The Pasha

How Mehemet Ali Defied the West, 1839–1841


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About the Book

With striking parallels to recent confrontations in Iraq, this is the story of the first Western international coalition to suppress an aggressive Middle Eastern ruler. The challenger was Mehemet Ali Pasha, called the founder of modern Egypt. Convinced that the Europeans would never be able to unite against him, he sought, with charm, brilliance and bravado, to create a powerful Muslim counterweight to the encroaching West.
Drawing on research on three continents, this timely book takes the reader into the heart of a crisis as France, Great Britain, the Ottoman government and the Pasha of Egypt maneuver to defend their interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Here are the passionate debates among French and British politicians as they struggle to control the Pasha without provoking a European war. Here are the battlefields—from the Euphrates to Beirut—on which Mehemet Ali’s modernizing forces created the facts that fed the crisis. Here are the Sultan’s ministers at Istanbul, buffeted by the threats of European ambassadors. And here, in confrontation, is the fascinating Mehemet Ali Pasha, in constant conversation with those seeking to deflect him from his dangerous ambition. As France began the fortification of Paris, as Prussia contemplated the French threat of a war on the Rhine and as British warships flooded the Mediterranean, Mehemet Ali sat cross-legged on his sumptuous divan, looking from his palace out over his beautiful fleet at anchor in the bay of Alexandria, and challenged the western world.

About the Author(s)

Letitia W. Ufford, an independent scholar, received her Ph.D. in Middle Eastern history from Columbia University.

Bibliographic Details

Letitia W. Ufford
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 271
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, maps, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2893-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1860-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1
Chronology      3
List of Notable Persons      5
Introduction      9

1. The Pasha at Alexandria: June 14–15, 1839      15
2. In the Sultan’s Camp: May–June 1839      22
3. Father and Son: Northern Syria, June 1839      31
4. Nizib: Near the Euphrates, June 20–24, 1839      38
5. France Seeks a Role: Spring and Summer 1839      47
6. The First Debate: Paris, July 1–3, 1839      53
7. The Sultan and His Men: June–July 1839      59
8. Joy at Ras at-Tin: July 4–20, 1839      67
9. Diplomacy at Istanbul: July 1839–April 1840      74
10. Lord Palmerston Takes the Reins: September–December 1839      82
11. Guizot and the London Convention: February–July 1840      89
12. Ruling Syria: 1833–1840      100
13. The Revolt in Mount Lebanon: June–July 1840      107
14. Monsieur Thiers’s Game: July–October 1840      115
15. Preparing for War: May–September 1840      124
16. Beirut: July–September 1840      131
17. The Attack on Beirut: September 9–11, 1840      137
18. The Camp at Juniyah: September–October 1840      142
19. A Scattered Army: July 1839–August 1840      150
20. Defending Syria: June–November 1840      158
21. The Coalition in Combat: October 9–10, 1840      166
22. Naval Guns and Ancient Fortresses: September–November 1840      174
23. Walewski Returns: October 14–November 26, 1840      182
24. The Pasha and the Commodore: November 15, 1840–February 4, 1841      187
25. Conflict in the Cabinet: July–October 1840      196
26. Who Will Bear the Blame? Paris, November 25–December 3, 1840      203
27. Retreat from Damascus: November 1840–February 1841      214
28. The End Game: February–August 1841      222
29. Palmerston on the Hustings: Tiverton, July 31, 1847      232
30. Epilogue: 1841–1849      233
31. Kaleidoscope      237

Chapter Notes      239
Bibliography      249
Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Detailed descriptions…maps are very well done”—The Journal of Military History
  • “The Pasha lets the diplomatic crisis unfold as understood and experienced by the principal actors, giving it the dramatic quality of theatre”—L. Carl Bown, Foreign Affairs
  • “A fascinating account”—Afaf Lutfi al Sayyid Marsot, author of Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali.