Arabi Pasha

Arabi Pasha was the Egyptian Army Officer who instigated the coup against the Khedive. He was the son of a desert Sheik who was drafted into the army at the age of 14. He became a protege of the then Viceroy, and rose rapidly in rank to become a lieutenant-colonel by his 21st birthday.

He would later stagnate in promotion and privileges when his protege was replaced by Ismail as the Khedive. For the next twenty years he would nurse a growing sense of frustration.

When Ismail was replaced by Tewfik, Arabi would gain a privileged position once more as the Captain of the Guard. He would use this powerbase to make his successful bid for leadership of the national movement of the rebel forces.

He was defeated and captured on September 13, 1882. He was court-martialed, but his death sentence was commuted to exile in Ceylon. Arabi Pasha was allowed to return to Egypt in 1901, and died in Cairo in 1911.

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by Stephen Luscombe