Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth Swedo

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


In 1789 the French Directory authorized Napoleon Bonaparte to invade Egypt, thus introducing Egypt to modern French civilization. At this time Egypt was still ruled by the Mamluks who served under the Sublime Porte of the Ottoman Empire with little to no interference from the far away Porte. As explained by Jeremy Black, neither the Directory nor Napoleon were overly concerned with making enemies of the dying Ottoman Empire: “Napoleon assumed that the Turks could be intimidated or bribed into accepting the French invasion…”1 . This adverse view of the Porte demonstrates the typical Western behavior and stereotypes towards Muslims and Middle Easterners as weaker than or less than European powers. The French invasion of Egypt cemented already prevalent stereotypes in both the Middle East and the West into the modern era. These stereotypes alongside the Porte’s inability to protect Egypt from invasion “proved” to the West that they were easily able to take territory from the Ottoman Empire and framed this imperialism as re-building civilization that lapsed under Ottoman rule. France’s attempt to colonize Egypt would ultimately fail due to Napoleon’s deplorable actions in Egypt and his false claim to authority despite no military support coming from the Directory (as a result of the blockade set into place by the British and Porte alliance).

Document Type


Type (DCMI Terms)

Text; Image; StillImage



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