French campaign in Egypt and Syria

1801 Dec 1



Key Findings:

  • The rule of Mamluk-Beys in Egypt is broken.
  • The Ottoman Empire retakes control over Egypt.
  • French supremacy in the Eastern Mediterranean is prevented.
  • Important archaeological discoveries, including the Rosetta Stone
  • Description de l'Egypte, which detailed the findings of the scholars and scientists who had accompanied Napoleon to Egypt. This publication became the foundation of modern research into the history, society, and economics of Egypt.
  • The invasion demonstrated the military, technological, and organisational superiority of the Western European powers to the Middle East, leading to profound social changes in the region.
  • The printing press was first introduced to Egypt by Napoleon. He brought with his expedition a French, Arabic, and Greek printing press, which were far superior in speed, efficiency and quality to the nearest presses used in Istanbul.
  • The invasion introduced Western inventions, such as the printing press, and ideas, such as liberalism and incipient nationalism, to the Middle East, eventually leading to the establishment of Egyptian independence and modernisation under Muhammad Ali Pasha in the first half of the 19th century and eventually the Nahda, or Arab Renaissance.
  • To modernist historians, the French arrival marks the start of the modern Middle East.
  • The campaign ended in failure, with 15,000 French troops killed in action and 15,000 by disease.
  • Napoleon's reputation as a brilliant military commander remained intact and even rose higher, despite some of his failures during the campaign.