Cosmopolitanism on the Move: Port Said around 1900

Global Urban History

By Valeska Huber, German Historical Institute London

Baedecker Map Baedeker map of Port Said, 1885, from the Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA).

Research on the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean has stressed the importance of the opening of the Suez Canal as a transformative factor that had extensive reverberations throughout the region. In the decades after 1869, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea developed into the lifeline not only of the British, but also of the French and Dutch Empires; the harbor town of Port Said at the Mediterranean entrance of the canal became a quasi-obligatory stopover during the journey between the colonies and Europe. However, while Egyptian or more generally Middle Eastern cities form a thriving field of research, Port Said has so far largely escaped the attention of urban historians of the Middle East. There are reasons for this neglect: Port Said never developed into a…

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