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Napoleon at the Battle of the Pyramids, 21 July 1798, oil on canvas, 1810. By Antoine-Jean Gros; design by Anand Balaji.	Source: Public Domain

Napoleon in Egypt: Battle of the Pyramids (Video)

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In May 1798, General Napoleon Bonaparte led a monumental French expedition to Egypt, aiming to disrupt British trade routes and extend French influence. With a fleet of over 300 ships, including the formidable L'Orient, Napoleon's 55,000-strong army set sail, navigating through perilous waters patrolled by the British navy, under Admiral Horatio Nelson. Despite Nelson's pursuit, Napoleon's fleet managed to evade detection, landing in Egypt and swiftly capturing Alexandria.

The subsequent Battle of the Pyramids demonstrated French military superiority over the Mamluk forces, securing Napoleon's foothold in Egypt. However, the victory was not without challenges. Napoleon faced harsh desert conditions, logistical difficulties, and discontent among his troops. Despite initial triumphs, including the establishment of reforms and institutions like the Institute of Egypt, Napoleon struggled to win over the Egyptian population. Discontent simmered, culminating in a revolt in Cairo in October 1798, which the French ruthlessly suppressed.

As the situation in Egypt grew increasingly precarious, Napoleon's dreams of eastern conquest faltered. The destruction of his fleet by Nelson at the Battle of the Nile left him stranded in Egypt, grappling with dwindling supplies and mounting opposition. The expedition to Egypt, while showcasing French military prowess, ultimately highlighted the complexities and challenges of colonial conquest in a foreign land.

Top image: Napoleon at the Battle of the Pyramids, 21 July 1798, oil on canvas, 1810. By Antoine-Jean Gros; design by Anand Balaji.        Source: Public Domain

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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