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Nizam al-Jadid, al-


regular egyptian army of the early nineteenth century, established by muhammad ali pasha, consisting of conscripted men trained in the european style.

In 1805, as soon as Muhammad Ali Pasha gained some independence from the Ottoman Empire and consolidated his position as wali (provincial governor) in Cairo, he began conscripting skilled laborers to work on government projects. His model was the conscript armed force instituted by Ottoman Sultan Selim III. The existing Egyptian military force, to which the Mamluks (powerful landlords) sent their own retainers for use by the state, was then replaced by 1822 with a new, drafted, regular army called al-nizam al-jadid.

The first four thousand men called up came from Upper Egypt. Those from the region between Manfalut and Qina were assembled at a training camp near Farshut, and those from the region between Qina and Aswan were gathered in Aswan. Their initial tour of duty was set at three years. Their replacements were selected from lists of prospective draftees drawn up by the officers in charge of the training camps as part of a comprehensive system of village census taking. Conscripts were drilled according to European procedures and organized into defined regiments, with a centralized command structure to supervise the distribution of arms, clothing, and other equipment. State officials even orchestrated a propaganda campaign in support of the new army, urging prominent religious scholars to write treatises sanctioning these innovative practices.

Regular infantry and artillery units were complemented by a flotilla of warships built along European lines in government yards. Both the new army and navy played major roles in the Egyptian campaigns in the Aegean Sea and Syria after 1824. Both were also strictly limited by Britain after Muhammad Ali's capitulation to the European powers in 1838. Thus ended this army.

see also muhammad ali.


Lawson, Fred H. The Social Origins of Egyptian Expansionism during the Muhammad Ali Period. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Marsot, Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid. Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

fred h. lawson

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