Egypt's Pyramid Sell-Off

Suggestions that the European Union should have control over Greece’s budget in order to curb its debt crisis have caused a fierce reaction from Athens. James Barker explores a parallel situation in 19th-century Egypt.

Disraeli buys the khedive's shares in the Suez Canal. A 'Punch' cartoon of February 1876 entitled 'The Lion's Share'.The latest headlines from Greece are a stark reminder that the ultimate price that an insolvent nation ends up paying is the loss of its sovereignty. One hundred and thirty-three years ago another country bordering the Mediterranean was staring bankruptcy in the face. The measures that its international creditors forced it to adopt prevented a complete financial meltdown but, as a result, its rulers lost control over their own affairs for decades to come.

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