By Arthur Goldschmidt Jr.
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Extra resources for Modern Egypt: The Formation of a Nation State
The population, which had been falling in the late eighteenth century, began to rise, gradually at ﬁrst and then faster. 8 million, almost twice as many Egyptians as in 1800. 22 Chapter 2: Napoleon and Mehmet Ali Expanding cash-crop production could have done no one any good without corresponding developments in transportation and distribution. Mehmet Ali’s reign saw the growth of a network of barge canals, river ports, and cart roads, together with grain weighing and storage facilities, cotton gins, sugar reﬁneries, and other capital improvements.
Now Urabi organized a huge demonstration in front of Abdin Palace, the ofﬁcial khedivial residence. ” These words may never have been spoken, but they reﬂect both the spirit of the khedivial house (with its British patron) and that of the Egyptian ofﬁcers, who, one generation removed from their peasant origins, were groping toward national dignity. At any rate, Tawﬁq did heed the officers’ demands: the dismissal of Riyad’s cabinet, the strengthening of the existing representative assembly, and the enlargement of the Egyptian army.
Mehmet Ali had no grand plan to develop Egypt. Rather, his main concern was to avoid being overthrown, as so many previous Ottoman governors had been, and his policies were meant to enrich his own family. His appetite for revenues—preferably money, but anything of value that could be wrested from Egypt’s taxpayers—was insatiable. He needed money to pay out as tribute to the Ottoman sultan, bribes to keep bedouin Arabs from obstructing trade, and salaries for his civilian ofﬁcials and military ofﬁcers.
Modern Egypt: The Formation of a Nation State by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr.