On This Day in Napoleonic History – 24 August 1798

24First meeting of Institut d’ร‰gypte

Institut d’ร‰gypte was inaugurated by Napoleon, with himself as vice-president and Gaspard Monge as president. The Institute was divided into 4 sections: mathematics, physics, political economy and the arts. It met every 5 days.

At Napoleon’s suggestion, the Institute discussed various practical matters at its opening session, such as improving the army’s baking, making Nile water drinkable, whether watermills or windmills were better for Cairo, producing gunpowder and the state of the Egyptian law and education. Napoleon tried to use Enlightenment science and reason to win over the Egyptians, even suggesting the construction of an astronomical observatory.

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