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ENGINEERING THE NILE: IRRIGATION AND THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN EGYPT, 1882-1914 by Claire Jean Cookson-Hills A thesis submitted to the Department of History In conformity with the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Canada (January, 2013) Copyright ©Claire Jean Cookson-Hills, 2013 Abstract This thesis examines technological and social mechanisms of British imperial water control as created and managed by British irrigation engineers in Egypt between 1882 and 1914. In the aftermath of the British military conquest of the Ottoman colony, irrigation engineering was lauded as a way to make Egypt prosperous and financially solvent through the growth and sale of cash-crop cotton on the global market. The irrigation engineers who transferred into Egypt in the wake of the British occupation to enact this revivification of irrigation were Indian-experienced military engineers; these Royal Engineers officers and their British superiors in Egypt and the Foreign Office enacted the principles of late nineteenth century liberal economy, including the construction of large-scale public works. The British engineers imported their Indian experiences when they transferred to the Egyptian Irrigation Department. Their engineering epistemologies included economic frugality, an emphasis and reliance on hydraulic science, and skepticism of the viability of local irrigation practices. Permanent dams were built or reconstructed across the Nile at Cairo (Delta Barrage, 1887-1890) and at Aswan (Aswan Dam, 1898-1902). With these structures, among other major projects, the engineers created a system of water control that extended their abilities to manage the Nile and local irrigation practices. Always chaotic, contingent, and geographically and temporally specific, the engineers forced Egyptian peasants, cash crop cotton, and the Nile into the interconnected web of politics, economics, and science that was transnational British imperialism. ii Acknowledgements So many people have helped me through the last few years. The following list is incomplete, given all the support and advice that I have received over the past five years of thesis work. I would like to thank the following people for their help researching this dissertation. S.D. Jowett’s translations were invaluable. Rob Engen helped with his editing, table-making, and picture-cropping skills. Feriel Kissoon was kind enough to look at documents in London. Diana Otlewski was a fantastic research assistant for Chapter 5. Suzanne and Ronan O’Sullivan, and Danielle Baird allowed me to take advantage of their kind hospitality. At the Institute of Civil Engineers’ Library and Archives, Carol Morgan was especially helpful with researching. At the Royal Engineers Museum and Archives, Lauren Soutar was very helpful. The Sudan Archives, Durham, the Science Museum Library, the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Royal Engineers Museum and Archives allowed me to access their collections and I would like to thank them profusely. I would like to thank Queen’s University for the travel awards and the opportunity to teach. The Ontario Graduate Scholarship provided a generous grant. To my friends: Danielle Baird, Eleanor Belshaw-Hauff, Andrea Bombak, Andrew Cardinal, Molly Cookson-Hills, Carly Ciufo, Caralee Daigle Hau, Kristy Engen, Rob Engen, Kyle Franz, Carolyn Harris, S.D. Jowett, Feriel Kissoon, Maria Moncur, Madelaine Morrison, Pamela Peacock, Samantha Sandassie, Rankin Sherling, Rob Denis, and Matt “Murph” Trudgen, you have made these years so much fun. Rebecca Slitt, Caralee Daigle Hau, Marisha Caswell, Elizabeth Lapina, and Shirley Baird made sure that I get home safely. I would like to thank Molly, Rob, Andrea, Carolyn, and Danielle for being excellent travel companions. At Queen’s, Sandra den Otter has been an excellent supervisor, and I would not have been able to write this without her help and support. I would also like to thank Dr. A. English, Dr. Robert Shenton, Dr. Jane Errington, and Dr. Colin Duncan for their help with this dissertation and sharing their wisdom. I would also like to thank my committee members: Dr. Sandra den Otter, Dr. Ishita Pande, Dr. Colin Duncan, Dr. Robert Shenton, Dr. Laura Cameron, and Dr. Joseph Hodge. I would like to thank to my family in Alberta (Mom, Dad, Carmen, Pippa, Molly, Granny, Vicki, Kristy, Grandpa) for understanding why I went away, why I’ve been gone so long, for all those hours on the phone, and for coming to visit when you could. To my dad: I finally iii have something for you to read! I would also like t

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