Tracing the role of the Egyptians in the study of Egyptology requires an insight into the political and social forces that forged modern Egypt. Like Alexander the Great, who presented himself as Egypt's liberator from Persian rule, Napoleon Bonaparte, is said to have unchained the opening to Egypt's past. French rule is considered to be one of the most significant contributions of France to Egypt's development. Unfortunately, the period of French rule ended early thanks to the British fleet under Lord Nelson which arrived off the Egyptian coast in 1801 and sank the French fleet at anchor in Abukir Bay. In spite of their short rule, French influence had a lasting effect on Egypt and its development of national identity. Furthermore, Muhammad Ali, an Ottoman officer, set out to modernize the country by introducing European technology and he crushed rival Ottoman and Mamluk commanders.
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