Sa'id of Egypt

Mohamed Sa'id Pasha (Arabic: محمد سعيد باشا, Turkish: Mehmed Said Paşa, March 17, 1822 – January 17, 1863) was the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan from 1854 until 1863, officially owing fealty to the Ottoman Sultan but in practice exercising virtual independence. He was the fourth son of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Sa'id was a Francophone, educated in Paris.

Mohamed Sa'id Pasha
Mehmed Said Paşa
محمد سعيد باشا
Wāli of Egypt and Sudan
Reign1854 - 1863
PredecessorAbbas I
SuccessorIsma'il Pasha
Born17 March 1822
Cairo, Egypt
Died17 January 1863 (aged 40)
Cairo, Egypt
Hosh al-Basha, Imam-i Shafi'i Mausoleum, Cairo, Egypt
SpouseInji Hanim
Melekber Hanim
DynastyMuhammad Ali Dynasty
FatherMohammed Ali Pasha
MotherAyn al-Hayat Khanum

Under Sa'id's rule there were several law, land and tax reforms. Some modernization of Egyptian and Sudanese infrastructure also occurred using western loans. In 1854 the first act of concession of land for the Suez Canal was granted, to a French businessman Ferdinand de Lesseps. The British opposed a Frenchman building the canal and persuaded the Ottoman Empire to deny its permission for two years.

Sudan had been conquered by his father in 1821 and incorporated into his Egyptian realm, mainly in order to seize slaves for his army. Slave raids (the annual 'razzia') also ventured beyond Sudan into Kordofan and Ethiopia. Facing European pressure to abolish official Egyptian slave raids in the Sudan, Sa'id issued a decree banning raids. Freelance slave traders ignored his decree.

When the American Civil War brought a cotton famine, the export of Egyptian cotton surged during Sa'id's rule to become the main source for European mills. At the behest of Napoleon III in 1863, Sa'id dispatched part of a Sudanese battalion to help put down a rebellion against the Second Mexican Empire.

Under Sa'id's rule the influence of sheikhs was curbed and many Bedouin reverted to nomadic raiding.

In 1854 he established the Bank of Egypt. In the same year Egypt's first standard gauge railway was opened, between Kafr el-Zayyat on the Rosetta branch of the Nile and Alexandria.[1] In addition, he founded the Medjidieh, a precursor to the Khedivial Mail Line.

Sa'id's heir presumptive, Ahmad Rifaat, drowned in 1858 at Kafr el-Zayyat when a railway train on which he was travelling fell off a car float into the Nile.[2] Therefore, when Sa'id died in January 1863 he was succeeded by his nephew Ismail.

The Mediterranean port of Port Said is named after him.

He married twice, to a first wife Inji Hanimefendi without issue, and to a second wife Melekber Hanimefendi with two sons, Mohamed Toussoun Pasha and Mahmoud Pasha.

He is buried in Hosh al-Basha the Royal Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i, Cairo, Egypt.




  1. Hughes, Hugh (1981). Middle East Railways. Continental Railway Circle. p. 13. ISBN 0-9503469-7-7.
  2. Hughes, 1981, page 17
  3. Le livre d'or de l'ordre de Léopold et de la croix de fer, Volume 1 /Ferdinand Veldekens

Further reading

Sa'id of Egypt
Born: 1822 Died: 1863
Preceded by
Abbas I
Wāli of Egypt and Sudan
Succeeded by
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