Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat was born into a family of 13 children on December 25, 1918, in Mit Ab al-Kawm, about 40 miles north of Cairo in the Nile delta, Al-Minufiyyah governorate, Egypt, Anwar el-Sadat grew up in an Egypt under British control.Sadat lived with his grandmother while his father, a minor civil service clerk, was away in the Sudan with his Sudanese wife. The boy attended a village Quran (Moslem) school, then went briefly to a Coptic (Christian) school.
His parents returned to Egypt in 1925, and Sadat went to live with them in Cairo. Poor grades led Sadat to shift from government to private secondary schools on two occasions, but in 1936 he earned the coveted secondary school certificate.
In 1936, the British created a military school in Egypt, and Sadat was among the first of its students. When he graduated from the academy, Sadat received a government post, where he met Gamal Abdel Nasser, who would one day rule Egypt. The pair bonded and formed a revolutionary group designed to overthrow British rule and expel the British from Egypt.
Imprisonment and Coups
Before the group could succeed, the British arrested and jailed Sadat in 1942, but he escaped two years later. In 1946, el-Sadat was again arrested, this time after being implicated in the assassination of pro-British minister Amin ‘Uthman. Imprisoned until 1948, when he was acquitted, upon release Sadat joined Nasser’s Free Officers organization and was involved in the group’s armed uprising against the Egyptian monarchy in 1952. Four years later, he supported Nasser’s rise to the presidency.
el-Sadat held several high offices in Nasser’s administration, eventually becoming vice president of Egypt (1964–1966, 1969–1970). Nasser died on September 28, 1970, and Sadat became acting president, winning the position for good in a nationwide vote on October 15, 1970.
Sadat immediately set about separating himself from Nasser in both domestic and foreign policies. Domestically, he initiated the open-door policy known as infitah (Arabic for “opening”), an economic program designed to attract foreign trade and investment. While the idea was progressive, the move created high inflation and a large gap between the rich and poor, fostering unease and contributing to the food riots of January 1977.
Where Sadat really made an impact was on foreign policy, as he began peace talks with Egypt’s longtime foe Israel almost immediately. Initially, Israel refused Sadat’s terms (which proposed that peace could come if Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula), and Sadat and Syria built a military coalition to retake the territory in 1973. This action ignited the October (Yom Kippur) War, from which Sadat emerged with added respect in the Arab community.
A few years after the Yom Kippur War, el-Sadat restarted his efforts to build peace in the Middle East, traveling to Jerusalem in November 1977 and presenting his peace plan to the Israeli parliament. Thus began a series of diplomatic efforts, with Sadat making overtures to Israel in the face of strong Arab resistance across the region. U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered the negotiations between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and a preliminary peace agreement, the Camp David Accords, was agreed upon between Egypt and Israel in September 1978.
For their historic efforts, Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1978, and follow-through on the negotiations resulted in a finalized peace treaty between Egypt and Israel—the first between Israel and an Arab country—being signed on March 26, 1979.
Unfortunately, el-Sadat’s popularity abroad was matched by a new animosity felt toward him in Egypt and around the Arab world. Opposition to the treaty, a declining Egyptian economy and Sadat’s quashing of the resulting dissent led to general upheaval.
Marriage: He got married to Jehan Anwar on 29th of may 1949 and had seven children
Death: On October 6, 1981, el-Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists during a military parade commemorating the Yom Kippur War in Cairo, Egypt.