Nubar Pasha, First Prime Minister of Egypt

Nubar Pasha, First Prime Minister of Egypt

Who he was

Egypt is the most populous Arab country in the world, and is seen as a leader in global Arab affairs. It is curious, then, that its first prime minister was an Armenian by the name of Nubar Nubarian, or Nubar Pasha.

Nubarian was a politician in British-controlled Egypt. Educated in Europe and reputed as being exceptionally intelligent, he was instrumental in laying the foundation of the independent Egyptian state. During the time he was politically active, he was appointed the first prime minister of the country.

The British controller-general of Egypt during that time said about Nubar Pasha that he was “by far the most interesting of latter-day Egyptian politicians. Intellectually, he towered above his competitors.”  

While the British supported his leadership, he tried many times to assert Egyptian independence. However, he became aware of Britain’s dominance of Egypt’s politics and governance, saying, “I am not here to govern Egypt, but to administer the British government of Egypt. I am simply the greaser of the official wheels." Frustrated by Britain’s control of Egypt, he resigned his post as prime minister and died a few years later, in 1899, in Paris.

Interesting fact

Nubar Pasha served in Egyptian government for 50 years, during which time he worked with famed Arab leader Muhammed Ali, as well as Napoleon III.