Map of the Syria campaign of Napoleon - history NG102
|Map published in "National Geographic history" n ° 102|
ARA numero102 "National Geographic history", EOSGIS made maps:
Napoleon in Egypt
In 1798, the young Bonaparte embarked on the conquest of Egypt, but the perilous adventure ended in failure.
Eager for glory and fame, the young Napoleón Bonaparte sent an expedition to Egypt in which conquered Alexandria and Cairo in 1798, but that ended in failure. In 1798, Napoleon was a skinny and wiry 28-year-old man, devoured by ambition and dreams of glory. Their great victories in Italy had become the idol of the masses and had used it to send without accountability to anyone. Bars, its old guard, told his colleagues in the Government of France: "Promocionad this, or promote himself". The truth is that directory - a five-Member collegiate Government, which governed the country for four years - lacked the prestige that was left to Bonaparte. Corruption, coups and insurrections had marked his career. The situation was so unstable that Bonaparte had always a horse, saddle if you had to start quickly. «It should overthrow them and proclaim me King - confessed the young general-; but it is not yet the time. It would be only". It was then when the idea of the conquest of Egypt. Some members of the directory, such as Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs, thought that France could establish a colonial rule there. Not only that. Egypt could be the first stage of a more ambitious project: established in India, where Britain, the great enemy of the French Republic, enjoyed a wide zone of influence. Bonaparte accepted the challenge. Like many contemporaries felt attracted by oriental exoticism; I had read a very popular work by then, the trip to Egypt and Syria of Constantin Volney, published in 1794, the best source of information about Egypt. Bonaparte met Volney, but bypassed a book warning: "If the French will dare to disembark there, Turks, Arabs, and farmers are should assemble against them [...]. Fanaticism would occupy the place of the ability and the courage". In fact, Bonaparte just wanted to maintain his popularity with new victories, and if not obtained them in Europe would be in Africa. "I want to surprise once more to the people [...]. We go to Egypt'. On 18 may 1798 it was leaving Toulon impressive French Navy bound for Egypt, composed more than fifty ships of war and 280 boats for the transport of troops; in total, about 40,000 men. The soldiers also were 167 scientists with the Mission of studying all aspects of the history and the present situation of Egypt. The Navy stopped in Malta a week, time that Bonaparte needed to wrest the island the order of San Juan de Jerusalén. He then continued journey to Egypt. 1 July, and despite the raging sea, Napoleon landed near Alexandria operation was carried out with success because no one went to combat them; the Ottoman spies had discovered the French plan, but took no action. Neither reacted the Mamluks, the caste of warriors mercenaries established in the country for centuries. Even so, when the French arrived in Alexandria came a tough fight. General Menou received seven wounds across the walls, but in the end the French forced the gaps. Bonaparte offered an agreed accountability and freed seven hundred Arab slaves coming from Malta. To see your generosity, other populations, as Rosetta, is rinderon without a fight and even drove out the hated Mamluk Governors. When Bonaparte entered Cairo met with a city of 250.0000 inhabitants, chaotic and depressed. The Egyptians afraid of French rule, and the majority of the population was hostile. A new property tax, coupled with a census which made it difficult to escape the tax collectors, contributed to enhance the mood. Thus, when the Ottoman sultan called for holy war, exploded the revolt in the form of European hunting. Bonaparte replied with a relentless repression: it firing the city, raided the Al - Azhar mosque and did decapitate eighty of the ringleaders of the mutiny. Napoleon would always remember the issue of Egypt as an adventure romantic and exotic, in the manner of Alexander the great. But the truth is that, in military terms, was a failure. The British fleet, commanded by Nelson, surprised the French at the roadstead of Abukir and completely destroyed his army.