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ESTIMATION OF THE POPULATION OF THE COPTS IN EGYPT, 1844 AD, AS GIVEN BY CHARLES LORING BRACE IN HIS BOOK, THE RACES OF THE OLD WORLD: A MANUAL OF ETHNOLOGY

June 19, 2012

In his interesting book, The Races of the Old world: A Manual of Ethnology,[i] which was published in 1863, Charles Loring Brace (1826 – 1890) gives the population of Egypt’s inhabitants, and shows the proportion of the different races in Egypt, in 1844. I herewith publish the figures he gave: [ii] [iii]

Mohammedan Fellahs                                     1,600,000

Christian Kopts                                                  150,000

(Osmanlis) Turks                                              12,000

(Bedouin) Arabs                                                70,000

Negroes (slaves)                                                10,000

Circassians, Georgians, &c. (slaves)             5,000

Jews                                                                     7,000

Syrians                                                                5,000

Greeks and Romans                                         7,000

Europeans                                                          9,500

Berberins                                                            5,000

Underneath, the reader will find a pie chart to make these figures clearer:

Figure 1: The proportion of different races in Egypt, in 1844, according to Charles Loring Brace.

Brace does not quote his reference. If these figures were right, then the total population of Egypt in 1844, when Egypt was still ruled by Muhammad Ali (1805 – 1848), was 1,880,500. The Copts numbered 150,000, which makes their proportion around 8%.

As always, figures in Egypt are often inaccurate, particularly when it comes to population statistics. We shall see in other articles that the Coptic census varied significantly. We shall review in other articles other estimates, and we shall publish all under the category, “Coptic Census”, all in an effort to arrive at a more accurate estimation of the population of the Copts – that of Coptia.


[i] The Races of the Old world: A Manual of Ethnology by Charles Loring Brace (New York, C. Scribner, 1863).

[ii] Ibid; p. 196.

[iii] I have kept the names of the different races as they were given by Brace. Some of these labels are unacceptable to many, including myself; nevertheless, I have kept them to retain the original.

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