Mohammed Ali, the Founder of Modern Egypt
Mohammed Ali, the Founder of Modern Egypt.
He is the head of the Ali Family that ruled Egypt from 1805 till 1952, and the founder of modern Egypt.
He was born in 1769 in the city of Kavala, Greek Macedonia.
His father Ibrahim Agha belonged to a family of Albanian origins and was related by marriage to the family of Kavala's governor (Shourbagi). Hence, he was appointed as the head of the road guard. Mohammed Ali's mother died when he was 6 years old.
At the age of 10, he worked in the tobacco trade and ship leasing with his father, whom Mohamed succeeded as the head of irregular troops, showing extraordinary courage. He had never had any education; However, he started to learn reading and writing at the age of 45. After his father died, his uncle Tusun looked after him. Known for his courage and daring since a young age, his uncle Tusun, who was the police chief of the town at the time, appointed him to keep the safety between Kavala and the neighboring villages. Upon assignment by his uncle, courageous Ali was able to force the people of the Kavala neighboring town of Brawsta to pay due taxes to the ruler. Consequently, Ali was promoted to chief of task force (captain). He came to Egypt among an Ottoman military force to kick the French out of Egypt. However, he returned back home when the Ottoman force was defeated in the Battle of Aboukir (1799).
He came back to Egypt among Captain Hussain's army which came to help the English evacuate the French. As a result, his fame and significance soared among the Ottomans and the Egyptian public.
After evacuating the French Campaign, he got promoted to a major general (Sergeshmah), then he was nominated as the General commander of the army as well as chief of the palace guards for the Governor-General.
On the 9th of July, 1805, the Ottoman Sultan agreed upon the request of the knowledgeable people (Ulamaa) to appoint Mohammad Ali as Wali of Egypt and unseat Khorshid Pasha.
He began to form a class of highly educated people and cared for scientific missions.
He established many schools such as: Al-Mohandes-Khana (Engineering), Al-Alsun (Languages), accounting and arts and crafts.
He founded the first military school in Aswan and the Egyptian military school in Paris.
He established the health council, the schools of medicine, pharmacy and birth delivery and nurses as well as Al-Qasr Al-Aini school of medicine. He also brought about mandatory vaccination.
He canceled the Iltizam system (A form of tax farm that appeared in the 15th century in the Ottoman Empire) related to possession of agricultural lands which he then allocated to peasants.
Industries he introduced to Egypt branched into 3 categories: processing industries, transformational industries and military industries.
He founded an independent Divan for trade then he founded "the Egyptian trade and foreign affairs Divan."
He surfaced many roads and constructed many ports which consequently helped the success of the trade system. He also founded the Bank of Alexandria.
Following his sickness on the 2nd of September, 1848, a Firman was issued by the Sublime Port to appoint Ibrahim Pasha as the Wali of Egypt.
He died on the 2nd of August, 1849.