European Influence on the Ottoman Empire and Egypt During the 18th and Early 19th Centuries
Following the reign of Sa’id, Isma’il sought a “complete Europeanization of Egypt.” As he developed a Europepean-educated upper-class, he increased the influence of Western concepts in many areas, particularly that of law. Under Isma’il’s rule, two new courts were established: the Mixed Courts and the National Courts. These institutions significantly lessened the role of the ulama.
Isma’il also sought to expand the economy, primarily through the export of cotton, similar to Ali. Unfortunately, his efforts, which were financed by foreign debt, crippled Egypt. During the American Civil War, Europe relied heavily on Egypt as its primary supplier of cotton. In turn, revenues boomed and the economy was flourishing. However, following the conclusion of the war and the onset of the international depression of 1873, revenues plummeted and Egypt was no longer able to repay its foreign debt.
Bankruptcy ensued and following the Urabi Revolt, Britain occupied Egypt in 1882. Lord Cromer, of Britain, and his successors implemented policies that further ingrained Western concepts in the economy and culture. However, their policies