(1822-1863) Egyptian viceroy 1854-1863 under
Said's reign was a liberal one, involving many
reforms inspired by trends of contemporary Europe.
He introduced important reforms for landownership,
taxation and even tried to abolish the slave
The land reforms promoted individual landownership
and reduced the influence of the sheikhs, who had
exercised a local power of almost feudal
character. Said taxed the big landowners directly,
taking away a burden which rested hard on the
peasants. Some of the land of the largest
landowners was also confiscated.
His attempts to end the slave trade was
unsuccessful; there was too much wealth and
important people involved.
1822: Born in Cairo as the fourth son of
— Receives an European-style education in Paris,
1855: Enacts a law that permits the male
descendants of a peasant to inherit land.
1858: Introduces a law that limits
landownership to only Muslims. He also introduced
a law that gave a peasant who had held a plot of
land for 5 consecutive years and paid his taxes to
obtain the full ownership to the land.
1954: Grants a concession to the French
engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps to start building
the Suez Canal.
1959: Work on the Suez Canal starts, but
both Said and the Ottoman sultan has by now come
to oppose the plan. de Lesseps start the work
without official permission.
1861: Establishes a commission to work out
a municipal code for Egyptian cities. This
initiative came to be hindered by foreign powers.
1863 January 18: Dies in Alexandria.