France’s Policy Towards the Egyptian Question in 1838-1840 A Study in the Light of Unpublished British Foreign Office Documents

Yousef Hussein Omar


The Egyptian Question (the relations of the Ottoman Empire with Egypt under Muhammad Ali Pasha) affected France’s relations with the European countries and the Ottoman Empire and almost led to general war between them. To study the Egyptian Question this article uses a descriptive historical method that relies on unpublished British Foreign Office (F.O) documents. The article begins with the origins of the Egyptian Question in 1831 up to the second phase of the conflict between the Ottoman Empire and Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1838. The article then turns to the position of France regarding the attempts of Mohamed Ali Pasha to achieve independence from the Ottoman Empire and solutions to resolve that issue, France’s position on the signing of the Commercial Convention of Balta-Liman on 16 August 1838, the Battle of Nizip on 24 June 1839, the declaration of reforms of the Hatti Şerif Gülhane on 3 November 1839, and the French military escalation and reasons for it up to the signing of the London Convention on 15 July 1840. This article also discusses the reasons why France rejected the decisions of the London Convention and later accepted them and the European military efforts that led to an end of the Egyptian Question.


French Foreign Relations in the 19th Century; Egyptian-Ottoman Relations in the 19th Century; Eastern Question; Mohammed Ali Pasha.


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