Gamal Abdel Nasser
(1918—1970) Egyptian colonel and statesman, Prime Minister 1954–6 and President 1956–70
Egyptian colonel and statesman, Prime Minister (1954–56) and President (1956–70). He was the leader of a successful military coup to depose King Farouk in 1952, after which a republic was declared with Muhammad Neguib (1901–84) as its President. Nasser deposed Neguib in 1954, declaring himself Prime Minister; two years later he announced a new one-party constitution, becoming President shortly afterwards. His nationalization of the Suez Canal brought armed conflict with Britain, France, and Israel in 1956; he also led Egypt in two unsuccessful wars against Israel (1956 and 1967). With considerable Soviet aid he launched a programme of domestic modernization, including the building of the High Dam at Aswan. The lake created in 1960 after the building of the Aswan Dam is called Lake Nasser. It is 500 km (300 miles) long.