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Ali Pasha Sherif

File:Ali pasha Sherif.jpg
Ali Pasha Sherif

Ali Pasha Sherif (18??-1897) (also spelled Cherif) was known as a renowned breeder of Arabian horses in Egypt during the late 1800s. He was originally born Ali Bey,the son of El Sayed Mohammed Cherif Pasha El Kebir, who was a brilliant student and had caught the eye of his distant relative, the Wāli or Governor of Egypt, Muhammed Ali Pasha, who obtained admittance for him into an elite Egyptian boarding school. El Sayed Mohammed Cherif became an important administrator in Muhammed Ali's regime, serving as prime minister and eventually becoming Wali of El Sham and Arabistan(Governor of Syria and the Arab lands). Through this connection young Ali Bey developed a love of horses and horsemanship and developed contacts with many desert chieftains, as well as being exposed to the Arabian horses collected by Muhammad Ali and his successor Abbas I (also known as Abbas Pasha or Abbas Pasha I).

As a teen, Ali Bey attended French staff officer's school in Paris, and became an artillery colonel in Mohammed Ali's Egyptian Army. After the death of his father, Ali Bey received the title of Ali Pasha Sherif. In this capacity he served throughout the reign of Khedives Tewfik Pasha and Abbas Hilmi Pasha. Major posts he held included Foreign Minister of Egypt, and at one point in his career, he was awarded the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

He first obtained a few Arabian horses while his father was governor of Syria and obtained others directly from the breeding program of Abbas Pasha I. When Abbas Pasha I was assassinated in 1854, his Arabian horses were inherited by his eighteen year old son El Hami Pasha, who had little interest in them, giving away several and putting the rest up for auction. In 1861, Ali Pasha Sherif purchased approximately 30 horses of the original Abbas Pasha stock. Ultimately, Ali Pasha had four hundred horses by 1873.

Ali Pasha Sherif was reputed to have kept extensive records and manuscripts about his stud, which were passed onto his son, Huseyn Bey Sherif, who lent them to King Fouad. These were never returned and they are now considered lost.

In the last 1870s, a devastating epidemic of African horse sickness hit Egypt, killing thousands of horses, including many horses of prized bloodlines. Only the horses Ali Pasha had moved to upper Egypt were saved. As he aged, Ali Pasha Sherif's health also failed and he encountered financial and political problems, leading to many problems for his stud farm.

He made the acquaintance of Wilfred and Lady Anne Blunt, in 1880. Though he was generally reluctant to sell horses to foreigners, he eventually sold them the stallion Mesaoud in 1889 as well as other horses. In 1897 Ali Pasha Sherif died and a month later his remaining horses went up for auction. At that time, Lady Anne Blunt was able to purchase many of the best for her Sheykh Obeyd stud, later exporting some to their Crabbet Arabian Stud in England

See also

  • Muhammad Ali Dynasty


  • Derry, Margaret E. Bred for Perfection: Shorthorn Cattle, Collies, and Arabian Horses Since 1800 ISBN-0801873444
  • Wentworth, Judith Anne Dorothea Blunt-Lytton. The Authentic Arabian Horse, 3rd ed. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1979.


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