Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt, founded by King Menes, who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Cairo was ruled by several outsiders, including French occupation, Ottoman forces, and Great Britain. The British occupation was intended to be temporary, but it lasted well into the 20th century. Isma’il Pasha ruled Egypt from 1863 to 1879, and he completely transformed the country, investing heavily in industrial and economic development and urbanization. Ismail invited architects from Belgium, France, and Italy to design and build a new European-style Cairo. These stunning colorized photographs show what Cairo looked like in the late 19th century — documenting towns, streets, architecture, the Nile river, and people’s everyday lives.