History Opinion

On this day: Egypt’s (partial) independence, 1922

King Ahmed Fuad I of Egypt replaced the title of Sultan with King when the United Kingdom unilaterally declared Egyptian independence in 1922.

Photo credit: “Egypt Grunge Flag” by Nicolas Raymond is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Today marks the 101st anniversary of Egypt’s partial independence from the British empire and its colonial rule. British rule began in 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War and ended in 1956 following the Suez Crisis. However February 28th, 1922 was a significant date on the Black calendar when the British relinquished full control of Egypt’s internal affairs, while still maintaining control of its foreign policy, military, and communication systems. This partial independence was a major milestone in the history of Egypt, ushering in a new era of freedom in the region, and is a reminder of the importance of continuing to fight for liberation and autonomy for Afrikan people across the world.

Due to growing nationalism, the Egyptian revolution of 1919 against British colonial rule of Egypt and Sudan, and the subsequent suggestion of Britain’s High Commissioner, Lord Allenby “to retain the goodwill of those political elements [between Britain and Egypt],” the British empire unilaterally declared Egyptian independence on 28 February 1922, abolishing the Protectorate, martial law (which began in 1914 when Britain proclaimed a protectorate over Egypt) and establishing an independent Kingdom of Egypt.

Although Egypt gained partial independence, it still remained under the control of the British empire in some respects. The British still maintained a large military presence in the country, as well as considerable economic and political control. This partial independence was a victory for the Egyptians, but it was also a reminder of the long road ahead to full autonomy.

Although the unilateral declaration met the Egyptian nationalists’ immediate demands for an end to the protectorate the struggles for Egypt’s full independence would continue for decades. However, this partial independence was an important victory for the country’s people. It also served as an example to other nations that were still under colonial rule. The successful fight for partial independence has inspired many other liberation struggles around the world and helped to shape the global landscape of freedom and justice.

In the years since 1922, the Egyptians have continued to fight for their freedom and autonomy. They have made significant progress in this regard, with the government taking greater control of the country and its resources. However, there is still much work to be done, and this day in 1922 should serve as a reminder of the importance of continuing to fight for total liberation and autonomy.

The legacy of Egypt’s partial independence from the British empire is one of resilience and determination. It is a reminder of the power of liberation struggles and the importance of self-determination for all oppressed peoples. While Egypt’s independence was only partial, it was a major step forward for a country that had been under the thumb of foreign powers for centuries.

The most notable legacy of Egypt’s partial independence is the establishment of a sovereign government. The country implemented a new constitution in 1923 and elected representatives and popularly elected Saad Zaghlul, a revolutionary as its first prime minister in 1924, allowing it to begin to govern itself and chart its own path. Since then, Egypt has gone through many changes, including the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, and the election of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In addition to a sovereign government, the legacy of Egyptian independence includes a strong sense of national pride. Egyptians today take great pride in their culture, history, and traditions. This pride is evident in its rich cultural heritage, which is seen in its art, architecture, music, and literature.

The fight for full independence is ongoing, yet we must recognize and celebrate the progress that has been made. Egypt’s partial independence from the British empire has left a lasting legacy that has shaped the country’s politics, culture, and identity. From the establishment of a sovereign government to the commitment to human rights, it is clear that the country has come a long way since 1922. As Egypt continues to develop and progress, the spirit of independence and national pride will remain a lasting reminder of this important milestone.

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