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Baring, Evelyn, 1st earl of Cromer

Baring, Evelyn, 1st earl of Cromer (1841–1917). Proconsul. Baring's father was an MP and younger brother of the great banker Lord Ashburton, his mother the daughter of an admiral, and the family seat at Cromer Hall (Norfolk). Baring spent the years 1858–72 in the Royal Artillery and then went to India as private secretary to his cousin, Lord Northbrook, the viceroy. In 1877 he began his life's work when he was sent as commissioner to Egypt to attempt the enormous task of placing its finances and administration on a firm footing. For thirty years he was the effective power in the land, comptroller-general from 1879 to 1880, consul-general 1883–1907. Restoration of Egyptian solvency meant withdrawal from the Sudan and Baring acquiesced, with misgivings, in the choice of Gordon to carry out the task, watching helplessly when Gordon was trapped and overwhelmed at Khartoum. Not until the 1890s was Kitchener able to restore Egyptian control over the Sudan. Baring, meanwhile, accumulated honours—a barony in 1892, viscountcy in 1899, and earldom in 1901. Edward VII gave him the Order of Merit in 1906. He retired from ill-health in 1907 and published a two-volume work on Modern Egypt the following year.

J. A. Cannon

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Cromer, Evelyn Baring, 1st earl of

Evelyn Baring Cromer, 1st earl of (ēv´lĬn bâr´Ĭng krō´mər), 1841–1917, British administrator in Egypt. Appointed (1877) first British commissioner of the Egyptian public debt office, he directed investigations by France and England into the bankrupt administration of Ismail Pasha. After the deposition of Ismail and accession of Tewfik Pasha, Baring became (1879) British controller general in Egypt. He was (1880–83) finance minister in India and returned to Egypt after Arabi Pasha's nationalist revolt to become British agent and consul general in 1883. Until his resignation in 1907, Baring (created Baron Cromer in 1892 and earl in 1901) was the virtual ruler of Egypt. Faced with the Mahdist rebellion in Sudan, he recommended Egyptian withdrawal and only reluctantly agreed to the appointment of Charles George Gordon to arrange the evacuation. He reformed Egyptian finances, administration, and education; improved the railroads; and developed methods of agriculture and irrigation. After the reconquest (1896–98) of Sudan, he devised the Anglo-Egyptian system of government. Cromer was a Greek scholar and wrote books on imperial and Egyptian affairs.

See study by J. Marlowe (1970).

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