The history of modern Alexandria is usually considered to begin with Muhammad 'Ali. In response to the Ibrahim Pasha's request, the entire European consular corps of Alexandria met and named a five-man committee, consisting of the consuls general of Britain, France, Austria, Tuscany, and Russia, to act as the first Quarantine Board. A freshwater canal, a dockyard, and a quarantine board: there may be very little connecting these diverse historical 'landmarks' in the modern history of Alexandria; and choosing them to the exclusion of other historical stopping points may seem arbitrary. For, like that other canal whose history is synonymous with Egyptian national history, the Mahmudiyya Canal was dug with the bare hands, the sweat and the blood of tens of thousands of fellaheen from all over Egypt. The thousands of 'Egyptians' who arrived from various parts of Egypt to reside and work in Alexandria were monitored either through their guilds or through an intricate system of 'guarantees'.