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Scarce view of Cairo, dated June 17, 1882, at the outset of the Anglo-Egyptian War.

The panoramic view is centered on the Mosque of the Citadel, extending to the left to show the Pyramids of Ghiza and Old Cairo, with the Nile near the horizon.

In 1881, an Egyptian army officer, Ahmed ‘Urabi (then known in English as Arabi Pasha), mutinied and initiated a coup against Tewfik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, because of grievances over disparities in pay between Egyptians and Europeans, as well as other concerns. In January 1882, the British and French governments sent a "Joint Note" to the Egyptian government, declaring their recognition of the Khedive's authority. On May 20, 1882, British and French warships arrived off the coast of Alexandria.

On June 11, 1882, an anti-Christian riot occurred in Alexandria that killed 50 Europeans. Colonel ‘Urabi ordered his forces to put down the riot, but Europeans fled the city and ‘Urabi's army began fortifying the town. The French fleet was recalled to France. A British ultimatum was rejected and its warships began a 10½-hour bombardment of Alexandria on July 11, 1882.