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Abbas I of Egypt

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Abbas I of Egypt

Abbas Hilmi I

Wāli of Egypt and Sudan

Reign 10 November 1848 – 2 August 1849 (as Regent of Egypt and Sudan)
2 August 1849 – 13 July 1854 (as Wāli of Egypt and Sudan)[1][2]
Predecessor Ibrahim Pasha
Successor Sa'id Pasha
  • Mahivech
  • Chazdil
  • Hawaya
  • Hamdam
  • Perlanet
Issue İbrahim İlhami
Mehmed Sadık
Ayşe Sadıka
Arabic عباس حلمي الأول
Dynasty Muhammad Ali Dynasty
Father Tusun Pasha
Mother Bambakadin
Born 1 July 1812
Jeddah, Hejaz
Died 13 July 1854(1854-07-13) (aged 42)
Banha, Egypt

Abbas I (1 July 1812 – 13 July 1854), (Arabic: عباس الأول ‎),[3] also known as Abbas Hilmi I Pasha or Abbas Pasha was the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan. He was a son of Tusun Pasha, and a grandson of Muhammad Ali, founder of the reigning Muhammad Ali Dynasty of Egypt and Sudan. The Chambers Biographical Dictionary says of him: "[b]igoted and sensual, he did much to undo the progress made under Muhammad Ali."[4]

Early years

Abbas was born on 1 July 1812 in Jeddah and was brought up in Cairo.[5] Being the grandson of Muhammad Ali, he succeeded his uncle Ibrahim Pasha in ruling Egypt and Sudan in 1848.[6][7]

According to al-Jabarti, the leading historian of this time period, Abbas I was born in Cairo while his father, Tusun Pasha, was in the Hejaz fighting against the Wahabist movement. As a young man, he fought in the Levant under his uncle Ibrahim Pasha in the Syrian War.[8] Muhammad Ali Pasha was removed from office on 1 September 1848, on account of mental weakness. He was replaced by his adopted son Ibrahim Pasha, who reigned briefly as Regent of Egypt and Sudan from 1 September 1848 until his death on 10 November 1848. The death of Ibrahim made Abbas I, in turn, Regent of Egypt and Sudan from 10 November 1848 until 2 August 1849 (the date of Muhammad Ali Pasha's death), at which time Abbas became the reigning Wali of Egypt and Sudan until 13 July 1854).[6]

Ruler of Egypt

Abbas has been often described as a mere voluptuary, but Nubar Pasha spoke of him as a true gentleman of the "old school".[6] He was seen as reactionary, morose, and taciturn, and spent nearly all his time in his palace.[3] He undid, as far as lay in his power, the works of his grandfather, both good and bad. Among other things he abolished trade monopolies, closed factories and schools, and reduced the strength of the region's army to 9,000 men.[6] He also shut down construction of the Delta Dam and opposed the construction of the Suez Canal.[3][8]

He was inaccessible to adventurers bent on plundering Egypt and Sudan of riches, and kicked out all foreign business; however at the insistence of the British government, he allowed the construction of a railway from Alexandria to Cairo, in return the British assisted him in a dispute with the Ottoman Empire.[3][9] due to his policies to Europeans and their influence, he was not liked by them and in time his reputation was exaggerated and demonized to portray him as worse than he actually was.[10] After he died the number of Europeans in Egypt rose drastically from 3,000, in 1850, to 90,000, in 1882, and 200,000 by 1900.[10]

During the Crimean War he gave the Sultan of Turkey use of his naval fleet and 15,000 soldiers.[9]

Personal interests

Among his personal interests was the breeding of Arabian horses, continuing a breeding program begun by Muhammad Ali. While Egypt was not particularly known for horse-breeding in the time, the rulers of Egypt obtained horses as payment for taxes and tribute. Muhammad Ali and Abbas I both recognized the unique characteristics and careful attention to bloodlines of the horses bred by the bedouin, particularly in the Anazeh and the Nejd. Thus each ruler accumulated significant numbers of high quality animals through both diplomacy and force.


On 13 July 1854,[9] Abbas was murdered in Benha Palace by two of his slaves,[3] and was later succeeded by his uncle (who was actually younger than him), Said Pasha.[6][11]

Following his assassination, his Arabian horses were inherited by his eighteen year old son Ibrahim Ilhami Pasha (aka El Hami Pasha), who had little interest in them, giving away several and putting the rest up for auction. In 1861, a distant relative, Ali Pasha Sherif purchased approximately 30 horses of the original Abbas Pasha stock and rebuilt the horse breeding program.


year name Nation Ribbon
Order of the August Portrait Ottoman Empire
1849 Order of Glory Ottoman Empire
1853 Order of Nobility, 1st Class Ottoman Empire
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross Kingdom of Sardinia


  1. ^ Williams 1999, p. 248
  2. ^ Williams 1999, p. 253
  3. ^ a b c d e Hoiberg 2010, p. 8
  4. ^ Thorne 1984, p. 1
  5. ^ Goldschmidt, Jr. 2000, p. 2
  6. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911, p. 9
  7. ^ Anon 2009
  8. ^ a b Magnusson & Goring 1990, p. 2
  9. ^ a b c Vucinich 1997, p. 7
  10. ^ a b Stearns 2001, p. 543
  11. ^ Stearns 2001, p. 542


  • Anon (20 July 2009). "14-Mohamed Ali's Dynasty". Egypt: State Information Service. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014. 
  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abbas I". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A – Androphagi (11th ed.). New York, NY: The Encyclopedia Britannica Company.  

External links

Abbas I of Egypt
Born: July 1, 1812 Died: July 13, 1854
Preceded by
Ibrahim Pasha
Wāli of Egypt and Sudan
Succeeded by
Sa'id Pasha
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