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The Abaza clan, "deeply rooted in Egyptian society and... in the history of the country"[1] is an Egyptian family that plays a powerful and long-standing role in Egyptian economic, intellectual and political life. Their main stronghold is the Sharqia Governorate.

The family is noted for producing the largest number of noble style holders in Egypt, such as Pashas, Beks/Beys, Hanims, Saheb or Sahebet Ezza, Mqama , Saada, Maaly and Oussma, intellectuals, politicians, business people and men/women of letters. It is considered the largest extended family in Egypt. In addition several living Abazas hold the title 'His or Her Excellency', for example serving ministers in government or serving diplomats.

Currently there are at least six Abaza members of either of Egypt's two Houses of Parliament, two Ministers in government, an opposition party leader, and the Chief District Attorney of Cairo is also an Abaza. In addition, a large amount of economic activity is undertaken by the wealthiest Abaza Family members.

The Abaza Family name is widely recognized by people in most of Egypt.

Contents

Historical Overview

The Abaza family originated in Abazinia, a region at the northern mountainside of the Caucasus Major, now the northern part of Karachay-Cherkessian Republic, Russia. Abazinia is home of the Abazins, a people related to the Abkhaz people and speaking the Abazin language. However, intermarriage into native Egyptian families, specifically native upper class families, was and remains common for Abazas thus ensuring native Egyptian ancestry for the entire clan.

The Abazins were one of several Muslim ethnic groups living in the Russian Empire who emigrated during the Muhajir (Caucasus) in the mid-19th century, although some sources indicate that the Egyptian Abazas emigrated 600-800 years ago. Many moved to Turkey, but later emigrated again and settled in various Arab countries. In their new Arab home, the Abazins took – or were given – the last name "Abaza".

Afaf Lutfi Sayyid-Marsot in the study, Egypt in the Reign of Muhammad Ali, makes mention of a traditional belief amongst the Egyptian Abaza Family that they were named after a "beloved grandmother...or her place of birth". Family elders sat on the Majlis created by Ibrahim Pasha, "uhda" (or royal endowments) of villages and land were obtained by the Family and "the Abaza flourished" (pp.123-124).

During the accession of the young King Farouk, "the Abaza family had solicited palace authorities to permit the royal train to stop briefly in their village so that the king could partake in refreshments offered in a large, magnificently ornamented tent they had erected in the train station." [2] (Al-Ahram Weekly).

Members of the Egyptian Abaza clan consider themselves a family, and are categorized as a 'family' or 'clan' in the country in which they are well-known. The Egyptian Abaza Family is most often thought to number 10-15000 members, but this is difficult to verify. There is a common sterotypical assumption widely held in Egypt that all Egyptian Abaza are exceedingly wealthy. This is a false generalization, although most of the Abazas are of an at least Upper-Middle-Class status and have incomes higher than the vast majority of the Egyptian population. In addition, most feudal land held by the Abazas was lost in Nassers Land Reform policies, and before that as an effect of the Great Depression.

Family members are active both in Government and opposition circles, and are generally known to value their aristocratic and noble class position.

Additionally, they have been traditionally famed for exceptional generosity to the poor in the past and present. This is most obvious in the tale famed throughout Egypt that the people of Sharqia, where the Abazas are powerful, are called idiomatically "those who invited the train", referring to an occasion where a full train had difficulties and the Sharqia residents invited all passengers to dine with them. This led to an almost legendary saying about the Sharqia governate's population are extremely generous. It is important to note that this community does not consist of Abaza Family only and there are other well-reputed families in the Sharqaia governorate that share pride in the generosity of inviting the train. This legend is also colloquially applied to the local farmer population as well as the leading clans.

There is also a town in Russia named Abaza (town).

Notable Egyptian Abaza

Living Figures


Deceased Figures and holders of Royal style

  • The Shiekh of the Arabs Hassan Pasha Abaza- A major elder figure. Served on the Council of Scholars set up to advise the Egyptian Royal House and Government. Granted villages by Ibrahim Pasha as described in the article.
  • Shiekh Boghdady Pasha Hassan Abaza- A major elder figure. Also, as above, served on the Council of Scholars set up to advise the Egyptian Royal House and Government.
  • Wagih Abaza- Founder of Peugeot Egypt and former Governor of Cairo and Beheira Governorate and one of the Free Officers along with Gamal Abdul Nasser, and During 1950–1952 Abaza was in charge of the Commandos against the British
  • Rushdy Abaza- A popular Actor in Egypt and the Arab World.
  • Ibrahim Desouky Abaza Pasha- Former Egyptian "Minister of Foreign Affairs" From 28/02/1948 to 27/02/1949.
  • Fekry Pasha Abaza Pasha- A famous writer and a former Pasha.
  • Maher Abaza- Former Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy From 14/5/1980 To 5/10/1999.

See also

External links

Sources

References

  1. ^ [1]







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