L'Egypte après Bonaparte: Bonnes
ou Mauvaises conséquences?

Rowayda Guirguis, Canada


The French expedition is still dividing Arab historians. For many of them, the expedition introduced Egypt to the modern age. For others, it was a period of no importance to Egypt. For still others, it conflicted with a Muslim society which didn’t need the intervention of France to be civilized.

The French troops spent 38 months in Egypt, which was not enough time to transform the country but enough time to give them a big push to become less isolated. The Bonaparte’s 167 savants opened Egypt to the world and the world to Egypt.

Mohamed Ali, the Vice-King of Egypt, and the 10 sovereigns who followed him (from his dynasty) were in charge to continue the work of Napoleon. The French language, French thinking, and French law will dominate Egypt for over 150 years.

This was life before Nasser.

Then, Egypt became first Arab speaking, second Anglophone and third francophone.

However, Egypt is still keeping some beautiful souvenirs of the French passing….


References: Robert Solé
Bonaparte à la conquête de l’Égypte. Paris, Seuil;, 2006
Le dictionnaire amoureux de l’Egypte. Paris, Plon, 2001
Les savants de Bonaparte. Paris, Seuil, 1998
L’Egypte Passion Française. Paris, Seuil, 1997
Le Sémaphore d’Alexandrie (roman). Paris, Seuil, 1994

Prince Ahmed Fouad II Conference. in Paris, 1981




Rowayda Guirguis: received in 1984 her licence ès lettres [BA] degree in French Literature at the University of Alexandria. In 1992 she received her Diplôme d'études supérieures d’histoire égyptienne from the University of Alexandria.
From 1994–2003 Rowayda used her extensive knowledge of both the history of Bonaparte’s expedition and of ancient Egypt to become a successful tourist guide in Egypt. In 2003 she immigrated to Canada, and became the assistant for Ben Weider at the International Napoleonic Society. She now serves as assistant to INS President David Markham.

Rowayda likes to point out that she owes both of her major careers to Napoleon. Without Napoleon and his savants, there would have been no Egyptology and perhaps no tourist industry in Egypt. And, of course, since moving to Montreal she has also worked in the Napoleonic field.

Not many people can say that!