The Nile Valley is the birthplace of one of the oldest and greatest civilizations the world has ever known. For nearly 3,000 uninterrupted years, Egypt’s kings and pharaohs ruled over a highly organized, cultured, and sophisticated state, when most of the world was still living in caves and hunting with clubs. You can learn more about the history of Egypt with us.
Due to the flood of the Nile River and its fertile banks and deltas, as well as the accomplishments and impact of Egypt's indigenous people, Egypt's history is replete with great events and great archaeological events. Most of Egypt's ancient history remained a mystery until the Rosetta Stone was discovered and helped to decode the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics secrets. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Library of Alexandria has been the only one of its kind for centuries.
Egypt has a long and glorious history, making it one of the world's most illustrious civilizations. The human foundation in Egypt dates back to at least 6000 BC during the Nile River Valley was inhabited for the first time. The ancient Egyptian civilization united about 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh of the First Dynasty, Narmer. The original Egyptian rule continued for the most part until the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century BC.
Prehistory (pre–3100 BC)
There is data from petroglyphs along the Nile terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th BC, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishermen was renewed by a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes and/or overgrazing nearby 6000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River, where they formed a settled agricultural economy and a more centralized community.
By about 6000 BC, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badari culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC.
Ancient Egypt (3100–332 BC)
A unified kingdom was founded 3150 BC by King Menes, leading to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptian culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts, language, and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period (c. 2700–2200 BC), which constructed many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza Pyramids.
The first intermediate period began in a time of political turmoil nearly 150 years ago. The stability of the government restored the prosperity of the country in the Middle Kingdom in 2040 BC and reached its climax during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat the Third. And with the entry into the second period of separation, with the arrival of the first foreign dynasty in Egypt, the Semitic Hexus kingdom. The Hyksos invaders occupied most of Lower Egypt around 1650 BC and created a new capital at Alvarez. They were expelled by the Upper Egypt Force led by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and moved the capital from Memphis to Thebes.
The modern state (circa 1550 - 1070 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, indicating the rise of Egypt as a world power that expanded during its largest extension to an empire as far south as Tombs in Nubia, and included parts of the Levant in the east. This period was indicated for some of the most famous pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis the Third, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti and Tutankhamun, and Ramesses II. The first historically acclaimed expression of monotheism came during this period as Atenism, although some consider Atenism a form of monotheism rather than monotheism. Repeated contacts with other countries brought new ideas to the new kingdom. The country was later invaded and occupied by the Libyans, the Libyans, and the Assyrians, but the indigenous Egyptians eventually drove them out and regained control of their country.
In 332 BC, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great conquered Egypt as he toppled the Achaemenids and established the Hellenistic Ptolemaic Kingdom, whose first ruler was one of Alexander's former generals, Ptolemy I Soter. The Ptolemies had to fight native rebellions and were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its final annexation by Rome. The death of Cleopatra ended the nominal independence of Egypt resulting in Egypt's becoming one of the provinces of the Roman Empire.
Roman rule in Egyp (Romano-Byzantine Period) lasted from 30 BC to 641 AD, with a brief interlude of control by the Sasanian Empire between 619–629, known as Sasanian Egypt. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, parts of Egypt became provinces of successive Caliphates and other Muslim dynasties: Rashidun Caliphate (632-661), Umayyad Caliphate (661–750), Abbasid Caliphate (750–935), Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171), Ayyubid Sultanate (1171–1260), and the Mamluk Sultanate (1250–1517). In 1517, Ottoman sultan Selim I captured Cairo, absorbing Egypt into the Ottoman Empire.
Egypt remained completely Ottoman until 1867, without during the French control from 1798 to 1801. Opening in 1867, Egypt became a self-supporting tributary country called Khedifa Misr. But, Khadift Egypt fell under British administration in 1882 in the wake of the Anglo-Egyptian War (Protectorate-Monarchy) . After the end of the First World War and after the Egyptian revolution in 1919, the Kingdom of Egypt (Republic) was established. While the United Kingdom is a de jure independent state, it retains control over foreign affairs, defense, and other matters. The British occupation continued until 1954, with the approval of the Anglo-Egyptian in 1954.
With the complete withdrawal of the British forces from the Suez Canal in 1956 AD, the modern Republic of Egypt was founded in 1953 AD, this was the first time in 2500 years that Egypt was completely independent and ruled by the original Egyptians. President Gamal Abdel Nasser (President Ali Egypt from 1956 to 1970) introduced several reforms and established the short-lived United Arab Republic with Syria. Its terms also saw the Six-Day War and the creation of the International Non-Aligned Movement. His successor Anwar Sadat (president from 1970 to 1981) changed the course of Egypt, moving away from many political and economic principles of Nasiriyah, re-establishing a multi-party system, and launching the policy of economic openness. He led Egypt in the 1973 Yom Kippur War to restore the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, which Israel had occupied since the Six-Day War in 1967. This subsequently led to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Recent Egyptian history has been dominated by events following nearly thirty years of rule by former president Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian revolution of 2011 deposed Mubarak and resulted in the first democratically elected president in Egyptian history, Unrest after the 2011 revolution and related disputes led to the 2013 Egyptian coup.
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