Egyptian Revolution of 1919
After the First World War, Egypt sought out for its own independence. This move was also influenced by Woodrow Wilson, who argued for self-determination at the Versailles conference. Shortly after WWI ended, Egypt created a wafd, or delegation, to press for Egyptian independence from Britain. The wafd was led by Saad Zaghlul and other prominent nationalists. By November 13, 1918, Zaghlul and two other Egyptian officials demanded independence from Britain with the concession that Britain continue to control the Suez Canal and regulate Egypt’s public debt. Sir Reginald Wingate, the British high commissioner, promptly refused to on behalf of the British. The British then arrested and deported Zaghlul and other members of the wafd. This sparked revolts all around Egypt and led to massive bloodshed between the British armed forces and the population. Demonstrations led by students, officials, professionals and women paralyzed the country. The British continued to try and quell the demonstrations with force. Upper-class women, led by Zaghlul’s wife, also staged demonstrations, opening up Egyptian women into public life. They organized boycotts against foreign goods, and wrote petitions on behalf of their deported husbands. Lower-class men demonstrated alongside men. Finally, Wingate was replaced by the British war hero General Edmund Allenby, who agreed to free Zaghlul and his colleagues. The nationalists signed a statement that urged the people of Egypt to stop demonstrating and travelled to Paris to garner support for an Egyptian independence.