British interest in Egypt, still nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, became intense during the 1880s, with the acquisition of direct control over the Suez Canal. Late in the nineteenth century, she competed with Germany for influence in the Persian Gulf and with Russia in Persia, whilst her success in the First World War enabled her influence to include Mesopotamia, which she divided with France. This lecture looked at the reasons for British interest in the Middle East, and at the limited duration and strength of her influence.
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