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Ismail Pasha

Ismail Pasha (ĭsˌmäēl päshäˈ) [key], 1830–95, ruler of Egypt (1863–79), son of Ibrahim Pasha. He succeeded his uncle Said Pasha as ruler. Ismail used the Egyptian cotton crop, enormously enhanced in value by the American Civil War, to obtain credits for grandiose schemes, including irrigation projects, schools, palaces, the construction of the Suez Canal, and the extension of Egyptian rule in Sudan. Much of the money was wasted, and the country was seriously involved in debt. In 1875, Ismail was forced to sell to Great Britain his stockholdings (some 44%) in the Suez Canal, and in 1876 he was obliged to place the finances of Egypt under the control of a debt commission that represented the French and British bondholders. His attempt to throw off foreign control in 1879 was answered by the Ottoman sultan's deposing him in favor of his son Tewfik Pasha. In 1866, Ismail received the title khedive (viceroy), which his successors also enjoyed.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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