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Ismail Pasha(ĭs'mäēl päshä`), 1830–95, ruler of Egypt (1863–79), son of Ibrahim Pasha. He succeeded his uncle Said Pasha as ruler. Ismail used the Egyptian cotton crop, enormously enhanced in value by the American Civil War, to obtain credits for grandiose schemes, including irrigation projects, schools, palaces, the construction of the Suez Canal, and the extension of Egyptian rule in Sudan. Much of the money was wasted, and the country was seriously involved in debt. In 1875, Ismail was forced to sell to Great Britain his stockholdings (some 44%) in the Suez Canal, and in 1876 he was obliged to place the finances of Egypt under the control of a debt commission that represented the French and British bondholders. His attempt to throw off foreign control in 1879 was answered by the Ottoman sultan's deposing him in favor of his son Tewfik Pasha. In 1866, Ismail received the title khedive (viceroy), which his successors also enjoyed.
Born Dec. 31, 1830, in Cairo; died Mar. 2, 1895, in Istanbul. Ruler of Egypt from 1863 to 1879.
In 1867, Ismail received the title of khedive from the Turkish sultan. He was able to broaden the autonomy of Egypt, formally considered part of the Ottoman Empire. He put through reforms that objectively promoted the country’s capitalist development. For the realization of his plans, he resorted to loans from European powers. In an effort to free the country from the financial control established over Egypt in 1876 by the European powers, he attempted to make contact with the national liberation movement. This resulted in his removal from office by the Turkish sultan at the insistence of the Europeans.