptian forces from marching on Constantinople, and henceforth, his dynasty's rule would be limited to Africa, and Sinai. Muhammad Ali had conquered Sudan in the first half of his reign and Egyptian control would be consolidated and expanded under his successors, most notably Ibrahim Pasha's son Isma'il I.

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