Before Egypt became a part of the British empire, it had been invaded by many populations including the Arabs and the Turks, respectively. In 1882, Egypt officially came under the rule of the Brits when they successfully ended a revolt against the Turkish rulers. Though Britain declared its independence in 1922, British troops remained there until the mid-1950s. The U.S. State Department attributes this to Britain’s desire to maintain control of the Suez Canal.
On July 22-23, 1952 Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser ousted then King Farouk. One year later Egypt was declared a republic on June 19, 1953.
Three years later, in 1956, Nasser was elected president. While in office, Nasser promoted the concept of “Arabism” (aka: Arab Nationalism) which sought to unify every Arab by creating a single nation. Though an Arab “superstate” was never created during Nasser’s reign, the idea of Egyptian leadership of the Arab world was immensely popular at the time.
In the same year he was elected, Nasser made bold moves during what came to be known as the Suez Crisis. His actions during the crisis turned Nasser into the darling of Egypt.
The Suez Crisis