(1830-1895) Viceroy and khedive of Egypt
Ismail was a very ambitious leader of Egypt,
aiming at bringing the country back to former
greatness. He extended the Sudanese dominions, he
extended railways and built telegraph lines. But
his policy was funded by foreign loans, and he
also had enormous personal expenses. The result
was factually bankruptcy for Egypt, directly
leading his fall as khedive and the British
occupation in 1882.
Among Ismail's most successful projects were to
create a modern Cairo, as well as parts of
Alexandria, with wide avenues and buildings based
upon European models. All this was inspired by
From 1863 to 1876 he had increased
the foreign debts of Egypt from £7 million to £100
1830 December 31: Born in Cairo as second
son of Ibrahim Pasha.
— Receives an European style education from Paris,
1863: Succeeds his uncle Said Pasha as
viceroy of Egypt under Ottoman suzerainty.
1866 November: Establishes the Chamber of
Notable, an assembly of delegates, which had an
advisory function towards him. The assembly was
dominated by village chiefs.
1867: Receives the hereditary title of
khedive from the Ottoman sultan.
1869 November: With the opening of the Suez
Canal, Ismail turns the event into an
international celebration of his own splendour.
1873: Obtains a decree from the Ottoman
sultan, securing Egypt almost full independence.
1874: Annexes the Darfur province (western
— His army is defeated when trying to invade
1875: Ismail sells Egypt's shares in Suez
Canal to the British Government for £4 million,
thereby postponing a financial crisis.
1876: Ismail's advisory assembly forces
Ismail to reinstate a law giving tax advantages to
landowners, thereby proving the assembly's force
and iterate Ismail's weak position.
1878: Being unable to pay his expenses and
service his loans, Ismail has to transfer all his
property to the state, becomes a constitutional
sovereign and allows the establishment of a
government with a British citizen as finance
1879 June: Ismail is dismissed by the
Ottoman sultan. He is succeeded by his son Tawfiq,
and moves to Naples. He was later permitted to
move to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Ottoman
1895 March 2: Dies in Constantinople.