67 Years Ago: Egypt Overthrows British Colonial Rule

Today, the 23rd of July 2019, marks the 67th anniversary of the 1952 Revolution, when Egypt finally gained independence from decades of British rule. On this day, a group of Egyptian military officers known as the Free Officers Movement overthrew the country’s British-backed monarchy effectively ending the British Empire’s colonial grip over Egypt.

The British occupation of Egypt started in 1882 and by 1952, King Farouk was widely seen as corrupt and a puppet of the UK’s interests. Years of discontent with him and his government preceded the 23rd of July 1952 revolt. On the morning of that day, one of the members of the Free Officers Movement, Anwar Sadat, who would later become Egypt’s third president in 1970, read out a statement declaring that the Egyptian army had taken over the country.

At the same time, another one of the movement’s leading members, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s second president to be, was busy consolidating the Free Officers’ control of the country by arresting officers loyal to the king and seizing the military headquarters in Cairo. Farouk was forced to abdicate the throne making his infant son, the Crown Prince Ahmed Fouad, the new king of Egypt. Three days later on the 26th of July, Farouk and his family were sent into exile, leaving Egypt on a yacht under the Egyptian army’s protection, setting off to Italy.

A year later, the monarchy was abolished and Egypt was declared a republic, with the leader of the Free Officers Movement, Mohamed Naguib, becoming the country’s first ever president, ushering in a new era of Egyptian governance. He was arguably Egypt’s first native ruler as an independent country for over 2000 years.

Below is a series of pictures of Egyptians taking to the streets over this tumultuous period, protesting against the British occupation and the monarchy, celebrating the July Revolution, and supporting the new regime. The pictures range over a timespan of three years from 1951 to 1954.

All images provided courtesy of Ahram Online except where noted otherwise.

Photo: Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Photo: Marefa.org

WE SAID THIS: This event inspired many anti-colonial movements across the Middle East and Africa.

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