Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt - Early Career

Early Career

Ibrahim's origins remain unclear. He is sometimes referred to as the "adopted" son of the Albanian Muhammad Ali, said to have been born close to Drama to a repudiated Greek Christian woman. In this account, Ibrahim's mother succeeded in marrying Muhammad Ali, who immediately adopted her child as his own son, giving him the name of Ibrahim and bringing him up in both the Ottoman culture and the Muslim faith. The rumor of Ibrahim's non-Muslim origins may have been made up by a French consul who had been insulted by the pasha.

What is generally accepted is that he was born in 1789, he was Ali's biological son (and second child) by his first wife. It is further known that he was born in the Ottoman province of Rumelia, in what is now the western parts of Macedonian region in Greece.

In 1805, during his father's struggle to establish himself as ruler of Egypt, the adolescent Ibrahim, at 16, was sent as a hostage to the Ottoman captain Pasha (admiral). However, Ibrahim was allowed to return to Egypt once his father was recognised as Wāli of Egypt by the Ottoman Sultan, and had defeated the British military expedition of Major General Alexander Mackenzie-Fraser.

When Muhammad Ali went to Arabia to prosecute the war against the Al-Sauds in 1813, Ibrahim was left in command of Upper Egypt. He continued the war with the broken power of the Mameluks, whom he suppressed. In 1816, he succeeded his brother Tusun Pasha in command of the Egyptian forces in Arabia.

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