Colonial life
in Egypt
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Before the First World War, according to John Young, Cairo was an 'Oriental capital of Turkish Pashas, Harims, Black Eunuchs, and domestic slavery'. The portrait of colonial society offered in Young's memoirs also reflected pomp. In the same pre-war era, Humphrey Bowman's diaries and letters give the impression that empire allowed young middle-class men to aspire to be gentlemen. Leisure activity was essential to establishing necessary contacts in society. On the one hand, colonial Egypt was a locale to establish an imperial career where social manners were carefully policed; on the other, colonials were notorious for defying conventions. Wealthy or high-status British normally had a large household of servants. Domestics were employed by many British residents, certainly all those seeking status. Indeed, colonial life carried on quite impervious to the war or Egypt's enduring political battles with the British.


British colony, imperial capital


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