With the declaration of the republic in Egypt in 1953, a chapter in the country's history that had begun in 1805 with the arrival of Mohamed Ali Pasha in power came to an end. The century and half that spanned the rule of the Mohamed Ali dynasty started with the Pasha's dreams of ruling over a major regional power that would be the inheritor of the ailing Ottoman empire, setting out to modernise the country and placing a strong emphasis on the development of military prowess, and ended with the arrival of the Free Officers in power and the ascendancy of Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who nurtured similar dreams. In both cases these dreams were thwarted at the hands of the world powers of the day.
Many national and international institutions will be commemorating the bicentenary of Mohammed Ali Pasha's coming to power this year, and we will be marking the occasion throughout the year by creating a space for discussion of documents from the period and offering a platform for the many scholarly debates and controversies surrounding the making of modern Egypt.
In choosing to begin the series with a consideration of the final years of the last reigning member of the dynasty, King Farouk I, we hope to shed light on the early years of the republic in Egypt and the complex relationship between Egypt's new rulers and its deposed king.
However, this valedictory note is intended as just the beginning of a series of articles and features by specialists dealing with different aspects, moments and episodes in the vital chapter of Egyptian history that took place between 1805 and 1953, when the country was ruled by successive members of the Mohamed Ali dynasty. It is our hope that this series will help to bring the considerable achievements of this period into focus, as well as seeking answers to the question of what went wrong.