Egypt History

By | January 9, 2023

Egypt – national flag

Egypt National Flag

The flag was raised in its current form for the first time in 1984. The red, white and black stripes originate from the so-called Arab Liberation Flag from 1952, when the kingdom was abolished. The emblem in the middle is the national symbol Saladin’s eagle, which in 1984 replaced the golden hawk from 1972. In 1958-72, there were two green stars in the middle of the flag, symbolizing the association with Syria. The three colors stand for revolution, for the glorious future of the country and for the darkness of the past.

  • Countryaah: What does the flag of Egypt look like? Follow this link, then you will see the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.

Egypt – history

Egypt during the Caliphate (640-969)

According to a2zgov, Egypt was conquered around 640 by a small Muslim army from Syria and Palestine under the command of Amr ibn al-As. After the conquest, al-Fustat, now part of Cairo, became the center of the caliphate’s administration of Egypt. Through the 700’s and 800’s. a number of Arabs settled in the country, and from the beginning of the 700-t. the local upper class began to convert to Islam, and Arabic became the administrative language.

Until the middle of the 800-t. Egypt was ruled from the caliphate capital, first Medina, then Damascus and from 762 Baghdad, as one of many provinces in the geographically vast caliphate. This meant that a large part of the taxation in kind and cash was sent on to the capital, and only a small part was used in the country itself. But from 868, first the Tulunids and then other local dynasties secured growing independence from the caliph of Baghdad.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world, such as EGY which represents the official name of Egypt.

Fatimides, Ayyubids and Mamluks (969-1517)

The Shiite Fatimids conquered Egypt in 969, and after the victory they had a new city of residence built, named al-Qahira ‘the victor’, hence the name Cairo. The new city was completed in 973, and the ruler of the Fatimids was then able to move his court to Cairo from Tunisia. The city of residence was built outside the then al-Fustat, and adjacent to it, the al-Azhar Mosque was erected. It was to be the center of training for Shiite propagandists who could spread to the rest of the Islamic world the claim of the Fatimids to be the true descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. The Fatimids, on the other hand, never attempted to turn Egypt’s Sunni Muslim population into Shia.

Under the Fatimids, who maintained control of Egypt until 1171, Egypt experienced great economic prosperity. The Fatimids undertook to expand and maintain the many irrigation canals that ensured the farmers the opportunity to irrigate their fields and thus increase the annual harvest yield. The new dynasty also succeeded in making Egypt the center of much of trade between Europe and Asia. In addition, the Fatimids had control over other geographical areas, including large parts of North Africa, Syria, Palestine and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

The last Fatimid ruler was removed from power in 1169 by Saladin al-Ayyubi, an ethnic Kurd. With him, the Ayyubids secured control of Egypt, and al-Azhar was transformed into a Sunni Muslim university. It has since been one of the most significant centers of learning in the Sunni Islamic world.

In 1250, the Mamluks seized power in Egypt, and despite internal unrest and frequent internal struggles, they maintained power until 1517. Economically, Mamluk-era Egypt rested on the same foundation as under the Fatimids. Egyptian agriculture was very productive, and even under the Mamluks, the country remained an important intermediary in trade between Asia and Europe. Egypt therefore experienced a period of cultural flourishing during the Fatimids, Ayyubids and Mamluks.

Ottoman and European dominance (1517-1882)

In 1517, the Mamluks had to capitulate to the Ottoman Sultan Selim 1. They maintained their position in Egyptian society, but were incorporated into the Ottoman administration of Egypt, and the country was reduced to a province in the Ottoman Empire. However, it was not long before the local Mamluks had limited the real power of the Ottoman governor. However, the economic and cultural boom so far ceased in part, and after 1500, trade between Asia and Europe no longer went via the Red Sea and Egypt, but south of Africa.

Egypt was occupied in 1798 by a French army under Napoleon 1. With the landing of Egypt and a subsequent attack on Palestine, the French wanted to oppose Britain. The French army was forced to leave Egypt again in 1801, and in 1805 Muhammad Ali was appointed new governor by the Ottoman sultan.

Following the European model, he established a new army in the 1820’s, manned mainly by forced Egyptians and trained by European officers. At the same time, Muhammad Ali reorganized the administration of Egypt and invested large sums in the expansion of Egyptian agriculture. Most of Egypt’s land was placed directly under the state, and a number of industries were created, primarily tasked with equipping the new army. The army proved its strength several times and on several occasions provided decisive assistance to the Ottoman sultan. Muhammad Ali’s policy of modernization was continued by several of his successors. Egyptian agriculture became in the early 1800-t. completely changed. The peasants now had to produce for a market that, in addition to Egypt itself, included Europe. The cultivated area was greatly expanded, and when, after the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the British textile industry could no longer obtain cotton from the United States, Egyptian agriculture made its major breakthrough. The construction ofThe Suez Canal, inaugurated in 1869, further helped to link the Egyptian economy to Europe.

The violent modernization that Egypt went through through the 1800’s cost large sums, and the country became heavily indebted. By the mid-1870’s, debt had grown to nearly $ 100 million. pounds, and Britain and France forced the entry of two Europeans into the Egyptian government in 1878, in order to gain control of economic development.

The growing European influence provoked anger and unrest in the Egyptian people and led in 1881-82 to an uprising against the reigning viceroy (khediven), Tawfiq, who had been installed after European pressure in 1879, and against the growing foreign presence in the country.. Tawfiq summoned military aid from France and Britain; in July 1882, the British navy bombed Alexandria, and an army landed in Suez defeated in September the rebel troops, led by Ahmad Urabi, at Tall al-Kabir. It was the beginning of a direct British presence in Egypt, which actually lasted until 1956.

British control of Egypt (1882-1922)

Egypt remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914, but after the British intervention in 1882, an administrative reorganization was initiated under the leadership of Evelyn Baring Cromer. It led as early as 1889 to allow Egyptian finances to show profits and thus satisfy foreign creditors’ expectation of repayment of the huge Egyptian foreign debt.

Heads of State
1805-48 Muhammad Ali
1848 Ibrahim
1848-54 Abbas 1.
1854-63 Said
1863-79 Ismail
1879-92 Tawfiq
1892-1914 Abbas 2. Hilmi
1914-17 Husayn Kamil
1917-22 Fuad 1.
1922-36 Fuad 1.
1936-52 Faruq 1.
1953-56 Muhammad Naguib
1956-70 Gamal Abd-al-Nasir Nasser
1970-81 Anwar al-Sadat
1981-2011 Husni al-Mubarak
2012-13 Mohamed Morsi
2013-14 Adly Mansour
2014- Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

The viceroy Tawfiq was succeeded in 1892 by his son Abbas II Hilmi, but he was deposed when the British declared war on the Ottoman sultanate in 1914 and subsequently made Egypt a British protectorate. The British had been facing increasing Egyptian demands for independence since the 1890’s, and a few days after the ceasefire in November 1918, a group of Egyptian nationalists led by Sad Zaghlul approached the British Representation in the country, demanding full political autonomy for Egypt. and on the right to send a delegation (wafd) to London. The request was denied and the British authorities arrested Zaghlul. The arrest sparked unrest that forced the British to release Zaghlul, who now had large sections of the population behind him as well as his newly formed Wafd party. In the following years, the British tried to reach an understanding with the Nationalists, but without success. In 1922, Britain declared Egypt independent, and in March, Sultan Fuad I was proclaimed king.

From Kingdom to Republic (1922-52)

Egyptian politics was 1922-52 marked by three warring factions: the court, the nationalists (Wafd) and the British, who demanded that their strategic military interests be taken into account.

Despite the fact that the constitutional Egyptian monarchy was equipped with a parliament elected by the Egyptian people, the king had extensive powers in the constitution, and although Wafd won all elections in the 1920’s and 1930’s, it was rare for the party to succeed. to secure direct political influence.

Egypt and Britain entered into the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement in 1936, which ensured continued British military presence along the Suez Canal, but otherwise limited British intervention in the country. That same year, Fuad I was succeeded by his son Faruq I, and in 1937 Egypt became a member of the League of Nations.

At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Egypt complied with the obligations enshrined in the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement of 1936. But the Egyptians were strongly critical of Britain, and many of them were convinced that Britain would suffer defeat.

The years between 1945 and 1952 were marked by political polarization. Wafd remained the largest party, but was unable to make itself visible. Other political parties were willing to cooperate with the king, who for his part had to constantly take into account the continued British presence in the country.

Together with other Arab states, Egypt declared war on Israel in May 1948. The result was a humiliating Arab military defeat that further exacerbated the chaotic political situation. Faruq I responded again with arrests of the opposition, which helped hasten the military coup in July 1952, which meant that Faruq I had to go into exile.

The First Time of the Republic (1952-56)

In 1953, Egypt was transformed into a republic with Muhammad Naguib as the country’s first president. Naguib was a member of the so-called Free Officers, which aimed to create a politically independent and militarily strong Egypt. The group did not have an overall political program, but the officers nevertheless immediately implemented a land reform that set an upper limit on how much land a single landowner could own; the reform gave them great political support among the country’s many peasants and landless peasants.

Even before the coup in 1952, there were plans from Egypt for the construction of a large dam at Upper Egypt. Led by the United States, however, in 1956 the Western countries withdrew the commitment of financial support due to a coincidence of circumstances that placed the Free Officers as opponents of the West. Egypt had repeatedly tried to buy weapons in the West after the defeat of Israel in 1948, but had been rejected each time. In the autumn of 1955, the Soviet Union enabled Egypt to buy arms in Czechoslovakia, prompting the West to perceive Egypt as a Soviet ally. The assumption was also reinforced by Egypt’s resistance to security cooperation, which was being established between the United Kingdom, supported by the United States, on the one hand, and a number of states in the Middle East, including Turkey, Iran and Iraq, on the other. The efforts led in 1955 to the establishment of the Baghdad Pact, which in Egyptian view was a capitulation to the West.

Nasser’s Era (1956-70)

In 1956, Naguib was replaced by another officer, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who on July 26 nationalized the predominantly British- and French-owned Suez Canal Company. This was done with reference to the fact that the country needed the currency that international shipping paid for the use of the canal for the construction of the Aswan dam. As a result, Britain and France reached a mutual agreement with Israel, which felt pressured by the growing number of attacks targeting Israel from the Gaza Strip, which Egypt had gained control of in 1949. The conflict, the Suez Crisis, culminated in October 1956 with Israel attacking Egypt and occupying the entire Sinai Peninsula; The Second Arab-Israeli War was a reality.

Egypt managed to maintain nationalization after the war, and Nasser then emerged as the actual victor and thus as the new leader of the entire Arab world. During the following year, the Egyptian government further nationalized a number of French and British companies in the country.

After the coup in 1952, it became clear that the new military rulers prioritized the unification of the Arab world in the fight against Israel as one of their highest goals. This was especially true of the efforts to ensure that the Palestinians regained control of their own territory. In 1958, Egypt and Syria agreed to conclude a union between the two states, which were merged into the United Arab Republic, which later became North Yemen as an associate member. The union was effectively dissolved in the summer of 1961 because Syria stepped down.

In the spring of 1962, a National Assembly was elected, which adopted a national charter, in which the political and economic experiences from the years after the coup were gathered and laid the foundation for an Egyptian pan-Arab ideology, based on Arab socialism.

In the early 1960’s, Egypt was able to document significant economic progress, but two trends eroded the progress: large expenditures on the army and rapid population growth. From 1962 onwards, military spending was further burdened because Egypt became involved in the civil war in northern Yemen in 1962-67.

In 1967, Egypt, along with Israel’s Arab neighbors, suffered a scorching military defeat in the Third Arab-Israeli War, the Six Day War. The Sinai Peninsula was conquered by Israel and the Suez Canal closed to international shipping. Nasser offered to resign after the defeat, but large demonstrations against his resignation led him to resume the post of president of Egypt.

Egypt under Sadat (1970-81)

Nasser died in 1970 and was succeeded by Vice President Anwar al-Sadat. In 1971 he made up for his nasserist opponents, and in 1972 he expelled all present Soviet military technicians.

In October 1973, Sadat, along with Syria, sought to initiate a military showdown with Israel in the Fifth Arab-Israeli War, the October War, or the Yom Kippur War, and in 1974 launched a new economic policy, infitah, aimed at bringing back Egypt into Western economic cooperation. As a result, the Suez Canal was reopened for international shipping in 1975, after Egypt and Israel, with American help, reached an agreement on troop separation.

Sadat made it clear from the beginning of his reign that his interest was Egypt, and therefore Pan-Arab nationalism was abandoned. In 1977, he took the plunge and made a trip to Israel to convince Israeli and American leaders that he was ready for real peace talks. In March 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel, the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Agreement.

The peace agreement with Israel was heavily criticized by the rest of the Arab world, and Egypt was the subject of a joint Arab boycott, which led to the Arab League moving its headquarters from Cairo to Tunis. Domestically, the period after 1977 was marked by growing criticism of Sadat and his liberal economic policies, which failed to deliver on the promises of a better future with which the regime legitimized its policies towards the common people. After taking power in 1970, Sadat had supported various Islamic groups because they could help him limit the political influence of various Nazi groups, including at the country’s many educational institutions. Following the peace agreement with Israel, Islamic groups radicalized their criticism of Sadat.

Egypt under Mubarak

Sadat was succeeded by his Vice President Husni al-Mubarak, who maintained Sadat’s economic policy and rapprochement with the West, while at the same time trying to counteract the skewed and unequal social development that had resulted from infitah. In this way, he tried to counter the growing criticism from the country’s Islamist opposition to the close and extensive cooperation with the West. Mubarak succeeded in reaching a compromise between Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, and in 1989 Egypt was able to rejoin the Arab League, whose headquarters again moved to Cairo.

Egypt actively participated in the international alliance formed under the auspices of the United States when Iraq occupied Kuwait in 1990, and Egypt has since maintained its regained central position in regional policy. Egypt subsequently also negotiated loan agreements in place with the World Bank and the IMF, and for its support of the fight for Kuwait’s liberation, a very significant part of its foreign debt was forgiven. Throughout the 1990’s, the country experienced an escalation in the struggle between the regime on the one hand and the militant Islamist opposition on the other, culminating in a very violent terrorist attack in Luxor in 1997. But also many Egyptian intellectuals and not least the Coptic minority in the south part of the country was attacked by militant Islamists. After 1997, the terrorist attacks subsided,

Egypt’s renewed regional importance has also become clear since 2000 in the country’s efforts to help resume the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Egypt has backed the so-called roadmap for peace, launched jointly by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations in 2003. Egypt only provided indirect support for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, but has subsequently taken a constructive role in the effort. on normalizing the Arab world’s relations with the newly established political system in Iraq.

New political groupings have in recent years partially changed the political life of the country, and in the presidential election in 2005, several independent candidates were nominated. Frequent demonstrations forced the regime to reform electoral laws ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections and to liberalize who could stand for election. Independent candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 of the 444 seats in total. It is still the National Democratic Party that, as the president’s support party, dominates the parliament in the country, but the Muslim Brotherhood has in the last decade secured its influence, also in several of the national professional associations.

The showdown with President Mubarak

The dominance of the Mubarak clan and a growing nepotism, corruption and brutality towards the political opposition as well as greatly deteriorating living conditions for the majority of the population increased the dissatisfaction with the Mubarak regime. In the 2010 election, there was extensive electoral fraud, which essentially benefited the National Democratic Party. Dissatisfaction with this and especially the inspiration from the so-called Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia led to violent demonstrations with rallying point in Tahrir Squarein the capital Cairo, where young people in particular were the leaders. The demonstrations were from the beginning uncoordinated, but were several street demonstrations, disobedience campaigns and protests, where among the protesters there was only agreement on the demand for Mubarak’s departure. Already in January, the protests got their rallying point in the Egyptian exile politician El-Baradei, who returned home. Police and army security forces sought to quell the insurgency, and the government sought to eliminate electronic communications by shutting down the internet, mobile telephony and by banning the government -critical radio station al-Jazeera. This was without effect, and the demonstrators in Cairo gradually gained the attention of the world, not least by virtue of a large influx of press people from abroad.

Mubarak tried several times during the uprising to meet the protests, including by appointing a Vice President Suleiman, by replacing parts of the government and by giving several speeches to the people. At the same time, plainclothes security forces and other Mubarak supporters acted as provocateurs at the demonstrations. The role of the army in the fighting is still unclear, but the people of the military gradually showed increasing sympathy for the demonstrators. Abroad’s lack of support for the president and not least the army’s lack of loyalty caused President Mubarak to resign on 11 February, and power was handed over by Vice President Suleiman to a military council, which through a committee drafted a new constitution implying free and Democratic choice.

In the 2012 free elections, which were the first since the fall of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood won and Mohamed Morsi was elected president, the first democratically elected in Egypt’s history. Already in the same year, dissatisfaction with Morsi’s government arose. According to some of his opponents, he got the coup a new constitution through; the constitution was adopted in december with a support of approximately 64% of voters. The opposition, however, accuses the election of being fraudulent; moreover, the constitution is criticized for being too Islamist. Furthermore, Morsi had acquired additional powers. At the same time, the country continues to be plagued by unemployment and economic problems.

In June 2013, the unrest flared up, once again with mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and now the military was behind the criticism of Morsi’s regime. On July 3, the army ousted Morsi, and a new presidential election was to be held, and a committee to amend the constitution was set up. Adly Mansour, the head of the Constitutional Court, was installed as interim president. However, the unrest continued, with protests from Morsi supporters. The Egyptian army launched a brutal fight against Morsi’s followers, which led to hundreds of deaths and later to a large number of death sentences.

In January 2014, a new constitution was adopted and later that year, the head of Egypt’s armed forces, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was elected president after an overwhelming election victory. However, many voters, both Islamists and liberals, chose to boycott the election. In May 2015, Morsi was sentenced to death, leading to strong criticism from many of Egypt’s close collaborators.

Ancient Egypt – prehistory

The oldest archaeological remains from Egypt are approximately 700,000 year old tools found at Abu Simbel. The first traces of huts or tents are found in Arkin 8, which dates to the Late Lower Paleolithic (250,000-90,000 years ago). The people of the Lower and Middle Paleolithic apparently lived as collectors and hunters and held together in small mobile groups of egalitarian structure. In the Upper Paleolithic, modern man made his entrance. People lived as hunters and gatherers and possibly began to organize into larger associations or tribes. From around 13,000 BC. In some places at the Nile Valley, for example at Esna, the nutritional basis for e.g. also to include wild grains, and there are from that period traces of more permanent settlements. However, this development was apparently interrupted around 10,500 BC, when one returned to the earlier way of life until the beginning of the Neolithic.

The oldest Neolithic finds in Eastern Sahara originate from Nabta Playa and date to approximately 7000 BC In Egypt itself (ie, the Nile Valley, the Delta, and al-Fayyum), the first agricultural communities appear to have originated in the centuries around 5000 BC. The most important of these are named after the localities Merimda in the Delta, Badari in the Nile Valley and al-Fayyum. They were now familiar with pottery making and practiced both farming and animal husbandry, supplemented by hunting, fishing and gathering. The people lived in villages (Hammamiyya and Merimda), and they were presumably organized into tribes with an egalitarian social structure and leadership based on personal characteristics. Around 3800 BC. originated in the Nile Valley Naqqada tradition, which is divided into three phases: Naqqada I 3800-3650 BC, Naqqada II 3650-3300 BC. and Naqqada III 3300-3100 BC. The economy was still based on agriculture and animal husbandry, but during this period the development that led to the formation of the Pharaonic state took place. The period is therefore also called predynastic time.

During Naqqada II-III, a climate deterioration occurred in North Africa, forcing many to move into the river plain along the Nile. The increasing population placed new organizational demands and possibly conditioned a temporary scarcity of resources. The consequence was that during this period fundamental changes took place in the social and political structure. At cemeteries in In Qustul, Hierakonpolis, Naqqada and Abydos, finds have been made which testify to considerable discrimination against the dead, and motifs are found in the art that point forward towards the pharaonic king iconography. Trade also began with other parts of Africa and the Near East. For example, in Naqqada III there were contacts to Mesopotamia and Elam, from which goods were imported, but first and foremost motifs from the Mesopotamian and Elamite imaginary world. These motifs were adapted to Egyptian conditions and used in the power iconography of the elite. It is also likely that the scripture as an idea was imported from Mesopotamia at the end of this period. Thus, during the Naqqada II-III, a social elite with privileged access to leadership developed. At the same time, the population was apparently organized into small states and chiefdoms, around Hierakonpolis, Naqqada and Thinis in the Egyptian part of the Nile Valley, Maadi and Butho in the Delta region and perhaps Qustul in Nubia. The competition for control of resources resulted in armed conflicts between some of these political entities, and it seems that the ruling families of Hierakonpolis and Thinis around 3100 BC. in mutual understanding could claim to rule over a united Egypt. In practice, however, the Reichstag was far from achieved with this event, which was merely a preliminary culmination of a process of state formation and civilization that continued until the 4th dynasty with increasing focus on the monarchy and standardization of its forms of expression.

Ancient Egypt – History

This article covers the time from approximately 3000 BC to the Byzantine period, which began around 300 AD.

Perception of history

The Egyptians viewed the course of history as a particular series of events that were constantly repeated. The background for this view has probably been the eternal repetitions of nature, day and night, the phases of the moon, the annual flood of the Nile. In this constant cycle the king played a central role. He was responsible for maintaining the state and order that the creator god had originally established, both in the cosmos and on Earth. He did so by performing the cult in the temples, by exercising law and order in Egypt, and by defending the land against the enemies. Each king’s government was perceived as a repetition of the works of the creator god. All historical courses of action were presented in a very simplistic way in a certain scheme: the always victorious king defends Egypt against the rebellious enemies who are doomed to lose.


The Egyptian priest Manetho, who approximately 280 BC wrote the history of Egypt in Greek, divided the country’s long history until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 332 BC. in 30 dynasties. Today, the 30 dynasties are further grouped into different major time periods or “kingdoms”, namely the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom and the Late Kingdom. This division, which goes back to the Egyptians themselves, is based on whether Egypt was united under a central government, ie was a “kingdom”, or whether the central government had disintegrated. The term “intermediate time” or “intermediate period” is then used for the latter condition. In modern times, Egyptologists have succeeded based on astronomical dating (see Sothis periods) to establish certain fixed points in Egyptian history, and by adding the lengths of the kings’ government to these fixed points, it is possible to establish a relatively accurate chronology.

Archaic Period and Ancient Empire (approximately 2950-2125 BC)

At the end of 3000 BC. there were battles between the various urban communities over control of trade. The city of Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt eventually succeeded in defeating all rivals, resulting in Egypt’s unification under King Narmer, who founded the first capital, Memphis, at the southern tip of the Nile Delta. A fierce civil war in the 2nd dynasty between the nomadic and peasant population groups led to extensive grave looting. Shortly after the Civil War, King Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty completely reorganized the country; the original villages were closed down and the residents forcibly relocated to state estates, from which they could be deployed as labor in pyramid construction and agricultural production. A climax in royal power was reached under Snofru, Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos in the 4th. dynasty with the construction of the Great Pyramids at Dahshur and Giza. During that period, there were expeditions to Sinai and Nubia for stones and minerals for statues, sarcophagi, and jewelry, and trade connections to Byblos in Lebanon for timber. At the same time, Nubian populations were transferred to Egypt to supplement the Egyptian workforce.

Originally, all land in Egypt belonged ideologically to the king, but eventually he handed over the management of large parts of it to temples and faithful officials, whereby a considerable part of the state’s (= king’s) revenue disappeared. During the 5th dynasty, the offices of the state administration became hereditary, and powerful governors (nomarks) emerged in Upper Egypt.

In the late 2000’s BC. Egypt experienced several Nile floods that were very low; famine and civil war ensued, and in this confusion state power collapsed after Pepi II’s 94-year reign.

Chronological list of dynasties and selected kings and queens
ARKAI PERIOD (approximately 2950-2615) Sort
Dynasty 0 (approximately 2950) ‘Scorpio’, Ka, Narmer
Dynasty 1 (2905-2755) Among other things, Aha
Dynasty 2 (2755-2634) Among other things, Khasekhemui
GAMLE RIGE (2634-2125)
Dynasty 3 (2634-2558)
2615-2596 Among other things, Djoser
Dynasty 4 (2558-2449)
2558-2534 Among other things, Snofru
2534-2511 Cheops
2511-2503 Djedefre
2503-2477 Chephren
2473-2455 Mykerinos
2455-2451 Shepseskaf
Dynasty 5 (2449-2310)
2449-2442 Among other things, Userkaf
2442-2430 Sahure
2430-2410 Neferirkare
2340-2310 Unas
Dynasty 6 (2310-2125)
2283-2239 Among other things, Pepi 1.
2239-2219 Merenre
2219-2125 Pepi 2.
1. INTERMEDIATE (approximately 2125-2004)
Dynasty 7/8 (2125-2085) several kings who ruled only for a short time
Dynasty 9/10 (2085-2004) Among other things, Khety, Merikare
MIDDLE RICH (approximately 2004-1802)
Dynasty 11 (2117-1974)
2101-2052 Among other things, Antef 2.
2044-1993 Mentuhotep 1.
Dynasty 12 (1974-1797)
1974-1945 Amenemhet 1.
1954-1909 Senwosret 1.
1911-1877 Amenemhet 2.
1879-1872 Senwosret 2.
1872-1843 Senwosret 3.
1854-1809 Amenemhet 3.
1810-1801 Amenemhet 4.
1801-1797 Nofrusobk
2. INTERMEDIATE (approximately 1800-1550)
Dynasty 13 (1797-1648)
Dynasty 14 (1800-1649) Canaanite kings
Dynasty 15 (1649-1540) Canaanite kings (the so-called Hyksos kings), Khyan, Apophis
Dynasty 16/17 (1648-1549) Among other things, Seqenenre, Kamose
NYE RIGE (1550-1070)
Dynasty 18 (1550-1307)
1550-1525 Ahmose
1525-1504 Amenophis 1.
1504-1492 Tuthmosis 1.
1492-1479 Tuthmosis 2.
1473-1458 Hatshepsut
1479-1425 Tuthmosis 3.
1427-1401 Amenophis 2.
1401-1391 Tuthmosis 4.
1391-1353 Amenophis 3.
1353-1335 Akhnaton (= Amenophis 4.)
1335-1333 Smenkhkare (possibly = Nefertiti)
1333-1323 Tutankhamun
1323-1319 Own
1319-1307 Horemheb
Dynasty 19 (1307-1196)
1306-1290 Among other things, Sethos 1.
1290-1224 Ramses 2.
1224-1214 Merenptah
Dynasty 20 (1196-1070)
1194-1163 Among other things, Ramses 3.
3. INTERMEDIATE (1070-712)
Dynasty 21 (1070-945) Among other things, Psusennes 1.; at the same time, clerical kings rule in Thebes, Herihor
Dynasty 22 (945-712) kings of Libyan origin, Sheshonk 1., Osorkon 3.
Dynasty 23 (825-712)
Dynasty 24 (724-712)
SENTIDEN (712-332)
Dynasty 25 (760-664) Nubian kings, i.a.
750-712 Pije
712-698 Shabaka
690-664 Taharka
Dynasty 26 (672-525)
664-610 Among other things, Psammetics 1.
610-595 Necho 2.
570-526 Amasis
526-525 Psammetics 3.
Dynasty 27 (525-404) First Persian Period
525-522 Kambyses
521-486 Dareios 1.
486-466 Xerxes 1.
465-424 Artaxerxes 1.
424-404 Dareios 2.
Dynasty 28 (404-399)
Dynasty 29 (399-380)
393-380 Among other things, Hakoris
Dynasty 30 (380-343)
360-343 Among other things, Nektanebos 2.
Second Persian Period (343-332)
343-338 Among other things, Artaxerxes 3.
335-332 Dareios 3.
Macedonian Dynasty (332-304)
332-323 Alexander the Great
The Ptolemaic period (304-30 BC)
Among other things, Ptolemy 1.-15.
58-55 Berenike 4.
51-30 Cleopatra 7.
Roman times (30 BC – 395 AD)

1st Intermediate Period (approximately 2125-2004 BC)

The 7th and 8th dynasties consisted of numerous kings who ruled for a very short time from Memphis, but then Egypt fell completely apart. I approximately For 80 years the country was divided; in the north it ruled 9./10. dynasty in the city of Herakleopolis, in the south the 11th dynasty in Thebes, while the nomars in Central Egypt were independent.

Middle Kingdom (approximately 2004-1802 BC)

Around 2000 BC. Mentuhotep I of Thebes succeeded in reuniting Egypt, and under one of the subsequent kings the Vizier Amenemhet seized power. The new King Amenemhet 1st of the 12th dynasty would lead Egyptian society back to the orderly conditions of the 4th dynasty. This meant that every Egyptian had to submit to state power, which led to a curtailment of private property and the re-establishment of state property. It led to violent tensions in Egyptian society and people fled from the state forced labor. One of the major projects was the extraction of new land, which took place through extensive drainage in the oasis of al-Fayyum near the new capital Lisht. Nubia was pacified by Sesostris III, who built a series of forts along the Nile. These forts were to prevent the Nubians from entering Egypt, partly protect trade. There were also numerous contacts to Syria, Palestine and the Aegean territory; for example, the king sent gifts, including statues, to the local princes.

2nd interval (approximately 1800-1550 BC)

In the 13th and 14th dynasties, numerous kings followed one another, but the actual power lay with the vizier and the bureaucracy. During the Middle Kingdom, ethnic groups from Syria and Palestine slowly and peacefully invaded the eastern Nile Delta, and by the dissolution of state power approximately 1650 BC aggressive elements among these peoples succeeded in conquering power. These were the so-called hyksos (‘rulers of foreign lands ‘). Probably it was a quick coup that brought hyksos to power, and their kings had to be accepted by the Theban princes, who only after approximately 100 years expelled them from Egypt. Under Ahmose they succeeded in conquering their capital in the eastern Nile Delta, and with him began a new era for Egypt.

New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC)

Ahmose and his son Amenophis I began the reconquest of Nubia, which in the meantime had been an independent kingdom. Tuthmosis I, of unknown origin, extended the Egyptian sphere of power over the Syrian-Palestinian city-states all the way north of the city of Karkemish on the Euphrates River. The local princes were allowed to rule over their city-states against swearing allegiance to the king and paying tribute. In Nubia, the Egyptian army reached Kurgus by the 4th cataract. The Nubian territory, which had rich gold mines, became a colony under an Egyptian viceroy. Tuthmosis I was succeeded by his son Tuthmosis II, who was married to his half-sister Hatshepsut; after the death of her husband, she became regent of her stepson Tuthmosis 3. Hatshepsut, who soon became his co-regent, had a unique terrace temple, Deir al-Bahri, built on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes. When Hatshepsut died in approximately 1458 BC, Tuthmosis resumed the 3rd war against the Syrian-Palestinian city-states, which was supported by the Mitani Empire between the riversEuphrates and Tigris; only under his grandson Tuthmosis 4. was there in the late 1400-BC. made peace with the Mitani Empire.

The material culture reached a peak under Amenophis III and his prominent queen Teje. They were the parents of Amenophis IV, who later changed his name to Akhnaton(‘the one who benefits Aton’). The king forbade the worship of all gods other than Aton, the Sun, who as the only source of life was lord of life and death. Aton was present in the light-filled air and ruled the Earth along with Akhnaton and Queen Nefertiti. These revolutionary ideas led to a break with the traditional support of the monarchy, the clergy of Amon, and Akhnaton moved from Thebes and founded in Central Egypt, midway between Thebes and Memphis, a new capital Akhetaton (‘Aton’s horizon’), present-day al-Amarna. At the king’s command, a new and distinctive style of art was also introduced. The relationship with foreign countries during this period is illustrated by the so-called Amarna letters, clay tablets with Babylonian cuneiform writing, which were part of the correspondence with the kingdoms of West Asia; today approximately 400 boards. Akhnaton was succeeded in quick succession by Smenkhkare, who may be identical with Nefertiti, then by the young Tutankhaton, who was probably the son of Akhnaton with his side wife Kija. The young king soon returned to the old religion and called himself thenTutankhamun. He was succeeded by the old priest Eje, and finally came General Horemheb, who effectively restored the old peace and order after the chaotic conditions under the four previous kings.

The Ramsesid era (ie the period of the Ramses kings, the 19th-20th dynasty) was marked by major problems for Egypt. In the Syrian territory, the threat now came from the Hittite Empire in Anatolia (now Turkey), and during Ramses II it came in 1285 BC. to a great battle at the city of Kadesh on the river Orontes. Ramses was lured into a trap, and only with difficulty did he save his life. Since then, Ramses concluded a detailed peace treaty with the Hittites, with an agreement on the exchange of political refugees. Under his successor Merenptah and approximately 30 years later under Ramses the 20th dynasty, Libyan tribes from the west and the so-called seafarers from the northeast tried to invade Egypt. The seafarers, who hailed from the Balkans and the southern Russian steppes, overran the Hittite Empire and the Syrian city-states, but Ramses III succeeded in defeating them. The conquered settled in large colonies in Central Egypt and in the delta.

During the 20th dynasty, Egypt experienced an economic crisis with rising grain prices. The great revenues of the vassals of Syria and Palestine had ceased, and in the south Egypt further lost control of Nubia with its rich gold mines. It led to the collapse of the state administration, corruption among officials, strikes and riots, looting of the royal tombs and invasion of foreigners (Libyans and Nubians). The kings, who at this time all bore the name Ramses (4th-11th), failed to stop these dissolution tendencies, and the New Kingdom ended in 1070 BC. in the usual Egyptian way: the land fell apart.

Intermediate period (1070-712 BC)

In Thebes, the high priest established a state with the god Amon as king and himself as governor. approximately 945 BC a descendant of the Libyan prisoners of war, General Sheshonk, succeeded in seizing royal power. Among other things, he led campaigned in Palestine and plundered the temple in Jerusalem. During the Libyan period (the 22nd-24th dynasties), a number of city-states arose in Central Egypt and in the Delta, which fought each other; this resulted in the Nubian invasion in 712 BC.

Late (712-332 BC)

In late times, Egypt had become a pawn in the game of the great powers. The Nubians tried to bring a central government to the country after the Libyan anarchy, the Assyrians tried several times diligently to conquer it, and in 671 BC. they succeeded in capturing the Delta and Memphis. An Egyptian vassal among the Assyrians, Psammetik from the city of Sais in the western Nile Delta, detached Egypt from both Nubian and Assyrian dominance and established the 26th dynasty, also called Saitian time. Egypt experienced a brief period of greatness and even pursued an active policy of power in Palestine. In the cultural field, people looked back and copied the art and literature of the past. Under Amasis’ rule, there were close contacts with the Greek city-states. The main enemy was now Persia, whose aggressive great king Cambyses in 525 BC. conquered Egypt. Apart from a short period of independence in the 28th-30th.Alexander the Great occupied the country in 332 BC. and was recognized as an Egyptian ruler.

Ancient Egypt – Greco-Roman Egypt (332 BC-642 AD)

the period is characterized by the administrative language being Greek, although the country was under Roman rule for most of the period; the use of Greek continued for over 100 years after the Arab conquest. The majority of the population was illiterate and of course continued to speak Egyptian after the conquest of Alexander the Great, but an elite soon developed that appropriated Greek language and culture. A mixed culture emerged and the Egyptian gods were identified with the Greeks.

The Ptolemaic period (332-30 BC)

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. his kingdom was divided among his generals; it happened initially fictitiously following the Persian model with the division of the kingdom into satrapies, which, however, from 306-305 BC. became truly independent kingdoms. Even before Alexander’s death, Egypt belonged to his eldest and most trusted general, Ptolemy, son of Lagos and later with the royal name Ptolemy Soter (‘the Savior’). He was followed by 12 kings, all named Ptolemy and all of the same family; only their nicknames distinguish them.

Roman times (30 BC-about 300 AD)

Through first Caesar’s and then Marcus Antonius’ relationship with Queen Cleopatra, who was co-regent for her underage brother Ptolemy 13, Egypt came from the middle of 100 BC. to play a role in the Roman Empire, now under the name of Egypt. I 31 f.Kr. Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) defeated Marcus Antonius at the Battle of Actium and conquered Egypt. The area did not, as usual, become a Roman province, but the personal property of the emperor. The interest of the Romans in Egypt was economic with a special purpose for the supply of grain to Rome. The Roman emperor took the place of the Egyptian king, and the country was ruled by a prefect. The administration took place in Latin in Alexandria, which remained the capital, but out in the country the language of administration was still Greek. Apart from some uprisings, particularly unrest between Greeks and Jews in Alexandria, Egypt was a peaceful place under Roman rule and only a limited military presence was needed. Roman rule hardly changed much in the daily life of ordinary people, but surplus production was exported out of the country, and although the Romans made several practical improvements, exports in the long run led to an impoverishment of Egypt.

The Byzantine period (approximately 300-642 AD)

In the early 300-t. Egypt was divided into several provinces during the eastern part of the Roman Empire and ceased to exist as an administrative unit. The period was rather uneasy especially due to strife in the Christian church.


Throughout the Greco-Roman period there lived in Egypt a significant Jewish community, particularly in Alexandria (see Alexandrian diaspora). The new religion, Christianity, came to Egypt early, and already in apostolic times it was widespread in Alexandria (see the Alexandrian school). From here it spread, and in approximately 250 it had reached almost all cities and had also gained followers in rural areas. About 400 are considered to be essentially Christian.

Monastery movement emerged in Egypt and spread from there to the rest of Christendom. The first monastery was founded in approximately 325 by the monk Pakomios, and 100 years later there were monasteries and monasteries throughout Egypt. The movement had broad support among the population, and the missionary activity of the monks made a decisive contribution to the Christianization of the whole country. The new religion was early influenced by the local Coptic culture, and the Bible was translated into Coptic. A national church sprang up, and at the Kalchedon church meeting in 451 the Coptic church opposed the council’s decision; thus it broke with imperial church and followed his own patriarch (see Coptic Church)

Egypt in ancient times – trade and economy

Throughout antiquity, there was abundant arable land in Egypt. However, there was so little rainfall that irrigation from the late 3000-t. was a prerequisite for cultivation. This was possible thanks to the Nile’s annual floods, and under stable flooding was the Egyptian agricultural able to make a significant profit. Part of the population could therefore be mobilized for production of manufactured goods and services; it applied to both unskilled workers, artisans, clerks and all the bureaucracy of government officials who needed to coordinate social functions, as well as from the New Kingdom a professional army and a professional clergy. With such a complex business structure and with a population that in pharaonic times is assumed to have developed from approximately 300,000 to 4 million., was economic integration a necessity. You had to exchange goods and services crisscross the business groups. This exchange unfolded in three different patterns, which throughout antiquity appeared in a complex interplay.


The basic unit of the Egyptian economy was the individual household, which was redistributively organized, ie. that centrally occurred a redistribution of resources. During periods of strong central power, large-scale redistribution took place, especially under the auspices of the state. The basis of this state redistribution was estates, which by royal decree were granted to the institutions of the crown and the temples throughout the kingdom, in addition to rights to the exploitation of minerals and raw materials. State property and rights were exploited by the institutions’ own staff; state-owned land was also distributed for private lease and as a reward for services to the king and the gods. In addition to own production, rental fees and services due, the institutions had income in the form of taxes. The resources at the disposal of the State was redistributed as a salary for participation in public works, eg for participation in the construction, maintenance and operation of temples and palaces, in the kingdom administration or in military service, mining and state production. This ensured a high level of organization and employment and a broad distribution of wealth. Furthermore, emphasis was placed on building state grain reserves that could be distributed at religious parties and in crisis situations.


The exchange of goods and services could be part of the parties’ mutual social obligations. According to the concept maat went this mutual commitment preferably through vertical strands of Egyptians conducted hierarchical social system. Exchanges between individuals were in principle aimed at balancing the mutual benefits, but in practice there was always an immediate preponderance in favor of one of the parties. This ensured that the reciprocity obligation could continue even beyond death in the form of burial, inheritance and death cult. In other words, this was also an exchange of gifts and services, and the exchange value has been governed by tradition and moral norms rather than by supply and demand.

The market

Maat, on the other hand, did not impose any obligation of horizontal solidarity. Thus, there was no religious or morally justified obligation to reciprocity between individuals who were not close to each other in the above sense. Supply and demand may well have played a role in price formation in the Egyptian market, but the market had its regulatory mechanisms. During periods of strong central government, for example, large quantities of grain were channeled through the institutions’ stocks, which stabilized grain prices at a relatively low level. However, there was no active and targeted state intervention; on the contrary, the institutions themselves participated in the market through professional agents, shutyw. In periods of no floods or weak central power, for example in the late 20th dynasty, grain prices rose by several hundred percent.

Since the ancient Egyptians had no real currency, a trade transaction consisted of exchanging goods or services. Wages for work performed were also paid in kind. The value of an item was calculated according to standardized weight measurements in silver or copper. The closest one came to money in the modern sense, therefore, was silver or copper distributed according to these measurements. Pricing took place in the presence of both parties, often at riverbank marketplaces.

The Egyptians took an active part in international trade, through the aforementioned shutyw who acted either on their own behalf or as representatives of wealthy individuals and state institutions.

In New Kingdom, moreover, an international “brotherhood” of great kings existed. The trade between them consisted of the kings sending each other large-scale gifts and receiving gifts again according to the principle of reciprocity. These shipments were ceremonial highlights of lengthy negotiations that could involve both diplomatic marriages and political alliances. However, this did not mean slavishly following the label. Although the sending of gifts was part of a mutual commitment between a pharaoh and another great king, the goods received were gladly presented to the locals as a dutiful gift or tribute. The sources show that in practice there could be great disagreement between the “brothers” about the value of a “gift”, especially when it came to gold.

Ancient Egypt (Social Relations)

Ancient Egyptian society was generally quite stable. It was characterized by social stratification and an efficient administration with professional officials.

Social stratification and family relationships

Socially, the ancient Egyptian population can be roughly divided into two groups: the elite of civil servants, including the temple institutions, and the illiterate workers, peasants, soldiers, servants, etc. Commanders in the military belonged to the elite, but were not necessarily literary. In the language, there were no class designations for these two groups, but within the civil service, social status was reflected in rank titles. Egypt had no caste system, and several high-ranking officials proudly recount how they have worked their way up to their position from humble circumstances. Thus, there was no formal obstacle to social mobility.

An ordinary household consisted of husband, wife, children and possibly the husband’s unmarried siblings or mother in widowhood, as the family was obliged to take care of its members. In addition, better-off households often included slaves, though rarely more than two. Slaves could be freely sold or rented out, but could also be released, and there are known examples of a slave being released and married into the family he/she had originally served.

Marriage was not considered a religious measure. In the higher social strata and within the royal family, marriages were often predetermined by the fathers for the political purpose of uniting certain families. Sibling marriages only rarely occurred outside the royal family, and father/daughter marriages are otherwise not known. Polygamy was rare throughout the history of Egypt and seems to have been reserved for particularly wealthy men, while it was common for women as well as men to remarry after the death of the spouse or after divorce. Women formally had the same opportunity as men to divorce, but could, among other things. lose their dowry.

The eldest son was the father’s successor as a representative of the family and as the main heir. He most often inherited his father’s office and could relieve him and be involved in the office by acting as his “staff of age”.

The woman had legally the same rights as the man in terms of owning property or litigating, regardless of her marital status. Women were generally unable to obtain a position in the state administration, although a few cases are known of a woman holding her husband’s office during his absence. In the temples, however, women were able to achieve high positions as priestesses, and from the New Kingdom to the 26th dynasty, the office of “Goddess of Amon” was one of the most powerful positions in Thebes. Exceptionally, it happened that a woman of royal lineage took the royal power, eg Hatshepsut and Cleopatra 7. Cleopatra, however, had to unite with male co-rulers to legitimize herself.

Administration and legal matters

The Egyptian king was absolutely authoritarian and thus commander-in-chief in all imperial affairs. The two highest-ranking officials were the treasurer and the vizier, who shared the main responsibility for the administration of the kingdom. Roughly speaking, the treasurer managed the kingdom’s finances and trade, and the vizier dealt with legal and political matters. Regulations concerning the office of the vizier state that the vizier and the treasurer met every morning and reported directly to the king on the situation of the kingdom.

Laws were divided into generally applicable laws and special ordinances in the form of royal decrees. The decrees were often directed at temples and often included tax breaks or exemptions. No collections of law have been handed down from Pharaonic Egypt, although several references to such are known. In addition to the generally applicable laws, references to precedent were also used in litigation.

As an example of a general law may be mentioned the law of inheritance, whose main rule is clearly expressed in the sentence: “He who buries is he who inherits”. The rule applied in the ordinary law of succession, just as it is of decisive importance for the succession to the throne. This is the explanation why King Eje, who was probably not of royal descent, was portrayed in the role of burial priest in the tomb of his predecessor Tutankhamun. Outside the succession, the basic rule of inheritance law was often supplemented by testamentary provisions. The immediate heirs were the children of the deceased with the eldest son as the main heir or in the case of infertility the siblings of the deceased. Most offices were considered the property of the holder and were therefore also inherited.

Disputes were usually settled in local councils, which consisted of the highest-ranking members of the local community. In addition, there were a few upper councils in the largest cities, where particularly important matters were dealt with. The decisions of the councils could be appealed to the vizier and thereby to the king. In some cases, oracles were resorted to for clarification in cases.

The earliest traces of oracles date from the early Middle Ages; inscriptions tell how kings acted at the command of gods. Actual oracles to which private individuals had access, however, are only known from New Kingdom. Even the most trivial questions could be presented to oracles, and virtually all gods could be consulted. Usually, questions were answered only in the affirmative or in the negative. An oracle usually did not have legal judgment in itself. The oracle creature existed throughout the rest of Egypt’s ancient times and even continued in Christian Egypt. It was Amon’s oracle in the Siwaoasis that declared that Alexander the Great was the son of Amon and therefore divine.

Pharaonic Egypt had no real police, but some kind of paramilitary. Investigation of crimes was carried out by various officials according to the nature and extent of the crime. In the investigation of major crimes such as the failed coup during Ramses III and the extensive grave robberies at the end of the 20th dynasty, torture was frequently used to get suspects and possible witnesses to speak. For treason, the highest penalties were imposed. In some cases, high-ranking officials from powerful families were “asked” for political reasons to commit suicide so that the king could not be held directly responsible for their deaths. Minor individuals could be burned alive or exiled. Other major punishments included beheading, getting on stage, mutilation in the form of severed nose and ears or forced labor in mines and quarries. Finally, beatings and confiscation of property were used in minor crimes. Actual prison sentences are only known from the Late Age.


The main force in the Egyptian army consisted throughout most of antiquity of archers. The chariot with a crew of two men, a driver and an archer, was introduced in Egypt in the late Middle Ages and became a decisive weapon in the following centuries.

Mercenaries are best known from the Old Kingdom, and they consisted mainly of Nubian regiments. In both the 1st and 2nd Middle Ages, Nubian mercenaries played a significant role in the wars between northern and southern Egypt. In New Kingdom, prisoners of war were also drafted into the Egyptian army. From Saitic times (672-525 BC) the use of mercenaries was greatly intensified, and in Ptolemaic times the Egyptian army consisted mainly of Greek soldiers and mercenaries. It was possibly as a means of payment for mercenaries that the state during Hakori’s reign began to mint coins. In earlier times, mercenaries were usually paid by land.

The Egyptian king was at all times described as a mighty warrior. In the 18th dynasty, for a short period (about 100 years), the so-called sports tradition arose, in which the king was also described as the unsurpassed athlete. Especially Amenophis second went much into this tradition, and the frequent inscriptions about his exploits have given rise to the nickname “king sport”. Associated with this tradition is the Feast of Tabernacles, the main event of which was a ritual race which the king had to carry out in order to have his strength ritually renewed.