Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jazzar Pasha 1, Napoleon 0

a follow up on the Black count and Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.

Historians tend to view Napoleon with a friendly eye, despite the millions killed or died as a result of his wars.

that wikipedia article doesn't mention the casualties in Egypt...and most of the articles that mention deaths only count the military mortality, not those of the Bedouin guerillas or the civilians in Cairo who rioted against the French.

trying to find the civilian mortality is alas hard to find: And as this article notes, there had been plagues and famines before the invasion,  and clashes between the local Mamluk and the Ottoman empire..

The invasion should have been welcomed, but they treated the locals like dirt, so the power vacuum was filled by the local religious leaders.

and then there was the British navy destroying their supplies.

 On August 1, 1798, the British fleet under Lord Nelson annihilated the French ships as they lay at anchor at Abu Qir, thus isolating Napoleon's forces in Egypt. On September 11, Sultan Selim III declared war on France. On October 21, the people of Cairo rioted against the French, whom they regarded as occupying strangers, not as liberators. The rebellion had a religious as well as a national character and centered around Al Azhar mosque. Its leaders were the ulama, religiously trained scholars, whom Napoleon had tried to woo to the French side. During this period, the populace began to regard the ulama not only as moral but also as political leaders. To forestall an Ottoman invasion, Napoleon invaded Syria, but, unable to take Acre in Palestine, his forces retreated on May 20, 1799.

so where does Pasha come in? Long complicated article about his life here on his wikipedia page.

The Ottomans had been shocked by Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt,[32] and were "spared further military embarrassment" by al-Jazzar's successful defense of Acre, according to historian Bruce Masters.[55] His Muslim and Christian contemporaries both regarded his victory over the French Army as his greatest achievement.[57] Al-Jazzar's victory significantly boosted his prestige.[58] Mass celebrations in Damascus and Aleppo followed his victory,[55] and al-Jazzar became "the defender of the faith" in Muslim public opinion, while being credited by European observers as among the few to have defeated Bonaparte.[59]

there was also a Russian Turkish war going on in the early 1800's that sort of gets overlooked in the "Napoleon only" histories of the time.

that war was settled in time for the Russians to use their army to defeat Napoleon.

 This year (2012) is the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s fateful invasion of Russia. No doubt much will be written about the 1812 campaign this year with vivid pictures of the terrible retreat from Moscow etc. 1812 is also the 200th anniversary of the Treaty of Bucharest that ended the Russo-Turkish War that had been raging intermittently since 1806. This treaty meant that Russian troops were free to join the main Russian armies facing Napoleon. Perhaps equally important they gained the services of Mikhail Kutuzov who was the Russian commander in the south.
 and the Russian/Ottoman wars (except for the Crimean war) are usually overlooked in the history books written by western Europeans, but are remembered by those in Eastern Europe... the hated Ottoman occupation of those countries are part of the backstory of why some Eastern European countries won't take Muslim "refugees", why Russia is helping out Syria, and of course, why the Serbs hated the Bosnians during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.

 these links are for my further reading, since I know little about this area.

LINK1 is a paraphrase of Professor Bulliet's history of the Ottoman/Middle East at that time, and one of his lectures is here:

link2 lecture on the Great Game...

when you read about the mess in Syria and the Middle East, remember that it's not new: Indeed, the mess goes back to the Bronze age (battle of Meggido anyone?)

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