Egypt Facts

Egypt Facts and History


Egypt – the land of the pharaohs and pyramids

Where Moses once splashed along as a foundling in a wicker basket, today large cruise ships transport tourists from all over the world from ancient Egyptian sights to year-round warm beaches and of course back. The Nile meanders through Egypt, surrounded by the Nile Delta. The rest of the country is almost entirely desert. It houses 101 pyramids, including the famous of Giza, and countless other treasures from the time of the pharaohs.

In recent history, Egypt often played the role of a link in the relations between the Arab-Islamic world (see also Islam) on the one hand and the West with Israel on the other hand. After the fourth war between Israel and Egypt, a peace treaty was signed between the two states in 1979 which, in addition to the return of the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had conquered, provided for the start of negotiations on an autonomous solution for the Palestinian territories in Israel.

More than 90% of the population of Egypt are Muslim. The western-oriented modernization policy of the long-time President Mubarak has an opponent in radical Islamism, which is suppressed by the government, but has repeatedly expressed itself since the 1990s in attacks by Islamist terrorists, which are primarily against tourists and thus against the tourism industry, the main industry in the country. The sad climax were the attacks in Luxor and Cairo in 1997. Since then, tourism has recovered somewhat and the classic travel destination Egypt attracts millions of holidaymakers every year with its cultural treasures and scenic beauties, the warm climate and the miles of beaches.

In the last days of January 2011, there were serious clashes between dissatisfied demonstrators and the security forces in numerous cities across the country. However, the military sometimes fraternized with the demonstrators. On February 11, 2011, President Mubarak gave in to pressure and resigned. He was the first President of Egypt to be overthrown by the people. His successor was the member of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi, who received a majority of the votes in a democratic election on June 30, 2012 with 51.7%. But after millions of Egyptians demonstrated against him, he was deposed by the military on July 3, 2013 and placed under house arrest. The president of the constitutional court, Adli Mansur, took over the office of the president until new elections.

Name of the country Arab Republic of Egypt
Form of government Presidential Republic
Head of state After the removal, Mursis became the interim president
Geographical location Northeast Africa
National holiday July 23 (Revolution Day 1952)
National anthem Biladi, Biladi, Biladi
Population approx. 100 million (Credit: Countryaah: Egypt Population)
Ethnicities mostly Egyptians
Religions slightly less than 90% Muslims (Sunni Islam = state religion),approx. 8% Coptic Christians
Languages Arabic is the official language.
Capital Cairo
Surface 1,002,000 km²
Highest mountain Mount Catherine with a height of 2,637 m
Longest river Nile with a length of 6,500 km
Largest lake Nasser reservoir with an area of 5,500 km²
International license plate ET
National currency Egyptian pou
Time difference to CET + 1 h
International phone code 0020
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts alternating current, 50 hertz
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .eg

Egypt: history

Before the year 1000

The area of what is now Egypt has been inhabited by humans for more than 250,000 years.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, about 25,000 years ago, when the climate in the region became drier and the grasslands turned into a dry desert landscape, the hunter-gatherer societies lost their livelihood. The oldest neolithic cultures of Egypt (predynastic) were found around 5000 BC. As a result, various agricultural cultures developed in the region, from which small kingdoms later formed, Lower Egypt with the center in Buto in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt with the Naqada culture and the capital Hierakonpolis. Lower Egypt had the red crown as the state symbol, Horus was worshiped as the main deity, in Upper Egypt with the white crown as the state symbol, Seth was the main god. Around 3150 BC Both kingdoms were united under Upper Egyptian rule, the subsequent epoch is known as the early dynasty.

From around 3000 to 2134 BC The Old Kingdom (1st-8th Dynasty) existed in Egypt, the first king of which was Menes. In the early period up to about 2665 BC BC (1st and 2nd dynasties) the tightly organized official state was ruled by Upper Egyptian kings. The development of writing and the calendar fell into this epoch.

Around 2650 BC BC (3rd Dynasty) the capital was moved to Memphis by King Djoser.

During the 4th Dynasty, around 2590 to 2479 BC. BC, the kings Sneferu, Cheops, Chephren and Mykerinos built the great pyramids of Giza and Dahshur.

Under the kings of the 5th Dynasty, between 2470 and 2320 BC. BC, places of worship were built for the sun god Re.

After the disintegration of government in the 6th Dynasty, from about 2320 to 2160 BC. BC, the Old Kingdom collapsed between 2160 and 2134 BC. BC (7th and 8th Dynasties) together for good, while famine and social unrest plagued the country.

In the period from 2134 to 2040 BC BC (9th to 11th dynasty), Egypt then split up into partial kingdoms. The king Mentu-hotep II from the Upper Egyptian Thebes (11th dynasty) succeeded in reuniting the empire. He founded the Middle Kingdom, which lasted from around 2040 to 1650 BC. Existed. Between 1991 and 1785 BC In BC Egypt reached another heyday under the pharaohs of the 12th dynasty (especially Sesostris I, Sesostris III and Amenemhet III), who again resided near Memphis. Around 1785 to 1650 BC During the 13th and 14th dynasties, the Asiatic Hyksos gained power over Egypt. They ruled the country during the 15th and 16th centuries .Dynasty until about 1550 BC Until they were expelled by the Theban kings Kamose and Amasis I.

The latter ushered in the era of the New Kingdom, which lasted until around 1070 BC. BC (18th to 20th Dynasty) existed. With the conquest of Syria and Nubia (especially by Thutmose III) Egypt became a great power. Theben was again the capital of the empire. An attempt at religious renewal by Pharaoh Amenophis IV (Akhenaten, around 1364-1346 BC) failed.

The Asiatic possessions of Egypt fell to the Hittites. Seti I (around 1304 to 1290 BC) repulsed the attack by the Libyan and Aegean peoples. Ramses II. (1290 to 1224 BC) made a peace with the Hittites. Ramses III. (around 1194 to 1163 BC) repelled the renewed attack by the Libyan and Aegean peoples. In the phase of final decline, the high priests of Amun ruled almost independently in Thebes, while the weak 21st dynasty (around 1080 to 945 BC) began in the north. Between 945 to 720 BC A Libyan mercenary occupied the throne with Shoshenk I. (22nd dynasty). During the 23rd and 24th Dynasties, Egypt was again divided into states and became part of the 25th Dynasty(around 712 to 655 BC) taken by the Nubians. King Psammetich I, who lived between 664 and 525 BC. BC ruled (26th Dynasty), drove them out again and Psammetich III. (525-504 BC) was able to restore Egypt’s independence.

After the second Persian conquest, Egypt was conquered in 332/331 BC. Taken by Alexander the great. After his death, the Diadochi (former generals of Alexander who had divided the empire among themselves) fought and in 304 BC Ptolemy won the rule. The capital of the Ptolemaic Empire became the newly founded Alexandria. 51 BC BC Caesar subordinated the empire to the Roman Senate in favor of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. 30 BC BC Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Augustus. Egypt became a Roman province and fell to Byzantium in 395 AD.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

After the conquest by the Arabs in 640/41, Egypt belonged to the Islamic Empire. The Tulunid dynasty ruled from 868 to 905, followed by the Ichschidids from 935 to 969, then the Shiite Fatimids. In 1171 Saladin founded the Ayyubid dynasty, under which Egypt reached a cultural heyday. Under the rule of the Mamluk sultans from 1250 to 1517, the country first strengthened economically, but was then weakened by internal dynastic battles.

In 1517 Egypt was conquered by the Turks.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1798 Napoleon conquered the country with the “Egyptian Expedition”. The campaign resulted in the discovery of ancient Egyptian culture by the Europeans because of the scientists who were carried along. However, his army was forced to withdraw by the British in 1801.

In 1805, Mohammed Ali took over the government. During his reign he subjugated the Wahhabi empire in Arabia and parts of the upper Nile Valley (now Sudan) and conquered Syria in 1833.

The Suez Canal was built under Ismail in 1869. In 1875, Ismail had to cede the Egyptian stake in the Suez Canal shares to England due to the country’s indebtedness. France and England took control of the state finances. An attempted coup by nationalist officers in 1881 was crushed by British troops the following year. Egypt’s rule in Sudan collapsed. Egypt remained occupied by Great Britain until after World War II. However, the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire formally continued until 1914 and the Mohammed Alis dynasty retained the throne.

Between 1896 and 1898, Sudan was recaptured by the Egyptian army under the leadership of Great Britain and administered as a British-Egyptian condominium until 1956.

In the 20th century

In 1914 Egypt officially became a British protectorate. In 1936, under King Faruk I, a British-Egyptian alliance was concluded that limited the British occupation to the Suez Canal zone. The German Africa Corps and the Italian Army were repulsed by the British and their allies in 1942. In 1948 Egypt participated in the campaign of the Arab armies against the new state of Israel, as a result of which Egypt took over the administration of the Gaza Strip.

On June 18, 1953, the Republic of Egypt was proclaimed. The first president, General M. Nagib, was replaced in 1954 by the “Leader of the Free Officers”, Colonel GA Nasser. Nasser established a dictatorial socialist regime with land reform, nationalization and a unity party. Women were given the right to vote. After the withdrawal of the British troops, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Zone in 1956 and shortly thereafter the Suez Canal. This led to military intervention by Great Britain, France and Israel in October 1956, which, however, had to withdraw again under pressure from the USA and the USSR. Nasser pursued a policy of pan-Arabism, the greatest success of which was the establishment of a United Arab Republic with Syria in 1958which only existed until 1961. With Soviet help, the Aswan High Dam was built from 1959. In the period that followed, the Egyptian state became increasingly dependent on the USSR, militarily and economically. In 1967, Egypt closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli ships, forced the withdrawal of UN troops from the Egyptian-Israeli armistice line and thus provoked an Israeli preemptive strike, the so-called “Six Day War”, in which Israel conquered the entire Sinai Peninsula.

Nasser died in 1970. His successor, Anwar al-Sadat, liberalized politics and the economy, broke ties with the USSR and turned to the West. In October 1973, Egypt waged the fourth war against Israel (Yom Kippur War) with Syrian help, which, with US mediation, led to a partial withdrawal of Israel from the Sinai and made it possible to reopen the Suez Canal.

After the spectacular trip from Sadat to Jerusalem in 1977 and the recognition of Israel under international law by Egypt, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was signed in Washington in 1979. Among other things, this envisaged the complete evacuation of Sinai by Israel within three years and the start of negotiations on the autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs in the territories occupied by Israel. As a result, most Arab states took boycott measures against Egypt and suspended Egypt from membership in the Arab League until 1989.

In 1978 President Sadat introduced a multi-party system. After an 11-year term in office, Sadat fell victim to an attack by Islamic fundamentalists in 1981. His successor, Husni Mubarak, tried successfully to overcome Egypt’s isolation within the Arab camp. He was re-elected by a large majority in 1987 and 1993. In the Gulf conflict of 1990/91, Egypt sided with the United States and engaged in hostilities against Iraq. The country’s economic problems favored a growth in militant Islamic fundamentalism since the early 1990s. In 1994 and 1996 two attacks on Mubarak failed. In the period that followed, the fundamentalist terror was directed primarily against the tourism industry, the most important economic sector in Egypt; the attacks in Luxor and Cairoin 1997 led to a considerable decline here. In 1999 and September 2005, Mubarak was re-elected for fourth and fifth terms.

After around 18 days of protests by millions of people, President Mubarak resigned from his office on February 11, 2011. His successor was the member of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi, who received a majority of the votes with 51.7% in a democratic election on June 30, 2012. But after millions of Egyptians demonstrated against him, he was deposed by the military on July 3, 2013 and placed under house arrest. The president of the constitutional court, Adli Mansur, took over the office of the president until new elections.

Egypt Facts