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During the 1800s, Mohammed Ali's grandson was ruling Egypt. Ismail had been educated in France, travelled extensively and dreamed that Cairo should rival Paris. He established a new quarter with straight streets and gave land to anyone who would build a building worth at least 30,000 francs within 18 months.

Because of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Europeans living in Egypt and rich Egyptians celebrated with balls, operas and races. One of the buildings erected at that time was the Cairo Opera House, an exact copy of La Scala of Milan.

Eventually the money ran out and European bankers basically foreclosed on Egypt, capturing the country without a shot being fired. Much of the money used for buildings, roads, and the Suez Canal itself had been borrowed at lofty costs, and so Egypt fell even further under the influence, and now outright control of Europeans.

April 18, 1884, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Transformations to Astonish the Ancients. 
A Series of Brilliant Historical Word Pictures Napoleon and the Mamelukes
Mehemet Ali's Dreadful Slaughter.

[Correspondence N. Y. Times)

People who write about Egypt are fond of calling it, by way of a strikingly original title, the "land of the Pharaohs." . . . True, Ramses the Great would eye the Pyramids with a comfortable sense of recognition, although he might well be scandalized at the sight of half a dozen Cockney tourists scrambling up their sides and an Arab singing "Not for Joe" or "Pop Goes the Weasel " on the top. Pharaoh Necho, as the original cutter of the Suez Canal, could not fail to be gratified with the successful revival of his idea among men who could not even tell his date off-hand, but to find seventeen railways traversing the delta of the Nile and an eighteenth running up its left bank toward Nubia Memphis in ruins the Pyramid of Cheops hacked with British pocket knives and plastered with British advertisements "Rough on Bats" exterminating the sacred beetles of Heliopolis Manchester cottons and calicoes supplanting camel's-hair cloaks the holy crocodiles being shot by infidel sportsmen from some unheard-of place beyond the Cyrenian sea such a spectacle might break the heart of Osoris himself. And then to see pale-faced professors digging up and classifying Thotmes and Ramses as coolly as potato roots steamers on the sacred Nile, whose Captains, were Sesostris to demand a passage in person, would see him embalmed first unless he took a return ticket in advance and, worse still, the descendants of their runaway Hebrew coolies engrossing the lion's share of the trade of Egypt all this would suffice to drive the stoutest Pharaoh into an untimely sarcophagus, even if he were not there already.


Till very recently the two rival capitals of Egypt typified amply enough her strange two-fold character, the ancient element being symbolized by the barbaric picturesqueness of Cairo, and the modern element by the jaunty, brand-new smartness of Ismailia. But in Egypt, as in Japan, "the old order chanageth, yielding place to new." The Cairo of Solyman and Selim is fast becoming a second Ismailia. Boulevards are coming in, caravansaries are going out. Theatres, opera houses, railroads, telegraphs, hotels, steamboats, photographic studios have sprung up as suddenly as the enchanted palace which Aladdin's Genii built in a single night, and an avenue of date palms worthy of the Botanical Gardens at Singapore lines six out of seven miles of the broad, dusty road leading from Cairo across the Nile to the Pyramids.

Once in the creeping train which carries you from Ismail Pasha's ready-made capital to the great city that defied his son's authority a year and a half ago, you can fall asleep, if the dust and flies will let you, without the slightest fear of missing anything worth looking at. The field of Tel-el-Kebir is now a chaos of crumbling sand-heaps, and the canal along which the British army advanced in that memorable September offers little or nothing till you actually sight the dark mass of rich, semi-tropical vegetation above which rise the tall, white minarets of Cairo. Even in Cairo itself there are but few traces left of the Egyptian Bagdad, which those great masters of fiction, the English travelers of the Middle Ages, loved to depict in such glowing colors. the antiquities must now be sought in the famous Museum at Boulak, so nearly lost to the world eighteen months ago. Bat the metropolis of the Eastern Caliphs lives again as you ascend the winding road leading up the rocky hill upon which stands the far-famed citadel of Mehemet AIL Here the East asserts itself unchecked in the massive strength of the walls, the paved courts and far-ex-tending colonnades, the deep, shadowy archways, the


Egypt.Egypt. (Right: Prince of Wales in Cairo.)

Of the Muhammadan mosque, and the wonderful coloring of its interior. Here you may dream as you will of the ancient glories of the Mamelukes, the native chivalry of Egypt; for the brightest and the blackest pages of Cairo's history are alike tilled with their fame, and the same spot has witnessed their glory and their fall. Here reigned the grim man who destroyed upward of 20,000 human lives in cutting from Alexandria to the Nile a canal which may yet become a link in a great watery highway across Egypt . . . Fresh memories of the past crowd upon you as you steam out of the railway station at Embabeh, three miles from Cairo, on your way up to Benisouef and Minieh by the Nile Valley Railroad, the breaking of which in July, 1882, was one of the numerous benefits conferred upon Egypt by Arabi Pasha. For the first station Gizeh is close to the Pyramids themselves, and the line sweeps across the great plain upon which, eighty five years ago, the ancient Sphinx looked down with its stony unchanging eyes upon the last battle of the Mamelukes. What a picture that scene would make for Gerome Meseionier could it but be reproduced as it was on that bright Summer morning in 1798. The wide, bare sandy plain, with the shining curves of the historic Nile winding through it; the towers and gardens of Cairo on the further side, the huge gray masses of the Pyramids in the background, and beyond them the hot, brassy yellow of the Libyan desert melting into the quivering line of heat that hovers along the horizon . . .

October 6, 1896, Austin Daily Herald, Austin, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Vice Consul General Washington Says It 
Is Exceptionally Fine.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6. Vice Consul General Washington, writing to the department of state from Cairo, on the prospects of the cotton crop of Egypt, says that the present season's crop promises to surpass all previous years in quality. According to statistics, compiled by the finance department, there are under cultivation this year about 1,050,000 acres as compared with a little under 1,000,000 acres last year. Last year's crop amounted to about 620,000,000 pounds, so that on the basis of area alone, a crop of 55,000,000 pounds is probable this year. Some of the cotton has been packed and shipped to Alexandria, but the buyers refused to pay the prices asked.

June 10, 1901, Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Cairo as a Social Center

Frederic J. Haskin

Shopping in Cario.

The antiquarian made of Cairo a stopping place and a workshop; society of four continents has made it a social capital. The British army of occupation made the Egyptian metropolis habitable, and the wintering public has made it a city of splendid hostelries, frequented by the socially notable of every civilized country. The Egyptologist still camps in Cairo, but he is submerged beneath the waves of society.

Ismail Pasha Khedive of Egypt
Theobald Chartrain


Contrast is the chief charm of the luxurious caravansaries adjoin the domiciles of the sons of the soil, in whose domestic economy the bath tub has no place. It is here that the elite of Africa meet the elite of every other continent. The Egyptian, creamcolored or moderately brown, wearing his fez indoors and outdoors, mingles with the Westerners, though, of course, the Circassian ladles of his household are never seen at social affairs. The ball rooms are brilliant with red-coated officers of the Scotch regiments. Members of the British nobility and representatives of the American "aristocracy of wealth" congregate at these functions and lend an effect varied and unique.

Then there is the city and the desert. Sunset upon the desert was impressive and beautiful when Egypt was young and the oldest of the pyramids had no place in the dreams of men. One may sit comfortably upon the roof of his hotel and witness the spectacle. The tall masts of the dahabeahs rise above the level of the roof, and the Nile, giving back the slanting rays of the sun, stretches far out towards Roda, where Moses was found in the ark of bulrushes, and toward the Island of Ghizlreh, made beautiful by the reckless extravagance of Ismail Pasha. Egypt.Egypt.Against the still brilliant heavens upon one side of the Nile are etched the slender minarets of the Alabaster mosque. While a stately Arab or Soudanese in flowing robes is serving one's "appetizer," the sun sinks below the long line of brown desert hills, and a Hichens afterglow, or marvelous tints and long duration, bathes the heavens in fire. When the pyramids at Glzeh have faded gradually into the purple shadows of the deepening dusk it is time to dress for dinner. "

If one insists on going to the desert for his sunset there are dromedaries with one hump or camels with two, with gaits that wrench the back of a civilized man. But a motor car may be depended upon to convey one thither in comfort. A dozen motor cars parked under the shadow of Cheops is no unusual sight. Camelback excursions into the desert form an especially popular diversion of visitors from the Occident. Riding a camel is like having chronic rheumatism one gets used to it but can never be said to really enjoy it. But desert rides are the fad of the period and the torture is undergone unmurmurringly Sand carts usually convey the chaperon, while the interested couples trek ahead on the camels. A number of Bedouins may be hired to precede the caravan and sing songs in Arabic while the prehistoric looking "ship of the desert" and the modern sand cart vie with one another in swaying the excursionist to and fro as if to discover the secret of why the vertebrae of the human spinal column stick together.

Nile River at Boulaque. Cairo. 1870s.

Nile at Boulaque, Cairo, Egypt. 1870s.

Viewing the pEgypt.yramids by moonlight forms another feature of social activity In Cairo. Thanks to the largeness of the late Ismail Pasha's ideas, a fine macadamized boulevard, built upon a "fill," traverses the plain between the Nile and Glzeh. Antiquarians objected some years ago when a trolley line was projected to the pyramids, but inasmuch as the Egyptian trolley car advances toward its terminal station at a pace sufficiently decorous to suggest genuine reverence for historic ruins in its vicinity there is no cause for a quarrel with this manifestation of "progress" at Glzeh.

After the tourist has visited the pyramids in the daytime he does not wonder that Napoleon chose midnight as the hour to pay his visit and utter his invocation there were fewer pestiferous guides to annoy him with offers of service. Nowadays the nocturnal visitor is compelled to use violent language to rid himself of the "watchman" who proposes for a shilling to burn a magnesium wire to light up the monument upon which the dazzling light of the full moon Is shining. A boy in a flowing robe solemnly tells you that Napoleon shot off the nose of the sphinx with three cannon shots and that he was there and saw it done.

Shepheard Hotel, Cairo


The Shepheard Hotel was founded by Englishman Samuel Shepheard in 1841. The hotel was first built on historical ground in a district known as Exbekia, a park land with tropical greenery and rare trees, that was once occupied by Napoleon's army and used as headquarters during his invasion of Egypt in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Cairo became a hub for international commerce, Eurpoean tourists and travellers. The Shepheard Hotel became a focal point where its famous terrace, set with wicker chairs & tables, commanded a lofty and shaded view of the comings and goings on Ibrahim Pasha Street below.

It became the playground for international aristocracy where every person of social standing made it a must to have tea, to see and be seen.

The hotel was the headquarters of many armies during the Crimean war, the Indian Mutiny, the Boer War and the two World Wars.

One of the less hostile events was the celebration of the Grand Opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, when the hotel hosted numerous international celebrates. Among its notable guests were the celebrated explorer Henry Morton Stanley, Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener and author T. E. Lawrence, Theodore Roosevelt, the Prince of Wales, King Faisal of Iraq, the Aga Khan, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Prince Erik of Denmark, King and Queen of Italy, the Maharaja of Jodphur and The British Prime Minister, and Sir Wiston Churchill. The Shepheard formed the setting for a number of scenes in films, including The English Patient (1996) and the 2009 Canadian movie Cairo Time.

A young man of athletic disposition proposes to "run to the top quick in seven minutes like Mr. Mark Twain," and others would rent you a donkey or tell your fortune or sell you little blue scarabs, the workmanship of which suggests a French or Italian factory . . .

Dancing is the chief feature of social life in Cairo. The stranger within the gates who stops at the right hotel may go to a ball almost every night in the week. Next morning as he takes his coffee and eggs he may read that he was "among those present" at an affair at which, judging from the list of titles, half the aristocracy of Europe disported itself. But unless he finds a friend who has been properly introduced he meets no one and is lucky if he can even find out "who's who" as he occupies a seat in a corner.

If the tourist wishes to avoid the ultra-fashionable hotels he may go to a modest pension, where the proprietor bids for the patronage of a "shirt sleeve" nation by announcing that "evening clothes at dinner are optional." He finds that the obliging host who suspends a convention of Cairo to allow him to dine In his "sack suit" speaks seven or eight languages in addressing his guests, his servants and his tradespeople.

Perhaps "mine host" could not write a good letter in Italian or Spanish, but the Italian or Spaniard will be understood when he complains that his chop is underdone. So will the Greek whose forefathers have resided on the southern shore of the Mediterranean since the days of Cleopatra or the gentleman in baggy trousers and red tarboosh just arrived from Constantinople or Smyrna.

The duke and duchess of Connaught, brother and sister-in-law of his majesty, King Edward VII, make occasional visits to Egypt. Sometimes they, with Prince Arthur and the Princess Patricia, join Mr. and Mrs. Giddings of the American consulate as sponsors for an Anglo-American ball for the benefit of charity. Tourists In Cairo who are willing to invest in a ticket to the ball may have a glimpse of the royal party. Princes and princesses from the various European countries, and persons and personages of varying Importance from east of Suez, form a part of the throng. There are more Americans among Cairo's winter population than persons from any country save England, and each year finds the terraces of the fashionable hotels more and more like Broadway, where, it is often said, no American fails to meet an acquaintance.

Not the least interesting segment of society in Cairo is that composed of clever adventurers, who live by their wits, sometimes most luxuriously. An American meets a titled European who speaks a half dozen languages, and is far more affable and generally agreeable than other persons of title whom our American has met or failed to meet. The American may show signs of being as well-to-do as Europeans suppose all people from the United States to be, in which case the intimacy develops rapidly. Over the card table or at the races it develops that the "aristocrat" is a card sharp or a tout. Not a few American girls wintering in Cairo have discovered the "vicomte" or the "baron" or even the "prince" to be spurious. Chauffeurs, valets, coachmen imitators of the manners and mannerisms of their masters have exploited themselves in Cairo in the hope of swindling an American millionaire or marrying or blackmailing an American heiress.

Golf, with Arab boys for caddies, races at Helouan and Ghizlreh with real Arabian horses for which no American thoroughbred would have any respect, a horse show and other outdoor amusements keep social Cairo upon the move from morning till evening. When there is not a ball or confetti battle at one of the large hotels in the evening it it is Sunday, and upon Sunday there is often a carnival or "battle of flowers" in the Ezbekleh gardens to fill the gap between the regular week day festivities.

Unequaled in point of spectacular brilliancy by any other Cairo social affair and hardly approached by any entertainment in any other capital, is a state ball given at Abdin palace by his highness, the khedive. The governor general's ball at Algiers is the only "function" west of Suez which approaches its magnificence. It brings together notables from four continents, officers of the Egyptian army and the British army of occupation, and diplomatic representatives of all of the important countries of the civilized world. Not the least numerous and not the least picturesque of the guests are mudirs and omdehs from Upper Egypt and Bedouin sheikhs from the desert provinces. Formerly the khedive gave a ball every year, but recently he has given official entertainments too infrequently to meet the demands of persons who spend their winters In his capital and would appreciate invitations under the khedival crest.

A New English Version
Stephen Mitchell
Gilgamesh is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature; this version translator by the acclaimed author of the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. Inscribed on stone tablets a thousand years before the Iliad and the Bible and found in fragments, Gilgamesh describes the journey of the king of the city of Uruk in what is now Iraq. At the start, Gilgamesh is a young giant with gigantic wealth, power and beauty—and a boundless arrogance that leads him to oppress his people. As an answer to their pleas, the gods create Enkidu to be a double for Gilgamesh, a second self. Learning of this huge, wild man who runs with the animals, Gilgamesh dispatches a priestess to find him and tame him by seducing him. Making love with the priestess awakens Enkidu's consciousness of his true identity as a human being rather than as an animal. Enkidu is taken to the city and to Gilgamesh, who falls in love with him as a soul mate.

The Pyramid Builder
Cheops, the Pharaoh Behind the Great Pyramid
Author Christine El-Mahdy is a widely renowned Egyptologist whose interest in the subject started as a child (she taught herself to read hieroglyphics aged nine). She has worked in the Egyptian departments of Bolton Museum and Liverpool University Museum and, in 1988, she founded the British Centre for Egyptian Studies which she now runs. She has previously written three internationally bestselling books on ancient Egypt.

Encyclopedia of Goddesses and HeroinesGoddesses and Heroines.
Patricia Monaghan
Goddesses and Heroines.
Previously published as a two-volume set in 2009, this revised paperback edition contains more than 1,000 entries on goddesses and heroines from around the world. The material is divided into geographic sections: “Africa,” “Eastern Mediterranean,” “Asia and Oceania,” “Europe,” and “The Americas.” Europe is treated with the most granularity, with roughly 140 pages divided into eight subsections. The sections and subsections open with a few pages of introduction, followed by entries for each individual goddess or heroine, arranged alphabetically within each region. Entries range from a scant paragraph to nearly a page in length. Each entry has at least one source text, but a significant portion have several (more than 10 in some cases). These sources are listed in a bibliography, which lists for each region both primary sources (indicating “in translation” and “oral” when applicable) and “other sources.” Author Monaghan was a pioneer in contemporary women’s spirituality, and her perspective here has the flavor of radical feminism, where goddesses have been lost to the repressive patriarchy. ~ Booklist

Literary Fiction

Gospel According to Yeshuas Cat.
The Gospel According to Yeshua's Cat
C. L. Francisco, PhD
From the Author: Although nothing can compare with the excitement of diving into a new research project, I've always chosen fiction for my downtime reading. My favorites are fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, although I have an inexplicable weakness for several books by Elizabeth Goudge. Fiction sneaks up on me, gets under my guard, and touches my heart in a way that non-fiction just can't. It opens up new possibilities and sets me dreaming. Books that have been life-changing for me have always been fiction, most noticeably books by C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams. That's probably why I chose to write a book like Yeshua's Cat.

Amelia Peabody's Egypt.
Amelia Peabody's Egypt: A CompendiumAmelia Peabodys Egypt.
Elizabeth Peters

Crocodile on the Sandbank.
Crocodile on the Sandbank
(Amelia Peabody, Book 1)
A Mystery Novel set along the Nile.
Author Elizabeth PetersEgypt. is a New York Times best-selling novelist. She also earned a Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Chicago, thus the setting of much of this 19-book series: Egypt and the antiquities along the River Nile. Set during the late 1800s the tales start when British Amelia Peabody travels to Egypt to quench her thirst for history.

Tomb of the Golden Bird.
Later works, such as Tomb of the Golden BirdTomb of the Golden Bird., have Amelia travelling to Palestine where an English adventurer is planning to excavate Jerusalem's Temple Mount in search of the Ark of the Covenant. Her writing is brilliant and hysterically, ascerbically humorous, which seems somewhat unusual in books including tomb robbers and murderers.

Palace Walk: The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz.Egypt.
Palace Walk
The Cairo Trilogy, Volume 1
The Cairo Trilogy..
Written by the Noble Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, Palace Walk is the first book in his Cairo Trilogy. Palace Walk is about a merchant living in Cairo, who makes his family follow strict religious social rules while he breaks all of them himself. If you are planning on visiting Egypt, start here.


The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

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Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

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