Muhammad 'Ali

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Muhammad 'Ali

biographical name

(born 1769, Kavala, Macedonia, Ottoman Empire—died Aug. 2, 1849, Alexandria, Egypt) Viceroy of Egypt (1805–48) for the Ottoman Empire and founder of the dynasty that ruled Egypt until 1953. He reorganized Egyptian society in the aftermath of the Napoleonic occupation, eliminating the remnants of the Mamluks (see Mamluk dynasty), restricting native merchants and artisans, and stamping out peasant rebellions. He nationalized most land, introduced the cultivation of cash crops, and attempted to develop modern industry, but his efforts were undermined by a lack of trained workers, the deleterious effects of excessive taxation, and a common disaffection with peasant conscription. He succeeded in securing for his family the hereditary right to rule Egypt and The Sudan (1841), which opened the way to eventual independence from Ottoman domination. See also 'Abbas I.

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