Libmonster ID: UK-1290
Author(s) of the publication: A. A. KROL


Candidate of Historical Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Keywords: Egypt, Bernard Lewis, American-Israeli conspiracy, NGO, Arab Spring, parliamentary elections

At the beginning of February 2012, the Egyptian government newspaper Al-Ahram published several articles that spoke about the US-Israeli plot for the territorial division of the country1. The articles point out the author of the plan to redefine the political borders of the entire Islamic world from Morocco to Pakistan - the British-American historian and orientalist Bernard Lewis. According to this plan, allegedly ordered to the scientist 30 years ago by the US Department of Defense, four states are supposed to be created on the territory of Egypt: Bedouin, Coptic (Christian), Nubian, and Muslim (see map).

The first includes the territory of the Sinai Peninsula and the eastern part of the Nile Delta. Its population will consist mainly of Bedouin tribes, and the state will be part of the zone of influence of Israel.

In the south of the country, in accordance with the "Lewis plan", it is planned to create a Nubian state with the inclusion of part of the northern territories of Sudan inhabited by Nubians.

The Coptic state, with its capital in Alexandria, will consist of the following provinces: Alexandria, Matruh, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, the western districts of Buheira, Giza, Beni Suef and Fayyum, as well as the northern part of the province of Wadi el-Gedid (New Valley).

Finally, only a small part of the country, with its capital Cairo, will be given over to the state of Muslim Egypt, without access to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. 2
Publications referring to the partition plan of Egypt appeared in the press after the closure of Egyptian and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in early December 2011, which were accused of illegally receiving about $50 million in financial subsidies from non-Egyptian organizations between February and September 2011, as well as of launching activities in the territory. countries without appropriate permits 3. In the dock were 43 NGO employees, 19 of them were US citizens, 14 were Egyptian citizens, and the rest had German, Palestinian, Serbian and Jordanian citizenship. Of the 19 Americans, seven were banned from leaving Egypt.

Those arrested worked for such major American NGOs as the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House (DS), the International Center for Journalists (ICJ), and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation (FKA). The judge of the Cairo Criminal Court demanded a 5-year prison term for the prisoners. According to the prosecutor, the defendants ' activities were harmful to the sovereignty of the Egyptian state.

The NGO offices were searched, and computer hard drives and docu folders were seized-

Map of the redistribution (political) borders of Egypt. The text was translated by the author from the source - 1791 / 730/The real_plot_to_partition_ Egypt.htm

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by mentoring. According to the information that became available to the newspaper "Al-Ahram", among the discovered documents was found a map of Egypt, with the designation of the territorial division of the country. This fact, according to the author of this article, just indicated that the activities of NGOs in Egypt, in particular the NDI, were aimed at the collapse of the state.

In response, the President of the NDI, K. Wallack said that all the accusations made against the NGO he runs are false. The map of the "partition of Egypt" that appears in the case actually outlined the territories where the parliamentary elections were to be held, and indicated the timing of their holding.

The Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, F. Abu-Naga, sharply criticized the activities of NGOs, which, according to a number of American officials, initiated the defeat of non-governmental organizations.4 In particular, the minister said that the United States uses NGOs to sow chaos in the country. The situation of instability, according to Abu-Naga, is necessary for the United States to advance American and Israeli interests.5 According to the head of the liberal Wafd party, Said al-Badawi, over the past year alone, about $300 million has been transferred to the accounts of various NGOs operating in Egypt to maintain the country's state of chaos.6
The closure of non-governmental organizations, most of which are funded by the United States, and the ban on leaving Egypt for seven American citizens, including the son of the Minister of Transport, caused serious tension in relations between the countries. To resolve the conflict, a delegation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, headed by General M. Dempsey, arrived in Cairo first, and then-Republican Senator J. Trump.McCain. The heads of delegations met with the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Egypt's Field Marshal At-Tantawi. The fate of the American citizens was also the subject of telephone conversations and the US Secretary of Defense, L..Panetta 7.

Cairo was also under political pressure. Several times from the highest-ranking government officials, including Secretary X. According to Clinton, there were warnings that if US citizens are not allowed to leave Egypt, the allocation of $1.3 billion to the country may be called into question. for the purchase of weapons and $250 million in food aid 8.

At the end of February, the conflict was "safely resolved" for 13 foreign NGO employees, including 6 US citizens* - they were allowed to leave Egypt. This provoked outrage from all political forces in the country, who demanded the resignation of the government and the prosecution of those responsible for making such a decision. 9 Egyptian NGO employees are still under investigation, who, in addition to illegal activities on the territory of the country, are now also charged with espionage.

However, let's return to the "plan for the partition of Egypt". The appearance of the above-mentioned articles in the February issues of the government gazette, and then programs on the central TV channels, 10 cannot be accidental, not coordinated at a high level. It remains only to find out why the government and the SCAF need to publish such materials.

At first glance, it seems that the answer lies on the surface. When developing the operation to conduct searches of NGOs, the government and those structures that were directly involved in its preparation probably planned and counted on the public response that the information that US-funded organizations were illegally operating in Egypt should cause in public opinion. At the same time, we recall that the largest part of the country from Alexandria to Assiut, according to the "Bernard Lewis plan" found in the office of one of the NGOs, should become an independent Coptic state. It is not difficult to predict the reaction that such information can cause in a society where relations between Christians and Muslims are already strained to the limit. After all, the United States and Israel, relying on the "fifth column" in Egypt, are trying to dismember the state.

Whether the "Lewis plan" ever existed in reality, or it is just a fake, its appearance plays into the hands of the Egyptian government and the SCAF and gives every reason to talk about a conspiracy of external and internal enemies of the state who seek to destabilize the situation in Egypt. For the citizens of Egypt, obviously, this will be a convincing explanation of why the economic situation in the country has recently worsened, the crime situation has sharply worsened, as clearly evidenced by the massacre at the Port Said stadium after the match of the Al-Ahly and Al-Masri football teams. According to Field Marshal Al-Tantawi, the incident was an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country.11
It should be noted that regardless of who is the author of this plan, it can be used as a kind of" guide "to the most acute religious and ethnic problems that have not been solved over the past 30 years, according to the version of the Al-Ahram newspaper.


The Sinai Peninsula is currently home to about 200,000 Bedouins, which is approximately half of the entire population of the peninsula. It is impossible to determine their number more precisely, since about 70 thousand people do not have passports. 12 The Bedouin make up 15 large tribes.

As a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the Sinai Peninsula passed to Israel and was returned to Egypt only in 1982, after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries in 1979.-

* One U.S. citizen voluntarily stayed in Egypt.

page 53
In Luostrov, the Bedouins were provided with food and water, the health and education system was improved, most of the roads were built, and the development of the coastal territory of South Sinai for the development of tourism business began. The Bedouins were able to communicate freely with related tribes living in Israel.13
Since recapturing the peninsula, the Bedouin have been the target of frequent accusations of pro-Israel sentiment and seeking to reunite with kindred tribes living across the Egyptian border in the Negev Desert. For this reason, Bedouins were not allowed to serve in the army and police, and it was forbidden to register land as property.

The situation worsened in 2004-2006, when explosions in the resorts of Taba, Nueba and Sharm el-Sheikh killed 31 tourists. The police arrested more than 3,000 Bedouins, some of whom are still in prison, and they have not been charged in court.14 After the terrorist attacks, Bedouins were practically denied access to jobs in the tourism and manufacturing sectors. The authorities began to pursue an active policy of colonization of Sinai by migrants from the African part of Egypt 15. With the development of tourism and especially ecotourism, Bedouins were also banned from fishing in the coastal strip of South Sinai. The authorities gradually "squeezed" them out of the tourist areas of the peninsula 16.

From the very first days after the overthrow of President Mubarak, Bedouins began to demand equal rights with other Egyptian citizens, an end to the policy of marginalization of central and northern Sinai, which was carried out by the former regime.17 The discontent of the Bedouins is caused by the fact that they have been dragging out a miserable semi-impoverished existence for more than 30 years and their standard of living is much lower than that of Egyptians living in the African part of the country, very high unemployment. This explains why many Bedouin tribes are associated with the smuggling of goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip.18
Thousands of illegal immigrants from African countries cross the Sinai into Israel through secret channels. Bedouins have been repeatedly accused of engaging in organ trafficking, with immigrants being the donors. 19 Many Sinai residents are forced to work on marijuana plantations. This business was established here during the Israeli occupation, and then it was further developed under the Mubarak regime and allegedly was under the patronage of the country's special services generalitat20.

Tourist resorts flourish on the Red Sea coast of Sinai, which brought almost $11 billion in revenue to the treasury in the last pre-revolutionary year, and the peninsula is actively producing minerals, primarily oil and gas. A pipeline passes through the territory of North Sinai, through which gas is exported to Israel. Another gas pipeline goes through the whole of Sinai to Aqaba in Jordan. Egypt provides 40% of Israel's needs and 80% of Jordan's needs for natural gas, which these countries use mainly for electricity generation. Since 2008, gas has been supplied to these countries at preferential prices, which causes constant protests from many Egyptian political parties, who believe that this circumstance is contrary to the national interests of Egypt.

This view is shared by the Bedouins of Sinai. The pipeline explosions, which have occurred 13 times since the revolution, are blamed on the Bedouin tribes of Northern Sinai. 21 It is likely that the explosions could have been organized by radical Islamists hiding on the peninsula, who are increasingly demanding the creation of an Islamic Emirate of Sinai. 22 The population of a number of villages in the province came under their strict control. They harass women who do not wear the niqab (headscarf), shopkeepers who do not stop selling during prayer. 23 Poverty, unemployment and the authorities ' complete disregard for the problems of the Sinai Bedouin have contributed to the radicalization of a significant part of them. Interestingly, most Bedouins do not consider themselves Egyptians, but identify with Muslim Arabs, whose historical roots lie in the sands of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. 24
The former government of Egypt and the SCAF tried to solve the problems of the Bedouin people of Sinai, or at least declared their desire to start solving them. At a meeting with Bedouin tribal elders, former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri announced the government's intention to launch major investment projects in the peninsula, in particular, the construction of railways and the development of agriculture, as well as to work closely on the issue of land ownership.25 In September 2011, the Egyptian Interior Minister announced that more than 1,000 Bedouins would be admitted to police academies in the coming academic year26.A review of the cases of those who were arrested in 2004-2006 in connection with the resort bombings and are still in prison has begun.

During the 2012 presidential election, candidates including Egypt's current President, Mohamed Morsi, promised to develop Sinai's economy and reconcile Bedouin communities.

However, the situation in the region remains tense. Bedouins continue to engage in smuggling and provide assistance to terrorist organizations in order to earn a living. At the same time, they regularly clash with Egyptian security forces, seize police stations or block roads. Since the beginning of this year, armed Bedouins have been involved in the seizure of an international peacekeeping camp in Sinai and the abduction of foreign tourists. Nomads demanded the release from prison of tribesmen accused of terrorist activities.

page 54
Therefore, despite all the promises, it seems unlikely that the situation in the Bedouin sector can change dramatically in the near future.


Without going into the details of the ethnic history of southern Egypt and Northern Sudan, we can say that the Nubians are an ethnic group that inhabited and partially still inhabits the banks of the Nile from its first threshold in the Aswan region to Dongola in Sudan. This area was inhabited by Nubians: Kenuzi, Fadija and Dongola, who spoke various dialects of Nubian.27 With a high degree of confidence, we can say that the Nubian tribes lived in this territory for at least 5 thousand years.

However, in 1902, some Nubians were forced to move from their native lands after the construction of the first Aswan dam by the British, the construction of which was caused by the desire of the British colonial administration to increase the acreage for cotton and provide the growing population of the country with land. 28 In 1912-1933, the height of the dam was gradually increased. However, the artificial lake created as a result of the construction of a hydraulic structure flooded only a small area. After the construction was completed, the waters of Lake Nasser absorbed all the lands of Nubians living in Egypt, and a third of the territories inhabited by Nubians in Sudan (27 villages and the city of Wadi Halfa) .29
In the period from October 1963 to June 1964, about 50 thousand people were relocated from the Egyptian flood zone to the Kom Ombo area. By the decision of the government, 30 villages were built here. However, due to bureaucratic delays, the relocation process was constantly delayed.31 The construction of many villages by the time the Nubians arrived was not completed, and the infrastructure of new settlements was not sufficiently established. The land was not ready for agricultural cultivation 32. As a result of the migration, many cultural traditions that were closely connected with the territory of historical residence of the Nubians were interrupted.

In 2000, under pressure from Nubians, the Egyptian Government launched a project to resettle them in Wadi Kurkur. The implementation of this project, according to the country's leadership, should compensate for the material and moral damage that Nubians suffered due to resettlement in the 60s of the last century. The work was carried out as part of a larger project to build the Toshka Canal. To date, eight villages have already been built.33
However, most Nubians refuse to move to Wadi Kurkur. After the revolutionary events of 2011 they began to put forward their demands to the government to return to the land around Lake Nasser, which they propose to rename Lake Nuba. The movement of Nubians to return to their native lands is led by the writer and public figure Haggag Od-dul. In June 2011, during a conference in Aswan that brought together Nubians living both in Egypt and abroad, Oddoul stated in his speech that Nubians had sacrificed Nubia for Egypt many times before. But now it will be the other way around 34.

In early September last year, dozens of Nubians staged a sit-in in front of the Aswan provincial administration building demanding concrete steps to address the issue of returning Nubians to their ancestral lands. Without waiting for the desired reaction from the authorities, they set fire to the administration building 35. Shortly after this action, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate land to the Nubians on the shores of Lake Nasser.36

In this article, we will not dwell on all the complex and numerous problems of Copts living in Egypt, and we will not go deeply into the historical roots of these problems. We will only touch on the main aspects of their current situation.

According to various estimates, the number of Copts in Egypt is from 9 to 12% of the country's 85 million population. A significant number of them live in emigration: in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

The January 2011 revolution raised Copts ' hopes for changes in Egyptian society that would improve the quality of life in Egypt.

page 55
their position in the country. In the first days of the revolution, the Copts, along with the rest of the forces involved in the protest movements, were in the thick of the action and took an active part in the overthrow of President Mubarak's regime.

However, such a rapid unification of Christians and Muslims in an effort to change their lives was probably perceived with great apprehension by the new authorities of the country. A month after the overthrow of the regime, the Coptic neighborhoods of the "city of scavengers" in Cairo were attacked by armed crowds of lumpen and criminals. According to Al-Ahram, the attackers were led by 37 Salafists. As a result of the attack, 13 people were killed and more than 140 wounded, two churches were burned and homes were looted. According to eyewitnesses, the army was watching the scene blankly.38
The most dramatic episode in the post-revolutionary relations between the Coptic community in Egypt and the official authorities was the clashes between the army and demonstrators on a Cairo street in front of the State Television building in October 2011. The reason was the burning of a Coptic church in the village of Al-Mareinab (Aswan province)by Muslims39. In response to the provocation, a huge demonstration of Copts and sympathetic Muslims took place, who demanded that the SCAF protect their rights. In the evening, there were clashes with the army, as a result of which 27 people were killed, mostly Christians.

It is important to note that at the time of the clashes with the army, reports were transmitted through government channels that armed demonstrators were attacking army forces, killing 40 Egyptian soldiers. A large number of Muslim Egyptians rushed to the center of the city with the intention of helping the army.

The SCAF presented its vision of events to the press at the TV center in Cairo 41. According to the Council, the incident was the result of planned actions of provocateurs who seized armored vehicles and sent them into the ranks of demonstrators.42
These tragic events seem to show that the SCAF intends to use the " Coptic issue "to achieve its tactical goals in the struggle for power: maintaining the state of emergency, manipulating public opinion, in order to prevent the creation of a united front of the opposition, demanding the immediate" return of the army to barracks " and the transfer of power to civilians.

The results of the elections to the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament, the People's Assembly, have caused Copts to fear for their future. Recall that the democratic alliance, led by the Freedom and Justice Party (SVP), which is the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood Association, won 218 out of 498 parliamentary seats - almost 44%. In second place is the Salafi Al - Nour party, which won more than 22% of the seats.43 They are followed by the secular liberal Wafd Party with 38 seats, and the Egypt Bloc, which unites left-wing forces around the Free Egyptians Party founded by Coptic billionaire businessman Savaris, with 35 seats.

The election results dispelled Coptic hopes for the abolition or at least amendment of article 2 of the Constitution, according to which Islam is the state religion of Egypt, and Sharia is the main source of lawmaking**. In this regard, the Coptic press, especially on emigrant news portals, constantly express concerns that the country is moving towards the introduction of Sharia law as the main source of legislation, that Egypt will restore the status of dhimmi * * * for Christians, and introduce hudud***.

According to the NGO Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, from March to September 2011 93 thousand people left Egypt. copts 44. However, the Coptic Church denies that there are any accurate statistics on Coptic emigration after the January revolution.45
The Coptic card is constantly being played by US-Israeli diplomacy. In March 2012, at the annual conference of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee( AIPAC), whose members form an influential pro-Israel lobby in America, in addition to discussing the main topic related to the Iranian nuclear program, the question was raised about the need for Americans to support Copts, whose rights are regularly violated. 46 According to speakers, the situation of Copts should be the focus of Washington's attention, as they are a link between the West and the East, oppose the introduction of Sharia law, support secular education on the Western model, and support women's rights. 47
It was stated that it is necessary to stop "automatically" paying annual cash subsidies to Egypt and use economic assistance as an effective means of putting pressure on its government. It was also said that Copts in the United States and pro-Israel forces in America should work together to protect the rights of Christians in Egypt. 48 The United States is probably interested in raising the "Coptic problem" in order to have a ready excuse to put pressure on the Egyptian authorities, which can be used to promote its interests in the country.

* Officially, during the revolution, the Coptic Church expressed support for the Mubarak regime.

** This article appeared in the 1971 Constitution, stating that "Sharia law is one of the main sources of lawmaking". In the interim Constitution adopted by the SCAF on March 30, 2011, Article 2 was amended, according to which Sharia is the main source of lawmaking.

*** Dhimmi (People of the Book) - non-Muslim population professing Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism in the territory

states created or conquered by Muslims and living under Sharia law. Dhimmis were obliged to recognize the undivided rule of Islam in all spheres of society and pay tribute.

**** Hudud (borders) - categories of punishments in Islamic law for crimes such as theft, robbery, adultery, and alcohol consumption. It involves beheading, stoning, cutting off an arm or foot, and corporal punishment.

page 56
Thus, in our opinion, the "Coptic card" will continue to be played by both the White House and Islamists. Moreover, the victims of these political games will be the Coptic population of Egypt, which, due to the spread of information distorted by the government media, will be suspected of sympathizing with Israel and betraying Egypt's national interests.

It is likely that after the death of Patriarch Shenouda III, 49 and the election of a new primate, major changes may occur in the Coptic Church. However, it is unlikely that the church will enter into a conflict with the authorities, which will only lead to a further deterioration of the already difficult situation of Christians in Egypt. Most likely, the Coptic hierarchs will seek a compromise with the new leadership of the country and distance themselves from any attempts by the West to play the "Coptic card".

* * *

Thus, the appearance in the central Egyptian press of the country's partition plan, which is attributed to the famous orientalist B. Lewis, demonstrates the unresolved problems of Egypt's ethnic and religious minorities.

The plan looks like a fake, which at the right moment the authorities will be able to use against their political opponents inside or outside the country in order to direct public opinion in the right direction. And for these purposes, "conspiracy theory" is a reliable, proven method of influence. Moreover, it is so effective that the authorities will not burden themselves with inventing new theories.

Back in 2006, the American military magazine "Armed Forces" published an article by the military historian R. Peters "Bloody Borders". In particular, it proposed revising the borders of the majority Muslim states of the Middle East and Central Asia, which in their current configuration are becoming the scene of endless bloody conflicts, as they were drawn by European politicians who pursued exclusively the interests of their countries in the region. These proposals were considered in the article as the main solution to many problems of the modern world50.

It can be assumed that the appearance in Al-Ahram of information about the plan to divide the country into separate monoreligious and monoethnic territorial formations is most likely caused by the SCAF's desire to convince Egyptians that if the SCAF prematurely resigns power, as the opposition insists, the country will become easy prey for internal and external enemies.

In this case, the appearance of the" Bernard Lewis Plan", extracted, perhaps, from the archives of the special services, demonstrates a somewhat panicked reaction of the Egyptian military (many of them began their careers under President G. Nasser) to the rapidly changing configuration of political forces in the Middle East region. In a region where Egypt is no longer a major player.

1 -45720

2 http://www.memri.Org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/6104.htm#_ednl


4 10.htm


6 Politics-/Egypt-military-council-snubs- US-aid-threat.aspx



9 1 .htm

10 Uh6Rg


12 Bradley John R. Inside Egypt: The Road to Revolution in the Land of the Pharaohs. Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, p. 105 - 106.

13 sett li ng-down-bedou i n-sinai


15 0question.aspx

16 Bradley John R. Op. cit., p. 108.





21 l/07/31/world/middleeast/31egypt.html


23 http://www.egypti

24 Bradley John R. Op. cit., p. 112 - 113.



27 Fernea Robert A., Gerster G. Nubians in Egypt: peaceful people. Austin, University of Texas Press. 1973, p. 14 - 15.

28 Fahim H.M. Egyptian Nubians: resettlement and years of coping. University of Utah Press, 1983, p. 26.

29 Ibid., p. 30.

30 Ibid., p. 55.

31 Ibid., p. 44 - 45.

32 Ibid., p. 71.

33 The Sudanese Nubians were even less fortunate. They were resettled 800 kilometers from their homes in the province of Kassala on the border with Ethiopia, in a completely different ecological, climatic zone and alien cultural environment (Fahim H. M. Egyptian Nubians: resettlement and years of.., p. 30.).


35 Politics-/Angry-Nubian-protesters-torch-Aswan-governorate-bu.aspx

36 Politics-/Nubians-will-finally-go-home; A-day-sitin-pressure.aspx. The fact that At-Tantawi has Nubian roots may have contributed to such a quick solution of the problem.

37 l/1038/eg401.htm

38 Ibidem.




42 Ibidem.

43 Vasiliev A.M. Egypt after the elections / / Asia and Africa Today, 2012, N 4.




47 Ibidem.


49 Shenouda III (1923-2012) - head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

50 How a better Middle East would look//Armed Forces Journal. 2006, June -


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