E is for Embabeh: In 1798, the French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage to threaten Albion-Norse trade in the East, and thus force them to make peace. Napoleon Bonaparte’s first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. As a major location on the trading routes, the harbour of Valletta was a key location. Bonaparte’s forces landed on the island but were repelled by the Knights and a garrison of Mjölnir militia defending Anglo-Norse interests.
Napoleon sailed and landed at Alexandria, meeting the forces of the two local Mamluk rulers at the Battle of Embabeh, on July 21st. He planned to keep the two Georgian Mamluk armies divided by fighting on one bank of the Nile, but Mjölnir militia transported the second stranded army across and helped rout the French. Meanwhile, the Albion navy under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson defeated the French navy at Aboukir Bay and the Battle of the Nile.
Although Napoleon fled to France, he engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition inspired him to go further, and in 1804 he became the first Emperor of the French. However, Albion led a successful coalition to restrict his attempted invasions out of France.
In our timeline: Wikipedia – The Mediterranean campaign of 1798 was a series of major naval operations surrounding a French expeditionary force sent to Egypt under Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolutionary Wars. The French Republic sought to capture Egypt as the first stage in an effort to threaten British India, and thus force Great Britain to make peace. Departing Toulon in May 1798 with over 40,000 troops and hundreds of ships, Bonaparte’s fleet sailed southeastwards across the Mediterranean Sea. They were followed by a small British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, later reinforced to 13 ships of the line… Bonaparte’s first target was the island of Malta, which was under the government of the Knights of St. John and theoretically granted its owner control of the Central Mediterranean. Bonaparte’s forces landed on the island and rapidly overwhelmed the defenders, securing the port city of Valletta before continuing to Egypt.
[After landing in Egypt and fighting a minor skirmish, Napoleon advanced on Alexandria.] On 2 Thermidor (20 July), the French army arrived half a mile from the village of Embabé. The heat was unbearable and the army was exhausted and needed a rest, but there was not enough time and so Bonaparte drew up his 25,000 troops for battle approximately nine miles (15 km) from the Pyramids of Giza… This was the start of the so-called Battle of the Pyramids, [also known as the Battle of Embabeh], a French victory over an enemy force of about 21,000 Mamluks. (Around 40,000 Mamluk soldiers stayed away from the battle.) The French defeated the Mamluk cavalry with a giant infantry square, with cannons and supplies safely on the inside. In all 300 French and approximately 6,000 Egyptians were killed. The battle gave rise to dozens of stories and drawings.
On the scientific front, the expedition led to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, creating the field of Egyptology. Despite many decisive victories and an initially successful expedition into Syria, Napoleon and his Armée d’Orient were eventually forced to withdraw, after sowing political disharmony in France, experiencing conflict in Europe, and suffering the defeat [by Horatio Nelson] of the supporting French fleet at the Battle of the Nile.
However, could events have taken a different course? Napoleon did engineer the coup and later became the Emperor of the French and then invaded successive countries. But who could have stopped him before the retreat from Moscow, or later before Waterloo?
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