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Religious leaders in morocco however united against

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Unformatted text preview: well. In the 1400s, as Portugal sailed southward along the coast of Africa, searching for a sea route around Africa to India, it had seized a number of ports on the coast of Morocco. Religious leaders in Morocco, however, united against the Christian threat, and in 1578, Portugal was decisively defeated, and its expansion into Africa stopped. The 'Alawite dynasty, that still rules Morocco today, came to power in the late 1600s. They defeated the Berbers with the help of Arab tribes that had emigrated into northern Africa in the Middle Ages and with a professional army of black Africans— descendants of the slaves who had been brought back after the Moroccan defeat of the Songhai empire (see week 2). After an initial period of civil war among the ‘Alawite royal family (which ended in 1757), Morocco became stable and prosperous. Trade with Europe and the Mediterranean world increased. By the eighteenth century, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, which had been conquered by Suleiman the Magnificent and incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century, had evolved into autonomous states that were, in name, subject to the Ottoman Sultan, Essentials of Modern World History. Wk 8: Mid-East and North Africa, 1453-1914, © D. G. Rowley, 2004. Rev. 2011. 5 but, in practice, independent. They were involved in the Mediterranean trading system, but also generated considerable income by sponsoring pirates who preyed on shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt Egypt was a subordinate province in the Ottoman Empire until the governing elite was overthrown by Napoleon’s invasion in 1798, and the region was thrown into turmoil. Muhammad Ali, a former Ottoman general, was appointed governor of Egypt in 1805, and he asserted his independence of the Ottoman Empire. Technically, Egypt remained an Ottoman province, but in practice, it behaved like an independent state. Muhammad Ali laid the foundations of the modern state. Like the Ottoman Sultans he introduced western education, and he modernized the military and the administration of the country. Muhammad Ali modernized agriculture by allowing wealthy Egyptians to take land away from subsistence farmers, create cotton plantations, and hire the farmers back at low wages. Cotton farming was given a big boost by British demand during the American Civil War when cotton supplies were cut off by the Union blockade of southern ports. Muhammad Ali also promoted industry and borrowed a large amount of money from the European powers to do so. One of his successors hired a French engineering firm to dig the Suez Canal (connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea), but this turned out to be a mistake. It put Egypt even deeper in debt, and it attracted the interest of England, who saw the canal as of key strategic importance to its control over India. England now felt it needed to control Egypt, and the opportunity came in 1875, when Egypt went bankrupt and England bought the Egyptian government’s controlling shares in the Suez Canal....
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