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Bill Nasson

farmer, general, and first prime minister of the Union of South Africa, was born on 27 September 1862 near Greytown in the British colony of Natal. His paternal grandfather, Philip Rudolph Boot (or Both), was of German settler descent and had participated in the 1830s Boer Great Trek into the interior. The son of migrant trekkers Louis Botha and Salomina van Rooyen, Louis was the ninth of thirteen children. In 1869, the Botha family left Natal and settled on a farm near Vrede in the Orange Free State, where Louis lived until the age of twenty-two. Earlier, he had been schooled at a local German mission where he received only a very basic education.

Botha’s minimal formal learning proved to be no handicap to the development of his exceptional aptitude for fieldcraft and understanding of the working of the highveld terrain. In 1886 he settled on his ...

Article

Chris Saunders

Boer general, Afrikaner nationalist, and South African prime minister, was born near Wellington in Cape Province in 1866 He studied law at Victoria College Stellenbosch and then at the University of Amsterdam After practicing as a lawyer in Pretoria he was appointed a judge in the Orange Free State OFS then became legal adviser to the OFS forces during the Anglo Boer War before becoming a general and leading a guerrilla commando on daring raids against the British After the war he became active in politics founding the Orangia Unie Party When the Orange River Colony ORC became self governing Hertzog joined its cabinet as attorney general and director of education in which capacity he demanded equal status for English and Afrikaans in schools He represented the ORC in the negotiations for a Union of South Africa and the first prime minster of the Union Louis Botha asked him ...

Article

Ari Nave

Born in Busoga, Apolo Kagwa was originally a slave and worked as a page for Kabaka Mutesa I (the king of Buganda). During this time many Muslim and Christian missionaries were arriving in Buganda. Although Kagwa initially practiced Islam, he was later baptized in the Anglican Church.

After Mutesa’s death in 1884, religious civil war broke out in Buganda. Mutesa’s successor, Mwanga II, purged many Christians from the Buganda court, but Kagwa survived. By 1887 he was commanding Buganda’s royal guards. A year later, Mwanga was overthrown; Kagwa fled to the neighboring Ankole kingdom. In 1890 Kagwa returned to lead the Christian Party and help reinstate Mwanga, who in turn made Kagwa the katikiro, or prime minister. In this position Kagwa welcomed both the Church Missionary Society and the British East Africa Company, and signed the treaty making Buganda a British protectorate in 1894 When Mwanga rebelled ...

Article

Chris Saunders

first apartheid-era prime minister of South Africa (served from 1948 to 1954), was of Huguenot descent, and born not far from Cape Town. He was educated at Victoria College in Stellenbosch and then the University of Utrecht, where he completed a doctorate of divinity in 1905. Returning to South Africa in the aftermath of the Anglo-Boer war, he was ordained as a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and was given a post at a church in the Transvaal before moving back to the Cape. Believing strongly that Afrikaans should be given equal recognition to English, he was a founding member of the Afrikaanse Taalvereeniging (Union for the Afrikaans language).

When J. B. M. Hertzog broke with Prime Minister Louis Botha to form the new National Party (NP) in 1914 Malan supported Hertzog He joined the National Party the following year when he gave up his position ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, judge, nationalist leader, and prime minister, was born in Samanud in Gharbiyya Province on 15 June 1879. Of modest family background (his father was a timber merchant), Nahhas is a prime example of the trajectory of upward mobility experienced by the effendiyya, Egypt’s new middle class created by processes of modernization in the nineteenth century. Educated at the Nasiriyya Elementary School and later the Khedivial Secondary School, he was first in his class at the Khedivial Law School when he graduated in 1900. In 1904 he was appointed a judge in the National Court in Tanta, and served as a judge until dismissed from the courts in 1919 due to his political involvement.

In the pre–World War I period, Nahhas’s initial political sympathies were with the Watani Party of Mustafa Kamil and Muhammad Farid. When Saʿd Zaghlul organized the new Wafd Party to demand ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, cabinet minister, and prime minister, was born in Cairo in 1863. He belonged to the Topuzzadeh family and was thus a member of the Turko-Circassian (Ottoman-Egyptian) elite that dominated Egypt through the nineteenth century. Educated in Egypt, Geneva, and Paris, he held a French law degree. Rushdi began his public career as a lawyer in the Finance Ministry and later served as an inspector of education and as a judge in both the Mixed Courts and the National Court of Appeal. His first wife was the French feminist writer Eugenie Le Brun; after her death in 1908 he married a sister-in-law of Sharif Husayn of the Hijaz.

Rushdi was a fixture in Egyptian ministries before and during World War I. He served as minister of justice from 1908 to 1910, as foreign minister from 1910 to 1912, and again as minister of justice from 1912 ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian educator, politician, and briefly prime minister, was born into a landowning family. He was educated at the Higher Teacher’s College and the Khedivial Law School. Fluent in English and French, he was a member of Egypt’s cosmopolitan elite of the early twentieth century. Trained as an educator and lawyer, he served as headmaster of the Muhammad ʿAli School in Cairo, later taught mathematics, geography, and history at al-Azhar, and also worked as a legal adviser in the Administration of Awqaf.

Sabri began his national political career as a supporter of the Wafd Party. Elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1926 as a Wafdist deputy, in 1930 he separated from the Wafd by endorsing the autocratic regime of the anti Wafdist prime minister Ismaʿil Sidqi For the remainder of his political career Sabri was an independent formally unaffiliated with any of Egypt s political parties Elected the ...

Article

Haggai Erlich

Egyptian prime minister, was born in February of 1875 in Alexandria to a family of high officials. Sidqi received his elementary education at a local French school, and then in 1889, joined the Khedival Law School in Cairo, where he worked under Mustafa Kamil and Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid for their respective nationalist journals. Having received his law degree in 1900, he first became administrative secretary to the Alexandria municipality and then agriculture minister from 1914 to 1917.

In 1916, the British initiated the formation of Anglo-Egyptian committees to plan reforms in the country in the aftermath of World War I. The economic committee, which Sidqi headed, published its recommendations in 1918 These included measures to render the economy less cotton centered and better geared toward the development of financial institutions designed to encourage light industry and other elements of an urban economy Sidqi who was ...

Article

Robert Skinner

South African nationalist, was born near Riebeeck West, in the Cape Colony. After beginning his schooling late at twelve years old, he soon showed a remarkable capacity for learning and gained entry to Victoria College, Stellenbosch. Here he encountered the political ideas of Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, began to formulate ideas about a unified South Africa, and discovered an interest in botany. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Isie Krige. His academic success was awarded with a scholarship for overseas study, and in 1891 he traveled to the United Kingdom, where he studied law at Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Having passed his law examinations in London, Smuts returned to South Africa in 1895, where he began to be involved in political activities, supporting the partnership between Hofmeyr and Cecil Rhodes. However, following the Jameson Raid of 1896 Smuts became disillusioned with Rhodes and became an ...

Article

James Jankowski

lawyer, minister, and twice prime minister of Egypt, was a descendant of one of the prominent Ottoman-Egyptian families that dominated Egyptian politics in the nineteenth century. Educated at the ʿAbdin Secondary School, the Higher Teacher’s College, and the School of Law, Tharwat had a distinguished legal career. He initially worked in the State Domains Administration and then in the Justice Ministry, where he eventually became director of administration for the National Courts and chancellor of the National Courts of Appeal. He served briefly as Governor of Asyut Province (1907–1908) and later as head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (1908–1914).

Tharwat’s political career dates to 1907, when he was a founding member of the new Umma Party. His ministerial career commenced in 1914. He was Minister of Justice from 1914 to 1919, Minister of Interior in 1921 and again in 1922 Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1926 ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian administrator, politician, and prime minister, was a scion of Egypt’s Ottoman-Egyptian aristocracy. His father, Khalil ibn Ibrahim Yakan, was a grandson of the sister of Muhammad ʿAli. From a large landowning family from which he inherited great personal wealth, ʿAdli was raised in affluence; his cosmopolitan education was acquired in German and Jesuit schools in Egypt as well as in Ottoman and French institutions. More Franco-Ottoman than Egyptian in personal manners and comportment, some sources maintain his knowledge of and fluency in Arabic were weak.

ʿAdli had an extensive and distinguished administrative career in the three decades before World War I. Appointed to a post in the Ministry of the Interior in 1880, he became private secretary to Nubar Pasha in 1885 Thereafter he served as deputy governor of Minufiyya and al Minya provinces and as governor of al Minya Fayyum Sharqiyya Daqahliyya and Gharbiyya provinces as ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, nationalist leader, and prime minister, was born in the village of Ibyana, Gharbiyya Province, where his father was village ʿumda or leader. Zaghlul’s initial education was traditional: study at the village kuttab followed by four years at al-Azhar. Both his family and educational backgrounds were important components of his political persona; from a moderately well-off peasant family, raised in a village in the Delta, and educated in the indigenous educational system, Zaghlul was a leader with the popular touch, a man with whom the indigenous Egyptian majority, long dominated by foreigners, could and did identify.

Zaghlul had a long public career before he became the dominant figure in Egyptian politics after World War I. Associated with the failed ʿUrabi movement of the later 1870s and early 1880s, when he edited the official gazette al-Waqiʿi al-Misriyya he was arrested but cleared on the charge of ...

Article

James Jankowski

Egyptian lawyer, politician, and prime minister, was born in Alexandria into a family of Circassian background on 14 November 1864. As was the case with many members of the Turko-Circassian elite who dominated Egyptian politics in the nineteenth century, his education was cosmopolitan; the Lazariyya College in Alexandria, the Jesuit Collège St. Joseph in Beirut, the School of Languages in Cairo, finally Aix- en-Provence University in France, where he received his law degree in 1887. First employed in the public prosecutor’s office, Ziwar was appointed to the courts in 1899 and served as advocate-general of the National Tribunals and later as a judge in the National Court of Appeal. He also served as governor of Alexandria.

Ziwar’s political career began in 1917, when he was appointed minister of Waqfs. He served in several Egyptian cabinets over the next decade: minister of education in 1919 minister of ...