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Abdel-Nasser, Gamal Hussein (1918–1970)

Gamal Abdel-Nasser was the second president of Egypt, officially appointed on June 23, 1956, and served until his death on September 28, 1970. Before becoming president, Abdel-Nasser was an Egyptian nationalist and prime minister.

The first son of Fahima and Hussein Abdel-Nasser, Gamal was born on January 15, 1918, in a small district in Alexandria, Egypt, called Bakos. His father Hussein was a postal worker while his mother, Fahima, remained at home and took care of their children.  The couple married in 1917, soon after Gamal was born (1918) and later was followed by his two brothers, Izz al-Arab and al-Leithi.

Abdel-Nasser’s family moved around Egypt in his early years due to his father’s occupation; Nasser attended a nursery school in Alexandria until they moved to Asyut in 1921 then Khatatba in 1923, where he started elementary school, followed by Cairo in 1924 and finally back to Alexandria in 1928 to complete his primary education. After attending a boarding school in Helwan for a year, he returned to Alexandria where, only twelve years old at the time, he participated in his first demonstration: an antigovernment protest organized by the Masr El-Fatah Society, a group of religious nationalists who aimed to unite the Arab nations into a single nation for Islam. Police officers suppressed the demonstration during which Abdel-Nasser was injured and arrested.

In 1933 Abdel-Nasser started pursuing his political career and became head of El-Nahda secondary school’s student union. On November 13, 1935, four days after Britain’s refusal to re-install the Egyptian constitution, Abdel-Nasser led a student demonstration where he was injured again. Although the constitution was restored shortly after that demonstration, Abdel-Nasser’s political activity increased following a 1936 Treaty which increased British power over Egypt. Abdel-Nasser’s political activity led to his temporary expulsion from the school but the principal was pressured to overturn the decision when other students went on a strike.

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