Political violence engulfed Egypt, leading to the rise of
Muhammed Ali as Pasha of Egypt.
Seeking to replace Muhammed Ali with a puppet ruler favorable
to British interests, Britain invaded with nearly 5,000 troops on
March 17, 1807. British forces led by General A. Mackenzie Fraser
seized the city of Alexandria. British forces suffered several
military defeats before retreating and evacuating Egypt on
Massacre of the Mamelukes (1811)--
In order to consolidate his power as the ruler of Egypt,
Muhammed Ali killed the Mameluke leaders and massacred the
Mameluke soldiers, replacing them with an army of Albanian
After recognizing Ottoman suzerainty over Egypt (a formality
which left Ali in charge, but created a peace between Egypt and
the Turks), Ali engaged in a war against the Wahabi Muslim sect in
Arabia. The Wahabis had conquered the Muslim Holy cities of Mecca
and Medina from Turkish rule, and in heavy fighting, the Egyptians
retook these Holy areas from the Wahabis and then occupied them in
the name of the Ottoman Empire.
Mercenary Mutiny (1815)--
Brief mutiny by Ali's Albanian mercenaries in
Conquest of the Sudan (1820-1839)--
Led by Ali's son Hussein, Egyptian forces conquered the Sudan,
extending Egyptian control along the Red Sea coast, and as far
south along the Nile as modern Uganda, then known as
War of Independence (1821-1832)--
Egypt's part in the war came about when the Ottoman Turks
requested Egyptian aid in fighting the rebellious Greeks. The
Pasha of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, sent his son Ibrahim to Greece with
a powerful Egyptian army. The British, French, and Russians
intervened to save the Greeks, defeating a combined Turko-Egyptian
fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827. French troops expelled
the Egyptian land forces. The Egyptian portion of the war lasted
from 1825-1832. This war led directly to the First Turko-Egyptian
War. (see below) See also: Greco-Turkish
Turko-Egyptian War (1832-1833)--Upset
by the Ottoman Empire's refusal to give him control of Syria as
payment for his participation in the ill-fated Greek War, Pasha
Ali declared war on the Turks in 1832. Invading Ottoman Palestine,
Syria, and Turkey itself, the Egyptians advanced nearly to the
Ottoman capital of Constantinople. Russia sent troops and a fleet
to stop the advance, causing the British and French to negotiate a
peace, awarding Syria to Egypt.
Turko-Egyptian War (1839-1841)--This
conflict can be considered the second half of the Turko-Egyptian
War which began in 1832. Egypt declared independence from official
Ottoman rule, and defeated Turkish forces sent to subdue the
Pasha's rebellion. Eventually, Britain sided with the Ottomans to
bring Egypt back into the Ottoman fold.
retaliated against Egyptian forces attempting to colonize the Red
Sea coast. Egypt gave up its attempt to colonize that
Revolt/British Conquest of Egypt (1881-1882)--
Muslim rebels opposed to Turkish, Western, and Christian
influence in Egypt (Britain and France had gained a large degree
of control due to the Suez Canal project), rebelled on February 1,
1881 in Alexandria. On July 11, 1882, in response to a massacre of
Christians in Alexandria, the British fleet bombarded Alexandria,
followed up by the landing of 25,000 troops at Ismailia. In the
Battle of Tel al-Kebir, the British defeated Urabi's army. From
this point on, Britain retained an army in the countryand
effectively controlled Egypt, which remained technically an
Ottoman (yet recognized as independent in all but name), vassal.
Sudanese "Mahdi", a religious leader, began a rebellion against
Egyptian control of the Sudan. At this time, Egypt was effectively
a protectorate of the British, who sent forces to aid the
Egyptians. By 1885, after suffering several bloody defeats, the
Anglo-Egyptian forces withdrew from the Sudan.
their defeat in the previous Sudan War, Anglo-Egyptian forces
returned to the Sudan and defeated the forces of the Mahdi's
successor, known as the Khalifa.
First World War (1914-1918)--Though
not technically a participant in this war, several battles
betweent the British and the Ottoman Turks were fought on Egyptian
soil. Though legally a vassal of the Ottomans, in reality, Egypt
was actually under the control of the British, while also
technically an independent nation with its own ruler. That ruler
was overthrown by the British at the beginning of the war due to
his pro-German sympathies.
Revolt in Egypt (1915-1917)--The
Sanusis were a Muslim sect (the Sanusiyah Brotherhood; a Sufi
mystical branch of Islam), and opposed European colonization of
North Africa. They fought both the French and the Italians before
engaging in combat with the British in Egypt during World War I as
allies of the Ottoman Turks. Most fighting took place in Egypt's
western desert, with the British finally driving the Sanusis into
Italian-controlled Libya in 1917.
Second World War
Egypt did not actually engage in combat in this war, significant
campaigns took place in western Egypt as the Germans and Italians
invaded with the intent of driving the British out and seizing the
War of 1948 (1948-1949)--The
First Arab-Israeli War, in which Egypt acquired the Gaza Strip.
War of 1951-1952 (1951-1952)--Egyptian
guerrillas, aided by the government of Egypt, carried out a
campaign against British forces stationed at the Suez Canal and
against other British and Western symbols and targets. On January
25, 1952, British troops retaliated against Egypt by attacking an
Egyptian police station, killing 50 and wounding 100. The conflict
ended with a change in the Egyptian government and the eventual
withdrawal of British troops. This conflict led to Britain's
involvement in the 1956 Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in
1956. (see below)
Raid on Gaza (Feb.
28, 1955)—Israeli forces conducted a raid, a response to
repeated guerrilla attacks and the seizure of an Israeli ship by
Egypt, which resulted in the deaths of 51 Egyptian soldiers and 8
Israeli troops. This raid was the largest of its kind
against Arab forces since the end of the First Arab-Israeli War in
Civil War (1962-1970)--
Egypt sent troops to support the Yemeni Republican government
against Royalist rebels supported by Saudi Arabia.
War of 1967 (1967)--See
War of Attrition (1968-1970)--See
War of 1973 (1973)--See
brief four-day border war between Libya and Egypt.
Second Persian Gulf War
sent troops to join the UN-backed Coalition which liberated Kuwait
from Iraqi occupation.
(1990s- Present)--A rebel group calling itself the Muslim
Brotherhood carries on a violent guerrilla campaign to topple the
pro-Western government of Egypt.
Unrest in Egypt (2011)--Massive
protests against the 30-year regime of President Hosni Mubarak
sweep across Egypt.
Unrest in Egypt 2011 Timeline
Anti-Militant Campaign in Sinai
response to several attacks bySalafist Islamist forces believed
tied to al-Qaida, over 1,000 security forces backed by armored
personell carriers launched a campaign to defeat the Islamist
Civil War (2014)-Egypt
has aided the anti-Jihadist forces in Libya. Egyptian warplanes
bombed the Jihadi militia Ansar al-Sharia near Benghazi in
October, 2014. As the Libyan Civil War progressed and became more
complex, the Libyan faction supported by Egypt, the UAE, France,
and Russia launched a major assault on the capital of Tripoli.
Timely intervention by Turkey halted this offensive, and drove the
Libyan National Army, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar back toward
the eastern coastal city of Sirte. Egypt's President Sisi declared
that if the Turkish-backed GNA continued to advance on Sirte,
Egypt would consider that a threat to Egyptian security. On July
20, 2020, the Egyptian Parliament authorized Egyptian military
forces to operate outside of the country's borders.
Also, in the summer of
2020, Egypt's negotiations with Ethiopia over a huge
hydro-electric dam the Ethiopians have built on the Nile River
have not gone well, and Egypt has stated that a military solution
may be needed. Egypt is concerned over this potential of this dam
to negatively affect Egypt's flow of Nile water. This has the
potential of becoming a serious military
conflict between Egypt and
and Links on the History of Egypt:
1. Kohn, George
New York: Facts On File Publications. 1999.
2. Dupuy, R. Ernest and
Trevor N. Dupey. The
Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the
New York, New York: Harper & Row. 1993.
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