Egypt is a country in North Africa. The Sinai Peninsula is part of Egypt, but forms a land bridge to Asia. Covering an area of about 1,001,450 km², Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south and the Gaza Strip, and Israel to the east. The northern coast borders the Mediterranean Sea, the eastern coast the Red Sea. Egypt is one of the most densely populated areas in Africa. The majority of its 80,300,000 residents (2007 estimate from the US State Department) live near the banks of the Nile, where the only arable land is found, – on an area amounting to approx. 40,000 km² (for comparison: Denmark’s area is 43,094 km²) The large areas in the Sahara desert are sparsely populated. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with the majority living in the densely populated centers, Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
The country consists of four major geographical regions, the Nile Valley and the Delta, the Arabian Desert, the Libyan Desert and the Sinai Desert.
According to franciscogardening.com, Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and has some of the world’s most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex. The southern city of Luxor houses many ancient art treasures, such as the Karnak Temple and the Tomb of the Kings. Egypt is an important political and cultural nation in the Middle East.
The Egyptian population is ethnically strong. The majority are of Semitic Hamitic descent. The second largest group are the Bedouins, who have a tribal organization, are practicing nomadic peoples, and live in the desert in the eastern part of the country. The third largest group is the Nubians. An African people who have lived around the Upper Nile for millennia. There are also ethnic traces of the conquerors who have passed through the country for millennia: Romans, Greeks, Turks and most recently Englishmen and Frenchmen. A Berber minority lives especially around the oases. A Coptic minority does not differ racially from the rest, but differs by their Christian religion. In addition, smaller groups have immigrated from Armenia and other countries, and currently 2 million undocumented refugees from South Sudan.
The highest point of the country, Mount Katharina (or Mount Sinai) 2,642 meters above sea level is located in the southern part of the Sinai Desert.
57,992 BCE – Tools and other archaeological finds show that humans have lived in the Nile Valley for more than 60,000 years.
5200 BCE – Under the desert sands of 80 km from Cairo, a team of Dutch American scientists has excavated the ruins of the oldest farming community in Egypt. The find includes i.a. fireplaces as well as several arrowheads, pots, animal bones and charred grain. (Ill. Vid. 12/2008)
5000 – 3100 BCE – The pre-dynastic period in Egypt. Several cultures arise in the Nile Valley.
4200 BCE – The Egyptians invent a calendar in which the year consists of 12 months and 365 days.
4000 BCE – Egypt’s history begins with small urban communities each having a chief. Trade with the surrounding countries begins and metals and stones become important status symbols between the urban communities that are fighting many wars among themselves. In Upper Egypt (southern Egypt), Nekha became a kind of capital and in Lower Egypt the corresponding city was called Buto. Upper Egypt conquered the whole country and it was the beginning of the time of the pharaohs.
4000 FVT – Boats on the Nile use sails for the first time.
Archeology. A 5700-year-old (c. 3692 BC) skeleton of a cat was recently found in an Egyptian tomb. The animal had had two broken bones. Both were healed, suggesting it was a domestic cat, as a cat with broken bones cannot fend for itself in the wild. (Ill. Vid. 9/2008)
3500 BCE – Evidence of trade between the Egyptians and the Sumerians is found in Buto in the Nile Delta.
3100 – 3050 BCE – Late pre-dynasty period.
3150-3050 BCE – King Scorpio or Scorpion II is one of the first Egyptian kings we know of. He belongs to the pre-dynastic period, sometimes called “dynasty 0”. His reign is supposed to lie within this period. King Scorpio is known from a single piece of stone, a partially destroyed club head found in Nekhen in the same pit where Narmer’s famous club head and palette have also been found. There is no writing on the club head to suggest. The king is depicted once. He wears the white crown of Upper Egypt, and is in the process of performing a ritual act with a hoe. In front of his face is depicted a scorpion and a flower-like figure. It must be his name. Since one cannot read the scriptures, he is called “King Scorpio”. Scorpio’s club head shows that both the white crown, as a symbol of the rule of Upper Egypt, and the nine arches, as a symbol of Egypt’s enemies,
3100 BCE – Egypt is united under the first pharaohs. Hieroglyphics are evolving.
3100 BCE – Founded by Memphis. He is a problematic figure in the Egyptian royal line. There is no archaeological evidence that he existed. Some of the pharaohs of the first dynasty mention Narmer as the founder of the dynasty in their tomb inscriptions. There are those who believe that Menes is another name for Hor-Aha. Hor-Aha’s nebti name was Men. Therefore, it is likely that this is what Manethon calls Menes.
3050 – 2575 BCE – The first dynasties.
3050 BCE – Narmer was Pharaoh. He is the first known to be king of both Upper and Lower Egypt. He is usually considered the pre-dynastic period, but may also be the first king of the first dynasty. He is also considered to be the successor to King Scorpio or Ka. But it is also assumed that Narmer and the Scorpio King are one and the same person, as they have much in common, but there is still no evidence for this. The famous Narmer Palette, found in 1898 in Hierakonpolis, Narmer is seen showcasing the characteristics of both Upper and Lower Egypt, giving rise to belief in the theory that he united the two kingdoms in 3100 BC.
3000 years BCE – The candle was invented in Egypt.
2900 BCE – Testimony of trade between the Egyptians and the Phoenicians.
2772 BCE – The calendar year of 365 days is introduced in Egypt.
2650 – 2150 BCE – The Old Kingdom.
2630 – 2612 BCE – The era of the pyramids begins with Imhotep making his first stair pyramid, which the Egyptians believe was for the pharaoh Djoser.
2634 – 2125 BCE – The Ancient Kingdom of Egypt.
2650 BCE – A good period begins for Egypt. The country is divided into provinces and the pharaoh is the absolute ruler. It was also during this period that people really started building in stone.
2612 – 2589 BCE – Snafru (also called Snofru, Snefru, and Soris) built the pyramid at Meidum, and it was a stair pyramid, but the work was dropped because he wanted to make the first real pyramid without steps. The Meidum pyramid is the first of its kind, and with its 92 m in height and 638 733 m3 the 5th largest, with a nice margin to number 6. Snafru is first and foremost known as the largest of all pyramid builders, and the one who built the first real pyramid. Before the time of Snafrus, one pyramid had been built, the Step Pyramid of Djoser. In the intervening 30 years, two pharaohs had begun step pyramids, but none of them were completed. Sneferu built three pyramids, all three of which are among the 5 largest in Egypt.
2612 – 2589 BCE – Snafru built his second pyramid – the bent pyramid at Dashur.
2612 – 2589 BCE – Snafru built his third pyramid – the Red Pyramid at Dashur, There is much to suggest that Snafru is buried in this pyramid. This pyramid is surpassed in size only by the two largest pyramids at Giza, built by Snafrus son and grandson.
2589 – 2566 BCE – Keops (Khufu) builds the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Read more in detail about the pyramids, and also see more pictures of them here on the English Wikipedia.
2566 – 2558 FVT – Djedefre (Radjedef) builds a pyramid in Abu Rawash.
2558 – 2532 BCE – Khafre builds his pyramid in Giza. Many Egyptologists believe that Khafre was the one who built the Sphinx at the same time as the pyramids of Giza (2723 BC-2563 BCE), but there is no evidence of this, nor when it was built or by whom! A controversial “theory” is that the influence of water erosion on the sphinx is, according to several sources, vertical, also at the foot, which means that it is rain and not flooding that has caused the erosion. The problem is simply that it rained most frequently in the period 10,000 – 5,000 BCE, and that the rain last stopped approx. 5,000 – 3,000 BCE – that is, before the known Egyptian dynasties. However, it rains occasionally today, but with approx. 5 year intervals.
2532 – 2504 BCE – Menkaure (Mykerinos) built his pyramid at Giza.
2500 BCE – The Syrian coastal plain is conquered by the Egyptians.
2487 – 2477 BCE – Sahure builds its pyramid in Abu Sir.
2477 – 2467 BCE – Neferirkare Kakai builds his pyramid in Abu Sir.
2416 – 2392 BCE – Nyuserre Ini builds his sun temple in Abu Sir.
2400 BCE – Osiris (Egyptian Aser or Wsir) is one of the most famous deities of ancient Egypt. He is the brother of Seth, Nepthys and and his wife is named (Isis), and is the father of Horus. His name appears i.a. in the pyramid texts. He is a complex god who, like other fertility and vegetation gods, stands for death and resurrection. He was put in connection with the growth and regeneration of the grain, and possibly in connection with the grain cult, a kind of cake man has been baked, symbolizing Osiris. As the ruler of the underworld, he helped to judge the dead by weighing the heart. Osiris’ main cult centers were Abydos and Busiris.
2125 – 1975 BCE – 1st intermediate period.
2100 BCE – There was famine and chaos in the land. One king after another was tried but at no time was there control over the whole country. A family from Lower Egypt and a family from Thebes in Upper Egypt came to war over power that fell to Thebes’ advantage and the country was reunited.
2000 BCE – The country flourished again with Thebes as its capital, but a new family came to power and moved the capital to Memphis. The pharaoh Amenemhet took power and conquered large parts of Nubia together with his son Sesostris who later came to power when his father was killed in a coup. During this period, the pharaoh Sesostris III stands as a great king who i.a. conquered even more of Nubia and waged war in Palestine. The successor Amenemhet built a couple of pyramids at the Fajum oasis and after him came the first female ruler, namely Nofrusebeh.
2000 BCE – Astronomers in Egypt learn to predict the Nile’s annual floods.
1991 – 1962 BCE – Amenemhat I builds his pyramid in Lisht.
1975 – 1640 BCE – Middle Kingdom.
1971 – 1926 FVT – Senusret I builds the pyramid in Lisht. He built numerous shrines and temples during his reign in Egypt and Nubia
1897 – 1878 BCE – Senusret II builds its pyramid in el-Lahun.
1860 – 1814 BCE – Amenemhat III builds his pyramid in Hawara.
1810 BCE – A new period of decline came with changing kings who had less and less power.
1649 – 1540 BCE – Egypt is occupied by the Hyksos dynasty from Syria. The dynasty introduces horses and chariots in Egypt.
1630 – 1520 BCE – 2nd intermediate period.
o 1600 1600 BCE – the Hyksos people took power and it was a turbulent period that ended when Thebes attacked and displaced the Hyksos people. Thebes thus became the capital again and new temples were built. It was also during this period that the Valley of the Kings saw the light of day, here the dead pharaohs were buried. It was the pharaoh Ahmose who fought the Hyksos people and left a strongly united kingdom to his son Amenophis 1. His successor Thutmosis 1. was a great warrior and conquered much land for the kingdom. Thutmosis II became really famous only after his death, he left behind Queen Hatshepsut who took power after the man’s death. For 15 years she managed to hide from the people that she was a woman. As is well known, Hatshepsut had the insanely beautiful Temple of Death erected on the west bank of Thebes.
1550 – 1070 BCE – The New Kingdom of Egypt.
1504-1425 BCE – Egyptian expansion to the south and east under Tuthmosis II and 3rd and Queen Hatshepsut.
1500 years BCE – Egypt invents the sundial – the first timer.
1349 BCE – Pharaoh Akhenaton proposes the first idea of a single, almighty god and introduces religious reforms in Egypt. These, however, are overturned after his death.
1286 BCE – Egyptian expansion during Ramses II leads to a battle against the Hittites at Kadesh.
1272 BCE – Due to the Battle of Kadesh in 1286, an Egyptian-Hittite pact is introduced.
1250 BCE – Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt.
1075 – 715 BCE – 3rd intermediate period.
712 – 332 BCE – Late Egypt.
671 – 661 BCE – The Assyrians invade and occupy Egypt.
525 BCE – The Persians invade Egypt.
500 BCE – The ball frame, the world’s first “calculator” is used in Egypt.
343 – 332 BCE – Second Persian period.
332 BCE – 324 BCE – Greco-Roman period.
300 years BC – The University of Alexandria is founded. This library will later become the largest and most important in the world. During the period when Egypt was under first Greek and since Roman domination, Alexandria (Al-Iskandariyah) was one of the largest cultural centers in the classical world. Its famous library was the largest in the world until it burned during Caesar’s reign. It contained works by the greatest philosophers, scientists and writers of the time. When the Arabs conquered the country in the year 642, there was not much left of the greatness of the past. Like other peoples, the Egyptians adopted the Islamic faith and the Arabic language.
250 years BC – The medical school in Alexandria becomes the most important in the world. It is only here that it is permissible to dissect corpses in order to study the interior of man.
146 BCE – North Africa, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece are ruled by Rome.
1st century – Christianity comes to Egypt.
50 – Heron invents the first steam engine.
180 – The first books on alchemy are written, and Egyptian alchemists begin to mix different chemical substances to make gold.
328 – 634 – Byzantine Christian period.
616 – Persia conquers Egypt.
639 – The Arabs conquer Egypt from the Byzantine Empire, introducing both the Arabic language and Islam.
660 – The Arabs occupy Egypt.
867 – Turks take power in Egypt.
969 – Egypt is invaded by Shiite Fatimid Arabs who establish Cairo as their capital. Cairo will be an important trading center. This rule lasts until 1171, when Saladin conquers Egypt and merges it with Syria. In addition, Egypt is being converted to Sunni Islam.
1250 – The Mamluks, who originally came to Egypt as prisoners of war, revolt and gain power. Under their rule, Egypt becomes an important cultural, military and economic center.
1500 – 1882 – Ottoman rule.
1517 – Cairo is conquered by Sultan Selim I, who reduces Egypt to a province in the Ottoman Empire.
1798 – Ottoman rule lasts until a French expedition led by a young officer named Napoleon Bonaparte invades Egypt. The purpose is to block English access to India.
1798 – At the Battle of Abukir, the British destroy the French forces, which must leave the country in 1801. However, the short-lived occupation has a major impact on Egypt’s future as a result of contact with the West.
1860-70 – The Suez Canal (As-Sways Canal) was built jointly with the French.
1881-82 – An Anglo-French fleet lands English troops in Alexandria, occupying the country. The British administration integrated Egypt into the capitalist world economy. Agriculture was geared towards exports – especially through cotton production. Strong production growth and an economic recovery in the first decades of the 20th century, foreign investors and the small layer of large landowners made huge profits.
1914 – English occupation of the country is formally “legalized” when it becomes the English Protectorate. Opposition to British rule was at this time led by the Nationalist Party, dominated by radical intellectuals led by Mustafa Kemal and Muhammed Farid.
1922 – The Protectorate ends with Egypt becoming a monarchy under King Fuad. But it was of such a nature that it was in fact a continuation of the protectorate. A gradual participation of Egyptian capital in economic life was opened up.
1922 – November 4, in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the self-taught British archaeologist Howard Carter finds the stairs down to a burial chamber he is sure contains the child king Tutankhamun (the tomb ) Just over three weeks later, Carter and his employer Lord Carnavon break the seal. Their relief is enormous as they see gold and ivory. The grave robbers have not been there! The find turns out to contain by far the most well-preserved royal tomb in Egypt.
1937 – King Faud is succeeded by King Farouk, and the English troops withdraw from Egypt except the Suez area.
1940s – During World War II, Egypt was re-used as a British military base. After the war, the country was hit by an acute economic crisis. At the same time, there were strong anti-British sentiments among the population, the royal house was unational, the governments corrupt and in 1948 England contributed to the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine. Egypt and other Arab countries immediately attacked the new state, but were defeated. The defeat triggered popular demonstrations against the monarchy. In this tense social situation, a nationalist group was formed in the military under the name, The Free Officers. It was led by General Mohamed Naguib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser. On July 23, 1952, the group overthrew King Faruk and in June 53 proclaimed the formation of a republic. Three years later, Nasser became the country’s president.
1948 – After the war, nationalist sentiment grows, especially after the Arabs’ defeat of Israel.
1952 – An army takes command and forces King Farouk to resign.
1953 – The monarchy is abolished and Egypt becomes a republic with General Muhammad Naguib as the country’s first president.
1952 – Planning begins for the Great Aswan Dam just after the Egyptian Revolution, carried out by Egyptian officers led by Nasser.
1954 – Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser forces Naguib to resign and becomes president himself.
1956 – The West refuses to fund the desired Aswan Dam, Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal, after which England, France and Israel invade Egypt. The government responded by handing out weapons to the population. However, following pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations, they soon had to withdraw. Nasser’s reputation in the Arab world is growing to soaring heights.
1956 – Egypt concludes military cooperation with Syria.
1958 – A full union between the two countries is proclaimed – the United Arab Republic. However, Nasser’s plans for the Syrian part of the union were too radical for the relatively strong Syrian bourgeoisie, and the union therefore fell apart as early as 1961.
1960 – Construction of one of the world’s largest dams begins. There were 35,000 Egyptians and 5,000 Russians to build it over 10 years, using 43 million m³ of material (equivalent to the stone material for 17 large pyramids).
1962 – Egypt becomes militarily involved with Republicans in northern Yemen against Saudi-backed royalists. The forces were not withdrawn until after the catastrophic defeat of Israel in 1967.
1970 – July 21, the dam was inaugurated, but only in 1976 did the reservoir reach capacity, after having been under filling since 1964.
1970 – Nasser dies and is succeeded by his Vice President, Anwar Sadat.
1977 – November. Sadat takes a dramatic step towards peace with Israel by visiting Jerusalem and speaking in the Knesset (Israeli parliament). The final agreement was signed on March 26, 1979 in Washington. Following the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai, Egypt and Israel establish diplomatic relations – much to the chagrin of large parts of the Arab world.
1981 – Sadat is killed by Muslim fundamentalists. His successor, Hosni Mubarak, complies with the peace agreement, but strongly criticizes the lack of progress in the Palestinian problem. Egypt’s role as a mediator in the Middle East peace process gives the country a very great importance in the region. Egypt is shifting its economy from being state-led to being more market-oriented with liberalization and privatization.
2015 – In the autumn, a new huge museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, is completed. The world’s largest archeological museum, which is to collect all Egyptian finds from the time of the pharaohs, will be located close to the three pyramids of Giza. About 100,000 objects are exhibited in rooms that cover 32,000 square meters. According to the plans, it is expected to be able to receive up to 15,000 guests every day.