A Brief History
On March 7, 1799, French General Napoleon Bonaparte successfully captured the city of Jaffa in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Although considered one of the all-time military geniuses, Bonaparte blundered when he allowed his men to massacre more than 2000 Albanians that had surrendered.
Napoleon then encouraged civilians to leave the city in the hope that these refugees would spread the word of French terror and cause other cities in the area to surrender without a fight. He was wrong!
News of the massacre steeled the resolve of the Ottoman defenders and forced the French to fight hard for every city and town. Napoleon further failed by allowing French hygiene to lapse, resulting in a plague that affected the civilian populace as well as the French. Facing losses in Syria and wracked by illness, the French evacuated the Levant and left it to the Ottomans and their British allies.
Napoleon was a good learner and honed his leadership, becoming Emperor of the French and winning many spectacular victories, before his final defeat at Waterloo.
Question for students (and subscribers): Would you have preferred Napoleon had won in Russia and at Waterloo, or are you glad the French were defeated? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Markham, J David and Matthew Zarzeczny. Simply Napoleon. Simply Charly, 2017.
Zarzeczny, Matthew. Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a painting by Antoine-Jean Gros (1771–1835) of Bonaparte Visiting the Pesthouse in Jaffa, is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason:This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer.
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