Ismail Pasha, (1830–1895), a ruler of Egypt. He was the grandson of Mehemet Ali, who founded a hereditary dynasty of pashas (governors) under the Ottoman sultan, Egypt's overlord. Ismail succeeded to the pashalik in 1863. The Suez Canal was being dug, and Ismail spared no expense to further the project. In 1866 he was awarded the title of khedive (viceroy) by the sultan. The canal was opened in 1869 with lavish ceremonies. Soon Ismail found himself overwhelmed by debt, and in 1875 he sold his shares in the canal company to Great Britain. Egypt, however, was fast going bankrupt. In 1879 Germany threatened to intervene in Egypt's internal affairs to ensure that the country paid its debts. Britain and France quickly reacted by deposing Ismail and jointly taking control of Egypt's finances.