The Battle of the Pyramids, also known as the Battle of Embabeh, was a major engagement fought on 21st July 1798 during the French Invasion of Egypt. The French army, under Napoleon Bonaparte, scored a decisive victory against the forces of the local Mamluk rulers, wiping out almost the entire Egyptian army. It was the battle where Napoleon employed one of his significant contributions to military tactics, the divisional square. Actually a rectangle, the deployment of the French brigades into these massive formations repeatedly threw back multiple cavalry charges by the Egyptians.
The French Campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) was Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria, proclaimed to defend French trade interests, weaken Britain's access to British India, and to establish scientific enterprise in the region. It was the primary purpose of the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, a series of naval engagements that included the capture of Malta.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Mamluk is an Arabic designation for slaves. The term is most commonly used to refer to slave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origin.
The victory effectively sealed the French conquest of Egypt as Murad Bey salvaged the remnants of his army, chaotically fleeing to Upper Egypt. French casualties amounted to roughly 300, but Egyptian casualties soared into the thousands. Napoleon entered Cairo after the battle and created a new local administration under his supervision.
Murad Bey Mohammed was an Egyptian Mamluk chieftain (Bey), cavalry commander and joint ruler of Egypt with Ibrahim Bey. He is often remembered as being a cruel and extortionate ruler, but an energetic courageous fighter.
Upper Egypt is the strip of land on both sides of the Nile that extends between Nubia and downriver (northwards) to Lower Egypt.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.
The battle exposed the fundamental military and political decline of the Ottoman Empire throughout the past century, especially compared to the rising power of Napoleon's France. Napoleon named the battle after the Egyptian pyramids because they were faintly visible on the horizon when the battle took place.
The Ottoman Empire, also historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt. As of November 2008, sources cite either 118 or 138 as the number of identified Egyptian pyramids. Most were built as tombs for the country's pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.
In July 1798 Napoleon was marching from Alexandria toward Cairo after invading and capturing the former. He met the forces of the ruling Mamluks nine miles (15 kilometres) from the Pyramids and only four miles (six kilometres) from Cairo. The Mamluk forces were commanded by two Georgian mamluks, Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey, and had powerful and highly developed cavalry. This fight was known as The Battle of Chobrakit.
The Georgians or Kartvelians are a nation and indigenous Caucasian ethnic group native to Georgia. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Ukraine, United States, and throughout the European Union.
Ibrahim Bey was a Mamluk chieftain and regent of Egypt.
Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, horseman, dragoon, or trooper. The designation of cavalry was not usually given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which later evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title.
Napoleon realized that the only Egyptian troops of any worth on the battlefield were the cavalry. He exhorted his troops, saying, "Forward! Remember that from those monuments yonder 40 centuries look down upon you."
Napoleon ordered an advance on Murad's army with each of the five divisions of his army organized into hollow rectangles with cavalry and baggage at the center and cannon at the corners.
The French divisions advanced south in echelon, with the right flank leading and the left flank protected by the Nile. From right to left, Napoleon posted the divisions of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, Jean-Louis-Ébénézer Reynier, Charles-François-Joseph Dugua, Honoré Vial and Louis André Bon. In addition, Desaix sent a small detachment to occupy the nearby village of Biktil, just to the west.
Murad anchored his right flank on the Nile at the village of Embabeh, which was fortified and held with infantry and some ancient cannons. His Mamluk cavalry deployed on the desert flank. Ibrahim, with a second army, watched helplessly from the east bank of the Nile, unable to intervene. Chandler asserts that Napoleon's 25,000-strong army outnumbered Murad's 6,000 Mamluks and 15,000 infantry.
At about 15:30, the Mamluk cavalry hurled itself at the French without warning. The divisional squares of Desaix, Reynier and Dugua held firm and repelled the horsemen with point-blank musket and artillery fire. Unable to make an impression on the French formations, some of the frustrated Mamluks rode off to attack Desaix's detached force. This was also a failure.
Meanwhile, nearer the river, Bon's division deployed into attack columns and charged Embabeh. Breaking into the village, the French routed the garrison. Trapped against the river, many of the Mamluks and infantry tried to swim to safety, and hundreds drowned.
Napoleon reported a loss of 29 killed and 260 wounded. Murad's losses were far heavier, perhaps as many as 3,000 of the irreplaceable Mamluk cavalry and unknown numbers of infantry. Murad escaped to Upper Egypt, where he carried on an active guerilla campaign before being run to earth by Desaix in late 1799.
Upon the news of the defeat of their legendary cavalry, the waiting Mamluk armies in Cairo dispersed to Syria to reorganize. The Battle of the Pyramids signalled the beginning of the end of seven centuries of Mamluk rule in Egypt. Despite this auspicious beginning, Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory in the Battle of the Nile ten days later ended Napoleon's hopes for a conquest of the Middle East.
The battle was depicted by François-André Vincent in a sketch.
Engulfed by the west bank portion of the city of Cairo, nothing remains of the battlefield today.
The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte and Austrian forces near the city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, Italy. Near the end of the day, the French overcame Gen. Michael von Melas's surprise attack, driving the Austrians out of Italy and consolidating Napoleon's political position in Paris as First Consul of France in the wake of his coup d’état the previous November.
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia. The decisive defeat suffered by the Prussian Army subjugated the Kingdom of Prussia to the French Empire until the Sixth Coalition was formed in 1812.
Pyramides is a station of the Paris Métro. It is named after the Rue des Pyramides, which commemorates the victory in 1798 of Napoleon Bonaparte's Armée d’Orient over the Mamluks of Murad Bey in the Battle of the Pyramids in Egypt. The line 7 station opened in 1916 and the line 14 station was opened at the line's inception in 1998.
1798 was a relatively quiet period in the French Revolutionary Wars. The major continental powers in the First coalition had made peace with France, leaving France dominant in Europe with only a slow naval war with Great Britain to worry about. The leaders of the Directory in Paris feared Napoleon Bonaparte's popularity after his victories in Italy, so they were relieved when he proposed to depart France and mount an expedition to Egypt to gain further glory.
The Battle of Abukir was a battle in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated Seid Mustafa Pasha's Ottoman army on July 25, 1799, during the French campaign in Egypt. It is considered the first pitched battle with this name, as there already was a naval battle on August 1, 1798. No sooner had the French forces returned from a campaign to Syria, than the Ottoman forces were transported to Egypt by Sidney Smith's British fleet to put an end to French rule in Egypt.
The Eyalet of Egypt was the result of the conquest of Mamluk Egypt by the Ottoman Empire in 1517, following the Ottoman–Mamluk War (1516–1517) and the absorption of Syria into the Empire in 1516. Egypt was administered as an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 until 1867, with an interruption during the French occupation of 1798 to 1801.
Imbaba is a working-class neighbourhood in northern Giza, Egypt, located west of the Nile and northwest of and near Gezira Island and downtown Cairo, within the Giza Governorate. The district is located in the historic upper Nile Delta, and is part of the Greater Cairo metropolitan area.
Louis Friant was born in the village of Morlancourt, 8 km south of Albert near the river Somme.
Louis Charles Antoine Desaix was a French general and military leader. According to the usage of the time, he took the name Louis Charles Antoine Desaix de Veygoux.
Jean Louis Ebénézer Reynier rose in rank to become a French army general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division under Napoleon Bonaparte in the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria. During the Napoleonic Wars he continued to hold important combat commands, eventually leading an army corps during the Peninsular War in 1810-1811 and during the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1812-1813.
The Battle of Campo Tenese saw two divisions of the Imperial French Army of Naples led by Jean Reynier attack the left wing of the Royal Neapolitan Army under Roger de Damas. Though the defenders were protected by field fortifications, a French frontal attack combined with a turning movement rapidly overran the position and routed the Neapolitans with heavy losses. The action occurred at Campotenese, a little mountain village in the municipality of Morano Calabro in the north of Calabria. The battle was fought during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Battle of Shubra Khit was a battle that took place during Napoleon's campaign in Egypt on July 13, 1798. On their march to Cairo, the French encountered Mamluk cavalry under Murad Bey. Napoleon lined his forces up into infantry squares, a tactic which helped defeat the Mamluk cavalry, largely due to their inability to penetrate them without severe casualties.
The Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1516–1517 was the second major conflict between the Egypt-based Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, which led to the fall of the Mamluk Sultanate and the incorporation of the Levant, Egypt and the Hejaz as provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The war transformed the Ottoman Empire from a realm at the margins of the Islamic world, mainly located in Anatolia and the Balkans, to a huge empire encompassing much of the traditional lands of Islam, including the cities of Mecca, Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo. Despite this expansion, the seat of the empire's political power remained in Constantinople.
The Revolt of Cairo occurred on 21–22 October 1798 against the French occupation of Egypt led by Napoleon Bonaparte.
In the Battle of Mohrungen on 25 January 1807, most of a First French Empire corps under the leadership of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte fought a strong Russian Empire advance guard led by Major General Yevgeni Ivanovich Markov. The French pushed back the main Russian force, but a cavalry raid on the French supply train caused Bernadotte to call off his attacks. After driving off the cavalry, Bernadotte withdrew and the town was occupied by the army of General Levin August, Count von Bennigsen. The fighting took place in and around Morąg in northern Poland, which in 1807 was the East Prussian town of Mohrungen. The action was part of the War of the Fourth Coalition in the Napoleonic Wars.
Shubra Khit is a village in Beheira Governorate in Egypt, which is famous for being the place of the "Battle of Shubra Khit" between the army of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Mamluk cavalry under Murad Bey on July 13, 1798.
Battle of the Pyramids, July 21, 1798 is an early 19th century drawing by French painter François-André Vincent. Done in black ink and graphite on washed paper, the study depicts the Battle of the Pyramids. The work is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.