Egypt Brief History

Egypt Brief History

According to ARISTMARKETING, Egypt’s history, one of the oldest in the world, has enchanted humans for thousands of years. Many have been fascinated by the mighty pyramids of Giza, the temples of Abu Simbel, Luxor and Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, etc. But Egypt has much more to offer than this. Here are large, mighty desert areas and the fertile Nile Valley, one of the world’s most densely populated areas. The historical heritage has affected the people of Egypt and still lives on today.

My tour of Egypt gave me the opportunity to visit all the classic sights, the oases deep in the Western Desert (Libyan Desert), a sailing on the Nile, the camel and cattle markets in Daraw and offered many exciting encounters with people. I visited Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Aswan, Elephantine Island and Abu Simbel, among others. This was a trip that exceeded all my expectations, by far.

Egypt’s older history in brief

Thousands of years ago, one of the world’s oldest civilizations arose on the mighty Nile when nomads and collectors formed settlements on its fertile shores. The need to regulate the Nile’s annual floods forced the peoples to cooperate, giving rise to the world’s first major centralized state. Around 3,000 BC, Upper and Lower Egypt were united and the kingdom came to be ruled by a king, Pharaoh, who was considered a divine guarantor of prosperity and peace.

For three millennia, Pharaonic Egypt flourished during periods called the Old Kingdom, c. 2700 – 2270 BC, the Middle Kingdom, c. 2040 – 1675 BC, and the New Kingdom, c. 1550 – 1087 BC. The memorials to these high-ranking cultures are many; the pyramids, the Sphinx of Giza and the mighty temples of Luxor, Karnak, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel and others.

During a period of internal division, Egypt was conquered by Hykos, an Asian people, around 1650 BC. Their reign lasted only for a short period of time and with the New Kingdom a new great flowering period began. Then Syria, Nubia (Sudan) and Palestine were conquered and the country developed into the first world power in history.

The final phase of the New Kingdom was marked by decay and Egypt ended up, first under Assyrian rule and then under Persian rule.

Some famous pharaohs (all years BC)

Old Kingdom Middle Kingdom New Kingdom

Djoser (266 – 2648)
Mentuhotep II, III, IV (2055 – 1985)
Thutmosis I, II, III (1504 – 1425)
Cheops (2589 – 2566)
Amenemhet I (1985 – 1955)
Hatschepsut (1473 – 1458)
Chefren (2558 – 2532)
Sesostris I (1965 – 1920)
Neferititi (1338 – 1336)
Mykerinos (2532 – 2503)
Amenemhet II (1922 – 1878)
Tutanchamun (1336 – 1327)
Teti (2345 – 2323)
Sesostris II, III (1880 – 1855)
Ramses I (1295 – 1294)
Ramses II (1279 – 1147)

Some important years in the history of Egypt (before Christ)

3,000 Upper and Lower Egypt are united into one kingdom

about 2,700 – 2,270 The Old Kingdom Exists

c: a 2 040 – 1 675 Exists the Central Kingdom

c: a 1 650

During the internal Egyptian division, an Asian people, the Hyksos, succeed in conquering Egypt

c: a 1 550 – 1 087

The New Kingdom Exists. During this period, Syria, Nubia (Sudan) and Palestine were conquered. Egypt developed into the first world power in history. At the end of the New Kingdom there was a decline and decay and Egypt ended up first under Assyrian and then for a couple of centuries under Persian rule


The time as a Persian province ended when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and proclaimed himself a pharaoh. He founded the city of Alexandria, which became the center of Hellenistic culture and education. After Alexander’s death, the country was taken over by the Macedonian Ptolemy, whose family ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when the Romans defeated Egypt’s navy and army.


The Romans defeated Egypt’s navy and army. As a result of the defeat, Queen Cleopatra committed suicide by being bitten by a poisonous snake. Egypt thus became a province of the Roman Empire

Some important years in the history of Egypt (after Christ)


Christianity came to Egypt when the Coptic Church was founded, probably this year. The Copts were persecuted by the Romans and, after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, came into conflict with the Byzantine Church


Due to the religious conflict with Constantinople and heavy tax pressure, the Egyptians only resisted easily when the Arab conquerors reached the country, which resulted in extensive Arab immigration and the Arabic language took over.


Egypt’s capital al-Qahira, meaning the Victorious, was founded during the Fatamid period

12th century

The Kurdish ruler Saladin ruled over Egypt, which at that time was the center of a larger empire. Saladin became a hero when he conquered Jerusalem from the Christian crusaders

1250 – 16th century, beginning

The country was ruled by the Mamluks, who were originally Turkish slaves, mamluk means slave, in Arab armies that were able to advance and build their own position of power. Baybars I, who played an important role when the Mamluks defeated an attacking Mongol army in 1260, is considered the founder of the Mamluk evening

1517 – 1914

Egypt was captured by the Turkish Sultan Selim I and then formally incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. From the end of the 18th century, however, Egypt remained largely independent


Napoleon’s three-year conquest of Egypt begins. At this time, the country was destitute after repeated malnutrition and starvation


Mohammad Ali, an Albanian officer in Turkish service, seized power and launched a modernization of the country


With the help of forced labor, the Suez Canal was completed and thus first gave France and then Great Britain a foothold in the country


The British’s widespread involvement in Egypt’s business led to a nationalist revolt among landowners, merchants and officers. The revolt was crushed during the year by a British invasion and then the country was occupied. The British invested in cotton cultivation for export to Britain and neglected domestic economic development and the beginning of industrialization. This was the reason why Egypt did not develop in a positive way

Egypt history, modern


The harsh rule of the British fueled nationalist sentiments, which resulted in the formation of two Egyptian political parties. Egyptians created their own delegation, the Wafd, to demand independence at the Versailles Peace Conference after the First World War. Wafd developed into a nationalist party for both Muslims and Copts under the slogan “The Crescent and the Cross”


The British imprisoned and deported leader Zaghlul Pasha and his associates, which led to popular uprisings with strikes and violence that claimed the lives of over eight hundred people.


Due to the fierce resistance of the Egyptians, the British gave up and declared Egypt independent, but retained responsibility for the country’s defense and protection of foreign interests in the country. Fuad I, the former sultan, became king and the new constitution provided for parliamentary elections


The first election gave Wafd its own majority in parliament, but the party was forced out of power following harsh demands from the British as a result of the assassination of the British commander of the Egyptian army.


The religiously inspired Muslim Brotherhood was founded


Young Egypt was created, a radical nationalist organization with fascist and Nazi sympathies


Through an agreement with the Egyptians, the British began to take home their troops but were allowed to maintain a force in the canal zone. However, the withdrawal was delayed by World War II

1939 – 1945

During World War II, Egypt was an important British base area The
war divided the Egyptians. Fuad’s son, King Faruq, was one of the Egyptians who sympathized with Germany and Italy. The Wafd party supported the British at the cost of their popular support as more and more Egyptians joined the militant right-wing organizations


Stood the important battle of el-Alamein

1948 – 1949

After the defeat of the Arab states in the war against the newly formed state of Israel, the underground group Free Officers was formed. The Egyptian monarchy was hard hit by power struggles, corruption and mismanagement at this time


Under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Free Officers carried out a bloodless coup and formed the Revolutionary Command Council. Their goal was to liberate Egypt from British domination and create a more just society


King Faruq was deposed and Egypt was proclaimed a republic. All parties were dissolved and the country became in practice a military dictatorship


The Muslim Brotherhood was banned


Nasser was elected president. His first land reform would give the people better living conditions and through the huge Aswan dam that would be built, more arable land and energy would be created for industrialization. Nasser’s foreign policy caused Egypt to collide with the Western powers and he began to buy weapons from the eastern states. Egypt was thus refused a loan for the Aswan project and therefore turned instead to the Soviet Union

When Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, it resulted in the so-called Suez War, when Israel, Britain and France invaded Egypt. Under pressure from the United States, the attackers withdrew, while Nasser triumphed. He had reached the goal of ending British and French control in Egypt but instead increased dependence on the Soviet Union

1960s, beginning

The Arab Socialist Union (ASU) was created, which became the only political party allowed. A second land reform was carried out and Nasser’s policies took away power and influence from the old upper class. The new, privileged class now came instead from the state and military bureaucracy.
With his active foreign policy, Nasser emerged as the leader of Arab nationalism and became a unifying force in the conflict with Israel. Nasser’s policies provoked an enormous response in the Arab world and also gave him prestige in the third world and the non-aligned movement, which Nasser co-founded. The pursuit of Arab unity, pan-Arabism, led to several attempts by the Union, including Syria and Libya, which failed.


The defeat against Israel in the Six Day War shook Nasser’s position and purges in the military were carried out, workers and students demanded Nasser’s resignation and a democratization of politics


President Nasser died and was succeeded by Anwar al-Sadat, also a member of the Free Officers. Initially Sadat was seen as a transitional solution as president but he proved to have strong political ambitions and paved the way for a permanent constitution that increased legal certainty
Aswan Dam was completed in


The initially successful October war against Israel strengthened Sadat’s position and helped him assert his own line, which differed from Nasser’s. For him, Egyptian nationalism came before Pan-Arabism. He wanted to solve Egypt’s difficult economic problems through a new policy called infitah, the open door policy, which was to encourage investment from the West and strengthen the private sector.


Riots and famines shook the country. More than 800 people were killed and thousands injured in a confrontation between police and protesters


Introduced a multi-party system in Egypt and politically the Egyptians begin to orient themselves towards the United States
Peace with Israel did not lead to the improved economy promised, so support for the Muslim opposition increased


A constitutional amendment was adopted stating that Islamic law, sharia, would form the basis of all legislation. Many laws were changed, but the reforms were not comprehensive enough for Sadat’s critics. The opposition grew, especially among students. Armed groups formed with demands for an Islamic state in
1981 Breaking ties with the Soviet Union The
regime arrested about 1,500 people, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood

In October, Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamist extremists from the Jihad group, who did not accept peace with Israel. Hosni Mubarak becomes Sadat’s successor and tried to choose a middle ground between Nasser’s and Sadat’s policies. Both the press and the political debate were initially given greater freedom and opposition figures were released from prisons


Five people were executed for the murder of Sadat. In Asyut, where Jihad had its foothold, an Islamic uprising broke out that was crushed


In the election, however, the five parties formed by Sadat alongside the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) were allowed Hosni Mubarak never allowed the political opposition to threaten his own position of power. After the assassination of Sadat, a state of emergency was introduced, which was regularly extended with reference to terrorist threats and the need for stability.


More than 2,000 Muslim fundamentalists were arrested ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan, which led to the growth of the underground armed opposition, including through the Islamic Group (Jama’a Islamiya). Terrorist attacks on security forces, foreign tourists and Christian Egyptians increased. The regime responded with harsh counterattacks. Homes were burned and schools closed in pursuit of terrorists. Thousands of people were arrested, tortured, tried in military courts, given inadequate trials or held without charge. The goal of the Islamists was to overthrow the regime, which they considered to be godless and pro-US, and to establish an Islamic state. Mubarak and several of his ministers were assassinated


About 50 people were killed and over 400 were injured in violence during the election campaign


About seventy people were killed in Luxor, many of them foreign tourists. The regime responded with mass arrests, death sentences and increased control of mosques, where armed groups often recruited


More than a hundred Islamists were brought before a military court. When the Islamic group declared that it had decided to lay down its arms and turn to political struggle, about 1,500 people had been killed in attacks and fighting in the 1990s. About 30,000 radical Islamists were imprisoned during the decade, but most were later released.

Several years of fighting terrorism had weakened democratic institutions, and during the year a law was passed giving the regime the opportunity to ban NGOs from operating. By then, several organizations had reported police interventions and torture against about 1,200 Christians in southern Egypt. Human rights activists, opposition politicians and intellectuals formed a committee, which demanded an end to the state of emergency, the release of political prisoners, free elections and free party formation. The committee eventually came to lead a growing protest movement. But the state of emergency was extended. In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested, but at least 15 independent Islamist candidates, who supported the banned fraternity, were voted into parliament. However, the election was a superior triumph for the ruling NDP party and Mubarak was re-elected for a fourth term. The new government consisted of both reform politicians and traditionalists. Atef Obeid was elected Prime Minister.

Egypt Brief History

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