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The battle gave rise to dozens of stories and drawings. Dupuy 's brigade pursued the routed enemy and at night entered Cairo, which had been abandoned by the beys Mourad and Ibrahim. On 4 Thermidor 22 July , the notables of Cairo came to Giza to meet Bonaparte and offered to hand over the city to him.
Three days later, he moved his main headquarters there. Desaix was ordered to follow Mourad, who had set off for Upper Egypt. An observation corps was put in place at Elkanka to keep an eye on the movements of Ibrahim, who was heading towards Syria. Bonaparte personally led the pursuit of Ibrahim, beat him at Salahie and pushed him completely out of Egypt.
The transports had sailed back to France, but the battle fleet stayed and supported the army along the coast. The British fleet under the command of Horatio Nelson had been searching in vain for the French fleet for weeks. The British fleet had not found it in time to prevent the landings in Egypt, but on 1 August Nelson discovered the French warships anchored in a strong defensive position in the Bay of Abukir. The French believed that they were open to attack only on one side, the other side being protected by the shore.
During the Battle of the Nile the arriving British fleet under Horatio Nelson managed to slip half of their ships in between the land and the French line, thus attacking from both sides. In a few hours 11 out of the 13 French ships of the line and 2 out of the 4 French frigates were captured or destroyed; the four remaining ships fled.
This frustrated Bonaparte's goal of strengthening the French position in the Mediterranean Sea , and instead put it totally under British control. Having calmly read the despatch which informed him that he and his army were now prisoners in Egypt, he said "We no longer have a navy. We'll have to stay here, or leave as great men just as the ancients did".
The army then showed itself happy at this short energetic response, but the native Egyptians considered the defeat at Aboukir as fortune turning in their favour and so from then on busied themselves to find means to throw off the hateful yoke the foreigners were trying to impose on them by force and to hunt them from their country.
John French - HISTORY
This project was soon put into execution. After the naval defeat at Aboukir, Bonaparte's campaign remained land-bound. His army still succeeded in consolidating power in Egypt, although it faced repeated nationalist uprisings, and Napoleon began to behave as absolute ruler of all Egypt.
In a largely unsuccessful effort to gain the support of the Egyptian population, Bonaparte issued proclamations that cast him as a liberator of the people from Ottoman and Mamluk oppression, praising the precepts of Islam and claiming friendship between France and the Ottoman Empire despite French intervention in the breakaway state. This position as a liberator and Ottoman ally initially gained him solid support in Egypt and later led to admiration for Napoleon from Muhammad Ali of Egypt , who succeeded where Bonaparte had not in reforming Egypt and declaring its independence from the Ottomans.
In a letter to a sheikh in August , Napoleon wrote, "I hope I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of the Quran which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness. Bonaparte's principle was If Bonaparte spoke as a Mussulman Muslim , it was merely in his character of a military and political chief in a Mussulman country.
To do so was essential to his success, to the safety of his army, and Shortly after Bonaparte's return from facing Ibrahim came Mohammed's birthday, which was celebrated with great pomp. Bonaparte himself directed the military parades for the occasion, preparing for this festival in the cheik's house wearing oriental dress and a turban.
It was on this occasion that the divan granted him the title Ali-Bonaparte after Bonaparte proclaimed himself "a worthy son of the Prophet" and "favourite of Allah". Around the same time he took severe measures to protect pilgrim caravans from Egypt to Mecca , writing a letter himself to the governor of Mecca. Even so, thanks to the taxes he imposed on them to support his army, the Egyptians remained unconvinced of the sincerity of all Bonaparte's attempts at conciliation and continued to attack him ceaselessly.
Any means, even sudden attacks and assassination, were allowed to force the "infidels" out of Egypt. Military executions were unable to deter these attacks and they continued. On seven classical altars were inscribed the names of heroes killed in the French Revolutionary Wars , whilst the structure was entered through a triumphal arch, on which was shown the battle of the Pyramids.
On the day of the festival, Bonaparte addressed his troops, enumerating their exploits since the siege of Toulon and telling them:. From the English, famous for arts and commerce, to the hideous and fierce Bedouin, you have caught the gaze of the world. Soldiers, your destiny is fair This day, 40 million citizens celebrate the era of representative government, 40 million citizens think of you. After making himself master of Egypt, Bonaparte gave Egypt his version of the benefits of western civilisation. Cairo soon took on the appearance of a European city, with its administration confided to a 'divan' chosen from among the best men of the province.
At the same time the other cities received municipal institutions. The conqueror became the legislator, setting up a library, a chemistry laboratory, a health service, a botanical garden, an observatory, an antiquities museum and a menagerie. Under Bonaparte's orders, the scholars drew up a comparative table of Egyptian and French weights and measures, wrote a French-Arabic dictionary and calculated a triple Egyptian, Coptic and European calendar.
All the streets in Cairo were closed at night by gates to stop the inhabitants aiding the Arabs in a night attack on the French. Bonaparte removed these fences, since the Egyptians could use them as barricades if they rose against the French — this removal proved to be justified by the events that soon followed. On 22 October , while Bonaparte was in old Cairo, the city's population was spreading weapons around the streets and fortifying strongpoints, especially at the Great Mosque.
The chef de brigade Dupuy , Cairo's commander, was the first to be killed, then Sulkowski, friend and aide de camp to Bonaparte. Crowds rallied at the city gates to keep out Bonaparte, who was repulsed and forced to take a detour to get in via the Boulaq gate. A manifesto of the Great Lord was published widely throughout Egypt. This attack on the religion of the French or lack of it stated:. The French people are a nation of stubborn infidels and unbridled rascals Soon, troops as numerous as they are formidable will advance on us by land, at the same time ships of the line as high as the mountains will cover the surface of the seas Glory to the Lord of the worlds!
Bonaparte did not feel threatened by the storm building on all sides. Via his orders the Arabs were beaten back into the desert and the artillery was turned back on the rebel city. Bonaparte personally hunted down the rebels from street to street and forced them to concentrate their retreat in the Great Mosque. Luckily for the French the sky was covered with clouds and thunder was rumbling, a very rare phenomenon in Egypt.
Many of the superstitious residents considered the thunder as a sign from heaven and they begged for mercy from their enemies. The French broke down the gates and stormed into the building, massacring the Egyptians inside. Back in absolute control of Cairo, Bonaparte sought out the authors and instigators of the revolt.
French's Cavalry Campaign
Several sheikhs and many Turks or Egyptians were convicted of participation in the plot and executed. To complete his punishment, the city was hit by a high tax and its divan was replaced by a military commission. To negate the effects of the Great Lord's firman, the French posted a proclamation in all the cities of Egypt, ending in the words:. Stop founding your hopes on Ibrahim and Mourad , and put your trust in He who has empires in his discretion and who creates men.
With Egypt quiet again and under his control, Bonaparte used this time of rest to visit Suez and see with his own eyes the possibility of a canal known as the Canal of the Pharaohs said to have been cut in antiquity between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean by order of the pharaohs. On his return, surprised by the rising tide, he ran the risk of drowning. Arriving back at Suez, after much exploration the expedition fulfilled its aim, finding the remains of the ancient canal built by Senusret III and Necho II. In the meantime the Ottomans in Constantinople modern-day Istanbul received news of the French fleet's destruction at Aboukir and believed this spelled the end for Bonaparte and his expedition, trapped in Egypt.
The first army, under the command of Jezzar Pasha , had set out with 12, soldiers; but was reinforced with troops from Damascus , Aleppo , Iraq 10, men , and Jerusalem 8, men. The second army, under the command of Mustafa Pasha, began on Rhodes with about eight thousand soldiers.
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He also knew he would get about 42, soldiers from Albania , Constantinople , Asia Minor , and Greece. The Ottomans planned two offensives against Cairo : from Syria , across the desert of Salhayeh-Belbays-El Kankah, and from Rhodes by sea landing in the Aboukir area or the port city of Damietta. Certain that war with the Ottoman sultan was imminent and that he would be unable to defend against the Ottoman army, Bonaparte decided that his best defence would be to attack them first in Syria, where a victory would give him more time to prepare against the Ottoman forces on Rhodes.
Every infantry and cavalry division had 6 cannons. Napoleon took 16 siege cannons which were placed on ships in Damietta under the command of Captain Standelet. The total artillery sent on the campaign was 80 cannon. Regnier and the vanguard quickly arrived before Arish, captured it, destroyed part of the garrison and forced the rest to take refuge in the castle. At the same time he caused Ibrahim's mamluks to flee and captured their camp.
Bonaparte's French forces left Egypt on 5 February and, seven days after leaving Cairo, Bonaparte too arrived at Arish and bombarded one of the castle towers.
The garrison surrendered two days later and some of the garrison joined the French army. This city was surrounded by high walls flanked by towers. Jezzar had entrusted its defence to elite troops, with the artillery manned by 1, Ottoman gunners. The city was one of the ways into Syria, its port could be used by his fleet and a large part of the expedition's success depended on its fall.
This meant Bonaparte had to capture the city before advancing further, and so he laid siege to it from 3—7 March. All the outer works were in the besiegers' power and a breach could be produced. When Bonaparte sent a Turk to the city's commander to demand his surrender, the commander beheaded him despite the envoy's neutrality and ordered a sortie. He was repulsed and on the evening of the same day the besiegers' cannonballs caused one of the towers to crumble. Despite the defenders' desperate resistance, Jaffa fell.
This vengeful execution found apologists, who wrote that Napoleon could neither afford to hold such a large number of prisoners nor let them escape to rejoin Jezzar's ranks. Before leaving Jaffa, Bonaparte set up a divan for the city along with a large hospital on the site of the Carmelite monastery at Mount Carmel to treat those of his soldiers who had caught the plague, whose symptoms had been seen among them since the start of the siege. A report from generals Bon and Rampon on the plague's spread worried Bonaparte. To calm his army, it is said he went into the sufferers' rooms, spoke with and consoled the sick and touched them, saying "See, it's nothing", then left the hospital and told those who thought his actions unwise "It was my duty, I'm commander-in-chief".
Some later historians state that Napoleon avoided touching or even meeting plague-sufferers to avoid catching it and that his visits to the sick were invented by later Napoleonic propaganda. From Jaffa the army set off for the coastal town of Acre. En route it captured Haifa and the munitions and provisions stored there, along with the castle at Jaffe , the castle at Nazareth and even the town of Tyre much farther up the coast.
The siege of Acre began on 18 March but the French were unable to take it and it was here that the Syrian campaign came to an abrupt halt. After sixty days' repeated attacks and two murderous and inconclusive assaults, the city remained uncaptured. Even so, it was still awaiting reinforcements by sea as well as a large army forming up in Asia on the sultan's orders to march against the French. To find out the latter's movements, Jezzar ordered a general sortie against Bonaparte's camp.
This sortie was supported by its own artillery and a naval bombardment from the British. Bonaparte conceived a trick which used all the advantages offered him by the enemy position, sending Murat and his cavalry across the River Jordan to defend the river crossing and Vial and Rampon to march on Nablus , while Bonaparte himself put his troops between the Ottomans and the magazines.
These manoeuvres were successful, in what was known as the Battle of Mount Tabor. The enemy army, taken by surprise at many points at once, was routed and forced to retreat, leaving their camels, tents, provisions and 5, dead on the battlefield. Bonaparte then ordered two assaults, both vigorously repulsed. A fleet was sighted flying the Ottoman flag and Bonaparte realised he must capture the city before that fleet arrived with reinforcements.
A fifth general attack was ordered, which took the outer works, planted the French tricolour on the rampart, pushed the Ottomans back into the city and forced the Ottoman fire to relent. Acre was thus taken or about to capitulate. At the same time Sidney Smith , commander of the British fleet, and his ships' crews landed.
These factors renewed the courage of the besieged and they pushed Bonaparte's force back, with stubborn fury on both sides. Three final consecutive assaults were all repulsed, convincing Bonaparte that it would be unwise to continue trying to capture Acre. He raised the siege in May and consoled his soldiers with the proclamation:. To carry these sufferers in the middle of the army would spread the disease, so they had to be carried in the rear, where they were most at risk from the fury of the Ottomans, keen to avenge the massacres at Jaffa.
There were two hospital depots, one in the large hospital on Mount Carmel and the other at Jaffa. The gun horses were abandoned before Acre and Bonaparte and all his officers handed their horses over to the transport officer Daure, with Bonaparte walking to set an example. To conceal its withdrawal from the siege, the army set off at night.
During the retreat the army picked clean all the lands through which they passed, with livestock, crops and houses all being destroyed. Gaza was the only place to be spared, in return for remaining loyal to Bonaparte. To speed the retreat, Napoleon suggested the controversial step of euthanized his own soldiers who were terminally-ill with plague between 15 and 50, sources vary and were not expected to recover through an opium overdose, both to relieve their suffering, ease the retreat, prevent the spread of the disease and prevent the torture and executions the soldiers left-behind would have received if captured by the enemy; his doctors refused to carry out such orders    but there is also evidence in the form of first-hand testimonies that claim the mass euthanazing did take place and the matter is debated  .
Finally, after four months away from Egypt, the expedition arrived back at Cairo with 1, wounded, having lost men to the plague and 1, to enemy action. In the meantime Ottoman and British emissaries had brought news of Bonaparte's setback at Acre to Egypt, stating that his expeditionary force was largely destroyed and Bonaparte himself was dead.
On his return Bonaparte scotched these rumours by re-entering Egypt as if he was at the head of a triumphal army, with his soldiers carrying palm branches, emblems of victory. In his proclamation to the inhabitants of Cairo, Bonaparte told them:. He has entered Cairo by the gate of Victory. This day is a great day; no one has ever seen its like; all the inhabitants of Cairo have come out to meet him. They have seen and recognised that it is the same commander in chief, Bonaparte, in his own person; but those of Jaffa, having refused to surrender, he handed them all over to pillage and death in his anger.
He has destroyed all its ramparts and killed all those found there. At Cairo the army found the rest and supplies it needed to recover, but its stay there could not be a long one. Bonaparte had been informed that Murad Bey had evaded the pursuit by generals Desaix , Belliard , Donzelot and Davout and was descending on Upper Egypt.
Bonaparte thus marched to attack him at Giza, also learning that Ottoman ships were off Aboukir, threatening Alexandria. Before leaving Giza, where he found them, Bonaparte wrote to Cairo's divan, stating:. Eighty ships have dared to attack Alexandria but, beaten back by the artillery in that place, they have gone to anchor in Aboukir Bay, where they began disembarking [troops].
I leave them to do this, since my intention is to attack them, to kill all those who do not wish to surrender, and to leave others alive to be led in triumph to Cairo. This will be a handsome spectacle for the city. First Bonaparte advanced to Alexandria, from which he marched to Aboukir, whose fort was now strongly garrisoned by the Ottomans.
Bonaparte deployed his army so that Mustapha would have to win or die with all his family. Mustapha's army was 18, strong and supported by several cannons, with trenches defending it on the landward side and free communication with the Ottoman fleet on the seaward side. Bonaparte ordered an attack on 25 July and the Battle of Abukir ensued.
In a few hours the trenches were taken, 10, Ottomans drowned in the ocean and the rest captured or killed. Most of the credit for the French victory that day goes to Murat, who captured Mustapha himself. Mustapha's son was in command of the fort and he and all his officers survived but were captured and sent back to Cairo as part of the French triumphal procession. Seeing Bonaparte return with these high-ranking prisoners, the population of Cairo superstitiously welcomed him as a prophet-warrior who had predicted his own triumph with such remarkable precision.
The land battle at Abukir was Bonaparte's last action in Egypt, partly restoring his reputation after the French naval defeat at the same place a year earlier. He also foresaw that the army was getting yet weaker from losses in battle and to disease and would soon have to surrender and be taken prisoner by its enemies, which would destroy all the prestige he had won by his many victories.
Bonaparte thus spontaneously decided to return to France. During the prisoner exchange at Aboukir and notably via the Gazette de Francfort Sidney Smith had sent him, he was in communication with the British fleet, from which he had learned of events in France. As Bonaparte saw and later mythologised France was thrown back into retreat, its enemies had recaptured France's conquests, France was unhappy at its dictatorial government and was nostalgic for the glorious peace it had signed in the Treaty of Campo Formio — as Bonaparte saw it, this meant France needed him and would welcome him back.
He only shared the secret of his return with a small number of friends whose discretion and loyalty were well-known. He left Cairo in August on the pretext of a voyage in the Nile Delta without arousing suspicion, accompanied by the scholars Monge and Berthollet , the painter Denon , and generals Berthier , Murat , Lannes and Marmont. As night fell, the frigate Muiron silently moored by the shore, with three other ships escorting her. Some became worried when a British corvette was sighted at the moment of departure, but Bonaparte cried "Bah!
We'll get there, luck has never abandoned us, we shall get there, despite the English. On their day voyage back they did not meet a single enemy ship to stop them, with some sources suggesting that Bonaparte had purchased the British fleet's neutrality via a tacit agreement, though others hold this unlikely, since many would argue that he also had a pact with Nelson to leave him to board on the Egyptian coast unopposed with the fleet bearing his large army.
It has been suggested that Sidney Smith and other British commanders in the Mediterranean helped Napoleon evade the British blockade, thinking that he might act as a Royalist element back in France, but there is no solid historical evidence in support of this conjecture. On 1 October Napoleon's small flotilla entered port at Ajaccio , where contrary winds kept them until 8 October, when they set out for France.
When the coast came in sight, ten British ships were sighted. Contre-amiral Ganteaume suggested changing course towards Corsica, but Bonaparte said "No, this manoeuvre would lead us to England, and I want to get to France. As there were no sick men on board and the plague in Egypt had ended six months before their departure, Bonaparte and his entourage were allowed to land immediately without waiting in quarantine. Command of the French army passed to General Menou , who held command from 3 July until August Menou's letter was published in Le Moniteur on 6 September, with the conclusions of the committee charged with judging those responsible for the assassination:.
Under the terms of his capitulation , the British General John Hely-Hutchinson allowed the French army to be repatriated in British ships. Menou also signed over to Britain the priceless hoard of Egyptian antiquities such as the Rosetta Stone which it had collected. An unusual aspect of the Egyptian expedition was the inclusion of an enormous contingent of scientists and scholars "savants" assigned to the invading French force, in total.
This deployment of intellectual resources is considered as an indication of Napoleon's devotion to the principles of the Enlightenment , and by others as a masterstroke of propaganda obfuscating the true motives of the invasion; the increase of Bonaparte's power. Their original aim was to help the army, notably by opening a Suez Canal , mapping out roads and building mills to supply food.
The Egyptian Institute saw the construction of laboratories, libraries, and a printing press. The group worked prodigiously, and some of their discoveries were not finally cataloged until the s. Publications such as these of Napoleon's discoveries in Egypt gave rise to fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture and the birth of Egyptology in Europe.
The printing press was first introduced to Egypt by Napoleon. In the Middle East, Africa, India and even much of Eastern Europe and Russia, printing was a minor, specialised activity until the s at least. From about , the Mutaferrika Press in Istanbul produced substantial amounts of printing, of which some Egyptian clerics were aware of at the time. Juan Cole reports that, "Bonaparte was a master of what we would now call spin, and his genius for it is demonstrated by reports in Arabic sources that several of his more outlandish allegations were actually taken seriously in the Egyptian countryside.
Bonaparte's initial use of Arabic in his printed proclamations was rife with error. In addition to much of the awkwardly translated Arabic wording being unsound grammatically, often the proclamations were so poorly constructed that they were undecipherable. The Maltese language is distantly related to the Egyptian dialect; classical Arabic differs greatly in grammar, vocabulary, and idiom.