Friday, July 28, 2017


Cairo, which now has a population of 9.5 million, has long been an important global city. It managed to avoid Europe's late middle ages stagnation, but being a key trade city, got hit by the Black Death more than 50 times between 1348 and 1517. This reduced the population to between 150,000 and 300,000. Then a new route around the Cape of Good Hope was opened which allowed spice traders to avoid the city. When the Ottoman Empire took control, Cairo became second fiddle to Constantinople/Istanbul. Napoleon arrived in 1798 and the population was still just 300,000. The joint British/Ottoman forces defeated the French in 1801. Although the British left, immense debt was built up in the public works to build modern Egypt. This was used as a pretext for British invasion in 1882. By the end of the 19th century, just 5% of the population were European, but they held most of the top Government positions. World Wars, Cold War, Energy Crises and rising Nationalism came next. Being an important city is volatile.

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