Mehmet Ali of Egypt took Massawa
In December of 1813
Mehmet Ali of Egypt took the administration of the Eyalet of Habesh including the port of Massawa, eroding the power of the local Naib nobility, after he defeated the Saudis who led the Wahhabi uprising in the Arabian Peninsula.
Mehmet/Muhammad Ali Pasha, khedive or viceroy of Egypt, with his modern navy fleet
The Ottoman Eyalet or province of Habesh, the area surrounding Massawa, which was under the governorship of Jeddah in current-day Saudi Arabia, had minimal Ottoman presence in the late 18th century. The Naibs of Hirgigo had become powerful following the weakening of the Ottoman rule in the province after the Abyssinian Emperor Sertse-Dengel defeated the Ottoman Turks in Debarwa in the central highlands and at their garrisons at Hirgigo and Massawa in 1579. This weakened presence of the Ottomans made the Naibs the semi-autonomous rulers of the Eyalet. Every year, the Governor of Jeddah would send an Ottoman district governor with a small army contingent to come to Massawa to collect taxes from the province.
At this time, the Ottoman Sultanate or Empire was reduced to a small garrison in Massawa to represent its Sultan. The Naibs became very well connected to the garrison through marriage and other means that the Sultanate became a loyal ally of the Naibs, in turn relying on them for needs such as water, which came to Massawa from their stronghold at Hirgigo, and securing the trade routes that brought slaves and ivory from the interior to the harbor.
Muhammad or Mehmet Ali Pasha, Wali or Viceroy of Egypt, at the time of his ascent to power
Meanwhile, Muhammad or Mehmet Ali Pasha, having usurped power in Egypt by taking advantage of the uncertain environment that was created by the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte, became the unchallengeable ruler of Egypt. As soon as he had defeated the Mamluks up north in 1811, Sultan Muhammad II of the Ottomans approached him for his help to recapture the Holy Cities of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, then under the Saudis of Najd who had led the Wahhabi uprising that had defeated the Ottoman armies there.
Sultan Mahmud II of Ottoman Turks, who reigned between 1808 and 1839
Mehmet Ali waged war against the Saudis and defeated them ceasing the Holy Cities and appointing his son Tusun Pasha to be the governor of Hejaz (Arabia) and Habesh in 1813, thus establishing the first Egyptian administration in Massawa. He also took the port at Sawakin (Sudan).
The arrival of the Egyptians saw the decline of the influence of the powerful Naib families in Massawa and Hirgigo. A few years later, Naib Yahya would rebel after he was dismissed from his position and the Naibs’ funds that came from Jeddah for centuries started to dry up.