Biography of Abbas Hilmi II (1874-1944)

Last Egyptian khedive born in Alexandria on July 14, 1874 and died in Geneva in 1944. It was khedive of Egypt between 1892 and 1914. For the most part his Government was a mere puppet, subjected to the direct control of the British authorities. His full name was Abbas Hilmi Pasha.

He was son of Mehemet Tawfiq, khedive of Egypt, and the Princess Emineh Hanen. He/She received a Western education. He/She was educated with his brother in the Colegio Teresiano of Vienna. After the death of his father, that took place on January 7, 1892, he/she returned to Egypt to be named khedive. When he/she was only eighteen years of age, received from the Ottoman Empire the investiture on March 26, 1892, in accordance with the Decree of the Ottoman sultan on Egypt 1866, by which the succession in power in the country passed from brother to brother, to go from child to child. While Egypt was under British occupation since 1882, it was nominally under Turkish sovereignty. The following year he/she made an official visit to the sultan in Constantinople. At the end of 1893 he/she married Ikbal Hanem, a young slave woman of Circassian origin.

Shortly after assuming power tried to free themselves from British tutelage, and to win popular favor suppressed various taxes. Supported by popular discontent because of the increase in the British influence over Egypt, he/she appointed Prime Minister Nubar low, who was famous for his opposition to the British. However could not prevent control of successive British residents, lord Cromer and lord Gorst. His Government then was subject to the control of the British authorities, which marked him the road to continue with its policy. The British resident lord Cromer pushed him to build the Aswan Dam and the reservoir of the Delta. The British official pressures were fundamental so that it fell even more taxes to farmers and commercial activity, notably developed while taking measures to limit the area of movement of the viceroy.

Cromer and Kitchener interventions were decisive in 1895 to its Prime Minister Nubar low cease, and instead appoint Mustafá Fahmi, very close to the British. New Prime Minister was wrapped in a strong scandal next year to allow Egypt's debt case take out the funds needed to finance the anglo-egipcia expedition to Sudan, which had as its mission the conquest of Dongola. This action was considered illegal by the British courts. The British presence was that the education system was abandoned, and that any separatist tendency would be eliminated. For his Government counted with the participation of two figures in the history of Egypt: Muhammad Abduh, reformer of the University of al - Azhar, and Sad Zaglul, Minister of education and justice, and in 1913, first Vice-President of the Parliament. Annoyed by their lack of freedom Abbas Hilmi began antagonizing the British, which had the support of the people, who for the most part was fond of nationalist tendencies.

In order to get rid of the British tutelage he/she began to provide financial assistance to the nationalist parties and the anti-British journal al - Mu´ayyad. When, in 1906, the nationalists demanded the immediate implementation of a constitutional Government in Egyptian, Abbas Hilmi, who at the time was going through a good moment in their relations with the British, was opposed to their requests. However the following year supported the formation of the legalist national party, which sought to counter the Ummah party, moderate nationalist, who was supported by the British. Throughout his term, Abbas Hilmi maintained relations rather ambiguous with the nationalists, although he/she objected to the nationalization of the regime applied to the founder of the legalist national party, Mustafá Kamil, low title.

In 1912 lord Kitchener was appointed British consul-general in Egypt. He/She ordered the exile or imprisonment of top leaders of the nationalist party, cut still more powers of Abbas Hilmi. At the outbreak of world war tried to rise to the Egyptian people against the British. It launched an appeal to Egyptian and Sudanese population that support the central powers to fight against the British. Taking advantage of their stay in Turkey invited by the sultan was overthrown by the British colonial authorities. An official decree stated that Abbas Hilmi was "The last khedive of Egypt" the British declared a protectorate over Egypt and named sultan to Prince Husayn Kamal, the largest of the descendants of Mehemet Ali. Abbas Hilmi departed for exile, establishing his residence in Switzerland. In 1922 when Egypt was declared independent, Abbas lost all their rights to the throne. He/She summed up his experience of Government in the book published in 1930 entitled A Few Words on the Anglo-Egyptian Settlement.


CROMER, E.B., Abbas II. London, 1915.