Napoleon In Egypt (1798-1799)
In all of history there is only a handful of truly great figures, and none was greater than Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon could arguably be considered one of the greatest rulers that ever lived. There are more books written about Napoleon than any other man it history; but you don't get to be that famous by being just a great general. No, Napoleon was a genius, interested in everything: art, literature, mathematics; but in spite of his fame there's a mystery year in his life that practically no one knows about. It was a year that changed the World.
Approximately two hundred years ago in Egypt ( a land virtually unknown to Europeans at that time), Napoleon Bonaparte, a twenty-nine year old general, had just amazed the world with his military victories in Italy. He intended to establish his fame and glory by conquering Egypt. Why Egypt? Simply this, France was at war with Britain, and by conquering Egypt Napoleon would block the trade routes to Britain's most valuable possession, India.# There was another motive as well, Bonaparte was hungry for a new challenge. Europe he wrote, presents no field for glorious exploits; no great empires or revolutions are to be found, but in the east where there are six hundred
million men"¦. My glory is declining. This little corner of Europe is too small to supply it. We must go East. All the great men of the world have there acquired their celebrity.# Seeking fame and glory Napoleon would follow in the footsteps of his hero, Alexander the Great. He would sail for Egypt, an exotic land that for centuries had been isolated from the Western world.
After weeks at sea the French had landed near Alexandria. They had captured the city with little resistance. The country wasn't even ruled by Egyptians, but by Mameluke warriors that had seized control of Egypt. These warriors were of Armenian descent and they had occupied Egypt since the thirteenth century. Soon Bonaparte would have to fight the Mamalukes in order to advance further into Egypt. The battle was said to have taken place under the shadows of the pyramids, billing it, The Battle of the Pyramids. (An interesting note here is that the battle actually took place miles from the pyramids in a melon patch. You see, Napoleon was concerned about how he would go down in history so he always gave his battles dramatic names; the Battle of the Melon Patch, I don't think so.) Napoleon's army had devastatingly defeated the Mamelukes.#
Napoleon had defeated the Mamelukes and had taken possession of Egypt, but his luck was about to change. In Aboukir Bay, on Egypt's
Mediterranean coastline, Admiral Brueys and his fleet of French ships had anchored and waited for orders from Napoleon. Here they would come face to face with disaster. It turns out that Admiral Brueys wasn't alone. A British fleet commanded by...