The Suez ‘Crisis’ through a Second Class Imperialism: Portugal and Egypt (1956-1957)

24 January 2019. From 18:30  | Workshop | English | IEMed, Barcelona
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In 1947 the majority of Middle Eastern output of crude oil (79%) still belonged to the British corporations. In 1956 the situation was quite different. The Suez crisis marked one of the biggest turning points in the history of the Middle East.
Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt (1954 – 1970), announced in 1956 that he would nationalize the Suez Canal, until then controlled by the British for decades. The Western reaction was diverse. On the one hand, starting a war with Egypt was not an option for the United States. Meanwhile, on the other hand, France, the United Kingdom and Israel secretly met at a convention in Paris to plan a military intervention to overthrow Nasser. However, it was no coincidence that Portugal and Belgium were at the same time two of the European states most opposed to changes in Africa. However, the stand of Belgium towards the Egyptian government corresponded more to what should be expected from a colonial metropolis than the Portuguese diplomats who from the beginning of the Suez crisis made reassuring statements towards Egypt. However, what role did Portugal play and what were its interests in this crisis? How did the crisis contribute to the new international balance?
Maciel Morais Santos explains the global context of this crisis and its effects. 


Èlia Romo Terol

Èlia Romo Terol

Master’s Degree Coordinator Universitat de Barcelona

Maciel Morais Santos

Professor Centro de Estudos Africanos de la Universidade do Porto



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