High on Hashish: The Truth Behind Napoleon’s Egyptian Expedition

General Napoleon Bonaparte was quickly becoming one of the most important military figures in Europe when he set his sights on Egypt. In 1797, his army had defeated a collection of anti-French states known as the First Coalition, and Bonaparte was keen to attack Great Britain’s trading routes to the Far East and India. However, he realized that France didn’t have the naval might to defeat the British Royal Navy.

Yet he saw Egypt as the ideal place to create a colony he could use as a springboard to commence these assaults. The goal was to cut off British trade and help free Egypt from Ottoman rule. Napoleon subsequently launched his invasion of Egypt and Syria, landing at Alexandria on July 1, 1798.

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