Mehemet Ali, Or Mohammed All, pasha of Egypt, born at Kavala, Macedonia, in 1769, died in Cairo, Aug. 2,1849. He lost his father at an early age, and was brought up by the governor of the town. Soon after reaching manhood he was made a collector of taxes, and buluJc bashi, or commander of a body of infantry, and received a rich relation of the governor in marriage. He next became a tobacco merchant, and had acquired considerable property when in 1799 he was sent to Egypt as second in command of the contingent of 300 men furnished by his native place to the Turkish army, despatched to carry on the war against the French expedition commanded by Bonaparte. Soon after his arrival he succeeded to the principal command of his corps, with the rank of bim bashi or commander of 1,000 men. His ability attracted the notice of the pasha and of the soldiers, and he soon became one of the most distinguished and popular military chiefs in Egypt. After the expulsion of the French a civil war broke out between the Turks and the Mamelukes, in which Mehe-met Ali took an active part.
The Albanians in the service of the pasha revolted because they could not get their pay, and after several conflicts in Cairo they became masters of the city, under the direction of Mehemet Ali. A long and confused struggle now ensued between various factions, the result of which was that in May, 1805, Mehemet Ali was invested with the supreme authority by the principal inhabitants of Cairo, as the only man capable of restoring order; and shortly afterward his elevation was confirmed and made legal by a firman from the sultan. But although he possessed the title of pasha of Egypt, his authority did not actually extend beyond the walls of Cairo, as everywhere in the country the Mameluke beys were still in rebellion. Some time afterward a considerable body of the beys, who with their followers had encamped not far from Cairo, were enticed into making an attempt to seize upon the city. They forced an entrance by a gate purposely left undefended, and marched triumphantly through the streets until they were suddenly surrounded by the troops of the pasha, who slaughtered them without mercy, a few only breaking through and escaping. The rest of the Mamelukes fled to Upper Egypt, whither Mehemet Ali pursued them with a considerable force.
He had defeated them near Sioot when the arrival of a British expedition at Alexandria, March 17, 1807,consistingof 5,000 men under Gen. Eraser, led him to conclude a truce with the beys, and to promise to comply with all their demands if they would cooperate against the invaders. Most of them agreed to his proposals, and were marching against the British, when Gen. Eraser, who had been already several times defeated by the pasha's troops and had lost about 1,000 men, retreated and left the country, Sept. 14. Many of the beys now took up their abode in Cairo, and for three or four years Egypt was comparatively tranquil, notwithstanding occasional battles between the Mamelukes and the pasha's troops, in one of which the latter was signally beaten. At length, on March 1, 1811, Mehemet Ali enticed all the Mamelukes in Cairo into the citadel on pretence of witnessing the ceremony of investing his son Tnsnn with the command of an army to be suit against the Wahabees in Arabia. The gate- of the fortress were then closed upon them, and they were killed to the number of 470. Immediately afterward the pasha's officers and soldiers throughout Egypt massacred all the Mamelukes within their reach. The few who escaped fled to Nubia, where they dwindled away till the corps became extinct.
These energetic proceedings established the power of Mehemet Ali, and gave to Egypt an internal tranquillity unknown for ages, and which has lasted to the present time. Tusun Pasha was now sent with 8,000 men against the Wahabees, from whom he recaptured the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, and whose leader he took prisoner. He subsequently met witli disasters, and in 1813 Mehemet himself went to Arabia to conduct the war. He was successful, and in 1815 returned to Egypt after concluding a treaty with the Wahabee chiefs. He now made an attempt to introduce European discipline into his army; but a formidable mutiny breaking out in consequence, he temporarily abandoned his design. The Wahabees not having fulfilled the conditions of the late treaty, he sent his son Ibrahim against them in 1816, with an army composed in part of the recent mutineers. The expedition succeeded in capturing El-Derayeh, the Wahabee capital (1818), and in suppressing all armed opposition in Arabia to the sultan's power. Mehemet Ali now turned his attention to the improvement of manufactures in Egypt, and to the revival of the commerce of the country.
He also caused the construction, at an enormous sacrifice of the laborers from sickness and want, of a great canal from Alexandria to the Nile. In 1820 his youngest son Ismail was sent with an army to conquer Sennaar, and to collect captives to be sent to Cairo with the view of forming them into an army in the European manner. Sennaar, Dongola, and Kor-dofan were subdued: and although in 1822 Ismail was surprised and with his retinue burned alive by a native chieftain, these provinces have since remained subject to Egypt. The captives taken in Sennaar and Kordofan were trained by French officers, and in 1823 the annv thus organized amounted to 24,000 men. In 1*824 Ibrahim Pasha was sent with a powerful fleet to assist the Turks in suppressing the Greek insurrection. The fleet was engaged at Navarino (1827), and Ibrahim supported the contest till in 1828 the European powers compelled him to evacuate the Morea. In 1831 Mehemet Ali sent an army of 38,000 men into Syria under command of Ibrahim. This step brought him into immediate conflict with his suzerain the sultan, to whom he still professed allegiance.
Ibrahim took Acre after a long siege, and rapidly overran Syria, defeating the Turks in a great battle at Horns in July, 1832. He then advanced into Asia Minor, and at Konieh encountered the grand vizier Reshid Pasha with 60,000 men, his own army being less than 30,000. The Turks were routed, Reshid was made prisoner, and Ibrahim was within six days' march of Constantinople, when the European powers intervened and compelled Mehemet Ali, in May, 1833, to accept a treaty by which the whole of Syria and the district of Adana in Asia Minor were ceded to him, besides the island of Can-dia, which he had formerly received for his services in Greece. The sultan was not disposed to submit quietly to the losses inflicted by his rebellious vassal; and in June, 1839, after long preparation, the Turkish fleet sailed for Egypt, and an army of 80,000 men commanded by Hafiz Pasha invaded Syria. It was met by Ibrahim with 46,000 men at Nizib, June 24, and utterly routed in less than two hours. Hardly had the news of this triumph reached Alexandria when the Egyptian fleet entered that port, bringing with it the whole Turkish fleet, which had through treachery surrendered without a battle.
The Turkish empire was again preserved from destruction by the intervention in 1810 of Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, although France, under the short ministry of Thiers, strongly favored Mehemet Ali. Alexandria was blockaded, and a British fleet bombarded and captured Beyrout and Aere. Terrified by these vigorous demonstrations, Mehemet Ali early in 1841 accepted terms of peace dictated by the allies, by which the pashalic of Egypt was secured to him and his descendants, on condition of paying one quarter of bis clear revenues to the sultan as tribute, restoring to him his fleet and the Syrian provinces, and limiting his own army to 18,000 men. Henceforth Mehemet Ali devoted himself to the internal improvement of Egypt. The administration of the government was reformed on European models and under European advice. With few exceptions all former usages were destroyed, and an entirely new system of government was formed Cot-tun was largely cultivated, and many extensive manufactures were created. In 1847 Mehemet Ali for the first time visited Constantinople, where he was well received, and had the rank of vizier conferred upon him.
In 1848 he became imbecile from age, and his son Ibrahim was appointed viceroy in his stead; but the latter died two months afterward while his father yet lived, and was succeeded by his nephew Abbas Pasha.