In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte tried to conquer other territories in the Middle East during the period of his Egyptian campaign.
After El-Arish, Jaffa and Mount Tabor he tried to conquer the city of Akko.
He set up his headquarter with 13000 soldiers on the hill outside the walls which is called upto this day the ” Napoleon Hill ”.
The Pasha El-Jezzar called the “Butcher”, a not so friendly man, knew of the intention of this general Napoleon, therefore with the help of of Antoine Picard of Phelippeaux, a French royalist engineer, built a second wall to protect his city.
This man knew Bonaparte from the Royal Military School of Paris where they studied together and dislike him.
Also the English Fleet under the command of Admiral Smith , the eternal enemy of General Bonaparte, came to the rescue of the Pasha, who felt strong enough to face this terrible threat.
Bonaparte was counting on the big guns which were to arrive by sea to succeed in this battle, but the English Fleet intercepted the French one and captured it.
Many French soldiers lost their lives against the heavy attacks of the Ottomans because the simple field guns that Bonaparte had could only make minor damage to the walls.
Despite this, the Napoleonic troops led by General Kleber, repeatedly pierced the walls, to take control of part of the city. However, each time they were pushed back by the defenders of the city.
An army of 35,000 men from Damascus came to the Pasha rescue and setback the French troops by surpise.
After two months of siege, Bonaparte renounced taking the city. The plague raged in his troops, some sick soldiers could no longer follow and were executed on the spot. Bonaparte went back to Egypt, where his departure had only weakened his troops left behind.
It is said that the Pasha El-Jezzar wanted to eliminate Christians living in the city as revenge, but Admiral Smith threatened him to bomb Akko if this should happen and prevented the massacre …