Among the Neolithic and Aeneolithic residents of the Nile Valley (pre-dynastic tombs) the anthropologist GE Smith described as prevalent a type he called proto-Egyptian, small in stature (163 cm on average), with an elongated, narrow and rather high skull. ; the hair was straight or wavy, dark brown in color like the irises, the skin was brownish, the face was oval, with large eyes and a raised nose and somewhat broad fins. This type continues in later ages to form the essential core of the population of Egypt. From an ethnic point of view, the current population of Egypt it is the result of an ancient mixing of indigenous groups with others from Asia and Europe. The Beja nomadsand groups of Nubian origin have long since settled in the desert areas of Egypt southern. In more recent times, the arrival of Bedouin groups from the Arabian peninsula was recorded at the same time as the spread of Islam (from the 7th century AD). The incorporation of Sudanese and sub-Saharan individuals, resulting from the ancient institution of slavery and trade with African populations, was less important numerically than the Arab components.
The official language is Arabic, but in the cities, for commercial and tourist purposes, the knowledge and use of English and French are widespread; ancient Coptic survives only as a liturgical language.
By far the most prevalent religion is Sunni Islam (90%); the remaining 10% is made up of Christians, mostly Copts, for the rest Catholics of various rites and Greek Orthodox. There are various ethnic-cultural minorities: some of them are also distinguished by the preservation of their languages, such as the Nubians in the south of the country, the Beja in the E, between the Nile and the Red Sea, and various groups of European or neighboring origin. eastern (Greeks, Armenians, etc.) settled in major cities; others, on the other hand, such as the Bedouins, nomadic shepherds, have become almost totally Arabic-speaking, while maintaining their way of life. The sizeable Jewish minority persisted until the first Arab-Israeli conflict.
It seems that in ancient times, especially in the most brilliant periods of the Pharaonic age, the town already hosted 7 million residents. Subsequently there were repeated moments of demographic decline, with consequent stagnation of the population. Only starting from the second half of the 20th century. a clear recovery began: from the 6.7 million individuals recorded in 1882 at the first regular census (after the British occupation), it passed to 11.2 million in 1917, 18.9 in 1947 and the accelerated growth that characterized after the fall of the monarchy, the new Egypt but still quite high (still higher than 22 ‰ in the early years of the third millennium), which is matched by a mortality which dropped to 6 ‰. This situation of demographic overload is at the origin of intense emigration currents directed towards near-eastern and European countries, which involved over 3 million people. The average density of the population, about 81 residents/km2, would seem to indicate a rather rarefied human coverage. In reality, on the contrary, it is a very high value, because the population is extraordinarily (and almost exclusively) concentrated in an area of 2.4 million hectares, just 5% of the total area of the country, corresponding to the narrow and long strip of the Nile Valley; area in which the density reaches 1000 residents / km 2 because the population has always been attracted by the large availability of water resources indispensable for agriculture, which are in fact totally absent in the rest of the territory. Outside the Nile Valley and Delta, which have been added since the last decades of the 20th century. some oases of the Western Desert, Egypt it’s just a bleak desert. The densification in the Delta is also at the origin of the abnormal urban development of the capital, Cairo, whose agglomeration (the first in the African continent and one of the largest in the world) in 2007 hosted 15.900.000 residents decentralization and decongestion interventions were necessary (satellite cities with the function of growth poles) and forced part of the population to flow back outside the agglomeration itself, in fact even into desert areas. For Egypt 2006, please check computergees.com.
The language of ancient Egypt covers with its forms an extraordinarily vast period: the most ancient texts can be reported at least at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, while only with the 13th century. Arabic became the country’s only spoken language. The forms written in hieroglyphics (or in hieratic) are usually indicated as Ancient Egyptian (until the end of the Ancient Kingdom), Middle Egyptian (until the XVIII dynasty), Neo-Egyptian (from the XVIII dynasty to the Ptolemaic era). About in the Saitic period the spoken language was attributed a form of writing, the demotic. The religious texts instead continued to be written in hieroglyphics: it is the Egyptian called Ptolemaic. In the Christian era there was the last development of the Egyptian, the Coptic, which uses the Greek alphabet, takes dialect forms and is still used as a liturgical language.
Characteristic of the ancient Egyptian language is the phenomenon of triconsonantism: most of the roots consist of three consonants which, depending on the semantic, morphological and syntactic value of the word, take on a different vowel color; the vowels, except in the Coptic, however, do not appear in the spelling and the problem of the vocalization of the Egyptian is therefore still far from the solution. Pronouns and nouns have two genders, masculine and feminine, and three numbers: singular, dual and plural; the adjective agrees with the noun it refers to and follows it; the Coptic stage knows very few adjectives and uses periphrastic formulas in their place. Verbs are divided into two classes: strong and weak; a distinction of conjugations is identified, on the Semitic type, and two ways are distinguished, perfect and imperfect. In the Coptic stage the system changes radically and three or four auxiliary verbs are used as premise particles to characterize the time and quality of unchanged verbal nouns. The syntax presents the distinction in verbal and nominal sentences.
There has been much discussion on the origins of Egyptian and its relations with other languages. Triconsonantism also exists in Semitic languages and so does the feminine ending, -t, various nominal pronouns, some verbal endings and conjugations, the distinction of sentences into nominal and verbal and a considerable number of words; other nominal and verbal formations, other syntactic uses, other words are on the other hand common to the Berber and non-Semitic languages of Ethiopia. Both points of contact fall within what is commonly called the Hamito-Semitic linguistic family.