MUHAMMAD RAMZI (1871-1945)

Egyptian scholar. He was born and educated at the town of al-Mansurah in the Delta and later at the School of in Cairo. In 1892 he joined the Ministry of Finance as a clerical employee, and by 1930 he had been promoted to the position of inspector general of land taxation. During his long career, he visited every region of the country, making surveys of every town, village, hamlet, and farm.

He was keenly interested in the names, history, and background of every area, which he checked and revised in the light of information given mainly by al-Maqrizi’s al-Khitat (Land Survey) and Al Mubarak’s Al-Khitat al-Tawfîqiyyah, as well as many medieval and modern geographers, including such French geographers as Emile Amélineau, Maspero, E.-M. Quatremère, and G. Daressy. He thus became the leading authority on Egyptian toponymy.

In 1941 he published Al-Dalil al-Jughrafi (Geographical Guide), but his most valuable work, lil-Bilad al- Misryyah (Geographical Dictionary, 2 vols.), was posthumously published. Its importance lies in the fact that it is fully comprehensive, covering Egyptian toponymy from ancient times to the present.