Nizip, Battle of (1839)

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town, now in southern turkey, where egyptian forces defeated the ottoman army on 24 june 1839, prompting the european powers to take steps to push egypt out of syria.

Throughout the spring of 1839, the Ottoman Empire encouraged unrest along the border between Anatolia and its former Syrian provinces, which had been captured in 1831 by the armies of Egypt's Muhammad Ali Pashawho named his son Ibrahim Pasha to govern them. Ibrahim at first refrained from responding to Ottoman activities, but was forced to mobilize when the Ottomans struck south across the Euphrates river in June. The two armies clashed at the town of Nizip, resulting in a crushing defeat of the Ottomans. Ibrahim immediately advanced north toward Konya, halting only when his father, who was worried about the impact that this move might have on regional diplomacy, ordered him not to go beyond the Taurus mountains. Meanwhile, an Ottoman fleet that had been sent to attack Alexandria in Egypt voluntarily surrendered to Muhammad Ali.

At the height of the crisis, the Ottoman sultan died. His successor had little choice but to enter negotiations with the victorious Egyptians. Egypt demanded control of the southern Turkish districts of Diyarbakir and Urfawhich commanded the primary trade routes between Syria and northern Iraq. The British government interpreted these demands as a direct threat to British interests in the region. France, on the other hand, signaled that it supported Egypt. Britain eventually persuaded Russia, Austria, and Prussia to agree to cooperate in expelling the Egyptian army from Syria, a commitment which was codified in the London Convention of July 1840. British warships then bombarded the Mediterranean ports of Beirut and Acre, forcing Ibrahim to withdraw his troops from all of Syria. Muhammad Ali returned the captured Ottoman fleet in exchange for recognition as the hereditary ruler of Egypt, which the Ottoman sultan granted on February 13, 1841. France returned to the European concert in July 1841, signing the Straits Convention with the other great powers.

see also london convention; muhammad ali; straits convention.


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

Rodkey, Frederick S. The Turco-Egyptian Question in the Relations of England, France, and Russia, 18321841. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1924.

fred h. lawson