On this day in 1952, the Society of Free Officers seizes control of the government in Egypt in a military coup d'etat. King Farouk, whose rule had been criticised for its corruption and failures in the first Arab-Israeli war, was forced to abdicate and give up power to General Muhammad Naguib, leader of the coup.
The revolutionaries redistributed land, tried politicians for corruption and abolished the monarchy in 1953. Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser soon challenged Naguib’s rule because he believed reforms were moving too slowly. In 1954, Nasser took over as acting head of state and in 1956 was elected, unopposed, to the Egyptian presidency. He died in office in 1970 from a heart attack.