We will write a custom Research Paper on Russia-Ottoman Empire Relations and Egypt’s Role specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Egypt as a guarantee of the British position
It is almost impossible to examine the issue of Russia and the Ottoman Empire without mentioning the position that Egypt assumed during this period. Egypt played an important role in Britain’s scramble to gain and maintain its territories during the 19th-century. It acted as the source of security for the British Empire in India and due to its strategic location between the two regions. Egypt had a strong relationship with the Indian empire.
As a result, the East of Suez became an important route that helped to facilitate the implementation of the British policy. Imperial India became Greater India and the sub-empire compared to the other Asian countries. This sub-empire, which extended from Aden to Burma, had its influence extended to the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Tibet. The coast of East Africa was also known to be part of the greater India.
From an economic perspective, the disbursement made to the Indian army that purely consisted of British soldiers largely relied on the agrarian income. India also witnessed the establishment of the largest ports and railway networks outside the western world. Therefore, “its merchants, migrants and laborers, its British-owned banks and agency-houses, and its strategic position on the marine trunk road to East Asia made up the engine of Anglo-Indian expansion, an enterprise under both British and Indian management” (Darwin, 9-10).
Roles which Egypt plays
Egypt played two important roles in the British Empire during this period. Firstly, it was important for the empire’s position in the Mediterranean region. Secondly, it was integrated into Britain’s plan for the African scramble, a move that was purely meant to safeguard its old India-based empire, including its wealth in Australia. Hence, Britain purposed to secure a huge portion of West and East Africa since it had easier access through the East (Judd, 127).
Following its opening in the late 1860s, the Suez Canal also offered an inexpensive means for the Anglo-Indian business compared to the extensive and conventional sea route that involved moving around the Cape of Good Hope. India also offered an affordable military backup for the British Empire. Specifically, Britain did not incur any expenses to cater for the army. The British Empire used the army in its campaigns in China, Persia, Abyssinia, Egypt, Nyasaland, Sudan, and other territories (Judd, 77-78).
An obstacle for the Ottoman Empire
Hence, from the above expositions, “The value of India as the second center of British world power became more than ever an axiom of British thinking…without India as one of its four grand components, the British world system would have been without some of the vital sources of its security, stability and cohesion” (Darwin, 181). As a result, Egypt stood out as among the most precious and complex assets that the British Empire could boast of in the 19th century.
It was strategically positioned to serve the interests of British people. For instance, it was positioned in the northeastern part of Africa and across from the Arabic countries of the Persian Gulf. British occupied Egypt because the latter country’s location favored the interests of the former.
The Ottomans faced significant challenges when trying to uphold the morals of their lands. With minorities such as Greece calling for their sovereignty from the Ottoman regime and Australian and Russian interests in Balkan, the Ottomans grew weaker by the day, hence enabling Britain to prevent them from oppressing the challenged classes of people. After stopping the Ottomans, the British army targeted to deploy the old kingdom to be in charge of the French and the Russian interests, hence getting hold of the routes to India via the Ottoman Empire (Levine, 89-90).
Britain’s virtual occupation of Egypt was contrary to the laid down imperialist expansion policies. “Egypt was an exposed salient on the rim of Europe, a great hostage to diplomatic fortune.” With the failure of the Ottoman kingdom, the eastern Mediterranean now turned to be the center of clashes concerning European politics. Ottoman kingdom had close relations with Egypt. They both shared the same interests as far as the British Empire was concerned. Hence, it was in the best interest of Britain to use diplomatic means, for instance, by incorporating Turkey, to defend its territorial share, which was comparable to the size of Egypt. Starting from 1885 up to 1890, Britain had deployed six unparalleled warships to secure its Mediterranean region (Darwin, 75-77).