Ibrahim Pasha

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Portrait of Ibrahim Pasha by Charles-Philippe Larivière

Ibrahim Pascha al Wali ( Arabic إبراهيم باشا) (* 1789 in Nusretli, Ottoman Empire ; † November 10, 1848 in Cairo ) fought as an Ottoman-Egyptian general in the Ottoman-Saudi War , in the Greek Revolution , conquered Syria and was then Wali (governor) of the Ottoman provinces until 1841 in the Levant (Acre, Damascus, Tripoli and Aleppo). When his father Muhammad Ali fell mentally ill in 1848, he was for a short time the hereditary wali of the Ottoman province of Egypt . He died on November 10, 1848 before his father.


Fight against the Mamluks and Wahhabis

Ibrahim was born as the eldest son of Muhammad Ali and Emine in Nusretli (today's village of Nikiforos in the Drama regional district ). In the middle of the 19th century, in the midst of the succession disputes within the dynasty over the rule of Egypt , the (so far unsubstantiated) claim emerged that Ibrahim was not the birth but adopted son of Muhammad Ali and that he came from Amine's previous marriage. Ibrahim spent his childhood and youth in Kavala . After Muhammad Ali was able to assert himself in the power struggle against the Mameluks and against the Ottoman central government following the French occupation and was appointed Ottoman governor on July 9, 1805, he had his wife and children, including Ibrahim, come to Cairo. He immediately appointed Ibrahim as the fortress commander of the Citadel of Cairo . In 1806, Muhammad Ali undertook to pay tribute in several installments to the Ottoman government in return for being allowed to remain in office (his removal was originally intended). He sent Ibrahim to Constantinople as pledge , returned a year before the debt was settled and became Defterdar . As a commander he took part in the campaign against the Mamelukes. After the Mamelukes were defeated in Upper Egypt in 1810 , he was appointed governor of Lower Egypt in 1812 , where he drove out the Mamelukes who fled to Sudan. As Defterdar he was responsible for the expropriation and surveying of all private land holdings (1811 in Upper Egypt, 1814 in Lower Egypt).

When Muhammad Ali went to war against the Wahhabis on behalf of the Ottoman Sultan in 1811 , Ibrahim was left behind as the commander in Upper Egypt . He continued to drive out the Mamluks. In 1816 he succeeded his brother Tusun as commander of the Egyptian armed forces in Arabia. Muhammad Ali had already begun introducing European discipline into the army , and Ibrahim had likely received appropriate training, but his first campaigns were more in the old Asian style than his later operations. The campaign in Arabia lasted two years and ended in the destruction of the Wahhabis as political power.

Ibrahim's campaign against the Wahhabis

Ibrahim landed on September 30, 1816 in Yanbu , the port of Medina . In March 1818 Ibrahim reached Diriyya , the nucleus of Wahabiism. After very fierce fighting and six months of siege with heavy artillery, he forced the city to surrender in September. This enabled him to force the Wahhabi leader Abdallah I ibn Saud to give up. On December 11, 1819, he entered Cairo triumphantly .

The Greek Revolution

On his return he supported the French Colonel Sève (Süleyman Pascha) , who had been commissioned to drill the army according to the European model. Ibrahim set an example by submitting himself to the drill as a recruit. In 1821 he was commissioned by his father to take part in his brother Ismael's campaign to conquer Sudan . Ibrahim left Cairo in January 1821 and reunited with his brother on October 22nd in Sennar . In 1822 he had to return to Cairo due to illness. In 1824, when Muhammad Ali was appointed wali of Morea by the Sultan to help against the rebellious Greeks, he sent Ibrahim with a fleet of 17,000 men. The expedition set sail in July 1824, but was unable to do more than a steady “coming and going” for months. The fear of the Greek fire stopped his trip to the Peloponnese (then: Morea). When his Greek sailors mutinied because of outstanding wages, he landed in Modon on February 26, 1825 . Ibrahim's operations were forceful and cruel. He easily defeated the Greeks in the open field, and although the siege of Messolongi brought heavy losses to his own and Turkish troops, he brought it to a successful conclusion on April 24, 1826. However, the Greek guerrillas plagued his army and in retaliation he ravaged the country and sent thousands of residents into slavery in Egypt. These repression measures aroused great outrage in Europe and first led to the intervention of the English, French and Russian squadrons (see Battle of Navarino ), then to the landing of a French expeditionary force, the Morea Expedition . He fought in the Peloponnese until he was forced to surrender by the western powers on October 1, 1828 and left the country according to the terms of the surrender. English officers who saw him at Navarino's described him as short, fat, and disfigured by smallpox, but his obesity would not have diminished his activities on the battlefield.

The conquest of Syria

Ibrahim Pascha, lithograph by Gabriel Decker

After his father's argument with the Porte became apparent in 1831 , Ibrahim was commissioned to conquer Syria and Palestine . He carried out his task with remarkable energy. After a heavy siege, he took Akko on May 27, 1832 , where he set up a hospital for the many wounded in the citadel . He occupied Damascus on June 18 , defeated the Turkish army at Homs on July 8, and another at Beilan on July 29 . After these victories Ibrahim Pasha invaded Anatolia and advanced towards Istanbul . On December 21st he defeated the Grand Vizier at Konya . No doubt Colonel Sève and the European officers in the army were of help, but his docility to their advice and his personal audacity and energy stand to advantage against the indolence, ignorance and vanity of the Turkish generals facing him. He can claim diplomatic judgment and sensitivity for securing popular support and taking advantage of their rivalries. On April 8, 1833, the peace of Kütahya was concluded and Muhammad Ali's rule over Syria was recognized for the time being. After the campaign of 1832/33 Ibrahim stayed as a Wali in Syria. His government was significantly affected by the taxes he had to collect on his father, so that rebellions broke out.

Wali of Syria and Palestine

As a Wali in Syria and Palestine, he carried out reforms in line with the French Revolution; by installing secular courts of law, he broke for the first time in Islam with the unlimited validity of Sharia law ; now Christians and Jews could z. B. be elected to the parish council in Jerusalem . When the religious institutions in Islam called for a revolt, he had them put down with Egyptian troops. For the first time in Islam, Christians were allowed to carry weapons. In Lebanon, the reform policy was supported by Amir Bashir II. Al-Shehabi, who was expelled in 1840 with the help of the English. It is noteworthy that he first enforced the principle of equality between Muslims and Christians in Islam.

In 1838 the gate felt strong enough to resume the fight. Ibrahim won his last victory for his father at Nizip on June 24, 1839 . But Britain and Austria intervened to preserve the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Their squadrons cut off sea communications with Egypt, a general revolt isolated him in Syria, and he was eventually forced to evacuate the country in February 1841. Ibrahim spent the rest of his life in peace, but his health was in ruins. In 1846 he paid a visit to Western Europe and was received there with respect and great curiosity.

When his father became mentally weak in 1848, Ibrahim traveled to Constantinople in August 1848 to be appointed Vali by Sultan Abdülmecid I. However, since he died before his father, his nephew Abbas followed him .

Offspring (selection)

  • Ahmad Rifat (December 8, 1825 - May 15, 1858)
  • Ismail (December 31, 1830 - March 2, 1895)
  • Mustafa Bahgat 'Ali Fazil (February 22, 1830 - November 11, 1875)



  • Pierre Crabitès: Ibrahim of Egypt. George Routledge, London 1935 (Reprint: (= Routledge Library Editions. Egypt. Vol. 8). Routledge, London et al. 2013, ISBN 978-0-415-81121-7 ).

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard Dichter with Salman cotton (arrangement), Alex Carmel ( arrangement ) and Ejal Jakob Eisler ( arrangement ), עַכּוֹ - אֲתָרִים מִיָּמֵי הַתּוּרְכִּים /عكا: مواقع من العهد التركي(Additional title: Akko, buildings from the Turkish period / Akko, sites from the Turkish period ), University of Haifa / הַמָּכוֹן עַל שֵׁם גֹוֹטְלִיבּ שׁוּמַכֶר לְחֵקֶר פְּעִילוּת הָעֹולָם הַנּוֹצְרִי בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמֵּאָה הַ -19 (Gottlieb Schumacher Institute for Research into the Christian Contribution to the Reconstruction of Palestine in the 19th Century; Ed.), Haifa: הַמָּכוֹן עַל שֵׁם גּוֹטְלִיבּ שׁוּמַכֶר לְחֵקֶר פְּעִילוּת הָעֹולָם הַנּוֹצְרִי בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמֵּאָה הַ -19, 2000, p. 53.

Web links

Commons : Ibrahim Pascha  - collection of images, videos and audio files
predecessor Office successor
Muhammad Ali Pasha Wali of Egypt
Abbas I.