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Egyptian Medal (1882): CM.1222-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

Mint: Birmingham
Artist: Wyon, Leonard Charles
Artist: Pinches, John
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina et imperatrix (With the title of)

Entities

Categories

Description

Victorian-period Egypt was technically a dependency of the Ottoman Empire, but in fact the Khedive, Tewfik Pasha, was effectively in the hands of Britain and France, for whom control of the Suez Canal was a strategic necessity. Egypt's shaky economic situation endangering this, in 1879 Britain and France took over government in an arrangement of dual control. This foreign influence was much resented in Egypt, and especially within the army. A Colonel by the name of Ahmad Urabi (Arabi Pasha) became the spearhead of the movement, which launched a coup in 1882. After some international indecision this was suppressed by British arms, the final blow being delivered at the Battle of Tel-al-Kebir.
The weakening of Ottoman Egyptian power meanwhile led to increasing attempts to shed Egyptian dominion in the Sudan, where in 1881 Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad ibn al-Sayyid 'Abd Allah was proclaimed as Mahdi (the legendary final redeemer of Islam). He and his allies soon threatened to remove the Sudan entirely from the Khedive's control. Several serious defeats of Egyptian forces in 1884 led to a concerted British campaign in defence of Egyptian claims, but control could not be recovered. The British withdrew their forces to Egypt and to Khartoum, where General Gordon defended the city whilst awaiting a relief column that, beset by Mahdist attacks, arrived too late.
After this disaster Suakim, on the Red Sea, remained the last British bridgehead in Sudan, and was subject to a number of sieges. The Suakin Field Force, formed to defend this outpost, were repeatedly engaged by Mahdist troops without much conclusion beyond heavy casualties to either side, until the eventual complete British withdrawal in 1890.
This medal was awarded to Driver T. Caulfield of the 6th Battalion, Royal Horse Artillery, and indicates his presence at both the battle of Tel-al-Kebir and one of the heavy skirmishes in defence of Suakim. Lester Watson acquired the medal at some point before 1928.

Notes

History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, acquired before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 35.8 mm
Weight: 42.69 g

Place(s) associated

  • Birmingham

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester

Dating

1882 CE - 1890 CE

Materials used in production

Silver

Techniques used in production

Struck

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left with veil

  • Text: VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Sphynx on pedestal facing left

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1222-2009
Primary reference Number: 141316
Watson Catalogue: 116
Ordering: M-0105
Previous object number: LW.0105
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 15 January 2024 Last processed: Monday 15 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Egyptian Medal (1882)" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141316 Accessed: 2024-07-22 14:21:58

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/141316 |title=Egyptian Medal (1882) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-22 14:21:58|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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