Brief History of Egypt

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Egypt is one of the cradles of civilization in northeastern Africa occupying the lower reaches of the Nile River. Egypt is well mentioned not only in normal history books but also in the Christian Bible. It is well known for its mind-blowing pyramids, as with the home of the infamous Queen Cleopatra and King Tutankhamun. In recent times, Egypt has entered the history books as the origin of the Arab Spring.

Ancient Egypt

Much of Egypt’s ancient history was a mystery until the secrets of ancient hieroglyphs were deciphered with the help of the Rosetta stone. The Great Pyramid of Giza has no doubt remained one of the Seven Wonders of the World for thousands of years. The Library of Alexandria was one of a kind for centuries.

Ancient Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Pharaoh Narmer. It also had a series of stable kingdoms, as well as a fair share of instability at some point.

As an economic powerhouse, Egypt was rich in minerals and jewels as well as agricultural produce.

Foreign Powers

Foreign powers such as those of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs invaded Egypt in succession. Its mass wealth made it a tempting target. The native Egyptian rule lasted until around 332 BC. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great invaded Egypt and established the Hellenistic Ptolemaic Kingdom under Ptolemy I Soter. Civil and foreign wars led to the decline of the kingdom, and Rome annexed it and became one of its provinces. The Roman rule lasted from 30 BC to 641 AD.

After the Islamic conquest, parts of Egypt became provinces of successive caliphates and other Muslim dynasties from 632 AD to 1517 AD.

In 1517 AD, Ottoman Sultan Salim I captured Cairo, rendering Egypt part of the Ottoman Empire until 1867—except during the French occupation from 1798 to 1801. From 1867, Egypt became a nominally autonomous tributary state called Khedivate of Egypt.

The British Occupation

Egypt fell under British control in 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian War. After the end of World War I and the Revolution of 1919, the Kingdom of Egypt was established. While operating as a de facto state that was independent, the United Kingdom reserved control over foreign affairs, defense, and other administrative matters.

The Republic of Egypt was founded in 1953, and the British occupation ended in 1954 with the Anglo-Egyptian agreement. It was not until the withdrawal of British forces from the Suez Canal in 1956 that full independence was realized for the native Egypt in 2,300 years.

Egypt (1956-Present)

President Gamal Abdel Nasser ruled Egypt from 1956-1970 and introduced many reforms. He was succeeded by Anwar Sadat, who launched the Infitah economic policy. He led Egypt in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and regained the Sinai Peninsula.

Hosni Mubarak ruled for three decades until 2011 when he was deposed following widespread protests against his government. This civil resistance was supported by a very large number of people and mainly consisted of continuous mass demonstrations.

On January 29, 2011, Mubarak’s government had lost control, and the army took a semi-neutral stance on enforcing the curfew decree.

A coup d’état in 2013 led to the enactment of a new constitution, which took effect on January 8, 2014.


It is with no doubt, therefore, that Egypt is a nation with a vast history spanning from the days of Pharaoh Ramses in the Bible to Hosni Mubarak of modern times and from the conflict with Israelites to the revolution that bore the Arab Spring. Thousands of tourists flock to the splendid Egyptian sand dunes to get a glimpse of the magnificence that is Egyptian history.


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