- Aboukir Bay, Battle of
- (1798)An Anglo-French naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars, otherwise known as the Battle of the Nile, fought on August 1, 1798. The French fleet, which had escorted Napoleon’s forces to Egypt, was caught by a British fleet under Lord Horatio Nelson lying at anchor in Aboukir Bay, 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. The French did not expect a battle and so were ill-prepared when Nelson risked shoal waters and failing light to launch an immediate attack. In all 11 of 13 French shipsof- the-line were taken or sunk by a similarly size British fleet.“Victory is certainly not a name strong enough for such a scene,” was Nelson’s verdict. The effect of the battle was to leave Bonaparte stranded with his army in Egypt. In the spring of 1799, he was defeated by the Turks in cooperation with a small naval force under Sir Sidney Smith and decided to abandon his Egyptian army and return surreptitiously to France. This marked the end of France’s occupation of Egypt. Because the defeat at Aboukir Bay was a naval affair, some of the glamour of the Battle of the Pyramids remained attached to Napoleon.See also <
>.FURTHER READING:Lambert, Andrew D. Nelson: Britannia’s God of War . London: Faber, 2004;Rodger, N.A.M. The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815. London: Allan Lane, 2004.MARK F. PROUDMAN
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.