History of Egypt
The Archaic or Early Dynastic Period of Egypt immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis where an Egyptian god-king ruled a now unified polity that extended from the Nile Delta to the first cataract at Aswan. Abydos remained the center of cult worship in the south. The distinctive hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period.
The Old Kingdom is the name commonly given to that period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – this was the first of three so-called "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley (the others being Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom.
The First Intermediate Period, often described as a “dark period” in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately three hundred years after the end of the Old Kingdom from ca. 2181-2055 BC. It included the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and part of the eleventh dynasties. Very little monumental evidence survives from this period, especially towards the beginning of the era. The First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time in history where rule of Egypt was roughly divided between two competing power bases. One of those bases resided at Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt, a city just south of the Faiyum region. The other resided at Thebes in Upper Egypt. It is believed that during this time, the temples were pillaged and violated, their existing artwork was vandalized, and the statues of kings were broken or destroyed as a result of this alleged political chaos. These two kingdoms would eventually come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the eleventh dynasty.
The Middle Kingdom is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, roughly between 2040 BC and 1640 BC.
The period comprises two phases, the 11th Dynasty, which ruled from Thebes and the 12th Dynasty onwards which was centred around el-Lisht. These two dynasties were originally considered to be the full extent of this unified kingdom, but historians now consider the 13th Dynasty to at least partially belong to the Middle Kingdom.
The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when Ancient Egypt once again fell into disarray between the end of the Middle Kingdom, and the start of the New Kingdom. It is best known as when the Hyksos made their appearance in Egypt, whose reign comprised the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Dynasties.
The brilliant Egyptian Twelfth Dynasty came to an end around 1800 BC, and was succeeded by the much weaker Thirteenth dynasty of Egypt. Both ruled from Itjtawy ("Seizer-of-the-Two-Lands") near Memphis and el-Lisht, just south of the apex of the Nile Delta
The New Kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt. The New Kingdom (1570–1070 BC) followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt’s most prosperous time and marked the zenith of its power.
The Third Intermediate Period refers to the time in Ancient Egypt from the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI in 1070 BC to the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.
The Roman province of Egypt (Aegyptus) was established in 30 BC after Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed his lover Queen Cleopatra VII and annexed the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula. Aegyptus was bordered by the provinces of Creta et Cyrenaica to the West and Judaea (later Arabia Petraea) to the East. Egypt would come to serve as a major producer of grain for the empire.
During the initial Islamic invasion in 639 AD, Egypt was ruled at first by governors acting in the name of the Righteous Caliphs, and then the Ummayad Caliphs in Damascus but, in 747, the Ummayads were overthrown and the power of the Arabs slowly began to weaken. Although Egypt remained under the nominal rule of the Abbasid Caliphate, its rulers were able to establish quasi-independent dynasties, such as those of the Tulunids and the Ikhshidids. In 969 the Ismaili Shi'a Fatimid dynasty from Tunisia conquered Egypt and established its capital at Cairo. This dynasty lasted until 1174, when Egypt came under the rule of Saladin, whose dynasty, the Ayyubids, lasted until 1252. The Ayyubites were overthrown by their Turkish bodyguards, known as the Mamluks, who ruled under the suzerainty of Abbasid Caliphs until 1517, when Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire.
Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. Egypt was always a difficult province for the Ottoman Sultans to control. It remained dominated by the semi-autonomous Mameluks until it was conquered by the French in 1798. After the French were expelled it was ruled by the Albanian Muhammad Ali of Egypt and his descendants who pulled Egypt even further out of Ottoman control. This lasted until 1882 when the British invaded and Egypt became a de facto protectorate of Britain.
The history of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali Pasha dynasty was a period of rapid reform and modernization that led to Egypt becoming one of the most developed states outside of Europe. It also led to massive government expenditures, that ended up bankrupting Egypt and eventually led to it falling under control of the United Kingdom.
The History of modern Egypt conventionally begins from 1882 when Egypt became part of the British sphere of influence in the region, a situation that conflicted with Egypt's position as part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, the country became a British protectorate and achieved independence in 1922. British troops, however, remained in the country until 1936 after the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, and finally with the declaration of a republic in 1952. Gamal Abdel Nasser's resultant one party state has seen many changes but has remained in place, firstly under Anwar Sadat, and until the present day government headed by Hosni Mubarak.
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