Napoleon could not have known it, but his campaign was the start of 150 years of imperialism along the Nile River, as Europeans endeavored to explore, control, and colonize the Nile River. This would bring them into all kinds of conflicts, not just with the indigenous natives residing there but also with each other, as each empire sought to get a leg up on the competition.
Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign failed in all of its objectives other than in the acquisition of knowledge. Far from frustrating British ambitions in the Orient, the British triumphed in the minor war that Napoleon triggered, and it was the British who would dominate Egypt for the next 150 years.
Even after the British took control of Egypt, knowledge about the Nile remained sparse, most importantly the source of the river, and exploration all over the continent took place among adventurers of various nationalities. Other countries also sought to get a foothold on the continent, to the extent that near the end of the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck, the German chancellor, brought the plenipotentiaries of all major powers of Europe together to deal with Africa’s colonization in such a manner as to avoid provocation of war.
This event, known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, galvanized a phenomenon that came to be known as the Scramble for Africa. The conference established two fundamental rules for European seizure of Africa. The first of these was that no recognition of annexation would be granted without evidence of a practical occupation, and the second, that a practical occupation would be deemed unlawful without a formal appeal for protection made on behalf of a territory by its leader, a plea that must be committed to paper in the form of a legal treaty.