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Egypt Table of Contents

Egypt

Social Change in the Nineteenth Century

During the nineteenth century, the socioeconomic and political foundations of the modern Egyptian state were laid. The transformation of Egypt began with the integration of the economy into the world capitalist system with the result that by the end of the century Egypt had become an exporter of raw materials to Europe and an importer of European manufactured goods. The transformation of Egypt led to the emergence of a ruling elite composed of large landowners of Turco-Circassian origin and the creation of a class of medium-sized landowners of Egyptian origin who played an increasingly important role in the political and economic life of the country. In the countryside, peasants were dispossessed because of debt, and many landless peasants migrated to the cities where they joined the swelling ranks of the underand unemployed. In the cities, a professional middle class emerged composed of civil servants, lawyers, teachers, and technicians. Finally, Western ideas and cultural forms were introduced into the country.

Data as of December 1990