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The French Campaign In Egypt and Syria By Daman Fagan 6th Period Delta

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by Daman Fagan on 31 May 2011

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Transcript of The French Campaign In Egypt and Syria By Daman Fagan 6th Period Delta

The French campaign of Egypt and Syria The Egyptian Campaign 1798-1801 The French Invasion of Egypt (1798-1801) was Napoleon Bonaparte’s unsuccessful campaign in Egypt and Syria to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain’s access to India. Despite several victories and an expedition into Syria, Napoleon and his Armée d’Orient (Army of the East) were eventually forced to withdraw by local hostility, British naval power, and politics in Paris. Background In August 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt, then a province of the Ottoman Empire, in a letter to the directory, seeking to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain’s access to India. The plan was agreed upon in March 1798. The Directory, although troubled by the scope and cost of the enterprise, readily agreed to the plan in order to remove the popular general from the center of power. At the beginning of the campaign, Bonaparte’s expedition seized Malta from the Knights of Saint John on June 9 and then landed successfully at Alexandria on July 1, eluding, for the time being, detection by the Royal Navy. Background continued Conquest of Egypt After landing on the coast of Egypt, Bonaparte’s force of 25,000 fought off a force of about 100,000 Mamelukes in the Battle of the Pyramids approximately nine miles from the pyramids. He defeated the Mamluk cavalry using a larger version of the common infantry square, with cannons and supplies safely on the inside. In all 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed. The Syrian Campaign After receiving word in Istanbul that the French fleet had been destroyed during the Battle of the Nile, the Turkish believed that this was the end of Napoleon Bonaparte. Sultan Selim III decided to wage war against France, and sent two armies to Egypt. The first army, under the command of Jezzar Pasha, only had about 12,000 soldiers; but Pasha (General) knew that he would get 10,000 reinforcements from Damascus, Aleppo, Iraq, and 8,000 from Jerusalem. The second army, under the command of Mustafa Pasha, began on Rhodes with about 8,000 soldiers. He also knew he would get about 42,000 soldiers from Albania, Istanbul, Asia Minor, and Greece. The Turkish planned two offensives against Cairo. From Syria, across the desert of Salhayeh-Belbays-El Kankah, and from Rhodos by sea landing in the Aboukir area or the port city of Damietta. In January 1799, Bonaparte learned of the hostile Turkish movements. He knew that he would not be able to defend against the Turkish army, and decided that the best defense would be to attack them first in Syria. A victory there would give him more time to prepare against the Turkish forces on Rhodes. The Syrian Campaign continued Napoleon prepared around 13,000 men and left Egypt for Syria on febuary 5th 1799. He was forced to return to Egypt in May Syrian Campaign Continued Bonaparte Returns to France Back in Egypt, on 25 July, Bonaparte decisively defeated an Ottoman amphibious invasion at Abukir. This partially redressed his reputation from the naval defeat there a year earlier. With the Egyptian campaign stagnating, and political instability developing back home, Bonaparte abandoned Egypt for Paris in August 1799, leaving his troops behind under Kléber. It has been suggested that Sidney Smith and other British commanders in the Mediterranean helped Bonaparte evade the British blockade, thinking that he might act as a Royalist element back in France. End of the campaign The remaining French troops were supposed to be honorably evacuated under the terms of a treaty Kléber had negotiated with Smith in early 1800. However, British Admiral Keith reneged on this treaty and sent an amphibious assault force of 30,000 men against Kléber. The British were defeated at the battle of Heliopolis in March 1800, and Kléber then suppressed an insurrection in Cairo. Nevertheless, Kléber was then assassinated in June 1800 and command of the French army went to General Menou. Menou held command until August 1801. An unusual aspect of the Egyptian expedition was the inclusion of a large group of scientists assigned to the invading French force. Among the other discoveries that resulted, the Rosetta Stone was found. One of the scientists was Joseph Fourier, and while in Egypt he did some of the empirical work upon which his “analytical theory of heat” was founded. This deployment of intellectual resources is considered by some an indication of Bonaparte’s devotion to the principles of the Enlightenment, and by others as a masterstroke of propaganda obfuscating the true imperialist motives of the invasion. Scientific Expedition
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