James Whidden
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in Egypt
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British residence in Egypt was facilitated by commercial treaties, the 'Capitulations'. The British first entered into such agreements with the Ottoman Empire in 1580, when 200 Capitulations were granted to the English Crown to enable trade. The relationships between Ottomans and British were defined more by ambiguity than cross-cultural harmony, but far from the animosity between foreigners and locals that, apparently, characterised relations of the post-1800 period. The Capitulations enabled this organisation of the foreign communities and their control over the economy and the Egyptian government, which created the 'bridgehead' for colonisation. In the nineteenth century, the Barker family's formal relationship with the Egyptian ruler fitted a patron-and-client type. The 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty certainly reduced the scope of British business. The result was to give an economic impetus towards nationalisation of industry, invigorating economic nationalism. The Second World War also exhausted the British community in multiple ways.

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British colony, imperial capital


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