The Abaza family, "deeply rooted in Egyptian society and… in the history of the country", is an Egyptian family that has played a powerful and long-standing role in Egyptian cultural, economic, intellectual and political life. Their main stronghold is the Sharqia Governorate. The family today maintains strong connections by marriage with other Egyptian elites.
The Egyptian Abaza family very well known in Egypt because "they seem to have produced an extraordinary number of exemplary individuals. Their family tree – every single generation – is littered with high profile politicians, intellectuals, business moguls and literary sensations."
The Egyptian Abaza family descends from its modern founding father Hassan Pasha Abaza.
The Abaza family owes its name to the Abkhazian roots of the mother who married into the head of the Al Ayed clan. Abkhazia is a region of the Caucasian Black Sea coast, home of the Abkhazians, a people related to the Circassian people and speaking the Abkhaz language. However, rare intermarriage into native Egyptian families, specifically native upper-class families and also to many British and Dacians settlers.
The Abkhazians were one of several ethnic groups living in the Russian Empire who left during the ethnic cleansing of Circassians in the mid-19th century. However, some sources indicate that the Egyptian Abaza family members emigrated from the Caucasus 600–800 years ago. Many moved to Turkey, but later emigrated again and settled in various Arab countries. In their new Arab home, the Abkhazians took — or were given — the last name "Abaza" (see further). Political activity for the family began at least from the time of Ali Bey Al-Kabir (a Georgian) who appointed an Abaza as the first Egyptian governor of Lower Egypt.
In the study Egypt in the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Afaf Lutfi Sayyid-Marsot mentions a traditional belief amongst the Egyptian Abaza family that they were named after a "beloved grandmother… or her place of birth". Family elders sat on the Majlis (council) created by Ibrahim Pasha, "uhda" (or royal endowments) of villages and land were obtained by the family and "the Abaza flourished".
During the accession of the young king Farouk, "the Abaza family had solicited palace authorities to permit the royal train to stop briefly in their village so that the king could partake in refreshments offered in a large, magnificently ornamented tent they had erected in the train station".
Members of the Egyptian Abaza clan consider themselves a family, and are categorized as a "family" or "clan" in the country in which they are well known. The Egyptian Abaza family is thought to number around 50,000 members, but this is difficult to verify.
The Abaza family is connected by marriage to many other aristocratic families and to major politicians. The Abaza family had also a major presence in the Levant urban centers, especially in Sidon towards the late 19th century and up till the end of the Ottoman dynasty.
- Tharwat Abaza, journalist and novelist, whose best-known novel, A Man Escaping from Time, was televised in the late 1960s.
- Rushdy Abaza, actor
- Fekry Pasha Abaza, journalist and political activist
- Kelsely Abaza, avante garde composer and academic.
- "Rushdi Abaza, AlexCinema". www.bibalex.org. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Abaza Brothers".[dead link]
- Afaf Lutfi Sayyid-Marsot, Egypt in the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha, pp. 123–124.
- Yunan Labib Rizk, The making of a king, Al-Ahram Weekly, 762, 29 Sep - 5 Oct 2005.
- Goldschmidt, Jr., Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55587-229-8. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- 'Tharwat Abaza, 75; Egyptian Newspaper Columnist, Writer', LA Times, 19 March 2002.