Migratory flows (16th–19th century)


Abbas I (1848-1854)

Grandson of Mohammad Ali, in his youth, he fought in Syria under the command of Ibrahim Pasha, his uncle (supposedly so). Thanks to the British, he succeeded him in November 1848. Fiercely opposed to the modernisation and reforms brought in by his predecessors, he expelled European advisors, suppressed trade monopolies, closed down factories, and schools and reduced the size of the Egyptian army bringing its strength down to 9000 men. Closer to the Porte, he sent troops to the Crimea. He was seen as an uncouth, old-fashioned and silent man who rarely left his palace. He was murdered in 1854 by two slaves and his uncle Said Pasha succeeded him.

Abd al-Malîk

Abu Marwan Abd Al-Malik 5th Saadian Sultan 1576-1578. He took refuge in Istanbul during the reign of his brother Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557-1578), he enjoyed the backing of the Ottomans and succeeded in ascending the throne in 1576 after numerous battles against his nephew Mohammed Al-Moutawakil a.k.a. Abdallah Mohammed (1574-1576). Considered a shrewd politician, he pursued an even handed policy with the Iberians and the Ottomans. He also established sound relations with England under the reign of Elizabeth I. He died at the battle of Wadi al-Makhāzin (4 August 1578) following a plot from the Turkish outfit that had helped him seize power.

Abdallah al-Nadim (1843-1896)

Major political reformer and activist after the failure of the Urabi revolt in 1881. He led non-violent resistance against the British occupation in 1882 and fought corruption, rampant at the Khedive's court. He founded the paper al-Tankit wa-al-Tabkit popular for its satirical broadsides against the authorities. He defended Egyptian liberties and assets against the “foreigners”.

Abdul Hamid II (1842-1918)

34th Ottoman Sultan (1876-1909) known to his opponents as the “Red Sultan”. He acceded to power following a palace revolution lead by the reforming Grand Vizier Mithat Pasha whom he no less dismissed ; and he suspended the 1876 constitution which had established a parliamentary monarchy and guaranteed individual and religious freedom. His reign evinced an authoritarian orientation. Upon suspending the constitution the Sultan would not hesitate to resort to violence against a background in which the Ottoman Empire threatened to implode, squeezed between internal forces voicing national aspirations and the Powers' greed. Several revolts were quelled in blood. The Sultan was deposed then imprisoned by the Young Turks in 1909.

Abou Al-Hassan Mohamed Ben Ali Al-Mandari

Granada commander from Andalousian stock who re-built, or re-founded the city of Tetouan of which he was the governor for several years.

Abu abd-Allah

(Boabdil in Castilian), Abu 'abd-Allah el Zogoybi (the unfortunate) or el Chico (the Little King) c.1459-1532. He succeeded his father in 1482 but was unable to resolve, either by negotiation or by force the internal rivalries between the emirate's leading families. After winning a first victory against the Christian armies in March 1483, he was defeated the next month before the city of Lucena. After five years of imprisonment, he recovered his throne only to be finally crushed by Queen Isabella the Catholic's troops. He found refuge in Fès.

Abu al-Quâsim al-Hajjari (born v.1570)

Renowned Morisco scholar who lived as a New Christian in Spain before fleeing to settle down in Morocco. He became a translator in the Sultan Al-Mansur's palace. In 1611, he is one of the Moroccan emissaries sent to France then to the Low Countries to set up relations between Morocco and those two States. He took the lead in supporting Moriscos expelled from the Iberian Peninsula.

Ahmad I al-Mansur Eddahbi (m. en 1603)

Sixth Saadi Sultan, he seized power after the death of his brother Abd Al Malik at the battle of the Wadi al-Makhāzin (1578) also known as the Battle of the Three Kings or the Battle of Ksar el-Kebir. Al Mansur's reign marks the cultural and artistic rebirth of a Morocco in the making. Its growth is economically sustained by the cultivation of sugar cane on the one hand and, on the other, by the importation from Western Africa of gold seized after his victory over the Songhai Empire. Al Mansur established his empire on the strength of his religious policy and his mastery of balance of power diplomacy in his dealings with the Iberian and Ottoman powers.

Ahmed Shawqi (1870-1932)

Writer, public speaker, dubbed the “Prince of Arab Poets”. Born in Egypt with Turkish, Circassian and Greek origins, he championed Egyptian nationalism. Close to the Khedive until 1914, he was forced into exile by the British between 1914 and 1920.

Alhaj Sidi Kacem

Little is currently known of Alhaj Sidi Kacem bar for his work on several Mosques in Tetouan and in the region.

Ali Bey al Kabir (1728-1773)

Born in the Caucasus, he was sold into slavery in Cairo where he was recruited into the Mamluk force. He sought to shake off the Ottoman domination of Egypt and to extend her hegemony over Palestine and Syria at the expenses of the Sultan. He was removed by his favourite, Mamluk Abu Dahab on 8 May 1773.

Antoine Barthélémy Clot Bey (1793-1868)

After reading medicine in Marseilles and Montpellier, he was drafted in the service of Muhammad Ali in 1825. He set up a military health service and founded a medical school where European teachers were seconded by Arab instructors/translators. Early Lebanese physiscians trained there. Clot fought major epidemics with success and was awarded the title of Bey. He has written several books on his experience of medical practice in Egypt.

Auguste Adib Pacha (1859-1936)

Born in Istanbul migrated to Egypt where he acquired extensive experience in legal and financial matters as chief financial officer. He was chairman of the Alliance Libanaise and stood up for Lebanon's independence and interests. He published Le Liban après la guerre [Lebanon after the War] (Paris, 1918) before settling there as advisor to several French administrators then head of governments twice over.

Bashir II (1767-1851)

Sovereign from the Shihab dynasty that ruled over Mount Lebanon between 1679 and 1840. His father, who had sought in vain to conquer the emirate, had converted to Christianity. He had Bashir baptised in the Maronite rite. Started in 1789, his reign, caught in the prodromes of the Eastern Question, was turbulent. He nevertheless succeeded in establishing a centralised government in his Palace of Beit ed-Dine to the detriment of local lords.

The results of his policies were security, peace, prosperity and cultural flowering. His alliance with Muhammad Ali was, however, fatal to the emirate. Bashir was exiled to Malta in 1840, then to Constantinople where he died in 1851. His mortal remains were repatriated to Beit ed-Dine in 1964 in acknowledgment of his political achievements.

Bechara al-Khoury (1840-1964)

Lawyer and writer, he quitted Egypt on the eve of the Great War. While an adviser for the French High-Commission in Lebanon, he worked towards a rapprochement with Syria and an agreement between Lebanese Christians and Muslims (initiating the 1943 National Pact). He founded the Destour party that held sway between 1932 and 1968. He was the first president of the Lebanese Republic.

Bénédict Pictet (1655-1724)

Geneva pastor and theologian, the author of moral and theology treatises. He saw himself as the guardian of strict Calvinist orthodoxy.

Cardinal Mazarin (1602-1661)

Churchman and statesman. Succeeding Richelieu, he advised Louis XIII and then queen regent Ann of Austria. The power broker during Louis XIV's minority.

Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)

Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu Churchman and statesman, very influential minister of Louis XIII.

Charles Blount

8th Baron Mountjoy (1563-1606) English nobleman, he took part in numerous military campaigns under Elizabeth I, in France, in the Low Countries and in the Azores. Appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1600, he crushed Hugh O'Neil's rebellion and had him sign the Treaty of Mellifont (1603). Disgraced under James I, he died in 1606.

Charles I (1600-1649):

King of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1625, from 1645, he entered into conflict with Parliament. His religious policies so provoked the Puritans that they started a revolution in 1640 that would cost him his life. Defeated by Cromwell's troupes at Naseby in 1645, he was made prisoner and sentenced to death in January 1649.

Charles II (1630-1685)

King of England, King of Scotland and King of Ireland upon the death of his father Charles I, executed in 1649. He spent the 10 first years of his reign in exile on the continent. After Cromwell's death he was recalled to the throne by Parliament in 1660. However, his politics of religious tolerance and his alliance with Louis XIV (his cousin) alienated his parliament with whom he was frequently in conflict. He died in 1685, having been received in the Catholic Church.

Charles V (1500-1558)

Charles V, ruler of the Burgundian Netherlands (1506-1555), King of Spain (1516-1556, King of Sicily (1516-1554) and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (1519-1556), Charles V saw himself as the champion of the Catholic faith. His grand-parents on the maternal side were Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, which explains his interest in the Iberian Peninsula. He was crowned Emperor by the Pope in 1530, fought the Reform and regularly found himself in conflict with the kingdom of France. The Ottoman Empire's advance stalled before Vienna but Charles V did not succeed in checking the Barbary corsairs' domination of the Mediterranean.


Roman emperor from 306 to 337, Constantine adopted policies favouring the interest of the Church, beginning with granting the Christians the same rights as the pagans. He called the ecumenical council in Nicea in 325 and converted to Christianity

Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847)

Irish Catholic politician, known as the Liberator or the Emancipator. Barrister committed to a non violent fight for equality of rights and tolerance in Ireland, he did not join the 1798 rebellion though he condemned it repression. After his election to the House of Commons he could not take his seat as he would have had to give his oath to the sovereigns as head of the Anglican Church, in contempt of his Catholic faith. His struggle led to the Roman Catholic relief Act 1829. However he could not achieve the repeal of the Act of Union. In the House of Commons, he was active in the campaigns for prison and law reform, the abolition of slavery and Jewish emancipation among others. He was also a prominent figure in the campaign for universal suffrage. His funeral drew huge crowds.

Daoud Barakat (1868-1933)

Lebanese journalist, writer and politician. An advocate of democracy, he fled to Egypt to escape Ottoman despotism. A deskman at Al-Mahroussa, he also published articles in Al-Nil, Al-Qahira, going on to create the paper Al-Akhbar. He was chief editor of Al-Haram from 1899 to the end of his life and continues to be a reference in the news world.


The heir to the throne. Louis XIV's son died before his father.

Don John of Austria (1547-1578)

Spanish prince of the house of Habsburg, he was an illegitimate son of Charles V, and thereby half-brother to Philip II of Austria. Having opted for a military career, he lead the Holy League's fleet to victory over the Ottoman at the sea battle of Lepanto in 1571. He conquered Tunis and, between 1576 and 1578, went on to govern the Low Countries before dying of illness.

Eamon De Valera (1882-1975)

Born in New York the son of a Spanish father and an Irish mother, he grew up from the age of two in the home of his peasant farmer Irish grand-parents. Thanks to a scholarship, he was able to study in a Catholic institution and to qualify as a maths teacher. He joined the Gaelic League then the Irish Volunteers. His involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising, leading to his arrest and death sentence turned him into a national hero.

Amnestied in 1917 he was elected as an MP and became president of Sinn Fein. Having originally rejected the December 1921 Anglo-Irish treaty that created the Irish Free Sate, he eventually advocated it against the background of a civil war that set Catholics against each other. His party, Fianna Fáil won the 1932 elections and in 1937 De Valera had a new constitution adopted that established Eire ; thrice the head of government (1932, 1951 and 1957) he would be President of the Republic in 1959 and 1966.

Elisabeth I (1533-1603)

Daughter of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, who was sentenced to death on a charge of adultery. She became queen of England after the untimely death of her half-brother Edward VI (1547-1553) and her elder half-sister Mary Tudor (1553-1558).

Emile Eddé (1883-1949)

Lawyer connected to Bechara El Khoury, He had to flee the Young Turks' government and take refuge in Egypt then in France. He was President of the Republic under the French Mandate.

Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer (1841-1917)

British diplomat, colonial administrator and essayist. In 1879, he was British Controller-General in Egypt, then Consul-General from 1883 to 1907, date of his resignation. Having been raised to the peerage, he sat in the House of Lords. In 1910, he published Ancient and Modern Imperialism in which he compares the Roman and British Empires.

Faris Nimr (1856-1951)

Born in Hasbaya, he also studied in the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. His championing of Darwin's theory forced his resignation. He published a novel, Animat (1908) and several translations.

Farouk I (1920-1965)

His arrival on the throne gave rise to high hopes in the nationalist and Azharian circles. But British politics during World War II and the defeat before Israel in 1948 – added to his extravagant lifestyle hastened his downfall following the revolution led by the Free Officers in 1952. His 7 month old son succeeded him but the Republic was proclaimed the following year.

Fernando de Valor

Fernando de Cordoba y Válor also known as the “king of the Moriscos” was born in the mid 16th century. He converted to Islam and adopted the Muslim name of Muhammad ibn Umayyah (Aben Humeya). A moving force behind the Morisco uprising in the Alpujarras which he lead against Philip II, he was murdered by his cousin, Aben Aboo.

Fouad I (1868-1936)

From 1917 sultan and later king of Egypt after the official recognition of Egypt's full independence by the British in 1922. His European education inspired his desire to equip his country with modern institutions that would release it from British domination. An authoritarian figure, he aimed, short of achieving Caliphal status, to become the key figure in the broadly Muslim Middle-East. He was in regular conflict with his own parliament, controlled by the Wafd (national-liberal) party. His moves to curb the role of Parliament were stalled by public opinion, which forced him to back down.

Francis I (1494-1547)

King of France (1515-1547). A Lover of arts and letters, this king drove the centralisation of his kingdom's administration. He advanced economic growth through sea voyages and waged numerous wars in Europe. His rivalry with Charles V Habsburg lead him to seek closer links with the Ottoman Sultan, bringing about an unforeseen diplomatic configuration. Through the 1528 Act, France obtained trading advantages in Alexandria, privileges that would later be extended to other places and to some subjects of the Empire, hence the principle according to which France saw itself as the protecting power for the Eastern Christians.

Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436-1517)

Spanish cardinal and statesman, he was a trusted adviser to Queen Isabella the Catholic (1451-1504). A member of the Franciscan order, several times Regent of Spain, he undertook to reform the Spanish clergy's practices with a view to ensure a closer observance of the rules. The founder of the University of Alcala de Henares, he directed the redaction of the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, setting in parallel the Hebrew, Greek and Latin versions of the Bible.

Frederick William (1620-1688)

Elector of Brandenburg (one of the princes electing the Holy Roman Emperor, who was in effect the king of Germany), and, from 1640 prince of Prussia. A Reformed Monarch, that is a follower of Calvin, he reigned over a broadly Lutheran people. Ascending to power during the last years of the Thirty Year War, he protected his territories over the course of the treaty negotiation processes and acquired more land during his reign. He saw himself as a champion of Protestantism.

Gabriel Takla Pasha (1889-1943)

Lebanese journalist born in Egypt, having inherited the daily newspaper Al-Ahram, he modernised this press enterprise, making it the first to have its own reporters throughout the world. He was nicknamed “the Society of Nations” because of the number of agents he had. In his capacity as editor in chief of the daily, he would take part in the Montreux Convention that saw the end of the capitulations (1937). He was granted the title of Pasha and was twice elected to the Egyptian parliament.

Grand Duc de Lerma

Don Francisco Gomes de Sandoval y Royas, Duke of Lerma (c. 1552-16-25). Minister of Philip III, he was the first of the validos (powerful favourites) before being disowned by the king in 1618.

Gregory XVI (1765-1846)

Benedictine monk, he was pope from 1765 to 1846. Born to an aristocratic family, he was deeply affected by the revolutionary shocks that shook the Italian peninsula at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. He condemned the principles bequeathed by the French Revolution and liberal thought in two encyclical letters, Mirari Vos (1832) and Singulari Nos (1834). Deeply conservative, attached to the dynastic principle and the order set by the Congress of Vienna he would refuse to speak up for Catholics rising against their oppressors in Ireland or in Poland.

Hafez Ibrahim (1872-1932)

Egyptian officer, poet and journalist. He owes his title of “Poet of the Nile” to his claim that he spoke in the name of all Egyptians. His poems are loaded with political and social observations. Chief-editor of Al-Ahram from 1911, he was actively involved in the 1919 revolution.

Hayim (Chaim) Bibas

Born to a family expelled from Spain and based in Fez he was called to become the Rabbi and judge of the Tetouan community in 1530. Rabbi Bibas came from Fez and established rabbinic academies and synagogues, which soon gained an international reputation. Bibas's tomb in the cemetery features anthropomorphic imagery, a style that is traditionally shunned on Jewish tombs.

Henry Bagenal (1556-1598)

Son of an English officer born in Ireland and the owner of vast estates in the country, he led the English troops in Ireland under Elisabeth I and fought Hugh O'Neill during the Nine Years War.

Henry Dunant (1828-1910)

Geneva born businessman. His Evangelical convictions led him to found and join a number of voluntary organisations (including the YMCA) before his arrival at Solferino directly after the battle (1859) led him first to succour at his own expense the wounded he found there, before co-founding a society for the rescue of war victims, the Red Cross. He was the first ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, along with French pacifist Frédéric Passy.

Henry II

Henry II Plantagenet (1133-1189) was Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy. He became Count of Aquitaine in 1152 through his marriage to Eleanor, then king of England in 1154 as heir to Matilda, daughter of king Henry I.

Henry III (1551-1589)

King of France from 1574, last king in the Valois dynasty. His reign was riven with religious wars.

Henry Ireton (1611-1651)

General in Cromwell's army, he was appointed by him Lord lieutenant (or Lord Deputy) of Ireland.

Henry IV (1553-1610)

King of France from 1589, the first of the Bourbon Line. He converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and restored peace within France (Edict of Nantes) and without, notably with Spain. His political brilliance, his bon viveur image, but also his assassination, have made him one of the most popular figures in French history.

Henry VIII

Henry VIII Tudor (1491-1547) ascended the throne in 1509. He set England on the path of Reformation by breaking relations with pope Clement VII who refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

Hoda Shaarawi (1879-1947)

Guiding light of the women's liberation movement in Egypt. Daughter of Muhammad Sultan, the first president of the Egyptian Representative Council and of a Circassian slave, she was the founder and the first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union. She was party to women's mobilisation during the 1919 Revolution. In 1923, returning from an international feminist gathering held in Rome, she unveiled publicly in Cairo station for the first time. A follower of Qasim Amin (the “first feminist of the Arab world”) she fought all her life against women's confinement and for their education as well as for equality between the sexes. A member of the Arab Feminist Union, she was appointed vice-president of the International Feminist Union. Her collected writings have been compiled in one book : Harem Years : The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist.

Hugh O'Neill (c.1540/50-1616)

Irish Lord who led, from 1594 to 1603, the rebellion against the English known as the Nine Year War. After making peace with James I, he fled Ireland and settled in Rome where he lived until his death.

Innocent X (1574-1655)

Pope from 1644 to 1655.

Iskandar Ammoun

Magistrate and writer. He migrated to Egypt and held magistrate positions in Alexandria Assiut and Cairo. He translated Jules Vernes' A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Cairo 1885) and also founded a Cypriot Arab newspaper with Abdallah al-Bustani, Junaynat al-Akhbar. He presided the Alliance Libanaise after 1909, became vice-president of the Ottoman Decentralisation Party (1912) and took part in the Arab Congress held in Paris in 1913. In 1917, however he left the Alliance Libanaise to join the Syrian Union Party. The last post of his political career was as Justice Minister for the Arab Government in Damascus under Emir Faysal.

Ismail Pasha (1830-1895)

Viceroy of Egypt, granted the title of Khedive by the Porte (1867). His reign was marked by economic growth and the opening of the Suez Canal grandly celebrated by the highest international powers of the time, as well as a politics of conquest navigating up the river Nile (into today's Sudan) and a serious financial crisis. In 1857, Ismail had to sell his Suez Canal shares to the United Kingdom and the following year Egyptian finances were placed under direct Franco-British control. A movement of contestation of these two European powers spread but Paris and London obtained from the Sultan the destitution of the Khedive in 1879 and his replacement by his son Tewfik.

Jaime Bleda (1550-1622)

Dominican friar, author of Defensio fidei in causa neophytorum siue Morischorum Regni Valentiae totiusque Hispaniae (In Defense of the Faith in the Case of the New Christians of the Kingdom of Valencia and all of Spain, 1610). He owes his fame to his unrelenting support for the expulsion of the Moriscos alongside Jose de Ribera. After seeking their conversion, he accused them of apostasy and blasphemy against the Catholic faith.

James Butler (1610-1688)

Made 1st Duke of Ormonde in 1661, he was the heir to an Old English Dynasty. He led the troops of the king of England during the sixteen forties. Unable to resist Cromwell's onslaught, he took refuge in France in 1650. Returning to power with Charles II in 1660, he was appointed Viceroy of Ireland in 1677.

James I

James IV Stuart (1566-1625), Son of Mary Stuart and king of Scotland from 1567 to 1625. Upon the death of Elizabeth I, who died heirless in 1603, he became king of England. James and Elizabeth were both directly descended from King Henry VII of England.

James II (1633-1701)

James succeeded his brother Charles II as king of England, Scotland and Ireland. Set on a collision course with Parliament on political and religious grounds (he was a Catholic), he was ousted in 1688 by William of Orange, Stadtholder of the United Provinces who landed at the head of an army at the invitation of Parliament (Glorious Revolution). Exiled in France he would fail to recover his throne.

Jean Calvin (1509-1564)

French born reformer, theologian and writer, he masterminded the Protestant reformation in Geneva. His seminal work Institutes of the Christian Religion underpins Protestant theology. (See Calvinism).

Jean Gaberel (1810-1889)

Pastor in the Reformed Church of Geneva; he is the author of research and talks about Geneva and Switzerland.

Jean le Rond d'Alembert(1712-1783)

Writer and Enlightenment philosopher, he co-authored with Denis Diderot the Encyclopédie, an ambitious 17 volumes project that incorporated all of the world's knowledge at the time. He was also a musician, a mathematician and a physicist and has left his name to a number of principles and discoveries.

Jean-Frédéric Ostervald (1663-1747)

Neuchâtel theologian and pastor. He was at the forefront of the religious reform movement in Neuchâtel. His works insist primarily on the necessity of morals and on the virtuous behaviour of the faithful.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

Enlightenment philosopher, born and bred in Geneva. His political theory was a key influence on the French revolution. He was also a prolific writer and a composer.

Jezzar Pasha

Ahmed al-Jazzar, a Bosnian born Mamluk, he quitted Egypt to rejoin the Ottoman camp. His nature and his numerous crimes earned him the nickname of “butcher” (Jazzar). In 1775 he was appointed Pasha of Sidon. Having occupied Beirut, he set up his capital in Acre. Under his governorship (1775-1804), the people were burdened with heavy taxation, and set at each other throat ; he had Emir Youssef Chehab killed (1790) and, later, Emir Bashir II deposed several times.

Johann Kaspar Mörikofer (1799-1877)

Pastor and historian ; his works focus on Swiss and Protestant history ; quoted here is Geschichte der evangelischen Flüchtlinge in der Schweiz

John Bowring (1792-1872)

British parliamentarian born in Exeter. Fluent in a good number of foreign languages, he conducted several missions of enquiry into the commercial and economical situation in Europe and in the Middle East before being appointed Consul in Canton, thence becoming the 4th governor of Hong Kong. He wrote a significant report on the Syro-Lebanese region : Report on the Commercial Statistics of Syria, London, 1840.

John III (1502-1557)

King of Portugal (1521-1557), he inherited from his Father Manuel I an empire spread over three continents. His project was first to spread Portuguese domination then to consolidate it by reinforcing the kingdom's administration.

John Knox (1505-1572)

Scottish priest who embraced Reformation and, after 1559, introduced a harsh Calvinism in Scotland.

Juan de Ribera (1523-1611)

Son of the viceroy of Naples, ordained priest in 1557, he was nominated archbishop of Valencia in 1568 before being appointed by Philip III viceroy of Valencia. Wielding both religious and political authority, he is known as a leading champion of the Tridentine reform and of the policy of expulsion of the Morisco population, fighting Protestantism on one front and Islam on the other. Beatified in 1796, he was canonised in 1960 by Pope John XXIII.

Jules Michelet (1798-1874)

French historian and writer, author of a History of France in 6 volumes. He took a particular interest in the French Revolution. A democrat and a humanist, he infused a strong poetic dimension into his work.

Khalil Mutran (1872-1949)

Writer born in Baalbek, he moved to Egypt in 1892 and worked as a journalist for al Majallat Al-Jawaib al misriyya. He formed friendships with Egyptian poets such as Ahmed Shawqi et Hafez Ibrahim. He became known as the Poet of the Two Countries and contributed richly to Egyptian life.

Louis XIV (1638-1715)

King of France from 1643 when he was still in his minority. Son of Louis XIII and grandson of Henry IV he started to rule in his own right in 1661. His political pursuit of prestige was conducted on several fronts : monarchic centralisation thereby weakening the aristocracy's role, cultural drive, military campaigns. He liked to be known as Louis the Great but, his death found France much weakened.

Louis XV (1710-1774)

King of France whose early popularity was marred by later mismanagement of the country's finance and loss of colonies. Besides projects against the United kingdom, he supported convents and institutions on his own territory whence English and Irish Catholics plotted the spiritual re-conquest of the two Islands.

Louis XVI (1754-1793)

King of France from 1794 to 1792. Remembered as a week sovereign, he no less contributed significantly to the success of the American Revolutionary War, supporting the rebels first with arms and money then by sending substantial land and sea forces. His indecisiveness cost him dear during the French Revolution (partly caused by the American adventure) ; first upheld as the king of a constitutional monarchy, his bowing to conservative pressures to flee the country led to an unpopularity that turned into mistrust, and his eventual deposition, judgment and execution.

Luis Marmol y Carvajal (1520-1600)

Spanish historian ; after eight years reportedly in slavery in the Maghreb, he published a “General Description of Africa”, translated into French by Perrot d'Ablancourt. He also wrote a “History of the Rebellion of Granada's Moors”. He is quoted by Edward Gibbon.

Lutfi el-Sayed (1872-1963)

Egyptian journalist and politician. He was a pioneer of political and cultural liberalism and a champion of the modernisation of education in Egypt. Co-founder of the party Al-Umma (the Nation) in 1907 he directed for seven years the paper Al-Jareda. He was a member of the Delegation led by Saad Zaghlul in 1919. Rector of the Egyptian University from 1925 to 1941, he opened this institution to young women. Admired for his culture and his deep knowledge of Arabic, he clashed on several occasion with Al-Azhar Ulama, notably because of his support for Taha Hussein. The government awarded him the social sciences prize in 1959. He is remembered as Ustādh al-Jīl (Educator of the Generation).

Mary of Modena (1658-1718)

Second wife of James II, she gave him a son in 1688. This birth that ensured a Catholic descent to the king triggered off a violent reaction in Parliament : it called on William of Orange, the Protestant Stadtholder of the United Provinces (and James' son in law and nephew) to overthraw the king.

Mawlay Zidan Abu Maali

His reign was marked by conflicts with his brothers, the sons of the late Sultan Al-Mansur. A scholar and man of letters, he managed to hold a fragile balance in spite of severe tribal strife. With a political impulse at a stand still, the economic growth associated with Al-Mansur's reign enters its decline.

Maximos III Mazlum

Melkite patriarch. A powerful figure, he set out on the occasion of synods in Ayn Traz (1835) then in Jerusalem (1849) the discipline and structures of the Melkite church, linking the Eastern tradition to Roman assent. The development of his church thereafter was swift.

May Ziadeh (1886-1941)

Lebanese woman of letters, writer, poet, public speaker and journalist. She migrated to Egypt with her family in 1907. Westernised by her secondary education at French convent schools she spoke six languages and wrote in French and Arabic. She was in the first intake of women in the Arab world to attend university (the Egyptian University), studying in the arts faculty for three years until 1922. Her correspondence with the author of the Prophet, Khalil Gibran, has been translated. She dedicated her life to freedom, the defence of women's rights and to their progress. She published her writings in the paper her father edited Al-Mahroussa as well as in Al-Hilal, Al-Zûhûr and Al-Muqtataf.

Mohamed El-Tabii (1870-1932)

Egyptian Journalist, known as the “Prince of Journalism” and Al-Ustaz (the Master). He was the first to join Rose Al-Youssef in 1923. In 1934, he created the weekly Akher Saa which he later sold to the Akhbar El Yom press group. With Mahmud Abu al Fath, he co-founded Al Misri (The Egyptian)

Mohamed Tewfik Pasha (1852-1892)

Khedive of Egypt (1879-1892). Son of Ismail, he did not have at his command the means to oppose the Franco-British control. From the beginning of his reign, Egyptian nationalism found its voice under Urabi Pasha's leadership ; after his appointment as a minister he led a revolt but was defeated by British troops in 1882 whereupon London instituted over Egypt a de facto protectorate.

Mohammed esh Sheikh el Mamun

Mohammed esh Sheikh el Mamun is counted as the eighth Saadian sultan (1608 to 1613). He succeeded his brother Abou Fares-Abdallah and handed the city of Larache over to the Spaniards in 1609. He was a relentless enemy of the Ottomans but his reign was riven with troubles caused by conflicts between princes and tribes.

Muhammad Al-Asmar (1900-1956)

Egyptian poet and journalist. He held several posts, among which proof-reader for the newspaper Al-Ahrar, curator of Al-Azhar library, member of the Council for the Defence of the Arts and Letters in Egypt.

Muhammad Ali or Mehmet Ali (1769-1849)

Founder of the dynasty that would govern Egypt between 1805 and 1952. Born in Albania, he sought to introduce reforms in all the sectors of Egyptian activity. Allied to the Sultan to fight the Wahhabi and the Greek independentists, he became his enemy as he sought to assert his personal domination over the regions of Palestine and Syria between 1832 and 1840. He was driven out by an uprising and the co-signatories of the Convention of London (15 July 1840).

Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935)

Muslim scholar supporting the “Reformist” movement calling for Muslim unity and upholding, to an extent, “Arab nationalism”. Born near Tripoli then in the Syrian province of the Ottoman Empire, now in Lebanon he settled in Egypt to work with Muhammad Abduh. He co-edited then edited the ever more influential review Al Manar.

Muhammad said Pasha (1863-1928)

Egyptian politician and poet of Turkish origin, Prime Minister from 1910 to 1914 and from 1924 to 1926. Member of Mustafa Kamil's National Party and a fierce defender of the Khedive.

Mustafa Kamil (1874-1904)

Egyptian writer journalist and political leader, founder of two papers Al-Mu'ayyad and Al-Liwa (The Standard). He also published articles in French in the Nouvelle Revue. In his extensive writings, he pleaded energetically for self-rule in the Middle East ; he created the National Party in 1907 but died the following year. His funeral was a massive expression of national grief.

Napoleon I Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Military and political leader, he ruled France as Consul then Emperor. General Bonaparte's Campaign in Egypt (1798) aimed at breaking England's domination in Eastern Mediterranean and in India. It had significant scientific consequences, initiating Egyptology and alerting Arab elites to the challenge of a growing gap between the banks of the Mediterranean.

Nicolas Fayyad (1873-1958)

After his medical studies, Nicolas Fayad opted for a career in politics and administration. Having displeased his Ottoman rulers, he took refuge in France then in Egypt where he lived for over 20 years. He returned to Lebanon in 1930 where he became director of the Post and Telegraph Services and was elected as Member of Parliament for Beirut.

O'Moore (or More) and O'Coonnor

Two of the Leinster native Irish clans. The former owned land in the north of County Ormond and the latter in West Kildare

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

Born in a middle gentry family, he played a foremost role in the civil war of 1641-49 at the head of his cavalry unit (Ironsides). Having asserted his power before the Rump Parliament, he enforced until his death the authoritarian, Puritan regime known as the Commonwealth.

Phelim O'Neill (dead in 1653)

Native Irish lord and leader of the 1641 uprising against the English. Captured by Cromwell in 1652, he was executed the following year.

Philip II (1527-1598)

Born in Valladolid, he was given a strict education and is known for his ascetic piety. He shouldered political responsibilities from an early age. In 1556, a few months after his father Charles V's abdication, he inherited an immense empire embracing Spain and its colonies. At home pushed for centralisation and unification. Abroad he waged war against France, then England and he had to quell a rebellion in the United Provinces. He incarnates both the Spanish Golden Age and the weaknesses which were the downside of might : costly wars, population flight to the American continent's colonies, Morisco exodus. King of Spain from 1556, he succeeded his father Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire. During his reign he fought the European Protestant powers, notably England but his attempt to invade the country by sea (with the Invincible Armada) failed.

Philip III (1578-1621)

Son of Philip II by his fourth wife and niece, Anna of Austria, daughter of emperor Maximilian II of the Holy Roman Empire and Maria of Spain. Split between the desire to keep up a sumptuous court and that of withdrawing from the world to live a pious life in solitude, he was only mildly interested in his role: he handed over the running of the Spanish government to Francisco Gomes, Duke of Lerma then to his son.

Philippe Suchard (1797-1884)

The offspring of Huguenot who settled in Neuchâtel, he was a noted entrepreneur, industrialist and confectioner. In 1826, he set up a chocolate factory in Serrières near Neuchâtel. The chocolates by his name as well as the Sugus fruit gum sweets are his creations.

Pierre Bayle (1647-1707)

French philosopher, author of an extensive Historical and Critical Dictionary. Strongly influenced by Protestantism, Bayle emerges as a forerunner of the critical method and the ideals of religious toleration and freedom of thought

Rabbi Yehudah ben Attar (1656-1733)

Rabbi and author ; lived at Fez in Morocco at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Chief rabbi of Fez, he is reputed to have been a profound Talmudist and saintly man. Tradition attests to his miraculous powers. He was revered in both the Jewish and the Muslim communities. He wrote Midrashic explanations to various passages in the Pentateuch.

Richard Talbot (1630-1691)

Earl then Duke of Tyrconnell (Jacobite peerage). Irish nobleman (Old English), he offered James II his support in Ireland after the 1688 Glorious Revolution. He failed in his bid to gain independence for the country.

Sa'id of Egypt (1822-1863)

4th son of Muhammad Ali and viceroy of Egypt from 1854. The death of his nephew Abbas gave him the opportunity to rule Egypt. He was instated in Constantinople and endeavoured to win the trust of the imperial diwan. Back in Cairo, he raised a 10000 strong force toward supporting the Sultan in his fight against the Tsar. During his reigns, the British built the Cairo-Suez railway line and Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained the concession for the construction of the Suez Canal.

Saad Zaghlul (1858-1927)

Egyptian barrister, journalist and politician, he founded and lead the Wafd. He was a minister in 1906 and 1910 and led an Egyptian delegation seeking to obtain Egypt's independence after the Great War. The British exiled him to Malta along with his fellow countrymen, this in turn led to the revolutionary unrest of 1919. He became prime minister in 1924 when his party won the parliamentary elections.

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923)

Legendary actress and theatre icon. She was a courtesan's daughter – and one herself albeit briefly. Known the world over as The Divine Sarah, The Golden Voice, or indeed The Scandalous, she ran the Théâtre de la Renaissance from 1893 before creating her own company at the Théâtre des Nations. After losing one leg, she would continue to perform. Her mobility may have been impaired but this only served to emphasise the power of her voice, which reputedly hardly altered with the years.

Seleem Naccache (d.1884)

Writer, poet and Journalist, he pioneered Arab theatre. He wrote and translated plays, created a troupe of 16 actors 4 of whom were young women, an unprecedented departure in the Arab world. He founded several newspaper in association with Adib Ishaq.

Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî

Shihâb al-Dîn al-Qarâfî (1228-1285) is a scholar who lived under the Ayyubid and Mamluk dynasties in Egypt. He is known for having championed the Maliki rites. His influence was widespread among Sunni Muslims.

Sulayman Al Bustani (1856-1925)

Journalist writer and politician. He studied at the school founded by his relation Butrus Al Bustani and joined the editorial staff of Al Jinan. He was elected to the Ottoman parliament (Majlis al-mabouthan) between 1908 and 1914 and became minister for trade then for agriculture.

Suleiman the Magnificent (cc 1491-1566)

Sultan (1520-1566) known as “Kanuni” (“ the Lawgiver”) by the Ottomans. He pushed back the empire's borders having seized Belgrade (1521), Rhodes (1522), Budapest (1526) and extended Ottoman domination to the best part of the Hungarian territory before besieging Vienna (1529). He also conquered Azerbaijan, Tabriz et Bagdad. After several years of warfare against Ferdinand of Austria, a peace was signed in 1547, which left Western Hungary inside the Holy Roman Empire.

Taha Hussein (1889-1973)

Poet, essayist, novelist, literary reviewer, journalist for the political and literary press, translator and Minister for education, he became known as “the Doyen of Arab letters”. He was blind as a result of an early childhood illness that was not treated properly and spent his life fighting fatalism, ignorance, resistance to progress. Educated at Al-Azhar, then at the Egyptian University, he continued his studies in France (Montpellier, Paris) before returning in Egypt. He developed a harsh critique of the relation to literature and history in the broadly Muslim, Arabic speaking world. In the mid-twenties, he was at the centre of an academic storm for questioning the positions on the so-called Pre-Islamic poetry and the historicity of the figure of Abraham/Ibrahim. Returning home after a short exile he was appointed to positions of responsibility in Egypt's modern higher education. Become Minister for education, he introduced free primary education. His books, among which The Days, an autobiography recalling his childhood, are translated into some 12 languages.


Beshara Takla and Saleem Takla: Lebanese born brothers who built up the primacy of the Egyptian paper Al Ahram (The Pyramids), moving its headquarters first set in Alexandria in 1876 to Cairo in 1898. Al Ahram faced many difficulties because of its pro-Egyptian (Mis lil-Misryin) and pro-French stance. However the Takla succeed in modernising it building its future and making it a flagship of the Arabic press

Talaat Harb (1867-1941)

Egyptian economist, journalist and essayist. In spite of his strong reservations concerning changes in attitudes notably towards relations between the sexes, which he saw as a ”Westernisation”, he accepted for the sake of the national struggle, women's labour and liberal capitalism. This he implemented by founding the Banque Misr (Bank of Egypt) relying exclusively on Egyptian financing (Egyptian management, Egyptian labour). He also created companies in other sectors, notably the textile industry (1927) and sat on EgyptAir's first management board in 1932.

Thomas Wentworth (1593-1641)

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford and Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1633 where he conducted a highly authoritarian politics. Back in England in 1639, he became the king's chief counsellor. An outspoken opponent of Parliament, he was arrested and executed at the beginning of the civil war.

Voltaire (1694-1778)

François-Marie Arouet is Voltaire. Was a writer and Enlightenment philosopher. A notoriously free spirit, he was thrown in prison and had to live in exile on a number of occasions. A champion of tolerance, he initiated a tradition of open criticism of religions and faith ; he is also famous for his defence of unjustly persecuted people, notably the Huguenot Callas.

William Laud (1573-1645)

Bishop of London in 1628, then Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, he upheld both the authority of the king and the Anglican Church before Parliament. Arrested by his enemies, he was executed in 1645.

William of Orange (1650-1702)

Stateholder of the United Provinces from 1672, he answered the call of the English Parliament, landed at the head of army, bringing about James II's fall in 1688. Crowned king or England (jointly with Mary, his wife and James's daughter), he reigned until his death allowing Parliament a broadly free hand.

William Petty (1623-1687)

Distinguished English scholar, a founder of economics and demography. He completed the first land registry for Ireland between 1655 and 56, thanks to which Cromwell was able to reward his supporters with land.

Yaʿqub Sarruf (1852-1927)

Yaʿqub Sarruf was born near Beirut and studied at the Syrian Protestant College (currently the American University of Beirut) where he also taught. The publications he founded with his colleague Faris Nimr took a pro-British stance and ruffled some feathers among Egyptian independentists.

Yusuf al-Sawda (1888-1969)

Lawyer and politician who stood for an independent Lebanon. With Anton al-Jumayyil, he founded the Alliance Libanaise, the Al-Sabbaqat (“the Pioneers) scout group, and the paper Al Rayat. He published his memoirs, For Independence and drafted a history course : For Lebanon.

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