Eastern Mediterranean 1952: Egyptian Revolution
Following the 1949 armistices with Israel, what remained of Palestine was dismembered when Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt set up an administration in Gaza. Egypt's poor performance in the war further discredited the corrupt King Farouk, who attempted to appeal to nationalism by demanding that the British withdraw from the Suez Canal Zone. When the British rejected his demands, the king proved unable to contain the ensuing instability, and in July 1952 disaffected Egyptian officers swiftly deposed him.
24 Apr 1950 Jordanian annexation of the West Bank▲
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War left the Kingdom of Jordan in control of East Jerusalem and the portion of Mandatory Palestine on the western side of the Jordan River. In 1950 the Kingdom of Jordan formally annexed this territory (known as the West Bank). The annexation was rejected by most of the international community, with the Arab League only accepting that the Jordanians were holding the territory in trust until the resolution of the Palestine issue.
4 Apr 1951–10 Oct 1956 Palestinian Fedayeen Insurgency▲
Starting in the early 1950s fedayeen militants originating among the Palestinian refugees in the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip (the “All-Palestine Protectorate”) began mounting cross-border raids against Israel. The Israelis responded with their own retaliatory attacks. Hundreds were killed in this conflict, which lasted until the 1956 Suez Crisis.
11 Oct 1951 Abrogation of Anglo-Egyptian Treaty▲
On 8 October 1951 the nationalist Wafd government of Egypt denounced the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, inspiring two days of anti-British demonstrations in Cairo. On the 11th Prime Minister Nahas Pasha formally abrogated the treaty, canceling the legal basis for both a British presence in Egypt and continued British control of the Suez Canal Zone. As the treaty was binding for 20 years, the British refused to depart the Canal Zone, leading to increasing Anglo-Egyptian tensions.
24 Dec 1951 Libyan independence▲
The United Nations administration of Libya under the United Kingdom and France came to an end, giving the country independence as the United Kingdom of Libya. A federal monarchy, the kingdom was headed by King Idris—chief of the Senussi Order and former Emir of Cyrenaica—with the location of parliament alternating between the joint capitals of Tripoli and Benghazi. Idris would abolish the federal arrangement in 1963, after which the kingdom would be renamed to just the Kingdom of Libya.
26 Jan 1952 Cairo Fire▲
On 25 January 1952 British occupation troops killed 50 Egyptian auxiliary policemen in a one-sided battle in the Suez Canal Zone city of Ismaïlia, leading to anti-British demonstrations in Cairo the following day (Black Saturday). The protests soon escalated into riots, in which 9 Britons and 17 others were killed and some 750 buildings—including the city’s Opera House—were burned and looted. The unexplained absence of security forces in the riots exposed the weakness of King Farouk’s regime (the king was holding a banquet for nearly 2,000 military officers at the time to celebrate the birth of his son). The following day the king dismissed the Wafd government to assuage the British.
23–26 Jul 1952 Egyptian Revolution of 1952▲
From 27 January 1952 King Farouk of Egypt dismissed four successive governments (the “salvation ministries”) in an attempt to quell criticism of his regime, but instead faced increasing discontent in the army. In the early morning of 23 July the nationalist Free Officers, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, launched a coup d’état in Cairo, proclaiming a revolution in front of the cheering crowds. King Farouk—in Alexandria—was forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son Fuad and fled into exile.