State and Society in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Egypt

Publication Year



Ehud R. Toledano, Ph.D. 1979

Previous studies of nineteenth-century Egypt have often been premature in identifying the existence of an independent nation state. In a way which will permanently affect our view of Egyptian history, this book argues that in the mid-nineteenth-century period Egypt was still an Ottoman province, with a provincial Ottoman elite which was only gradually becoming Egyptian. Part one discusses the creation of a dynastic order in Egypt, especially under Abbas Pasa (1848-1854), and the formation of an Ottoman-Egyptian ruling class. Part two deals with the non-elite groups, the vast majority of Egypt's population. A final chapter offers a convincing picture of the social and cultural life of the period in a way which has never before been attempted in a Middle East context. The author's valuable knowledge of Ottoman and Arabic as well as European documents and his use of a wide variety of sources, including police and court records, chronicles and travel literature, have enabled him to make an important contribution to a neglected period of Egyptian history and indeed to our understanding of other provinces and dependencies in the region.

Table of Contents

List of plates
Note on transliteration, dates, and references
Introduction: the forgotten years
Part I. The Ottoman-Egyptian Elite in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century: Introduction
1. Dissent and opposition
2. Creation of a dynastic order
3. The mainstay of dynastic order - the elite
4. The realities of office holding
5. The demon-image of Abbas Pasa: evidence and counter-evidence
6. The demon-image as a product of elite culture
Part II. The Social Divide and the Life of the Lower Strata: Introduction
7. The great social divide in Egyptian society
8. The rural squeeze - pressure and resistance in the countryside
9. Rural migrants and urban attitudes
10. The urban squeeze
11. The network of urban control
12. The use of unappropriated time

Series Title
Cambridge Middle East library
Series Volume
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York
Cloth: 0521371945; paper: 9780521534536