Abidin Bey

Abidin Bey was the first governor of Dongola

Abidin Bey al-Arnaut (c. 1780–1827) was an Albanian commander and politician of Egypt during the early era of Muhammad Ali's rule. A member of the core group of Muhammad Ali's commanders, after his death the Abdeen Palace named after him was built on the site of his residence in Cairo and a district of the city was renamed to honour him.


In 1814 he led a campaign against the Wahhabi movement but was defeated.[1] A year later he warned Muhammad Ali of an assassination plot against him, an intervention that gave Ali the opportunity to escape the attack. Until 1820, when he was appointed second-in-command in the Sudanese campaign, Abidin was the governor of al-Minya. During the campaign, he distinguished himself in the battle of al-Kurdi.

In April 1821 he became the first governor of the province of Dongola[2] (approximately corresponding to eastern As Samaliya) and had his mansion designed by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg. His main duties included the building of depots for the resupplying of passing troops and the region's tax assessment. Abidin Bey's taxation system was regarded as just and it contributed to the reduction of revolt risk in the province. However, his shipyard project for the building of sailing ships for the transport of Black African slaves from Sudan to Egypt was unsuccessful.[3] Dongola's political stability during Abidin Bey's rule is considered unusual as rebellions were frequent in all the newly acquired territories of Egypt in the 1820s.[4] After 1825 he returned to Egypt and was killed two years later during a mutiny.


  1. Mikaberidze, Alexander (2011-07-31). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 294. ISBN 978-1-59884-336-1. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  2. Bjørkelo, Anders (2003). Prelude to the Mahdiyya : peasants and traders in the Shendi Region, 1821–1885. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-521-53444-4.
  3. Hill, Richard Leslie (1959). Egypt in the Sudan, 1820–1881. Oxford University Press. p. 13. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  4. McGregor, Andrew (2001). "The Circassian Qubba-s of Abbas Avenue, Khartoum: Governors and Soldiers in 19th Century Sudan" (PDF). Nordic Journal of African Studies.
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