London, South Kensington
22 September 2005
[Ottoman Coastal Atlas. No place: c.1840]. 8 folding hand-coloured lithographed charts of the Nile delta, some with coastal profiles, inset plans and cut-aways indicating depths, varying in dimensions, the smallest being 325 x 220mm, the largest 640 x 1,070mm, mounted on linen. Contemporary decorated calf gilt with the Sultan's tugra stamped on upper board.
A fascinating, highly-detailed collection of coastal charts of the Nile delta, compiled at a key juncture in the area's troubled history. The importance of the Nile delta would have been increased by the events of 1830s, during which Muhammad Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, invaded Syria and Anatolia, inflicting a humiliating defeat on the Ottoman army at Nezib shortly before the death of Sultan Mahmud II in July 1839. In 1840 the Great Powers considered intervention, the Russians in the Bosphorus, the French off the Lebanon, the British by bombarding Acre. While allied ships blockaded the coast of Egypt, Muhammad Ali agreed to the Convention of Alexandria, withdrawing his troops from all parts of the Ottoman empire outside Egypt. At the same time the Ottoman fleet, moored at Alexandria since the defection of the treacherous Ottoman Admiral Ahmed Fevzi, who had sailed it to Egypt and surrendered to Mauhammad Ali several years before, was allowed to sail back to the Bosphorus.
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