Sunday, May 31, 2015

Abbas I (Egypt) and his well dressed sequel

That's Abbas I (Egypt)  on the left and Abbas II (Egypt) on the right. I gotta say that Abbas II had some good fashion sense. The hat and the mustache are just fantastic. (This comes from a guy who generally thinks beards are far superior to mustaches.)

Abbas I was ruler of Egypt 1848-1854. He didn't really like change. He undid everything his grandfather did. He abolished trade monopolies (sounds good), closed factories and schools (not so good), and reduced the region's army to 9000 men. He also shut down the Delta Dam and opposed construction of the Suez Canal.

Despite being the grandson of Muhammad Ali, he was unable to fight off two slaves who throttled him to death.

Abbas II ruled Egypt from 1892 to 1914. He seems to have started out cooperating with the British, but over the years he started playing both sides of the fence. It doesn't seem to have mattered though because in general he had no real political power. When you're the leader of the country and you suddenly learn from Archduke Ferdinand who learned from a British Army officer that your army invaded Sudan, well, you're probably not as in command as your title would indicate.

Abbas II was somewhat more successful than Abbas I in the sense that he managed not to get murdered, although he did get hurt during an assassination attempt in 1914 about 4 months before he lost power.

He eventually retired to Switzerland and died in Geneva at age 70. Living to age 70 is a pretty good accomplishment for a semi-autocratic ruler, so I say congrats.

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