Imperialism is the extension of sovereignty or control by one group of people over another. Many Western European countries had adopted this idea, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries. This age of discovery and exploration led to the expansion of European powers in the Americas and in parts of Asia. After a gradual decline in Imperialistic views and ideals following the American and French revolutions, a sudden increase for colonial power ensued in Western Europe. This "new imperialism" grew as a result of economical, political, and social issues and is exemplified by the Western penetration of Egypt. Though criticized by many for its racial and non-libertarian motives, the new imperialism gave many, such as Englishman Cecil Rhodes, a new passion for empirical expansion and conquest.
After the 1820's many Western European countries had lost many of its colonies, such as France in America and Spain in South America. Of course, Britain had also lost its crucial colonies during the Revolutionary War North America. The resulting belief that colonialism had became too expensive and useless was popular. Governments had begun to concentrate on internal affairs. Nearing the end of the 19th century, though, most of these countries began to abandon the idea of anti-colonialism and a new concept for expansion arose. .
Egypt, having long been ruled by foreign empires, entered an age of modernization during the early 1800s. The Turkish appointed governor, Muhammad Ali, took major steps in modeling Egypt's agriculture and military after European standards. His grandson, Ismail, later increased Egypt's productivity with Europe with the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869. Financial burdens forced Ismail to concede most of Egypt's financial power over to France and Britain. Eventually, many Egyptians began to revolt because they realized the control that Britain had now attained.