Today in History
July 19, 1799
Key to the Kingdom
French troops stationed in the Nile Valley during Napoleon Bonaparte's occupation of Egypt find the Rosetta Stone on July 19, 1799. The black stone slab, from the 2nd century, BC, is inscribed in three scripts: hieroglyphics; demotic, an Egyptian script; and Greek, introduced after Alexander the Great's conquest of the area. Because scholars could read Greek, the stone becomes a key to deciphering ancient Egyptian scripts. Following Bonaparte's surrender to Britain in 1801, the Rosetta Stone becomes the property of Britain, where remains on exhibit in the British Museum.
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