Lead:  When Napoleon Bonaparte in his search for military glory and territorial expansion, invaded Egypt in 1798 he threw the social and political structure of the nation into chaos. Many mark this time as the beginning of modern Egypt.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content:  When the French fleet appeared off Alexandria at the end of the eighteenth century, in many ways Egypt was little changed since medieval times. Under the nominal rule of the Ottoman Empire, actual power in Egypt had been held by the Mamluk clan since the 1200s. Ninety-percent of the population were peasants or fellahin who worked huge Mamluk estates and paid tribute in what was little more than a system of feudalism. Since the fellahin owed their allegiance to their feudal Mamluk landlords, Egypt lacked a strong central government. When Napoleon defeated the Mamluk armies at the Battle of the Pyramids, the internal social structure of Egypt began to disintegrate.

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