Nile Valley 1882-98

What was happening in the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century?
The Ottoman Empire, which had controlled Egypt since 1517, was in decline
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What effect did this have on Britain?
It worried British ministers, they feared that other European powers would gain territory from its collapse
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What colonial ventures were ongoing at this period of time?
Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires keen to extend their influence into Serbia and Greece; French sought to control the Meditteranean
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What opened in 1869, further complicating the situation?
The Suez Canal
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Why was the Suez Canal so important?
It linked the Mediterranean with British colonies in India and Australia
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What was at the heart of the problem with the Ottoman Empire?
The way it governed; it was a huge empire, ruled on its periphery by lords and princes
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How did the Ottoman Empire devolve power?
Devolved authority to local lords to ensure rule of law, defend its borders and collect taxes
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Who ruled Egypt?
The khedives, who enjoyed a great deal of political freedom from the Ottoman Empire
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What did the khedives increasingly rely upon?
European financial investment from Britain and France
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From 1863 to 1870, what did Egypt's foreign debt leap from?
Leapt from £3 million to £100 million
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What had happened to the khedive by 1875-76?
The khedive was effectively bankrupt because of the huge loans
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What was Dual Control?
A system of Anglo-French financial control over Egypt
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What did the European colonial powers force the khedive to do?
Introduce stringent financial reforms
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What did these include?
Cutting pay to the military, introducing sales taxes on food and goods to increase revenue
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What did they reduce the interests that Egyptians were forced to pay to?
Reduced it to a more manageable five percent
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What happened to the khedive in 1879?
Having bankrupted Egypt three years earlier; he was deposed by the sultan of the Ottoman Empire
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Who did the British persuade the Ottomans to replace him with?
Khedive Ismail's son, Tewfik Pasha
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Who was Colonel Ahmed Urabi?
A nationalist officer in the Egyptian Army who led a group of soldiers in a protest against Tewfik and Anglo-French interference
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What else was Ahmed Urabi known as?
Arabi Pasha
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What had led to dissatisfaction with Dual Control's financial measures?
Had existed among all of the Egyptian bourgeoisie; initial focus of Arabi's protests was army pay
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What did Urabi form in 1879?
The Egyptian Nationalist Party, which spoke of "Egypt for the Egyptians"
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How did Urabi win the support of Egyptian peasants?
Referred to himself in his proclamations as one of the fellahin
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What were the fellahin?
Literally means "ploughman"; in its plural form it was used as a term for Egypt's peasant class
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What did Arabi do in 1879?
Led a coup following an attempt to dismiss 2,500 officers from the Army and halve the salaries of those who remained
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What did he force Khedive Tewfik to do?
Appoint a nationalist ministry, including himself
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What did the new nationalist ministry do?
Reversed this policy, borrowing another £400,000 from the Rothschilds to avoid the cuts
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What did the British and French worry would happen next?
Feared that next he would force Tewfik to repudiate the loans and ignore the financial measures that Dual Control was built upon
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How did the British view the situation?
As one of volatility, worried by the rise of Egyptian nationalism
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Why did the British feel a strategic need to protect the Suez Canal?
Dramatically shortened the journey to India
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What statistic evidences this?
80% of shipping through the Suez Canal was carried on British ships
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Who had purchased 45% of the shares in the canal?
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Who owned the rest?
Main shareholders were the French
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What else worried Britain at this time?
Anglo-French rivalry, didn't want to let France get too powerful
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What economic ties did Britain have with Egypt?
Khedive Ismail's railway and harbour building projects provided lucrative contracts for British companies
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By 1880, what proportion of Egypt's exports were being bought by Britain?
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How much of Egypt's imports were supplied by Britain?
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What proportion of Britain's total exports were to Egypt?
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What geopolitical events led to a reliance on Egyptian cotton?
The American South had provided most of Britain's cotton; Southern states blockaded due to the Civil War
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How much of Gladstone's personal fortune was invested in Egyptian loans?
As much as 37%
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Why were British bond-holders worried?
British bond-holders in the City of London were exposed to any failure by Egypt to pay its debts
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What happened in Alexandria in June 1882?
Tensions between a Maltese man and an Egyptian donkey boy escalated into violent anti-Christian riots
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How many Europeans and how many Egyptians were killed?
At least 50 Europeans were killed, while 250 Egyptians were killed
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Who did Britain blame?
Arabi Pasha's supporters, almost certainly incorrectly
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How did this change British imperial policy?
Britain could claim that intervention in Egypt was necessary to prevent European loss of life
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What was the Gambetta Note?
A diplomatic note that stated that Britain and France both thought that the maintenance of the Khedive's power was the best guarantee for the order and development of Egypt
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Why was it issued?
The Gambetta Note was issued primarily at the insistence of the French
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What was its intention?
To warn the nationalists under Arabi Pasha that the powers would intervene militarily in Egypt if they deemed the powers of the khedive to be under threat
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How did the nationalists respond?
They forced a nationalist cabinet on the khedive and threatened to depose him
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How did Britain and France respond to this in turn?
Fearing that Arabi would reject Egyptian debt payments, determined to protect bond-holders, sent warships to Alexandria
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How did the French commitment to joint action play out?
Did not result in actual participation in military action in Egypt
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Why did the French not help out?
Bismarck had indicated that Germany had changed its position on Egypt and was no longer willing to support dual action
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What had happened in French internal politics?
On 30 January 1882 Leon Gambetta fell from power in France, replaced by de Freycinet who was less inclined to intervene
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Why did Britain join France in launching a military campaign?
They were unwilling for France to have more power than Britain in the region
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What happened next?
They found themselves in the uneasy position when the French Parliament refused to sanction the bombing of Alexandria
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What do Robinson and Gallagher argue in their book "Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism"?
There was no period of anti-imperialism in the 19th century, British pursued a policy of imperialism through informal empire when possible, formal when necessary
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What did they argue drew Britain into imperial conflicts?
Local crises drew the British Empire into conflict in Africa, in Egypt the crucial importance lay in the Suez Canal
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What do Cain and Hopkins (1993) argue?
Placed the importance of bond-holders in the City of London; point to Gladstone's financial holdings
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What does Al-Sayyid Marsot argue?
The social and economic tensions caused by the modernisation of the khedives and the birth of a distinctive national voice in Egypt; provide a non-Eurocentric version of events
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What was the plan for British-controlled Egypt?
Egypt would be an autonomous country, nominally under the control of the Ottoman Empire
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What was the Veiled Protectorate?
A term applied to the situation in Egypt from 1882 to 1914, Egypt technically remained a part of the Ottoman Empire; the Khedive's British advisors had no legal authority
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How did the British fictionally try to justify their presence in Egypt?
The khedive wanted them there
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Why did the British remain in Egypt?
In November 1883, the Egyptian Army under Sir William Hicks was defeated by radical mahdist forces; Sir Evelyn Baring's agenda for Egypt; the defeat of Gladstone over the question of Irish Home Rule
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Between 1882 and 1914, how many times did Britain announce its intention to leave Egypt?
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How was the khedive's political power qualified?
He could make no decisions without the agreement of the British Consul-General
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Who was Sir Evelyn Baring?
The consul general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907
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What did Baring believe about Egypt?
There needed to be fundamental changes made in agriculture, infrastructure, and government institutions in the country
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What became a further justification for continuing presence?
The emergence of radical Islam in the Sudan
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What was ongoing at this point?
Egyptian control of the Sudan was faltering by the 1870s
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Who did the khedive appoint in 1873?
General Charles George Gordon
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What had Gordon done?
Put down revolts against the khedive and taken action against the slave trade
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What happened next?
When Ismail was deposed he resigned and returned to England
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What did his successors fail to do?
They failed to maintain order in the country or prevent a resurgence of the slave trade
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What did the mahdi want?
He was a radical jihadist leader, he was intent on driving out their Egyptian-Ottoman overlords and establishing a purer form of Islam
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What convinced London that Egypt no longer exercised any control over the promise?
The Egyptian Army, under Sir William Hicks, was reduced from 7,000 troops to 300 troops in battle with the mahdi
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How had British politicians traditionally viewed the Sudan?
Traditionally, British politicians such as Gladstone and Salisbury, were determined not to become involved in the affairs of the country
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However, what now troubled Britain?
London had no intention of allowing places that were of strategic importance, for example Cairo or Alexandria, falling into the hands of the mahdi
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Why were they worried?
They had no faith in the khedive's ability to control the mahdi in Sudan
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At home, what resulted in the splitting of the Liberal Party?
Gladstone's commitment to Home Rule in Ireland
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How did Salisbury view the situation in Egypt?
Salisbury viewed Britain's role in Egypt as being of tenuous legality
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What made Salisbury hesitant to withdraw?
He was not prepared to give the French any potential strategic advantage in North Africa; was aware of the patriotic sentiment stirred up by the mahdi
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What was Salisbury willing to do?
Sacrifice building projects in Egypt in the interests of withdrawal if it furthered British interests in the region
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What did Salisbury work on between 1887 and 1889?
An agreement with Turkey, France and Germany to state that Britain would re-enter
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What was the Constantinople Convention and when was it reached?
The agreement reached with the sultan on 22 May 1887
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What disrupted the Constantinople Convention?
The French and the Russians, who threatened the sultan if the British were granted the rights to re-enter Egypt
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Where did the French and Russians threaten to invade?
The French threatened to invade Syria, the Russians threatened to invade Armenia
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How did Salisbury react?
Became convinced that the French were the greatest threat to the empire
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Why was Salisbury convinced that British interests could only be preserved by staying in Egypt?
The threat that Russia posed to India and French aggression in the Meditteranean
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What was Baring's outlook on the situation?
He was convinced of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon, had very little time for the "Oriental" mind
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What did he see the future of Egypt looking like?
It rested on developing its agriculture
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What was a large proportion of his time in Egypt devoted to?
Improving drainage for agriculture
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What was his view of Britain's role in Egypt?
Britain had a right to intervene in Egypt, it was there for the benefit of its poorest subjects
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What was this at odds with?
Both Gladstone and Salisbury's attempts to withdraw from an occupation of dubious legality
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What was solvency?
The ability to pay one's debts
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When did Egypt become solvent?
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What was the London Convention 1885?
It agreed to a loan of £9 million to resolve the financial situation in Egypt
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How much of this was spent on levelling the debt situation?
£8 million
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How did Baring contribute to this situation?
Baring implemented a string of financial controls and made cuts in public spending
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What did Baring spend the remaining £1 million on?
Irrigation and clearing the silted drainage canals of the Nile's flood plain
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How did this improve the lives of the Egyptian people?
Improved the lives of the fellahin as they could farm the land more easily
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What were the issues with Baring's reforms largely the result of?
Budgetary constraints, the inevitable failures of Baring's paternalistic mindset
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What was Baring's budget largely put towards?
Debt repayments, military spending to protect the population against the mahdi, and irrigation
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What was Kharaj?
Land tax paid on land held by peasants in Egypt under the Ottoman Empire
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What was Ushr?
Land tax paid on land by large landowners in Egypt under the Ottoman Empire
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What rate was tax paid on kharaj land compared to ushr land?
Tax was paid on kharaj land at a rate of £1 6s 4d per fedden compared to 10s 7d paid on ushr land
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What was a fedden?
An Egyptian measurement unit for land roughly equivalent to an acre
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What did British land and tax officials argue?
The tax system should be immediately equalised to prevent rebellion and to promote agricultural investment
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What did Baring do?
Put off equalisation
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Why did he do this?
He was constrained by other budgetary requirements and cautious of upsetting the large landowners
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What did this lead to?
Agriculture was boosted by improved irrigation, its development was hindered by the
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Why was there reduced investment in education?
Baring believed that secondary education was not the responsibility of the government
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What did this lead to?
Baring's refusal to fund secondary education reduced the upward mobility of the fellahin
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What did Baring do in 1901?
Raised tuition fees in existing primary schools to decrease enrolment
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What did Baring believe would happen if there was too much progress too quickly?
It would destabilise society, believed that the responsibility of the governing class was to ensure material prosperity
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What was Baring's greatest weakness?
Underestimating the strength of nationalism
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What happened in 1892 that saw the growth of Egyptian nationalism?
Tewfik died in 1892, was succeeded by his son Abbas Hilami
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What did Abbas do against the British?
Abbas went to France in the hopes of changing opinion against the British
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Who did Baring blame?
The new khedive
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What did this mean?
He was oblivious to the growth of fellahin nationalism
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What was the Egyptian position in the Sudan?
In 1821 Egyptian control had gone from charging the Sudanese leader a formal tribute to formal occupation and administrative control
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Who had Khedive Ismail appointed in 1873?
General Gordon
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What was Gordon appointed to do?
End the slave trade, which was embedded in Sudanese culture
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What was the impact of Gordon's work?
Destabilised the economy and social control by groups
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Slave traders were some of the most powerful people in society
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Who was Muhammad Ahmad?
A religious leader who proclaimed himself the mahdi, the redeemer of Islam
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What did the mahdi capitalise on?
Resentment against Egyptian taxes and authority
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How did Gordon contribute to this situation?
The attack on slavetraders left a gap in Sudanese society; removed the only leaders who could have opposed the mahdi
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What did Gladstone and Baring fear?
The problems of Sudan would destabilise their program of financial consolidation in Egypt
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What did they judge about Egyptian authority over the Sudan?
They judged that the Egyptians were unable to rule the Sudan effectively
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What did they come to the conclusion of?
Egyptian garrisons in the Sudan (often under the command of Englishmen) should be evacuated
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Why were they eager that Britain should not be drawn into the Sudan?
Britain had no strategic interests or economic interests in the Sudan
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What is it thought that Gordon was trying to achieve in the Nile Valley?
Sought to generate enough publicity to change government policy from one of evacuation to one of intervention
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What else could be argued?
Gordon's orders were impossible to carry out without adequate re-enforcement
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What was Gordon driven by?
His Christian principles
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What did Gordon do instead of evacuating the garrison?
Wiring plans to London for handing over authority to an anti-mahdist popular figure; refused to be evacuated because there were still people to be evacuated
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What did Gordon think of Baring?
Gordon held Baring in contempt; blaming the politicians for his predicament
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How did the press react to the siege of Khartoum?
Followed it exhaustively, there was a campaign for a relief operation to be organised
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What happened to Gordon?
The mahdi broke through the fortifications at Khartoum on the 26 January; his decapitated head was presented to the mahdi
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How did the public react?
They blamed Gladstone for delaying a relief expedition, an uncoded telegram sent from the Queen blaming him for the death of Gordon became public knowledge
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How did the media brand Gladstone?
From the GOM (Grand Old Man of politics) to the MOG (Murderer of Gordon)
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How did Gladstone's cabinet react?
Found it very easy to accept that Sudan should be left to the mahdi
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What motivated them to consider this?
Their assessment of the difficulties of trying to annex the area, combined with the threat from Russia
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In the long-term how did the death of Gordon affect the imperial project?
It made a deep impact on decision-makers such as Lord Kitchener, sent to quell the mahdi in the 1890s
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Why did many people support the British annexation of the source of the Nile?
In order to protect British interests in Egypt, Britain had to control the source of Nile
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When did Salisbury order his campaign to secure the source of the Nile?
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What had the situation been in the 1880s?
The partition of Africa had not yet taken place
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How had this changed by the 1890s?
The map of Africa looked very different because of the Scramble for Africa
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What could Salisbury be described as?
A skilled player of Great Power politics
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What two existential threats motivated British policy in North Africa?
The centuries-old Anglo-French rivalry, found its latest expression in the control of the headwaters of the Nile
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What was the second existential threat?
Fear of the newly-emergent Islamist movement led by the mahdi
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What convinced Salisbury that the time was right for a show of force against the Islamists?
The defeat of the Italians at the Battle of Adowa
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What was he worried about?
The spread of pan-Islamism into Egypt
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In 1890, what had Britain declared?
The whole of the Nile Valley was its sphere of influence
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Who recognised this?
Italy, Germany and Belgium: not the French
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What did Sir Edward Grey tell the Commons in 1894?
French interference in the Nile Valley would be interpreted by the British as an unfriendly act
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What became clear to Salisbury?
Britain's interests must move forward to a more visible presence in the Sudan
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What did he expect that this would achieve?
It would thwart French expansionism and protect the amount of water available for cotton field irrigation
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What was the French ambition in Africa?
Linking its Western colonies with its port in Djibouti
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What happened at Fashoda in 1898?
The two armed forces met, at almost the exact point where British and French imperial interests met
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What was the French force?
A tiny French force of 120 men under Marchand
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What happened when Kitchener arrived?
He opened his sealed envelope from Salisbury which instructed him to establish a British claim over the whole of the Upper Nile
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What did the two parties agree to do?
Refer the matter to London and Paris
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What influenced Kitchener?
On the relief mission to rescue Gordon, he had met Gordon
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What were Kitchener's campaigns in the Sudan?
Methodical; equipped with the most modern weapons
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How did Kitchener exceed the original objective?
The initial objective was Dongola, yet the entire mahdist garrison was wiped out at Ferekh in 1896
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What did this lead to?
Salisbury was happy to expand the campaign to the retaking of the entirety of Sudan
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When Khartoum was retaken, what happened?
Ordered that the tomb of the mahdi be opened to prevent it becoming a place of pilgrimage, mahdi decapitated
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How did Baring view this?
After it was debated in Parliament, Baring had to intervene to ensure the mahdi was buried with decency
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What actions of Kitchener's outraged those in Britain?
Kitchener's actions in the Sudan, and his use of concentration camps in the Boer War, outraged anti-imperialists in Britain
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How did Salisbury refer to the mahdi?
"One of the vilest despotisms ever seen"
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What helped the British at Omdurman?
The Maxim gun
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What were the mahdist casualties at Omdurman?
10,000 dead: 5,000 wounded
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What were the British casualties at Omdurman?
47 dead: 382 wounded
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What did Churchill say in the book The River War (1899)?
Atrocities were committed against the mahdist wounded, criticising Kitchener for not reissuing the order before the Battle of Atbara that wounded soldiers be spared
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After Omdurman, what was the British position in the Nile Valley?
British had effective control of all of the Nile Valley; Sudan became a part of the British Empire; the fiction that Sudan was ruled by Egypt was maintained during the veiled protectorate
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What effect did this have on Britain?


It worried British ministers, they feared that other European powers would gain territory from its collapse

Card 3


What colonial ventures were ongoing at this period of time?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What opened in 1869, further complicating the situation?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Why was the Suez Canal so important?


Preview of the front of card 5
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