This day in history: Abbas Helmy II becomes Egypt’s Khedive

Khedive Abbas Helmy II was crowned on this day in 1892. Helmy–the last khedive, or viceroy, of Egypt and Sudan and a major figure during the British occupation–was born on 14 July 1874. He was the eldest son of Khedive Tawfiq.

Helmy initially used nationalism as a means of restisting the occupation. One year after assuming office, he dismissed the cabinet of Mostafa Fahmy Pasha, a British loyalist, leading to a crisis in the occupation. He also challenged the British High Commissioner Lord Cromer and funded the anti-British newspaper Al-Mu'ayyad, which raised his popularity. He was enthroned on 8 January 1892 after his father died. 

Later, Helmy began to cooperate with the British and focused on reform policies. But the British still believed he was plotting against their reign, and deposed him on 19 September 1914, taking advantage of his presence abroad and the impending world war. He was barred from returning and replaced by his uncle Hussein Kamel.

He remained in exile from then on in Switzerland and died on 19 December 1944 at age of 70.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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