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Outfitting the country boats as gunboats: indigenous vessels and the Egyptian campaign, 1798–1802

Outfitting the country boats as gunboats: indigenous vessels and the Egyptian campaign, 1798–1802
Outfitting the country boats as gunboats: indigenous vessels and the Egyptian campaign, 1798–1802

Napoleon's Egyptian campaign has long been a source of fascination for historians, as it can be considered a turning point in Western Europe's relationship with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. There are aspects of this campaign, however, that have not yet been critically analysed. The role played by the unique physical environment of the Nile and Levantine coast, and the specific vessel technologies that navigating these areas required, has as of yet been ignored in favour of the major naval actions at the Battle of the Nile and the Siege of Acre. Both French and British forces adopted indigenous Nile vessel types, in particular djermes, for use throughout the course of the campaign in response to restrictive Nilotic conditions. This article compiles mentions of the use of indigenous vessels in the historical record of Napoleon's campaign and stresses the importance of incorporating the use of locally developed craft into studies of the Egyptian campaign and other naval campaigns of the period.

Djermes, Egyptian campaign, indigenous building traditions, Napoleon Bonaparte, Nile, Royal Navy, William Sidney Smith
2153-3369
1-13
Breene, Morgan L.
224089aa-64d5-4653-a8aa-68c08f999b22
Breene, Morgan L.
224089aa-64d5-4653-a8aa-68c08f999b22

Breene, Morgan L. (2019) Outfitting the country boats as gunboats: indigenous vessels and the Egyptian campaign, 1798–1802. Journal for Maritime Research, 1-13. (doi:10.1080/21533369.2018.1528718).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Napoleon's Egyptian campaign has long been a source of fascination for historians, as it can be considered a turning point in Western Europe's relationship with the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. There are aspects of this campaign, however, that have not yet been critically analysed. The role played by the unique physical environment of the Nile and Levantine coast, and the specific vessel technologies that navigating these areas required, has as of yet been ignored in favour of the major naval actions at the Battle of the Nile and the Siege of Acre. Both French and British forces adopted indigenous Nile vessel types, in particular djermes, for use throughout the course of the campaign in response to restrictive Nilotic conditions. This article compiles mentions of the use of indigenous vessels in the historical record of Napoleon's campaign and stresses the importance of incorporating the use of locally developed craft into studies of the Egyptian campaign and other naval campaigns of the period.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 20 January 2019
Keywords: Djermes, Egyptian campaign, indigenous building traditions, Napoleon Bonaparte, Nile, Royal Navy, William Sidney Smith

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 430397
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/430397
ISSN: 2153-3369
PURE UUID: 97d473c0-858d-45c6-93d8-8d64078c811a

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Date deposited: 26 Apr 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:23

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Author: Morgan L. Breene

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