Shortly after its capture Alexandria again fell into the hands of the Greeks, who took advantage of 'Amr's absence with the greater portion of his army. On hearing what had happened, however, 'Amr returned, and quickly regained possession of the city.
About the year 646 'Amr was deprived of his government by the caliph Othman. The Egyptians, by whom 'Amr was greatly beloved, were so much dissatisfied by this act, and even showed such a tendency to revolt, that the Greek emperor determined to make an effort to reduce Alexandria.
The attempt proved perfectly successful. The caliph, perceiving his mistake, immediately restored 'Amr, who, on his arrival in Egypt, drove the Greeks within the walls of Alexandria, but was only able to capture the city after a most obstinate resistance by the defenders.
This so exasperated him that he completely demolished its fortifications, although he seems to have spared the lives of the inhabitants as far as lay in his power.
Alexandria now rapidly declined in importance.
The building of Cairo in 969, and, above all, the discovery of the route to the East by the Cape of Good Hope in 1498, nearly ruined its commerce; the canal, which supplied it with Nile water, became blocked; and although it remained a principal Egyptian port, at which most European visitors in the Mameluke and Ottoman periods landed, we hear little of it until about the beginning of the 19th century.
Alexandria figured prominently in the military operations of Napoleon's Egyptian expedition of 1798. The French troops stormed the city on the 2nd of July 1798, and it remained in their hands until the arrival of the British expedition of 1801.
The battle of Alexandria, fought on the 21st of March of that year, between the French army under General Menou and the British expeditionary corps under Sir Ralph Abercromby, took place near the ruins of Nicopohs, on the narrow spit of land between the sea and Lake Aboukir, along which the British troops had advanced towards Alexandria after the actions of Aboukir on the 8th and Mandora on the 13th.
This document is part of an article on Alexandria from the 1911 edition of an encyclopedia that is out of copyright here in the U.S. The article is in the public domain, and you may copy, download, print and distribute this work as you see fit.
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