History, Coup and Independence
Egyptian army, secret society, monarchy, agricultural land, government ministries
In July 1952 a secret society in the Egyptian army called the Free Officers, led by General Gamal Abdel Nasser, took control of the government in an almost bloodless coup. They forced Faruk to abdicate and replaced him as head of state with General Muhammad Naguib. Naguib promised to restore democracy and rid the country of corruption. The officers who formed the government soon realized that Egypt needed more comprehensive reforms.
The new government’s first action was to issue a decree that no person could own more than 80 hectares (200 acres) of agricultural land. This action had the effect of breaking up huge estates and redistributing the land to millions of peasants who owned no land. In the course of the next year the Free Officers took over government ministries to implement other reforms. They banned the old political parties, tried many politicians for corruption, and postponed indefinitely the restoration of parliamentary rule. In June 1953 they put an end to the monarchy by declaring Egypt a republic. Naguib was named the first president of the republic.
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