SOME ACCOUNT OF EGYPT AND THE SUDAN
 WHEN Queen Victoria came to the throne, Egypt, though nominally part of the empire of Turkey, was practically in
the hands of a self-made Albanian soldier, Mehemet Ali by name.
To realize how Britain came to play such a large part in the government of Egypt during the Victorian era, it
is necessary to understand something about this Mehemet Ali and his successors.
By means of his military genius; intrigue, and personal ambition, Mehemet Ali, though still a vassal of the
Sultan, had risen step by step till he became the independent ruler of the land of Egypt. He conquered the
Sudan, and Khartum was founded under his rule. He formed a regular army for the better security of his people,
he introduced European civilization, and improved the water-supply. He revived the prosperity of Alexandria by
digging a canal to reconnect it with the Nile, and he more than doubled the revenue of the country. During his
rule the overland route from Europe to India was first used, and Europeans were thus brought into the country.
A new line of English steamers—the Peninsular and Oriental (P. & O.) landed passengers and mails at
Alexandria, from which port they were conveyed overland on camels and donkeys to Suez, whence steamers took
them on to India.
 In 1842 it was agreed by the Western Powers that Mehemet Ali should, under the Sultan, become hereditary ruler
of Egypt. Seven years later he died, and was succeeded by his grandson Abbas.
This Abbas refused to have any dealings with Europe, though he permitted a railway to be undertaken from
Alexandria to Cairo, and encouraged the overland route. It was not till 1839 that, under his successor, Said
Pasha, the cutting of the Suez Canal was begun by a Frenchman, Ferdinand de Lesseps. It was opened in 1869 by
Said's successor, Ismail, whose title had been changed from Pasha to Khedive—a Persian word for "Prince
Meanwhile great progress had been made. Telegraph wires had been carried through the land, reaching as far as
Khartum, capital of the Sudan. Ismail had extended the authority of Egypt right away to the great lakes in
But the new Khedive was reckless and extravagant, and the "money of Egypt ran between his fingers like the
desert sand", till at last financial difficulties obliged him to raise money by selling his shares in the Suez
Canal—shares which were bought by Lord Beaconsfield on behalf of the British Government.
Meanwhile, a few isolated Englishmen were exploring Egypt to the south, to discover the sources of the great
life-giving Nile, on which the whole prosperity of Egypt depended.
In the spring of 1861, Sir Samuel Baker and his enterprising Hungarian wife left Cairo on an expedition into
the Sudan. Leaving Cairo, the Bakers
 sailed up the Nile for nearly a month to Korosko, whence they struck across the desert: a week on camels,
under scorching desert sun, brought them to Abu Harried, another week to Khartum, a miserable, unhealthy
village, composed of huts built of unburnt bricks, at the junction of the White and Blue Niles. Khartum was
full of merchants and slave-traders; dishonesty, deceit, cruelty, and fraud raged, and justice was almost
SIR SAMUEL BAKER.
Through opposition and discouragement the Bakers made their way on to Gondokoro, the first English to enter
this country of the ivory trade from the north. What was their astonish when, one day, two Englishmen
staggered into the straggling village, thin, wasted, fever-stricken; their knees showed through their
trousers, their hair and beards were long and ragged.
Speke and Grant had made their way from the East Coast of Africa, and discovered an immense lake, which they
had named Victoria Nyanza, after the Queen. They had heard there was another lake
 beyond, but fierce tribes had made it impossible for them to reach it.
The Bakers now started off with renewed zest to complete the discoveries of Speke and Grant, who returned to
England by the Nile and Egypt. This was the end of March 1863. After a year of tremendous toil, they were
rewarded one day by seeing from the summit of a hill the great new lake "like a sea of quicksilver", far
beneath them. They at once named it Lake Albert Nyanza, after the Prince Consort who had died in England but
two years before. After five years' exploring, they carried home their glad news.
But Baker had seen too much of the miseries of the black population of the Sudan to rest at home. The year
1869 found him back in the equatorial provinces, with supreme authority over all the countries around
Gondokoro. He was the first Englishman to fill a high post in the Egyptian service, with orders to suppress
the slave-trade and open up the country for commerce.
J. A. GRANT.
 In 1873 Charles Gordon took up the work. The name of Gordon will ever call up a vision of the Sudan—not,
indeed, the more prosperous Sudan of to-day, but a land of oppression and injustice, of cruelty and slavery
and suffering, a land for which he finally laid down his life.
For three years Gordon contended manfully and almost single-handed with fearful difficulties. He never spared
himself; he rode about on his camel vast distances under scorching sun, over wastes of burning desert, meeting
and dispersing in the Khedive's name savage bands of slave-holders. Sometimes he would go up the Nile, to find
slaves smuggled down in innocent-looking boats with cargoes of wood and ivory. On being stopped, a hundred
black, woolly heads would appear, and the slave-owner would tremble at finding himself face to face with the
angry Governor of the Equatorial Provinces. Having established a chain of armed posts along the Nile and
extended the Khedive's dominions to the Albert Nyanza, having laboured amid loneliness and solitude for three
 years, Gordon resigned his task, and returned to England for a much-needed rest.
NILE TRADING BOATS.
Simply enough he summed up his work in the far Sudan: "I have cut off the slave-traders in their
 strongholds, and made the people love me." But no competent successor was appointed, and with Gordon's
departure, all hope of suppressing the slave-trade in those vast regions to the south perished for the