Battle of the Nile

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History on 1st August

Rule Britannia First Performed

Regentís Canal Opens

First Mars Bar Made

Battle of the Nile

The 1st of August 1798 AD

The Battle of the Nile proved one of the most significant encounters in the long-running wars between Britain and France. Napoleon had determined on the invasion of Egypt with a view to damaging British power and prestige in the Mediterranean and eventually as far as India. Nelsonís victory over Admiral Brueys at the Bay of Aboukir was comprehensive and far-reaching: the French army recently landed at Alexandria was nullified; British naval power was confirmed, stiffening the resolve of both the Ottoman Empire and Russia; Napoleon would never carve out a Middle East empire.
Nelson ís fleet and that of his opponent were roughly equal in numbers of ships, though the French slightly out-gunned the British. But Brueys made several fatal errors of judgement: his ships were taken by surprise, undergoing repairs and re-victualling and with many crewmen ashore; he wrongly thought Nelson intended to wait until the next day to attack; his line was too spread apart, allowing British ships to pierce it; and Nelsonís ships managed to catch their enemy in a cross-fire.
The outcome was near annihilation of Napoleonís fleet: the Royal Navy didnít lose one vessel whereas four French ships were destroyed Ė one, the flagship Orient, blown to smithereens Ė and nine captured. British dead numbered roughly 200, the French thousands including Admiral Brueys. Nelson suffered a bloody but superficial head wound, but his reputation was hugely enhanced and he was swiftly given a peerage.

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On this day:
First True Canal in Britain Opens - 1761, Punch Magazine launches - 1841, Royal Family Adopts Windsor Name - 1917, Tsar Nicholas and Family Killed - 1918, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act Gains Royal Assent - 2013
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