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Egypt: Ottoman and French Occupation

French occupation in Egypt
Painting of Napoleon visiting the Sphinx at Gizeh

Ottoman Occupation (1517-1789)

Turkish conquest transformed Egypt into a province of the Ottoman Empire. The administration was in the hands of officials trained in Istanbul, known as pashas, who had to ensure that taxes were collected and delivered to Istanbul. The Mamluks remained powerful figures in the army and the administration of Egypt.

French Occupation (1789-1801)

Egypt became a pawn in the struggle for power between France and Britain when Napoleon wanted to gain control over Egypt in order to disrupt British commerce and eventually overthrow British rule in India. His fleet landed in 1798 in Alexandria, where he declared his intention to liberate Egypt. While Napoleon succeeded in occupying Cairo, the British navy, under Admiral Horatio Nelson, thrashed his fleet at the Mediterranean port of Abu Qir Bay.

In this article: Egypt | History