Timeline: The Suez Crisis

UN Troops In The Sinai Desert during Suez Crisis
Keystone-France/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Learn what events lead to the Suez Crisis, which was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956.


  • Feb 28: Egypt is declared a sovereign state by Britain.
  • Mar 15: Sultan Faud appoints himself King of Egypt.
  • Mar 16: Egypt achieves independence.
  • May 7: Britain is angered over Egyptian claims to sovereignty over Sudan.


  • Apr 28:  Faud dies and his 16-year-old son, Farouk, becomes King of Egypt.
  • Aug 26: Draft of Anglo-Egyptian Treaty is signed. Britain is allowed to maintain a garrison of 10,000 men in the Suez Canal Zone and is given effective control of Sudan.


  • May 2: King Farouk is declared the spiritual leader, or Caliph, of Islam.


  • Sept 23: Egyptian government demands complete British withdrawal and the cession of Sudan.


  • May 24: British premier Winston Churchill says the Suez Canal will be in danger if Britain withdraws from Egypt.


  • May 14: Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv.
  • May 15: Start of the first Arab-Israeli War.
  • Dec 28: Egyptian premier Mahmoud Fatimy is assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Feb 12: Hassan el Banna, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is assassinated.


  • Jan 3: Wafd party regains power.


  • Oct 8: Egyptian government announces that it will eject Britain from the Suez Canal Zone and take control of Sudan.
  • Oct 21: British warships arrive at Port Said, more troops are on the way.


  • Jan 26: Egypt is placed under martial law in response to wide-spread riots against the British.
  • Jan 27: Prime Minister Mustafa Nahhas is removed by King Farouk for failing to keep the peace. He is replaced by Ali Mahir.
  • Mar 1: The Egyptian Parliament is suspended by King Farouk when Ali Mahir resigns.
  • May 6: King Farouk claims to be a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed.
  • July 1: Hussein Sirry is new premier.
  • July 23: Free Officer Movement, fearing King Farouk is about to move against them, initiate a military coup.
  • July 26: Military coup is successful, General Naguib appoints Ali Mahir as prime minister.
  • Sept 7: Ali Mahir again resigns. General Naguib takes over the post of president, prime minister, minister of war and commander-in-chief of the army.


  • Jan 16: President Naguib disbands all opposition parties.
  • Feb 12: Britain and Egypt sign a new treaty. Sudan to have independence within three years.
  • May 5: Constitutional commission recommends 5,000-year-old monarchy be ended and Egypt become a republic.
  • May 11: Britain threatens to use force against Egypt over the Suez Canal dispute.
  • June 18: Egypt becomes a republic.
  • Sept 20: Several of King Farouk's aides are seized.


  • Feb 28: Nasser challenges President Naguib.
  • Mar 9: Naguib beats off Nasser's challenge and retains the presidency.
  • Mar 29: General Naguib postpones plans to hold parliamentary elections.
  • Apr 18: For a second time, Nasser takes the presidency away from Naguib.
  • Oct 19: Britain cedes Suez Canal to Egypt in new treaty, two year period set for withdrawal.
  • Oct 26: Muslim Brotherhood attempt to assassinate General Nasser.
  • Nov 13: General Nasser in full control of Egypt.


  • Apr 27: Egypt announces plans to sell cotton to Communist China
  • May 21: USSR announces it will sell arms to Egypt.
  • Aug 29: Israeli and Egyptian jets in fire-fight over Gaza.
  • Sept 27: Egypt makes deal with Czechoslovakia -- arms for cotton.
  • Oct 16: Egyptian and Israeli forces skirmish in El Auja.
  • Dec 3: Britain and Egypt sign agreement granting Sudan independence.


  • Jan 1: Sudan achieves independence.
  • Jan 16: Islam is made state religion by act of Egyptian government.
  • June 13: Britain gives up Suez Canal. Ends 72 years of British occupation.
  • June 23: General Nasser is elected president.
  • July 19: US withdraws financial aid for Aswan Dam project. The official reason is Egypt's increased ties to USSR.
  • July 26: President Nasser announces a plan to nationalize Suez Canal.
  • July 28: Britain freezes Egyptian assets.
  • July 30: British Prime Minister Anthony Eden imposes an arms embargo on Egypt, and informs General Nasser that he can not have the Suez Canal.
  • Aug 1: Britain, France, and the US hold talks on escalating the Suez crisis.
  • Aug 2: Britain mobilizes armed forces.
  • Aug 21: Egypt says it will negotiate on Suez ownership if Britain pulls out of the Middle East.
  • Aug 23: USSR announces it will send troops if Egypt is attacked.
  • Aug 26: General Nasser agrees to five nation conference on Suez Canal.
  • Aug 28: Two British envoys are expelled from Egypt accused of spying.
  • Sept 5: Israel condemns Egypt over Suez crisis.
  • Sept 9: Conference talks collapse when General Nasser refuses to allow international control of the Suez Canal.
  • Sept 12: US, Britain, and France announce their intention to impose a Canal Users Association on the management of the canal.
  • Sept 14: Egypt now in full control of the Suez Canal.
  • Sept 15: Soviet ship-pilots arrive to help Egypt run the canal.
  • Oct 1: A 15 nation Suez Canal Users Association is officially formed.
  • Oct 7: Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir says the UN failure to resolve the Suez Crisis means they must take military action.
  • Oct 13: Anglo-French proposal for the control of the Suez Canal is vetoed by the USSR during the UN session.
  • Oct 29: Israel invades the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Oct 30: Britain and France veto USSR demand for Israel-Egypt cease-fire.
  • Nov 2: UN Assembly finally approves a cease-fire plan for Suez.
  • Nov 5: British and French forces involved in the airborne invasion of Egypt.
  • Nov 7: UN Assembly votes 65 to 1 that invading powers should quit Egyptian territory.
  • Nov 25: Egypt begins to expel British, French, and Zionist residents.
  • Nov 29: Tripartite Invasion is officially ended under pressure from UN.
  • Dec 20: Israel refuses to return Gaza to Egypt.
  • Dec 24: British and French troops depart Egypt.
  • Dec 27: 5,580 Egyptian POWs exchanged for four Israelis.
  • Dec 28: Operation to clear sunken ship in Suez Canal starts.


  • Jan 15: British and French banks in Egypt are nationalized.
  • Mar 7: UN takes over the administration of the Gaza Strip.
  • Mar 15: General Nasser bars Israeli shipping from Suez Canal.
  • Apr 19: First British ship pays Egyptian toll for use of the Suez Canal.
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Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "Timeline: The Suez Crisis." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/timeline-the-suez-crisis-4070809. Boddy-Evans, Alistair. (2020, August 26). Timeline: The Suez Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-the-suez-crisis-4070809 Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "Timeline: The Suez Crisis." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/timeline-the-suez-crisis-4070809 (accessed June 5, 2023).