MANSURA, the capital of the province of Dakahlia, Lower Egypt, near the west side of Lake Menzala, and on the Cairo Damietta railway. It dates from 1221, and is famous as the scene of the battle of Mansura, fought on the 8th of February 1250, between the crusaders commanded by the king of France, St.
Louis, and the Egyptians. The old fortress of St. Louis is still to be seen. Mansura has several cotton-ginning, cotton, linen and sail-cloth factories.
Louis first forfeited the chance for a rapid march on Cairo and then took the worst possible route—from Damietta through the maze of canals and watercourses of the Nile Delta. The French army took four weeks to cover 5om. of such ground and then, on Dec. 19, 1249, reaching the west bank of the Ashmoum canal opposite Mansura, it found the enemy encamped on the far bank. Nearly two months were wasted before the French at last succeeded in crossing. The battle was waged with reckless daring, and, though in a sense a victory, left the French with a gravely depleted army in face of an almost intact adversary, and the knowledge caused a depression which portended the eventual failure of the expedition.