Napoleon in Egypt Battle of the Pyramids p3
Nelson immediately moved his fleet forward and reached the enemy on August 1. They launched such a powerful attack on the French navy that the enemy did not get a chance to resist much. The battle is also known as the Battle of the Nile because the Nile flows into the sea at the Gulf of Abu Qair. At least ten large French naval ships and several smaller ships were destroyed in this battle. The battle crippled the French fleet and cut Napoleon’s supply line. In Britain, a cartoon was made of the victory, showing the French as crocodiles being tied up and killed by Admiral Nelson.
Napoleon was still occupying Egypt, but actually he was surrounded in Egypt. And the besiegers were British commanders who, being blockaded at sea, could not get any help from their own country, France. While the local population of Egypt was also rebelling against them. Ottoman Turkish Caliph Salim III had declared jihad against France. A British fleet was stationed at sea outside Egypt trying to force Turkish forces into the country to defeat Napoleon decisively.
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My Curious Fellow Napoleon Bonaparte made great efforts to keep the Egyptian Muslims happy and reconciled to him. He used to make loud statements in favor of Islam. He would take the opinion of scholars in national affairs. At the official level, they began to show respect for the religious ceremonies of Muslims. He even gave a fund of three hundred francs to the Muslims to celebrate the festival of Miladul-Nabi. He himself participated in this festival. The French artillery also saluted the Prophet.
Amused by these words, some Muslims started calling Napoleon by the name Ali Bona Part instead of his real name. Napoleon did not object to this title. Apart from remaining silent, Napoleon continued to debate with Muslim scholars about accepting Islam. The French also propagated that Napoleon respected Islam more than the Mamluks. For this reason, some Muslims still suffer from the misconception that Napoleon may have converted to Islam.
However, according to his private secretary, Louis Antony, he was apparently with him all the time, and according to the book he wrote, Napoleon’s attachment to Islam was only for political gain. Because they were besieged and they needed the help of the Muslims inside at all costs. He wanted to win the sympathies of Egyptian Muslims in one way or another. Louis Antony writes that Napoleon Bonaparte used to participate in Muslim religious rituals only as a spectator.
He never memorized even a single verse of Quran and never set foot in any mosque. He used to laugh at his statements about religion in private gatherings. Napoleon Bonaparte talked to the Muslim chiefs about accepting Islam, this talk was just for fun. It is his secretary writing that he was not serious. When he talked like a Muslim, it was only because he thought he was the military and political head of a Muslim country, but all this did not bring him any political benefit as he wanted.
Because Napoleon Bonaparte could not make the people of Egypt his followers despite his apparent attachment to Islam. In October 1798, while he was out of the city, a large-scale uprising broke out in Cairo. The center of this uprising was Jamia Al-Azhar, the famous Islamic university of Egypt. Thousands of civilians started attacking the French soldiers. Many French officers were also killed along with their soldiers in these attacks. The rebels broke the stone benches placed outside the shops and built barriers outside Jamia Al-Azhar with these stones so that the enemy could not enter them.
In addition, a large number of Bedouins from outside the city armed with spears and other similar weaponsThey reached the city in thousands. Napoleon took drastic action to crush this rebellion. He attacked Cairo with his army. French troops entered the city and broke down the gates built between its separate sections as they were a hindrance to the advance of the troops. After that, cannons were brought into the city. Al-Azhar University and its surrounding area were heavily bombarded, causing many buildings to catch fire.
The rebels panicked and appealed for mercy, but Napoleon replied that the hour of vengeance has come, I will finish what you started. After this statement, the bombardment became more intense. On this, those scholars present in the Jamia Al-Azhar mosque, who were the leaders of this revolt, came out and surrendered themselves to the French army. They began to appeal loudly for mercy, on which Napoleon stopped the bombardment. The leaders of the rebels were detained for some time.
These people thought they would be killed, but Napoleon pardoned the rebel leaders but did not pardon many of the captured rebels. Thirty rebels were beheaded every night on Napoleon’s order. Then their bodies were sealed in sacks and thrown into the Nile. Among the prisoners who were killed were many women. However, this process of killing prisoners was finally stopped after some time. My Curious Fellows Napoleon had crushed the rebellion in Cairo but he understood that Egypt had become a burden for him.
They wanted to get out of it at any cost from daily rebellion and British threat. The dream he had of reaching India via Egypt seemed impossible. Now they could not even help Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. And they could not help them, that’s why the British captured Mysore in May 1799 and Tipu Sultan also lost his life while fighting. However, Napoleon was now trapped in Egypt. Their way back home i.e. by sea to France was blocked by the British Navy.
Under these circumstances, he decided to attack the Ottoman-controlled province of Syria in order to pressure the Turkish Caliph to secure a safe passage home. They thought that the Turkish Caliph, because they were allies of the British, would be upset and ask the British to let Napoleon go to France, to end his blockade at sea, so that Napoleon could go to his home in Egypt.It was Napoleon’s plan to save and Syria to be saved, he left most of his army to defend Egypt and himself entered Syria with thirteen thousand troops and attacked.
Napoleon’s invasion of Syria was initially successful. They also occupied the Palestinian city of Gaza and the present Israeli city of Jaffa. More than four thousand Turkish prisoners of war who surrendered in Jaffa were also killed by Napoleon. During Napoleon’s stay in Jaffa, an epidemic of plague broke out, which also affected French soldiers. It is said that Napoleon even visited plague-stricken soldiers to keep his army calm.