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6200 BCE - 2023

History of Egypt

The history of Egypt is marked by its rich and enduring legacy, which owes much to the fertile lands nourished by the Nile River and the achievements of its native inhabitants, as well as external influences. The mysteries of Egypt's ancient past began to unravel with the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, a milestone aided by the discovery of the Rosetta Stone.

Around 3150 BCE, the political consolidation of Upper and Lower Egypt brought forth the inception of ancient Egyptian civilization, under the rule of King Narmer during the First Dynasty. This period of predominantly native Egyptian rule persisted until the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century BCE.

In 332 BCE, Alexander the Great entered Egypt during his campaign to overthrow the Achaemenid Empire, establishing the short-lived Macedonian Empire. This era heralded the rise of the Hellenistic Ptolemaic Kingdom, founded in 305 BCE by Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander's former generals. The Ptolemies grappled with native uprisings and were embroiled in foreign and civil conflicts, leading to the kingdom's gradual decline and eventual incorporation into the Roman Empire, following the demise of Cleopatra.

Roman dominion over Egypt, which included the Byzantine period, spanned from 30 BCE to 641 CE, with a brief interlude of Sasanian Empire control from 619 to 629, known as Sasanian Egypt. After the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the region became part of various Caliphates and Muslim dynasties, including the 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, the Ottoman Empire, under Selim I, captured Cairo, integrating Egypt into their realm.

Egypt remained under Ottoman rule until 1805, except for a period of French occupation from 1798 to 1801. Starting in 1867, Egypt attained nominal autonomy as the Khedivate of Egypt, but British control was established in 1882 following the Anglo-Egyptian War. After World War I and the Egyptian revolution of 1919, the Kingdom of Egypt emerged, albeit with the United Kingdom retaining authority over foreign affairs, defense, and other key matters. This British occupation persisted until 1954, when the Anglo-Egyptian agreement led to a complete withdrawal of British forces from the Suez Canal.

In 1953, the modern Republic of Egypt was founded, and in 1956, with the full evacuation of British forces from the Suez Canal, President Gamal Abdel Nasser introduced numerous reforms and briefly formed the United Arab Republic with Syria. Nasser's leadership encompassed the Six-Day War and the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement. His successor, Anwar Sadat, who held office from 1970 to 1981, departed from Nasser's political and economic principles, reintroduced a multi-party system, and initiated the Infitah economic policy. Sadat led Egypt in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, reclaiming Egypt's Sinai Peninsula from Israeli occupation, eventually culminating in the Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

Recent Egyptian history has been defined by events following nearly three decades of Hosni Mubarak's presidency. The Egyptian revolution of 2011 led to Mubarak's removal from power and the election of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt's first democratically elected president. Subsequent unrest and disputes following the 2011 revolution resulted in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, Morsi's imprisonment, and the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as president in 2014.

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6200 BCE Jan 1 - 3150 BCE

Predynastic Egypt


Prehistoric and Predynastic Egypt, spanning from the earliest human settlement to around 3100 BCE, marks the transition to the Early Dynastic Period, initiated by the first Pharaoh, who is identified as Narmer by some Egyptologists and Hor-Aha by others, with Menes also being a possible name for one of these kings. The end of the Predynastic Egypt, traditionally dated from about 6200 BCE to 3000 BCE, aligns with the end of the Naqada III period. However, the exact end of this period is debated due to new archaeological findings suggesting a more gradual development, leading to the use of terms like "Protodynastic period," "Zero Dynasty," or "Dynasty 0".[1]

The Predynastic period is categorized into cultural eras, named after locations where specific types of Egyptian settlements were first found. This period, including the Protodynastic era, is characterized by gradual development, and the distinct "cultures" identified are not separate entities but rather conceptual divisions aiding the study of this era.

Most Predynastic archaeological discoveries are in Upper Egypt. This is because the Nile River's silt was more heavily deposited in the Delta region, burying many Delta sites long before modern times.[2]

3150 BCE - 332 BCE
Dynastic Egypt
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3150 BCE Jan 1 00:01 - 2686 BCE

Early Dynastic Period of Egypt

Thinis, Gerga, Qesm Madinat Ge

The Early Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt, following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt around 3150 BCE, includes the First and Second Dynasties, lasting until around 2686 BCE.[3] This period saw the capital move from Thinis to Memphis, the establishment of a god-king system, and the development of key aspects of Egyptian civilization such as art, architecture, and religion.[4]

Before 3600 BCE, Neolithic societies along the Nile focused on agriculture and animal domestication.[5] Rapid advancement in civilization soon followed,[6] with innovations in pottery, extensive use of copper, and adoption of architectural techniques like sun-dried bricks and the arch. This period also marked the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under King Narmer, symbolized by the double crown and depicted in mythology as the falcon-god Horus conquering Set.[7] This unification laid the foundation for divine kingship lasting three millennia.

Narmer, identified with Menes, is considered the first ruler of unified Egypt, with artifacts linking him to both Upper and Lower Egypt. His rule is recognized as foundational by First Dynasty kings.[8] Egyptian influence extended beyond its borders, with settlements and artifacts found in southern Canaan and lower Nubia, indicating Egyptian authority in these regions during the Early Dynastic Period.[9]

Funerary practices evolved, with the rich constructing mastabas, precursors to later pyramids. Political unification likely took centuries, with local districts forming trade networks and organizing agricultural labor on a larger scale. The period also saw the development of the Egyptian writing system, expanding from a few symbols to over 200 phonograms and ideograms.[10]

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2686 BCE Jan 1 - 2181 BCE

Old Kingdom of Egypt

Mit Rahinah, Badrshein, Egypt

The Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, spanning circa 2700–2200 BCE, is recognized as the "Age of the Pyramids" or the "Age of the Pyramid Builders." This era, particularly during the Fourth Dynasty, saw significant advancements in pyramid construction, led by notable kings such as Sneferu, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, who were responsible for the iconic pyramids at Giza.[11] This period marked Egypt's first peak of civilization and is the first of the three "Kingdom" periods, which include the Middle and New Kingdoms, highlighting the zeniths of civilization in the lower Nile Valley. [12]

The term "Old Kingdom," conceptualized in 1845 by German Egyptologist Baron von Bunsen,[13] initially described one of three "golden ages" of Egyptian history. The distinction between the Early Dynastic Period and the Old Kingdom was primarily based on architectural evolution and its societal and economic impacts. The Old Kingdom, typically defined as the era from the Third to the Sixth Dynasty (2686–2181 BCE), is known for its monumental architecture, with most historical information derived from these structures and their inscriptions. The Memphite Seventh and Eighth Dynasties are also included by Egyptologists as part of the Old Kingdom.

This period was characterized by strong internal security and prosperity but was followed by the First Intermediate Period,[14] a time of disunity and cultural decline. The concept of the Egyptian king as a living god,[15] wielding absolute power, emerged during the Old Kingdom. King Djoser, the first king of the Third Dynasty, moved the royal capital to Memphis, initiating a new era of stone architecture, evidenced by the construction of the step pyramid by his architect, Imhotep. The Old Kingdom is particularly renowned for the numerous pyramids built as royal tombs during this time.

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2181 BCE Jan 1 - 2055 BCE

First Intermediate Period of Egypt

Thebes, Al Qarnah, Al Qarna, E

The First Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt, spanning circa 2181–2055 BCE, is often described as a "dark period"[16] following the end of the Old Kingdom.[17] This era includes the Seventh (deemed spurious by some Egyptologists), Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and part of the Eleventh Dynasties. The concept of the First Intermediate Period was defined in 1926 by Egyptologists Georg Steindorff and Henri Frankfort.[18]

This period is marked by several factors leading to the decline of the Old Kingdom. The prolonged reign of Pepi II, the last major pharaoh of the 6th Dynasty, resulted in succession issues as he outlived many heirs.[19] The increasing power of provincial nomarchs, who became hereditary and independent from royal control,[20] further weakened central authority. Additionally, low Nile inundations possibly causing famines,[21] although the connection to state collapse is debated, were also a factor.

The Seventh and Eighth Dynasties are obscure, with little known about their rulers. Manetho's account of 70 kings ruling for 70 days during this time is likely exaggerated.[22] The Seventh Dynasty may have been an oligarchy of Sixth Dynasty officials,[23] and the Eighth Dynasty rulers claimed descent from the Sixth Dynasty.[24] Few artifacts from these periods have been found, including some attributed to Neferkare II of the Seventh Dynasty and a small pyramid built by King Ibi of the Eighth Dynasty.

The Ninth and Tenth Dynasties, based in Heracleopolis, are also not well-documented. Akhthoes, possibly the same as Wahkare Khety I, was the first king of the Ninth Dynasty, reputed as a cruel ruler and allegedly killed by a crocodile.[25] The power of these dynasties was significantly less than that of the Old Kingdom pharaohs.[26]

In the south, influential nomarchs in Siut maintained close ties with the Heracleopolitan kings and acted as a buffer between the north and south. Ankhtifi, a prominent southern warlord, claimed to have saved his people from famine, asserting his autonomy.

The period eventually saw the rise of the Theban line of kings, forming the Eleventh and Twelfth Dynasties. Intef, the nomarch of Thebes, organized Upper Egypt independently, setting the stage for his successors who eventually claimed kingship.[27] Intef II and Intef III expanded their territory, with Intef III advancing into Middle Egypt against the Heracleopolitan kings.[28] Mentuhotep II, of the Eleventh Dynasty, ultimately defeated the Heracleopolitan kings around 2033 BCE, leading Egypt into the Middle Kingdom and ending the First Intermediate Period.

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2055 BCE Jan 1 - 1650 BCE

Middle Kingdom of Egypt

Thebes, Al Qarnah, Al Qarna, E

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt, spanning from approximately 2040 to 1782 BCE, was a period of reunification following the First Intermediate Period's political division. This era began with the reign of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty, who is credited with reunifying Egypt after defeating the last rulers of the Tenth Dynasty. Mentuhotep II, considered the founder of the Middle Kingdom,[29] expanded Egyptian control into Nubia and the Sinai,[30] and revitalized the ruler cult. [31] His reign lasted 51 years, after which his son, Mentuhotep III, ascended the throne.[30]

Mentuhotep III, who reigned for twelve years, continued consolidating Theban rule over Egypt, building forts in the eastern Delta to secure the nation against Asian threats.[30] He also initiated the first expedition to Punt. [32] Mentuhotep IV followed but is notably absent from ancient Egyptian king lists,[33] leading to the theory of a power struggle with Amenemhet I, the first king of the Twelfth Dynasty. This period also featured internal conflict, as evidenced by inscriptions from Nehry, a contemporary official.[34]

Amenemhet I, ascending to power possibly through usurpation,[35] established a more feudal system in Egypt, built a new capital near modern-day el-Lisht,[36] and employed propaganda, including the Prophecy of Neferty, to solidify his rule.[37] He also initiated military reforms and appointed his son Senusret I as co-regent in his twentieth year,[38] a practice that continued throughout the Middle Kingdom.

Senusret I extended Egyptian influence into Nubia,[39] controlled the land of Kush,[40] and strengthened Egypt's position in the Near East.[41] His son, Senusret III, known as a warrior king, conducted campaigns in Nubia[42] and Palestine,[43] and reformed the administrative system to centralize power.[42]

The reign of Amenemhat III marked the peak of the Middle Kingdom's economic prosperity,[44] with significant mining operations in the Sinai [45] and continued the Faiyum land reclamation project.[46] However, the dynasty weakened towards its end, marked by the brief reign of Sobekneferu, Egypt's first attested female king.[47]

Following Sobekneferu's death, the Thirteenth Dynasty emerged, characterized by brief reigns and less central authority.[48] Neferhotep I was a significant ruler of this dynasty, maintaining control over Upper Egypt, Nubia, and the Delta.[49] However, the dynasty's power gradually waned, leading to the Second Intermediate Period and the rise of the Hyksos.[50] This period was marked by political stability, economic growth, military expansion, and cultural development, significantly impacting ancient Egyptian history.

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1650 BCE Jan 1 - 1550 BCE

Second Intermediate Period of Egypt

Abydos Egypt, Arabet Abeidos,

The Second Intermediate Period in ancient Egypt, dated from 1700 to 1550 BCE,[51] was a time of fragmentation and political turmoil, marked by the decline of central authority and the rise of different dynasties. This period saw the end of the Middle Kingdom with the death of Queen Sobekneferu around 1802 BCE and the emergence of the 13th to 17th Dynasties.[52] The 13th Dynasty, starting with King Sobekhotep I, struggled to maintain control over Egypt, facing rapid succession of rulers and eventually collapsing, leading to the rise of the 14th and 15th Dynasties.

The 14th Dynasty, concurrent with the late 13th Dynasty, was based in the Nile Delta and had a series of short-lived rulers, ending with the takeover by the Hyksos. The Hyksos, possibly migrants or invaders from Palestine, established the 15th Dynasty, ruling from Avaris and coexisting with the local 16th Dynasty in Thebes.[53] The Abydos Dynasty (c. 1640 to 1620 BCE)[54] may have been a short-lived local dynasty ruling over part of Upper Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period in Ancient Egypt and was contemporary with the 15th and 16th dynasties. The Abydos dynasty stayed rather small with rulership over just Abydos or Thinis.[54]

The 16th Dynasty, described differently by Africanus and Eusebius, faced continuous military pressure from the 15th Dynasty, leading to its eventual downfall around 1580 BCE.[55] The 17th Dynasty, formed by Thebans, initially maintained peace with the 15th Dynasty but eventually engaged in wars against the Hyksos, culminating in the reigns of Seqenenre and Kamose, who fought against the Hyksos.[56]

The end of the Second Intermediate Period was marked by the rise of the 18th Dynasty under Ahmose I, who expelled the Hyksos and unified Egypt, heralding the start of the prosperous New Kingdom.[57] This period is crucial in Egyptian history for its reflection of political instability, foreign influences, and the eventual reunification and strengthening of the Egyptian state.

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1550 BCE Jan 1 - 1075 BCE

New Kingdom of Egypt

Thebes, Al Qarnah, Al Qarna, E

The New Kingdom, also known as the Egyptian Empire, spanned from the 16th to the 11th century BCE, encompassing the Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties. It followed the Second Intermediate Period and preceded the Third Intermediate Period. This era, established between 1570 and 1544 BCE[58] through radiocarbon dating, was Egypt's most prosperous and powerful phase.[59]

The Eighteenth Dynasty featured renowned pharaohs like Ahmose I, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, and Tutankhamun. Ahmose I, considered the dynasty's founder, reunified Egypt and campaigned in the Levant.[60] His successors, Amenhotep I and Thutmose I, continued military campaigns in Nubia and the Levant, with Thutmose I being the first pharaoh to cross the Euphrates.[61]

Hatshepsut, Thutmose I's daughter, emerged as a powerful ruler, reinstating trade networks and commissioning significant architectural projects.[62] Thutmose III, known for his military prowess, expanded Egypt's empire extensively.[63] Amenhotep III, one of the wealthiest pharaohs, is notable for his architectural contributions.

One of the best-known eighteenth dynasty pharaohs is Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhenaten in honour of the Aten, a representation of the Egyptian god, Ra. By the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Egypt's status had changed radically. Aided by Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in international affairs, the Hittites had gradually extended their influence into the Levant to become a major power in international politics—a power that both Seti I and his son Ramesses II would confront during the nineteenth Dynasty. The dynasty concluded with rulers Ay and Horemheb, who rose from official ranks.[64]

The Nineteenth Dynasty of ancient Egypt was established by Vizier Ramesses I, appointed by the last ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Pharaoh Horemheb. Ramesses I's short reign served as a transitional period between Horemheb's rule and the era of more dominant pharaohs. His son, Seti I, and grandson, Ramesses II, were particularly instrumental in elevating Egypt to unprecedented levels of imperial strength and prosperity. This dynasty marked a significant phase in Egyptian history, characterized by strong leadership and expansionist policies.

The Twentieth Dynasty's most notable pharaoh, Ramesses III, faced invasions by the Sea Peoples and Libyans, managing to repel them but at great economic cost.[65] His reign ended with internal strife, setting the stage for the decline of the New Kingdom. The dynasty's end was marked by weak rulership, eventually leading to the rise of local powers like the High Priests of Amun and Smendes in Lower Egypt, signifying the onset of the Third Intermediate Period.

Third Intermediate Period of Egypt
Assyrian soldiers of Asurbanipal II besieging a city. ©Angus McBride
1075 BCE Jan 1 - 664 BCE

Third Intermediate Period of Egypt

Tanis, Egypt

The Third Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt, starting with the death of Ramesses XI in 1077 BCE, marked the end of the New Kingdom and preceded the Late Period. This era is characterized by political fragmentation and decline in international prestige.

During the 21st Dynasty, Egypt saw a split in power. Smendes I, ruling from Tanis, controlled Lower Egypt, while the High Priests of Amun in Thebes wielded significant influence over Middle and Upper Egypt.[66] Despite appearances, this division was less severe due to the intertwined family connections between priests and pharaohs.

The 22nd Dynasty, founded by Shoshenq I around 945 BCE, initially brought stability. However, after Osorkon II's reign, the country effectively split, with Shoshenq III controlling Lower Egypt and Takelot II and Osorkon III ruling Middle and Upper Egypt. Thebes experienced a civil war, resolved in favor of Osorkon B, leading to the establishment of the 23rd Dynasty. This period was marked by further fragmentation and the rise of local city-states.

The Nubian kingdom exploited Egypt's division. The 25th Dynasty, established by Piye around 732 BCE, saw Nubian rulers extending their control over Egypt. This dynasty is noted for its construction projects and the restoration of temples across the Nile Valley.[67] However, the increasing influence of Assyria over the region threatened Egypt's independence.

The Assyrian invasions between 670 and 663 BCE, due to Egypt's strategic importance and resources, especially timber for iron smelting, significantly weakened the country. Pharaohs Taharqa and Tantamani faced continuous conflict with Assyria, culminating in the sacking of Thebes and Memphis in 664 BCE, marking the end of Nubian rule over Egypt.[68]

The Third Intermediate Period concluded with the rise of the 26th Dynasty under Psamtik I in 664 BCE, following Assyria's withdrawal and the defeat of Tantamani. Psamtik I unified Egypt, establishing control over Thebes, and initiated the Late Period of ancient Egypt. His reign brought stability and independence from Assyrian influence, laying the groundwork for the subsequent developments in Egyptian history.

Late Period of Ancient Egypt
Imaginary 19th-century illustration of Cambyses II meeting Psamtik III. ©Jean-Adrien Guignet
664 BCE Jan 1 - 332 BCE

Late Period of Ancient Egypt

Sais, Basyoun, Egypt

The Late Period of ancient Egypt, spanning from 664 to 332 BCE, marked the final phase of native Egyptian rule and included Persian dominion over the region. This era began after the Third Intermediate Period and the rule of the Nubian 25th Dynasty, starting with the Saite Dynasty founded by Psamtik I under Neo-Assyrian influence.

The 26th Dynasty, also known as the Saite Dynasty, reigned from 672 to 525 BCE, focusing on reunification and expansion. Psamtik I initiated the unification around 656 BCE, itself a direct consequence of the Assyrian Sack of Thebes. Canal construction from the Nile to the Red Sea began. This period saw expanded Egyptian influence into the Near East and significant military expeditions, like those of Psamtik II into Nubia.[69] The Brooklyn Papyrus, a notable medical text from this time, reflects the era's advancements.[70] Art from this period often depicted animal cults, like the god Pataikos with animal features.[71]

The First Achaemenid Period (525–404 BCE) began with the Battle of Pelusium, which saw Egypt conquered by the expansive Achaemenid Empire under Cambyses, and Egypt become a satrapy. This dynasty included Persian emperors like Cambyses, Xerxes I, and Darius the Great, and witnessed revolts like that of Inaros II, supported by the Athenians. Persian satraps, such as Aryandes and Achaemenes, governed Egypt during this time.

The 28th to 30th Dynasties represented Egypt's last stretch of significant native rule. The 28th Dynasty, lasting from 404 to 398 BCE, featured a single king, Amyrtaeus. The 29th Dynasty (398–380 BCE) saw rulers like Hakor battling Persian invasions. The 30th Dynasty (380–343 BCE), influenced by the 26th Dynasty's art, ended with Nectanebo II's defeat, leading to the re-annexation by Persia.

The Second Achaemenid Period (343–332 BCE) marked the 31st Dynasty, with Persian emperors ruling as Pharaohs until Alexander the Great's conquest in 332 BCE. This transitioned Egypt into the Hellenistic period under the Ptolemaic Dynasty established by Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander's generals. The Late Period is significant for its cultural and political transitions, leading to the eventual integration of Egypt into the Hellenistic world.

332 BCE - 642
Greco-Roman Period
Alexander the Great's Conquest of Egypt
Alexander Mosaic ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
332 BCE Jun 1

Alexander the Great's Conquest of Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt

Alexander the Great, a name that resonates through history, marked a significant turning point in the ancient world with his conquest of Egypt in 332 BCE. His arrival in Egypt not only ended the Achaemenid Persian rule but also laid the foundation for the Hellenistic period, intertwining Greek and Egyptian cultures. This article delves into the historical context and impact of Alexander's conquest on Egypt, a pivotal moment in its rich history.

Prelude to Conquest

Before Alexander's arrival, Egypt was under the Persian Empire's control as part of the Achaemenid Dynasty's rule. The Persians, led by emperors such as Darius III, faced growing discontent and rebellion within Egypt. This unrest set the stage for a significant power shift.

Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia, embarked on his ambitious campaign against the Achaemenid Persian Empire, eyeing Egypt as a crucial conquest. His strategic military prowess and the weakened state of Persian control in Egypt facilitated a relatively unopposed entry into the country.

In 332 BCE, Alexander entered Egypt, and the country swiftly fell into his hands. The fall of Persian rule was marked by the surrender of the Persian satrap of Egypt, Mazaces. Alexander's approach, characterized by respect for Egyptian culture and religion, earned him the support of the Egyptian people.

Establishment of Alexandria

One of Alexander's significant contributions was founding the city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast. This city, named after him, became a center of Hellenistic culture and learning, symbolizing the fusion of Greek and Egyptian civilizations.

Alexander's conquest ushered in the Hellenistic Period in Egypt, marked by the spread of Greek culture, language, and political ideas. This era saw the blending of Greek and Egyptian traditions, profoundly influencing art, architecture, religion, and governance.

Although Alexander's reign in Egypt was brief, his legacy endured through the Ptolemaic Dynasty, established by his general Ptolemy I Soter. This dynasty, a blend of Greek and Egyptian influences, ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest in 30 BCE.

Ptolemaic Egypt
©Osprey Publishing
305 BCE Jan 1 - 30 BCE

Ptolemaic Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt

The Ptolemaic Kingdom, founded in 305 BCE by Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian general and companion of Alexander the Great, was an Ancient Greek state based in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. This dynasty, lasting until Cleopatra VII's death in 30 BCE, was the final and longest dynasty of ancient Egypt, marking a new era characterized by religious syncretism and the emergence of Greco-Egyptian culture.[72]

Following Alexander the Great's conquest of Achaemenid Persian-controlled Egypt in 332 BCE, his empire dissolved after his death in 323 BCE, leading to power struggles among his successors, the diadochi. Ptolemy secured Egypt and established Alexandria as its capital, which became a hub of Greek culture, learning, and trade.[73] The Ptolemaic Kingdom, after the Syrian Wars, expanded to include parts of Libya, Sinai, and Nubia.

To integrate with the native Egyptians, the Ptolemies adopted the title of pharaoh and portrayed themselves in Egyptian style on public monuments while maintaining their Hellenistic identity and customs.[74] The kingdom's governance involved a complex bureaucracy, primarily benefiting the Greek ruling class, with limited integration of native Egyptians, who retained control over local and religious matters.[74] The Ptolemies gradually embraced Egyptian customs, starting with Ptolemy II Philadelphus, including sibling marriage and participation in Egyptian religious practices, and supported the construction and restoration of temples.[75]

Ptolemaic Egypt, from the mid-3rd century BCE, emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful of Alexander's successor states, epitomizing Greek civilization.[74] However, from the mid-2nd century BCE, internal dynastic conflicts and external wars weakened the kingdom, making it increasingly dependent on the Roman Republic. Under Cleopatra VII, Egypt's entanglement in Roman civil wars led to its annexation as the last independent Hellenistic state. Roman Egypt then became a prosperous province, retaining Greek as the language of government and commerce until the Muslim conquest in 641 CE. Alexandria remained a significant Mediterranean city well into the late Middle Ages.[76]

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30 BCE Jan 1 - 641

Roman Egypt

Alexandria, Egypt

Roman Egypt, as a province of the Roman Empire from 30 BCE to 641 CE, was a vital region encompassing most of modern-day Egypt, excluding Sinai. It was a highly prosperous province, known for its grain production and advanced urban economy, making it the wealthiest Roman province outside Italy.[77] The population, estimated between 4 to 8 million,[78] was centered around Alexandria, the Roman Empire's largest port and second-largest city.[79]

The Roman military presence in Egypt initially included three legions, later reduced to two, supplemented by auxiliary forces.[80 ]Administratively, Egypt was divided into nomes, with each major town known as a metropolis, enjoying certain privileges.[80] The population was ethnically and culturally diverse, predominantly comprising peasant farmers speaking Egyptian. In contrast, the urban populations in metropolises were Greek-speaking and followed Hellenistic culture. Despite these divisions, there was significant social mobility, urbanization, and high literacy rates.[80] The Constitutio Antoniniana of 212 CE extended Roman citizenship to all free Egyptians.[80]

Roman Egypt was initially resilient, recovering from the Antonine Plague in the late 2nd century.[80] However, during the Crisis of the Third Century, it fell under the control of the Palmyrene Empire after Zenobia's invasion in 269 CE, only to be reclaimed by Emperor Aurelian and later contested by usurpers against Emperor Diocletian.[81] Diocletian's reign brought administrative and economic reforms, coinciding with the rise of Christianity, leading to the emergence of the Coptic language among Egyptian Christians.[80]

Under Diocletian, the southern frontier was moved to the First Cataract of the Nile at Syene (Aswan), marking a long-standing peaceful boundary.[81] The late Roman army, including limitanei and regular units like Scythians, maintained this frontier. Economic stability was bolstered by the introduction of the gold solidus coin by Constantine the Great.[81] The period also saw a shift towards private land ownership, with significant estates owned by Christian churches and small landholders.[81]

The First Plague Pandemic reached the Mediterranean through Roman Egypt with the Justinianic Plague in 541. Egypt's fate changed dramatically in the 7th century: conquered by the Sasanian Empire in 618, it briefly returned to Eastern Roman control in 628 before permanently becoming part of the Rashidun Caliphate following the Muslim conquest in 641. This transition marked the end of Roman rule in Egypt, ushering in a new era in the region's history.

639 - 1517
Medieval Egypt
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639 Jan 1 00:01 - 642

Arab Conquest of Egypt


The Muslim Conquest of Egypt, occurring between 639 and 646 CE, stands as a pivotal event in the extensive history of Egypt. This conquest not only marked the end of Roman/Byzantine rule in Egypt but also heralded the introduction of Islam and the Arabic language, significantly shaping the region's cultural and religious landscape. This essay delves into the historical context, key battles, and the lasting impacts of this momentous period.

Prior to the Muslim conquest, Egypt was under Byzantine control, serving as a critical province due to its strategic location and agricultural wealth. However, the Byzantine Empire was weakened by internal strife and external conflicts, notably with the Sassanian Empire, setting the stage for a new power to emerge.

The Muslim conquest began under the leadership of General Amr ibn al-As, sent by the Caliph Omar, the second caliph of the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate. The initial phase of the conquest was marked by significant battles, including the pivotal Battle of Heliopolis in 640 CE. The Byzantine forces, under the command of General Theodorus, were decisively defeated, paving the way for the Muslim forces to capture key cities like Alexandria.

Alexandria, a major center of commerce and culture, fell to the Muslims in 641 CE. Despite several attempts by the Byzantine Empire to regain control, including a major campaign in 645 CE, their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, leading to the complete Muslim control of Egypt by 646 CE.

The conquest led to profound changes in Egypt's religious and cultural identity. Islam gradually became the dominant religion, replacing Christianity, and Arabic emerged as the main language, influencing social and administrative structures. The introduction of Islamic architecture and art left a lasting imprint on Egypt's cultural heritage. Under Muslim rule, Egypt witnessed significant economic and administrative reforms. The jizya tax imposed on non-Muslims led to conversions to Islam, while the new rulers also initiated land reforms, improving the irrigation system and thus agriculture.

Umayyad & Abbasid Period in Egypt
Abbasid Revolution ©HistoryMaps
661 Jan 1 - 969

Umayyad & Abbasid Period in Egypt


The First Fitna, a major early Islamic civil war, led to significant changes in Egypt's governance. During this period, Caliph Ali appointed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr as Egypt's governor. However, Amr ibn al-As, supporting the Umayyads, defeated Ibn Abi Bakr in 658 and governed Egypt until his death in 664. Under the Umayyads, pro-Umayyad partisans like Maslama ibn Mukhallad al-Ansari continued to govern Egypt until the Second Fitna. During this conflict, the Kharijite-supported Zubayrid regime, unpopular among local Arabs, was established. Umayyad Caliph Marwan I invaded Egypt in 684, reinstating Umayyad control and appointing his son, Abd al-Aziz, as governor, who ruled effectively as a viceroy for 20 years.[82]

Under the Umayyads, governors like Abd al-Malik ibn Rifa'a al-Fahmi and Ayyub ibn Sharhabil, chosen from the local military elite (jund), implemented policies that increased pressure on the Copts and initiated Islamization.[83] This led to several Coptic revolts due to heightened taxation, the most notable being in 725. Arabic became the official government language in 706, contributing to the formation of Egyptian Arabic. The Umayyad period ended with further revolts in 739 and 750.

During the Abbasid period, Egypt experienced new taxations and further Coptic revolts. Caliph al-Mu'tasim's decision in 834 to centralize power and financial control led to significant changes, including the replacement of local Arab troops with Turkish soldiers. The 9th century saw the Muslim population surpassing the Coptic Christians, with Arabization and Islamization processes intensifying. The "Anarchy at Samarra" in the Abbasid heartland facilitated the rise of Alid revolutionary movements in Egypt.[84]

The Tulunid period began in 868 when Ahmad ibn Tulun was appointed as the governor, marking a shift towards Egypt's political independence. Despite internal power struggles, Ibn Tulun established a de facto independent rule, accumulating significant wealth and extending influence into the Levant. His successors, however, faced internal strife and external threats, leading to the Abbasid reconquest of Egypt in 905.[85]

Post-Tulunid Egypt saw continued conflicts and the rise of influential figures like the Turkish commander Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid. His death in 946 led to the peaceful succession of his son Unujur and the subsequent rule of Kafur. However, the Fatimid conquest in 969 ended this period, ushering in a new era of Egyptian history.[86]

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969 Feb 6 - Jul 9

Fatimid Conquest of Egypt

Fustat, Kom Ghorab, Old Cairo,

The Fatimid conquest of Egypt in 969 CE was a significant historical event where the Fatimid Caliphate, under General Jawhar, captured Egypt from the Ikhshidid dynasty. This conquest occurred against the backdrop of the weakened Abbasid Caliphate and internal crises within Egypt, including famine and leadership struggles following the death of Abu al-Misk Kafur in 968 CE. The Fatimids, having strengthened their rule in Ifriqiya (now Tunisia and eastern Algeria) since 909 CE, took advantage of the chaotic situation in Egypt. Amidst this instability, local Egyptian elites increasingly favored Fatimid rule to restore order.

The Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah organized a large expedition, led by Jawhar, which began on 6 February 969 CE. The expedition entered the Nile Delta in April, encountering minimal resistance from the Ikhshidid forces. Jawhar's assurance of safety and rights for Egyptians facilitated a peaceful surrender of the capital, Fustat, on 6 July 969 CE, marking the successful Fatimid takeover.

Jawhar governed Egypt as viceroy for four years, during which he quelled rebellions and initiated the construction of Cairo, a new capital. However, his military campaigns in Syria and against the Byzantines were unsuccessful, leading to the destruction of Fatimid armies and a Qarmatian invasion near Cairo. Caliph al-Mu'izz relocated to Egypt in 973 CE and established Cairo as the Fatimid Caliphate's seat, which lasted until its abolition by Saladin in 1171 CE.

Fatimid Egypt
Fatimid Egypt ©HistoryMaps
969 Jul 9 - 1171

Fatimid Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

The Fatimid Caliphate, an Isma'ili Shi'a dynasty, existed from the 10th to the 12th centuries CE. It was named after Fatima, daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and her husband, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Fatimids were recognized by various Isma'ili communities and other Muslim denominations.[87] Their rule extended from the western Mediterranean to the Red Sea, including North Africa, parts of the Maghreb, Sicily, the Levant, and the Hejaz.

The Fatimid state was established between 902 and 909 CE under Abu Abdallah's leadership. He conquered Aghlabid Ifriqiya, paving the way for the Caliphate.[88] Abdallah al-Mahdi Billah, recognized as the Imam, became the first Caliph in 909 CE.[89] Initially, al-Mahdiyya served as the capital, founded in 921 CE, then moved to al-Mansuriyya in 948 CE. Under al-Mu'izz's reign, Egypt was conquered in 969 CE, and Cairo was established as the new capital in 973 CE. Egypt became the cultural and religious heart of the empire, fostering a unique Arabic culture.[90]

The Fatimid Caliphate was known for its religious tolerance towards non-Shia Muslims, Jews, and Christians,[91] although it struggled to convert the Egyptian population to its beliefs.[92] During the reigns of al-'Aziz and al-Hakim, and particularly under al-Mustansir, the Caliphate saw the caliphs become less involved in state affairs, with viziers gaining more power.[93] The 1060s brought a civil war, fueled by political and ethnic divisions within the army, threatening the empire.[94]

Despite a brief revival under vizier Badr al-Jamali, the Fatimid Caliphate declined in the late 11th and 12th centuries,[95] further weakened by the Seljuk Turks in Syria and the Crusaders in the Levant.[94] In 1171 CE, Saladin abolished the Fatimid rule, establishing the Ayyubid dynasty and reintegrating Egypt into the Abbasid Caliphate's authority.[96]

Ayyubid Egypt
Ayyubid Egypt. ©HistoryMaps
1171 Jan 1 - 1341

Ayyubid Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

The Ayyubid dynasty, founded by Saladin in 1171 CE, marked a significant shift in the medieval Middle East. Saladin, a Sunni Muslim of Kurdish origin, initially served under Nur ad-Din of Syria and played a pivotal role in battles against the Crusaders in Fatimid Egypt. Upon Nur ad-Din's death, Saladin was declared the first Sultan of Egypt by the Abbasid Caliphate. His newly established sultanate rapidly expanded, encompassing much of the Levant, Hijaz, Yemen, parts of Nubia, Tarabulus, Cyrenaica, southern Anatolia, and northern Iraq.

Following Saladin's death in 1193 CE, his sons vied for control, but ultimately his brother al-Adil became sultan in 1200 CE. The dynasty remained in power through his descendants. In the 1230s, the Syrian emirs sought independence, leading to a divided Ayyubid realm until as-Salih Ayyub reunited most of Syria by 1247 CE. However, local Muslim dynasties expelled the Ayyubids from Yemen, Hijaz, and parts of Mesopotamia.

Despite a relatively brief reign, the Ayyubids transformed the region, particularly Egypt. They shifted it from a Shi'a to a Sunni dominant force, making it a political, military, economic, and cultural hub until the Ottoman conquest in 1517. The dynasty fostered economic prosperity and intellectual activity, building numerous madrasas to strengthen Sunni Islam. The Mamluk sultanate, which followed, maintained the Ayyubid principality of Hama until 1341, continuing the legacy of Ayyubid rule in the region for 267 years.

Mamluk Egypt
Mamluk Egypt ©HistoryMaps
1250 Jan 1 - 1517

Mamluk Egypt

Cairo, Egypt

The Mamluk Sultanate, ruling Egypt, the Levant, and the Hejaz from mid-13th to early 16th centuries CE, was a state governed by a military caste of Mamluks (freed slave soldiers) led by a sultan. Established in 1250 with the overthrow of the Ayyubid dynasty, the Sultanate was divided into two periods: the Turkic or Bahri (1250–1382) and the Circassian or Burji (1382–1517), named after the ethnicities of ruling Mamluks.

Initially, Mamluk rulers from the regiments of Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub (r. 1240–1249) seized power in 1250. They notably defeated the Mongols in 1260 under Sultan Qutuz and Baybars, checking their southward expansion. Under Baybars, Qalawun (r. 1279–1290), and al-Ashraf Khalil (r. 1290–1293), the Mamluks extended their domain, conquering Crusader states, expanding into Makuria, Cyrenaica, the Hejaz, and southern Anatolia. The Sultanate's apex was during al-Nasir Muhammad's reign (r. 1293–1341), followed by internal strife and power shifts to senior emirs.

Culturally, the Mamluks valued literature and astronomy, establishing private libraries as status symbols, with remnants indicating thousands of books.

The Burji period began with Emir Barquq's 1390 coup, marking a decline as Mamluk authority weakened due to invasions, rebellions, and natural disasters. Sultan Barsbay (1422–1438) attempted economic recovery, including monopolizing trade with Europe. The Burji dynasty faced political instability, marked by brief sultanates and conflicts, including battles against Timur Lenk and the conquest of Cyprus. Their political fragmentation hindered resistance against the Ottoman Empire, leading to Egypt's vassalization under Ottoman Sultan Selim I in 1517. The Ottomans retained the Mamluk class as rulers in Egypt, transitioning it into the Ottoman Empire's middle period, albeit under vassalage.

1517 - 1914
Ottoman Egypt
Early Ottoman Egypt
Ottoman Cairo ©Anonymous
1517 Jan 1 00:01 - 1707

Early Ottoman Egypt


In the early 16th century, after the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, Sultan Selim I appointed Yunus Pasha as the governor of Egypt, but he was soon replaced by Hayır Bey due to corruption issues.[97] This period marked a power struggle between the Ottoman representatives and the Mamluks, who retained significant influence. The Mamluks were incorporated into the administrative structure, holding key positions in the 12 sanjaks of Egypt. Under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the Greater Divan and Lesser Divan were established to assist the pasha, with representation from the army and religious authorities. Selim established six regiments for Egypt's protection, to which Suleiman added a seventh.[98]

The Ottoman administration frequently changed the Egyptian governor, often annually. One governor, Hain Ahmed Pasha, attempted to establish independence but was thwarted and executed.[98] In 1527, a land survey was conducted in Egypt, categorizing land into four types: the sultan's domain, fiefs, military maintenance land, and religious foundation lands. This survey was implemented in 1605.[98]

The 17th century in Egypt was characterized by military mutinies and conflicts, often due to attempts to curb extortion by the troops. In 1609, a significant conflict led to Kara Mehmed Pasha's triumphant entry into Cairo, followed by financial reforms.[98] During this time, local Mamluk beys gained dominance in the Egyptian administration, often holding military positions and challenging Ottoman-appointed governors.[99] The Egyptian army, with strong local ties, frequently influenced the appointment of governors and had substantial control over the administration.[100]

The century also saw the rise of two influential factions in Egypt: the Faqari, linked to the Ottoman cavalry, and the Qasimi, associated with native Egyptian troops. These factions, symbolized by their distinct colors and symbols, significantly influenced the governance and politics of Ottoman Egypt.[101]

Later Ottoman Egypt
Late Ottoman Egypt. ©Anonymous
1707 Jan 1 - 1798

Later Ottoman Egypt


In the 18th century, the Ottoman-appointed pashas in Egypt were overshadowed by the Mamluk beys, particularly through the offices of Shaykh al-Balad and Amir al-hajj. This shift in power is poorly documented due to the lack of detailed chronicles for this period.[102]

In 1707, a conflict between two Mamluk factions, the Qasimites and the Fiqarites, led by Shaykh al-Balad Qasim Iywaz, resulted in a prolonged battle outside Cairo. Qasim Iywaz's death led to his son Ismail becoming Shaykh al-Balad, who reconciled the factions during his 16-year tenure.[102] The "Great Sedition" of 1711-1714, a religious uprising against Sufi practices, caused significant upheaval until suppressed.[103] Ismail's assassination in 1724 triggered further power struggles, with leaders like Shirkas Bey and Dhu-'l-Fiqar succeeding and being assassinated in turn.[102]

By 1743, Othman Bey was displaced by Ibrahim and Ridwan Bey, who then jointly ruled Egypt, alternating key offices. They survived multiple coup attempts, leading to changes in leadership and the emergence of Ali Bey al-Kabir.[102] Ali Bey, initially known for defending a caravan, sought to avenge Ibrahim's death and became Sheikh al-Balad in 1760. His stringent rule caused dissent, leading to his temporary exile.[102]

In 1766, Ali Bey fled to Yemen but returned to Cairo in 1767, bolstering his position by appointing allies as beys. He attempted to centralize military power and declared Egypt independent in 1769, resisting Ottoman attempts to regain control.[102] Ali Bey expanded his influence across the Arabian Peninsula, but his reign faced challenges from within, particularly from his son-in-law, Abu-'l-Dhahab, who eventually aligned with the Ottoman Porte and marched on Cairo in 1772.[102]

Ali Bey's defeat and subsequent death in 1773 led to Egypt returning to Ottoman control under Abu-'l-Dhahab. After Abu-'l-Dhahab's death in 1775, power struggles continued, with Ismail Bey becoming Sheikh al-Balad but eventually being ousted by Ibrahim and Murad Bey, who established a joint rule. This period was marked by internal disputes and an Ottoman expedition in 1786 to reassert control over Egypt.

By 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt, Ibrahim Bey and Murad Bey were still in power, marking a period of continuous political turbulence and power shifts in 18th-century Egyptian history.[102]

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1798 Jan 1 - 1801

French Occupation of Egypt


The French expedition to Egypt, ostensibly to support the Ottoman Porte and suppress the Mamluks, was led by Napoleon Bonaparte. Bonaparte's proclamation in Alexandria emphasized equality, merit, and respect for Islam, contrasting with the Mamluks' supposed lack of these qualities. He promised open access to all Egyptians for administrative posts and suggested the overthrow of papal authority to demonstrate French adherence to Islam.[102]

However, the Egyptians were skeptical of French intentions. After the French victory at the Battle of Embabeh (Battle of the Pyramids), where Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey's forces were defeated, a municipal council was formed in Cairo including sheiks, Mamluks, and French members, mainly serving to enforce French decrees.[102]

French invincibility was questioned after their fleet's defeat at the Battle of the Nile and failure in Upper Egypt. Tensions escalated with the introduction of a house tax, leading to an insurrection in Cairo in October 1798. French General Dupuy was killed, but Bonaparte and General Kléber quickly suppressed the uprising. The French use of Al-Azhar Mosque as a stable caused deep offense.[102]

Bonaparte's Syrian expedition in 1799 temporarily weakened French control in Egypt. Upon his return, he defeated a joint attack by Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey, and later crushed a Turkish army at Aboukir. Bonaparte then left Egypt, appointing Kléber as his successor.[102] Kléber faced a precarious situation. After initial agreements for French evacuation were blocked by the British, Cairo experienced riots, which Kléber suppressed. He negotiated with Murad Bey, granting him control of Upper Egypt, but Kléber was assassinated in June 1800.[102]

General Jacques-Francois Menou succeeded Kléber, attempting to win Muslim favor but alienating Egyptians by declaring a French protectorate. In 1801, English and Turkish forces landed at Abu Qir, leading to French defeats. General Belliard surrendered Cairo in May, and Menou capitulated in Alexandria in August, ending French occupation.[102] The lasting legacy of the French occupation was the "Description de l'Egypte," a detailed study of Egypt by French scholars, which significantly contributed to the field of Egyptology.[102]

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1805 Jan 1 - 1953

Egypt under the Muhammad Ali


The Muhammad Ali dynasty, spanning from 1805 to 1953, marked a transformative era in Egyptian history, encompassing Ottoman Egypt, the British-occupied Khedivate, and the independent Sultanate and Kingdom of Egypt, culminating in the 1952 Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of Egypt. This period of Egyptian history under the Muhammad Ali dynasty was marked by significant modernization efforts, nationalization of resources, military conflicts, and increasing European influence, setting the stage for Egypt's eventual path towards independence. Muhammad Ali seized power amidst a three-way civil war between the Ottomans, Mamluks, and Albanian mercenaries. By 1805, he was recognized by the Ottoman Sultan as Egypt's ruler, marking his undisputed control.

Campaign Against the Saudis (Ottoman–Saudi War, 1811–1818)

Responding to Ottoman orders, Muhammad Ali waged war against the Wahhabis in Najd, who had captured Mecca. The campaign, initially led by his son Tusun and later by himself, successfully recaptured Meccan territories.

Reforms and Nationalization (1808-1823)

Muhammad Ali initiated significant reforms, including land nationalization, where he confiscated lands and offered inadequate pensions in return, becoming the primary landowner in Egypt. He also attempted to modernize the military, which led to a mutiny in Cairo.

Economic Developments

Under Muhammad Ali, Egypt's economy saw the fifth most productive cotton industry globally. The introduction of steam engines modernized Egyptian industrial manufacturing, despite the initial lack of coal deposits.

Invasion of Libya and Sudan (1820-1824)

Muhammad Ali expanded Egyptian control into eastern Libya and Sudan to secure trade routes and potential gold mines. This expansion was marked by military success and the founding of Khartoum.

Greek Campaign (1824–1828)

Invited by the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad Ali played a significant role in suppressing the Greek War of Independence, deploying his reformed army under his son Ibrahim's command.

War with the Sultan (Egyptian–Ottoman War, 1831–33)

A conflict emerged over Muhammad Ali's ambition to extend his control, leading to significant military victories in Lebanon, Syria, and Anatolia. However, European intervention halted further expansion.

Muhammad Ali's rule ended in 1841 with hereditary governance established in his family, although with restrictions emphasizing his vassal status to the Ottoman Empire. Despite losing significant power, his reforms and economic policies had lasting impacts on Egypt. After Muhammad Ali, Egypt was ruled by successive members of his dynasty, each grappling with internal and external challenges, including European intervention and administrative reforms.

British Occupation of Egypt (1882)

Growing discontent and nationalistic movements led to increased European intervention, culminating in the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 following military action against nationalist revolts.

Suez Canal
Opening of the Suez Canal, 1869 ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1859 Jan 1 - 1869

Suez Canal

Suez Canal, Egypt

Ancient canals connecting the Nile to the Red Sea were built for ease of travel. One such canal, likely constructed during the reigns of Senusret II or Ramesses II, was later incorporated into a more extensive canal under Necho II (610–595 BCE). The only fully operational ancient canal, however, was completed by Darius I (522–486 BCE).[104]

Napoleon Bonaparte, who became the French Emperor in 1804, initially considered constructing a canal to connect the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. However, this plan was abandoned due to the mistaken belief that such a canal would require costly and time-consuming locks.

In the 19th century, Ferdinand de Lesseps obtained a concession from Sa'id Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, in 1854 and 1856. This concession was for the creation of a company to construct and operate a canal open to all nations for 99 years after its opening. De Lesseps leveraged his friendly relationship with Sa'id, established during his time as a French diplomat in the 1830s.

De Lesseps then organized the International Commission for the Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez, comprising 13 experts from seven countries, to assess the feasibility and optimal route for the canal. The Commission, agreeing on Linant de Bellefonds' plans, delivered a detailed report in December 1856, leading to the establishment of the Suez Canal Company on 15 December 1858.[105]

Construction began near Port Said on 25 April 1859 and took approximately ten years. The project initially used forced labor (corvée) until 1864.[106] It's estimated that over 1.5 million people were involved in the construction, with tens of thousands succumbing to diseases like cholera.[107] The Suez Canal was officially opened under French control in November 1869, marking a significant advancement in maritime trade and navigation.

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1889 Jan 1 - 1952

History of Egypt under the British


British indirect rule in Egypt, from 1882 to 1952, was a period marked by significant political changes and nationalistic movements. This era began with the British military victory over the Egyptian Army at Tel el-Kebir in September 1882 and ended with the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, which transformed Egypt into a republic and led to the expulsion of British advisers.

Muhammad Ali's successors included his son Ibrahim (1848), grandson Abbas I (1848), Said (1854), and Isma'il (1863). Abbas I was cautious, while Said and Ismail were ambitious but financially imprudent. Their extensive development projects, like the Suez Canal completed in 1869, resulted in massive debts to European banks and heavy taxation, causing public discontent. Ismail's attempts to expand into Ethiopia were unsuccessful, leading to defeats at Gundet (1875) and Gura (1876).

By 1875, Egypt's financial crisis led Ismail to sell Egypt's 44% share in the Suez Canal to the British. This move, combined with escalating debts, resulted in British and French financial controllers exerting significant influence over the Egyptian government by 1878.[108]

Dissatisfaction with foreign intervention and local governance spurred nationalist movements, with prominent figures like Ahmad Urabi emerging by 1879. Urabi's nationalist government in 1882, committed to democratic reforms, provoked a military intervention by Britain and France. The British victory at Tel el-Kebir[109] led to the reinstatement of Tewfik Pasha and the establishment of a de facto British protectorate.[110]

In 1914, the British protectorate was formalized, replacing the Ottoman influence. During this period, incidents like the 1906 Dinshaway Incident fueled nationalist sentiments.[111] The 1919 revolution, ignited by the exile of nationalist leader Saad Zaghlul, led to the UK's unilateral declaration of Egyptian independence in 1922.[112]

A constitution was implemented in 1923, leading to the election of Saad Zaghlul as Prime Minister in 1924. The 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty attempted to stabilize the situation, but ongoing British influence and royal political interference led to continued unrest.

The 1952 Revolution, orchestrated by the Free Officers Movement, resulted in the abdication of King Farouk and the declaration of Egypt as a republic. British military presence continued until 1954, marking the end of nearly 72 years of British influence in Egypt.[113]

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1918 Nov 1 - 1919 Jul

1919 Egyptian Revolution


From the 1500s, Egypt, under nominal Ottoman control, gained considerable autonomy, especially after Muhammad Ali's rise to power (1803-1807), which greatly reduced Ottoman influence. Post the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War and British occupation, Egypt's Khedive remained the official ruler under the Ottoman Sultan, but real power was held by the British Consul-General.[114]

Muhammad Ali's reign saw significant industrialization and secularization in Egypt, including a literacy expansion among women, fostering a feminist movement that significantly contributed to the 1919 Revolution.[115] The Caucasus Campaign in World War I led Britain to declare martial law in Egypt and assume the war's burdens. On December 14, 1914, the British elevated Egypt from a Khedivate to a Sultanate, establishing a British protectorate and ending the legal fiction of Ottoman sovereignty.[114]

Before WWI, Egyptian nationalism was confined to the educated elite. The British attempt to create a Legislative Assembly for Egyptians was thwarted by the war. Discontent with Sultan Fuad I's rule grew due to his rejection of reforms and acceptance of the British protectorate.[116] Economic hardships, neglect of Islamic religious practices, and substantial requisitioning of Egyptian resources by the British for the war effort further fueled dissatisfaction.[116] The British government requisitioned an incredible amount of money from the Egyptian treasury to support war efforts to a total of 3.5 million pound sterling.[116]

British conscription of over 1.5 million Egyptians into the Labour Corps, often under harsh conditions, exacerbated the unrest. This, along with the extensive use of Egyptian resources and the influence of Allied promises like Wilson's "Fourteen Points", inspired expectations of self-governance.[117]

After WWI, a delegation led by Saad Zaghlul sought to end the British Protectorate and gain representation at the Paris Peace Conference, signaling a movement for full independence.[118] Zaghlul's Wafd Party, advocating for Egyptian and Sudanese independence, gained massive grassroots support.[119] The British, fearing unrest, arrested and exiled Zaghlul to Malta in March 1919, leading to widespread violent demonstrations.[120]

The Egyptian Expeditionary Force, the British army in the region, engaged in mass repression to restore order.[121] The initial response to the revolution was by the Egyptian police force in Cairo, although control was handed off to Major-General H. D. Watson and his military forces in the city within a few days.[121] By 25 July 1919, 800 Egyptians were dead, and 1,600 others were wounded.[122]

Despite Zaghlul's release in April 1919 and his return to Egypt, British suppression of demonstrations continued.[123] The Milner Commission, sent by the British government in December 1919, concluded in 1921 that the protectorate status was unsatisfactory.[124] The revolts forced London to later issue a unilateral declaration of Egyptian independence on 28 February 1922.[125]

Egypt's independence, proclaimed by Fuad I, was nominal, limited by British control over certain areas, and excluded Sudan.[[126] The Wafd Party's 1923 constitution and Zaghlul's return and election as Prime Minister in 1924 marked progress, but British influence remained.[116] The 1919 revolution, although not fully achieving its goals, was a pivotal step towards Egyptian self-determination, setting the stage for further developments, including the 1952 revolution.

Kingdom of Egypt
Plane over the pyramids during World War II Egypt. ©Anonymous
1922 Jan 1 - 1953

Kingdom of Egypt


In December 1921, British authorities in Cairo responded to nationalist demonstrations by deporting Saad Zaghlul and imposing martial law. Despite these tensions, the UK declared Egyptian independence on February 28, 1922, ending the protectorate and establishing the independent Kingdom of Egypt with Sarwat Pasha as prime minister. However, Britain maintained significant control over Egypt, including the Canal Zone, Sudan, external protection, and influence over police, army, railways, and communications.

King Fuad's reign was marked by struggles with the Wafd Party, a nationalist group opposing British influence, and the British, who aimed to retain control over the Suez Canal. Other significant political forces emerged during this period, such as the Communist Party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), the latter growing into a significant political and religious entity.

After King Fuad's death in 1936, his son Farouk ascended the throne. The 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, influenced by rising nationalism and the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, required the UK to withdraw troops from Egypt, except in the Suez Canal Zone, and allowed for their return in wartime. Despite these changes, corruption and perceived British puppetry marred King Farouk's reign, leading to further nationalist sentiment.

During World War II, Egypt served as a base for Allied operations. Post-war, Egypt's defeat in the Palestine War (1948-1949) and internal dissatisfaction led to the 1952 Egyptian Revolution by the Free Officers Movement. King Farouk abdicated in favor of his son, Fuad II, but the monarchy was abolished in 1953, establishing the Republic of Egypt. Sudan's status was resolved in 1953, leading to its independence in 1956.

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1952 Jul 23

Egyptian Revolution of 1952


The Egyptian Revolution of 1952,[127] also known as the 23 July Revolution or the 1952 coup d'état, marked a significant transformation in Egypt's political, economic, and societal landscape. Initiated on 23 July 1952 by the Free Officers Movement, led by Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser,[128] the revolution resulted in the overthrow of King Farouk. This event catalyzed revolutionary politics in the Arab world, influenced decolonization, and promoted Third World solidarity during the Cold War.

The Free Officers aimed to abolish the constitutional monarchy and aristocracy in Egypt and Sudan, end British occupation, establish a republic, and secure Sudan's independence.[129] The revolution espoused a nationalist and anti-imperialist agenda, focusing on Arab nationalism and non-alignment internationally.

Egypt faced challenges from Western powers, notably the UK (which had occupied Egypt since 1882) and France, both concerned about rising nationalism in their territories. The state of war with Israel also posed a challenge, with the Free Officers supporting the Palestinians.[130] These issues culminated in the 1956 Suez Crisis, where Egypt was invaded by the UK, France, and Israel. Despite enormous military losses, the war was seen as a political victory for Egypt, especially as it left the Suez Canal in uncontested Egyptian control for the first time since 1875, erasing what was seen as a mark of national humiliation. This strengthened the appeal of the revolution in other Arab countries.

The revolution led to significant agrarian reform and industrialization, sparking infrastructure development and urbanization.[131] By the 1960s, Arab socialism became dominant,[132] transitioning Egypt to a centrally planned economy. However, fears of counter-revolution, religious extremism, communist infiltration, and conflict with Israel led to severe political restrictions and a ban on a multi-party system.[133] These restrictions lasted until Anwar Sadat's presidency (beginning in 1970), who reversed many of the revolution's policies.

The revolution's early success inspired nationalist movements in other countries, like the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial rebellions in Algeria,[127] and influenced the overthrow of pro-Western monarchies and governments in the MENA region. Egypt commemorates the revolution annually on 23 July.

Republican Egypt
Nasser Era Egypt
Nasser returns to cheering crowds in Cairo after announcing the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1956 Jan 1 - 1970

Nasser Era Egypt


The period of Egyptian history under Gamal Abdel Nasser, from the 1952 Egyptian Revolution to his death in 1970, was marked by significant modernization and socialist reform, as well as strong pan-Arab nationalism and support for the developing world. Nasser, a key leader of the 1952 Revolution, became President of Egypt in 1956. His actions, especially nationalizing the Suez Canal Company in 1956 and Egypt's political success in the Suez Crisis, greatly enhanced his reputation in Egypt and the Arab World. However, his prestige was notably diminished by Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.

Nasser's era saw unprecedented improvements in living standards, with Egyptian citizens gaining unparalleled access to housing, education, employment, healthcare, and social welfare. The influence of the former aristocracy and Western governments in Egyptian affairs significantly declined during this period.[134] The national economy grew through agrarian reform, industrial modernization projects like the Helwan steel works and the Aswan High Dam, and the nationalization of major economic sectors, including the Suez Canal Company.[134] Egypt's economic peak under Nasser allowed for the provision of free education and healthcare, extending these benefits to citizens of other Arab and African nations through full scholarships and living allowances for higher education in Egypt. However, economic growth slowed in the late 1960s, impacted by the North Yemen Civil War, before recovering in the late 1970s.[135]

Culturally, Nasser's Egypt experienced a golden age, especially in theatre, film, poetry, television, radio, literature, fine arts, comedy, and music.[136] Egyptian artists, writers, and performers, such as singers Abdel Halim Hafez and Umm Kulthum, writer Naguib Mahfouz, and actors like Faten Hamama and Soad Hosny, gained fame. During this era, Egypt led the Arab World in these cultural fields, producing over 100 films annually, in stark contrast to the dozen or so films produced each year during Hosni Mubarak's presidency (1981–2011).[136]

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1956 Oct 29 - Nov 7

Suez Crisis

Gaza Strip

The Suez Crisis of 1956, also known as the Second Arab–Israeli War, the Tripartite Aggression, and the Sinai War, was a pivotal event in the Cold War era, sparked by geopolitical and colonial tensions. It began with the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser on July 26, 1956. This move was a significant assertion of Egyptian sovereignty, challenging the control previously held by British and French shareholders. The canal, having been a crucial maritime route since its opening in 1869, was of immense strategic and economic importance, especially for the shipment of oil post-World War II. By 1955, it was a major conduit for Europe's oil supply.

In response to Nasser's nationalization, Israel invaded Egypt on October 29, 1956, followed by a joint British-French military operation. These actions were aimed at regaining control of the canal and deposing Nasser. The conflict escalated quickly, with Egyptian forces blocking the canal by sinking ships. However, intense international pressure, especially from the United States and the Soviet Union, forced the invaders to withdraw. The crisis highlighted the declining global influence of Britain and France and marked a shift in the balance of power towards the United States and the Soviet Union.

Significantly, the Suez Crisis unfolded against a backdrop of rising anti-colonial sentiment and the struggle for Arab nationalism. Egypt's assertive foreign policy under Nasser, particularly his opposition to Western influence in the Middle East, played a crucial role in shaping the crisis. Additionally, the United States' attempts to establish a defense alliance in the Middle East, amidst fears of Soviet expansion, further complicated the geopolitical landscape. The Suez Crisis underscored the complexities of Cold War politics and the changing dynamics of international relations during this period.

The aftermath of the Suez Crisis was marked by several key developments. The United Nations established the UNEF Peacekeepers to police the Egyptian-Israeli border, signaling a new role for international peacekeeping in conflict resolution. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden's resignation and Canadian External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson's Nobel Peace Prize win were direct outcomes of the crisis. Furthermore, the episode may have influenced the Soviet Union's decision to invade Hungary.

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1967 Jun 5 - Jun 10

Six-Day War

Middle East

In May 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser moved his forces into the Sinai Peninsula, close to the Israeli border. Facing Arab nations' pressure and heightened expectations of Arab military strength, Nasser requested the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from Egypt's border with Israel in Sinai on 18 May 1967. Subsequently, Egypt blocked Israeli access to the Straits of Tiran, a move Israel considered an act of war. On 30 May, King Hussein of Jordan and Nasser signed a Jordanian-Egyptian defense pact.

Egypt initially planned an attack on Israel for 27 May but canceled it at the last moment. On 5 June, Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt, severely damaging Egyptian airfields and largely destroying their air force. This action led to Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Jordan and Syria, siding with Egypt, entered the war but faced Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. A ceasefire, mediated by the UN Security Council, was accepted by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria between 7 and 10 June.

The defeat in the 1967 War led Nasser to resign on 9 June, nominating Vice-President Zakaria Mohieddin as his successor. However, Nasser withdrew his resignation following widespread public demonstrations supporting him. Post-war, seven senior military officers, including Minister of War Shams Badran, were tried. Field-Marshal Abdel-Hakim Amer, the armed forces' Commander-in-Chief, was arrested and reportedly committed suicide in custody in August.

Anwar Sadat Egypt
President Sadat in 1978 ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1970 Jan 1 - 1981

Anwar Sadat Egypt


Anwar Sadat's presidency in Egypt, from 15 October 1970 until his assassination on 6 October 1981, marked a significant shift in Egyptian politics and foreign relations. After succeeding Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sadat diverged from Nasser's policies, notably through his Infitah policy, which altered Egypt's economic and political directions. He ended the strategic alliance with the Soviet Union, opting instead for a closer relationship with the United States. Sadat also initiated a peace process with Israel, leading to the return of Israeli-occupied Egyptian territory, and introduced a political system in Egypt that, while not fully democratic, allowed some level of multi-party participation. His tenure saw an increase in governmental corruption and a growing disparity between the rich and poor, trends that continued under his successor, Hosni Mubarak.[137]

On 6 October 1973, Sadat and Syria's Hafez al-Assad launched the October War against Israel to reclaim land lost in the 1967 Six Day War. The war, beginning on the Jewish Yom Kippur and during the Islamic month of Ramadan, initially saw Egyptian and Syrian advances in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. However, Israel's counteroffensive resulted in heavy losses for Egypt and Syria. The war concluded with Egypt regaining some territory in Sinai but also with Israeli gains on the west bank of the Suez Canal. Despite military setbacks, Sadat was credited with restoring Egyptian pride and demonstrating to Israel that the status quo was unsustainable.

The Egypt-Israel peace treaty, facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter and signed by Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, formally recognized Israel in exchange for the end of Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula and proposed autonomy for Palestinian territories. Arab leaders, led by Hafez al-Assad, condemned the treaty, leading to Egypt's suspension from the Arab League and regional isolation.[138] The treaty faced immense domestic opposition, particularly from Islamist groups. This opposition culminated in Sadat's assassination by Islamist members of the Egyptian military on the anniversary of the October War's commencement.

1971 Jan 1



Under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's economy was dominated by state control and a command economy structure, with limited scope for private investment. Critics by the 1970s labeled it a "Soviet-style system" characterized by inefficiency, excessive bureaucracy, and wastefulness.[141]

President Anwar Sadat, succeeding Nasser, sought to shift Egypt's focus from continuous conflict with Israel and the heavy allocation of resources to the military. He believed in capitalist economic policies to foster a significant private sector. Aligning with the United States and the West was seen as a pathway to prosperity and potentially democratic pluralism.[142] The Infitah, or "openness" policy, marked a significant ideological and political shift from Nasser's approach. It aimed to relax government control over the economy and encourage private investment. This policy created a wealthy upper class and a modest middle class but had limited impact on the average Egyptian, leading to widespread dissatisfaction. The removal of subsidies on basic foodstuffs in 1977 under Infitah triggered massive 'Bread Riots'. The policy has been criticized for resulting in rampant inflation, land speculation, and corruption.[137]

Economic liberalization during Sadat's tenure also saw a significant migration of Egyptians abroad for work. Between 1974 and 1985, over three million Egyptians moved to the Persian Gulf region. The remittances from these workers allowed their families back home to afford consumer goods like refrigerators and cars.[143]

In the realm of civil liberties, Sadat's policies included reinstating due process and legally banning torture. He dismantled much of Nasser's political machinery and prosecuted former officials for abuses during the Nasser era. While initially encouraging broader political participation, Sadat later retreated from these efforts. His final years were marked by increasing violence due to public discontent, sectarian tensions, and a return to repressive measures, including extrajudicial arrests.

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1973 Oct 6 - Oct 25

Yom Kippur War

Golan Heights

In 1971, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a friendship treaty with the Soviet Union, but by 1972, he had asked Soviet advisers to leave Egypt. The Soviets, engaged in détente with the United States, advised against Egyptian military action against Israel. Despite this, Sadat, seeking to regain the Sinai Peninsula and boost national morale after the 1967 war defeat, was inclined toward war with Israel, aiming for a victory to change the status quo.[139]

Before the 1973 war, Sadat launched a diplomatic campaign, gaining support from over a hundred countries, including most Arab League and Non-Aligned Movement members, and the Organization of African Unity. Syria agreed to join Egypt in the conflict.

During the war, Egyptian forces initially succeeded in crossing into the Sinai and advanced 15 km, within the range of their own air force. However, instead of consolidating their position, they pushed further into the desert, suffering heavy losses. This advance created a gap in their lines, which was exploited by an Israeli tank division led by Ariel Sharon, penetrating deep into Egyptian territory and reaching the city of Suez. Concurrently, the United States provided strategic airlift support and $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel. In response, OPEC oil ministers, led by Saudi Arabia, imposed an oil embargo against the U.S. A United Nations resolution, supported by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, eventually called for an end to hostilities and the start of peace talks. By 4 March 1974,[140] Israeli troops withdrew from the west side of the Suez Canal, and shortly after, the oil embargo against the U.S. was lifted.

Despite the military challenges and losses, the war was perceived as a victory in Egypt, largely due to the initial successes that restored national pride. This sentiment and the subsequent negotiations led to peace talks with Israel, ultimately resulting in Egypt regaining the entire Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a peace agreement.

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1978 Sep 1

Camp David Accords

Camp David, Catoctin Mountain

The Camp David Accords, a pivotal moment in the history of Egypt under President Anwar Sadat, were a series of agreements signed in September 1978 that laid the groundwork for peace between Egypt and Israel. The background to the Accords stemmed from decades of conflict and tension between Arab nations, including Egypt, and Israel, particularly following the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The negotiations were a significant departure from Egypt's previous policy of non-recognition and hostility towards Israel.

Key figures in these negotiations included Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who hosted the talks at the Camp David retreat. The negotiations took place from 5 to 17 September 1978.

The Camp David Accords comprised two frameworks: one for peace between Egypt and Israel and another for broader peace in the Middle East, including a proposal for Palestinian autonomy. The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, formalized in March 1979, led to Egypt's recognition of Israel and Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, which it had occupied since 1967.

The Accords had profound effects on Egypt and the region. For Egypt, it marked a major shift in foreign policy and a move towards peaceful coexistence with Israel. However, the agreement was met with widespread opposition in the Arab world, leading to Egypt's temporary suspension from the Arab League and strained relations with other Arab nations. Domestically, Sadat faced significant opposition, particularly from Islamist groups, culminating in his assassination in 1981.

For Sadat, the Camp David Accords were part of a broader strategy of moving Egypt away from Soviet influence and towards a closer relationship with the United States, a shift that included economic and political reforms within Egypt. The peace process, although controversial, was seen as a step towards stability and development in a region long plagued by conflict.

Hosni Mubarak Era Egypt
Hosni Mubarak ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1981 Jan 1 - 2011

Hosni Mubarak Era Egypt


Hosni Mubarak's presidency in Egypt, lasting from 1981 to 2011, was characterized by a period of stability, yet marked by autocratic governance and limited political freedoms. Mubarak ascended to power following the assassination of Anwar Sadat, and his rule was initially welcomed as a continuation of Sadat's policies, particularly the peace with Israel and alignment with the West.

Under Mubarak, Egypt maintained its peace treaty with Israel and continued its close relationship with the United States, receiving significant military and economic aid. Domestically, Mubarak's regime focused on economic liberalization and modernization, which led to growth in some sectors but also widened the gap between rich and poor. His economic policies favored privatization and foreign investment, but were often criticized for fostering corruption and benefiting an elite minority.

Mubarak's rule was also marked by a crackdown on dissent and restriction of political freedoms. His government was notorious for human rights abuses, including the suppression of Islamist groups, censorship, and police brutality. Mubarak consistently used emergency laws to extend his control, restricting political opposition and maintaining power through rigged elections.

The latter years of Mubarak's rule saw increased public dissatisfaction due to economic issues, unemployment, and the lack of political freedom. This culminated in the 2011 Arab Spring, a series of anti-government protests, which demanded his resignation. The protests, characterized by massive demonstrations across the country, eventually led to Mubarak's resignation in February 2011, ending his 30-year rule. His resignation marked a significant moment in Egypt's history, representing the public's rejection of autocratic rule and a desire for democratic reform. However, the post-Mubarak era has been fraught with challenges and continued political instability.

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2011 Jan 25 - Feb 11

2011 Egyptian Revolution


The Egyptian Crisis from 2011 to 2014 was a tumultuous period marked by political upheaval and social unrest. It began with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, part of the Arab Spring, where widespread protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule erupted. The primary grievances were police brutality, state corruption, economic issues, and lack of political freedom. These protests led to Mubarak's resignation in February 2011.

Following Mubarak's resignation, Egypt underwent a turbulent transition. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed control, leading to a period of military rule. This phase was characterized by continued protests, economic instability, and clashes between civilians and security forces. In June 2012, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president in Egypt's first democratic elections. However, his presidency was contentious, criticized for consolidating power and pursuing an Islamist agenda.

Morsi's constitutional declaration in November 2012, which granted him extensive powers, provoked widespread protests and political unrest. Opposition to Morsi's rule culminated in mass protests in June 2013, leading to a military coup on 3 July 2013, with Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removing Morsi from power.

Following the coup, a harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood ensued, with many leaders arrested or fleeing the country. The period saw a significant increase in human rights violations and political repression. A new constitution was adopted in January 2014, and Sisi was elected president in June 2014.

The Egyptian Crisis of 2011-2014 significantly impacted the country's political landscape, shifting from Mubarak's long-standing autocracy to a brief democratic interlude under Morsi, followed by a return to military-dominated governance under Sisi. The crisis revealed deep societal divisions and highlighted ongoing challenges in achieving political stability and democratic governance in Egypt.

El-Sisi Presidency
Field Marshal Sisi as Minister of Defense, 2013. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
2014 Jan 1

El-Sisi Presidency


Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's presidency in Egypt, beginning in 2014, has been characterized by a consolidation of power, a focus on economic development, and a strict approach to security and dissent. El-Sisi, a former military commander, came to power following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, amid political turmoil and public unrest.

Under el-Sisi, Egypt has seen significant infrastructure and economic development projects, including the expansion of the Suez Canal and the initiation of a new administrative capital. These projects are part of a broader effort to stimulate economic growth and attract foreign investment. However, economic reforms, including subsidy cuts and tax increases as part of an IMF loan agreement, have also led to increased living costs for many Egyptians.

El-Sisi's government has maintained a hardline stance on security, citing the need to combat terrorism and maintain stability. This has involved a significant military campaign in the Sinai Peninsula against Islamist militants and a general strengthening of the military's role in governance and the economy.

However, el-Sisi's tenure has been marked by criticism for human rights violations and suppression of dissent. The government has clamped down on freedom of expression, assembly, and the press, with numerous reports of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and crackdowns on civil society, activists, and opposition groups. This has led to international criticism from human rights organizations and some foreign governments.



Egypt's Geography explained in under 3 Minutes

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Egypt's Geographic Challenge

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Ancient Egypt 101

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Daily Life In Ancient Egypt

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Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians - Ancient Civilizations

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Every Egyptian God Explained

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Geopolitics of Egypt

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Amenemhat I

Amenemhat I

First king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom

Ahmose I

Ahmose I

Founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt




Thutmose III

Thutmose III

Sixth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty

Amenhotep III

Amenhotep III

Ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty



Fifth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt

Mentuhotep II

Mentuhotep II

First pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom

Senusret I

Senusret I

Second pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt



Founder of the First Dynasty

Ptolemy I Soter

Ptolemy I Soter

Founder of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt



Queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt



Founding pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Second president of Egypt



Egyptian chancellor to the Pharaoh Djoser

Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak

Fourth president of Egypt

Ramesses III

Ramesses III

Second Pharaoh of the Twentieth Dynasty in Ancient Egypt

Ramesses II

Ramesses II

Third ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty



Second Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty

Amenemhat III

Amenemhat III

Sixth king of the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom

Muhammad Ali of Egypt

Muhammad Ali of Egypt

Governor of Egypt



Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt

Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat

Third president of Egypt

Seti I

Seti I

Second pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt


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