Egypt

Egypt

Overview
Egypt officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, with the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 forming a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 in Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country
Transcontinental country
This is a list of countries spanning more than one continent, known as transcontinental states. While there are many countries with non-contiguous overseas territories fitting this definition, only a limited number of countries have territory spanning an overland continental...

, and a major power in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

. Covering an area of about 1010000 square kilometres (389,963.2 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north, the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to the northeast, the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to the east, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 to the south and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

.
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Encyclopedia
Egypt officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, with the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 forming a land bridge
Land bridge
A land bridge, in biogeography, is an isthmus or wider land connection between otherwise separate areas, over which animals and plants are able to cross and colonise new lands...

 in Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
Western Asia, West Asia, Southwest Asia or Southwestern Asia are terms that describe the westernmost portion of Asia. The terms are partly coterminous with the Middle East, which describes a geographical position in relation to Western Europe rather than its location within Asia...

. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country
Transcontinental country
This is a list of countries spanning more than one continent, known as transcontinental states. While there are many countries with non-contiguous overseas territories fitting this definition, only a limited number of countries have territory spanning an overland continental...

, and a major power in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

. Covering an area of about 1010000 square kilometres (389,963.2 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 to the north, the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 to the northeast, the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 to the east, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 to the south and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. The great majority of its over 81 million people live near the banks of the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 River, in an area of about 40000 square kilometres (15,444.1 sq mi), where the only arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

 is found. The large areas of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and other major cities in the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

.

Monuments in Egypt such as the Giza pyramid complex
Giza pyramid complex
The Giza Necropolis is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an...

 and its Great Sphinx
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza , commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt....

 were constructed by its ancient civilization
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

, Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

, and Karnak
Karnak
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II . Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some...

 and the Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings , less often called the Valley of the Gates of the Kings , is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom .The valley stands on the west bank of...

 outside Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

, are a significant focus of archaeological study. The tourism
Tourism in Egypt
Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt's economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The sector employs about 12 percent of Egypt's workforce. -History:...

 industry and the Red Sea Riviera
Red Sea Riviera
The Red Sea Riviera, in Egypt, consists of the resort cities lying on the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and along the eastern coast of mainland Egypt south of the Gulf of Suez...

 employ about 12% of Egypt's workforce.

The economy of Egypt
Economy of Egypt
The economy of Egypt was highly centralized under President Gamal Abdel Nasser. In the 1990s, a series of International Monetary Fund arrangements, coupled with massive external debt relief resulting from Egypt's participation in the Gulf War coalition, helped Egypt improve its macroeconomic...

 is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service at almost equal production levels.

In early 2011, Egypt underwent a revolution
2011 Egyptian revolution
The 2011 Egyptian revolution took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 and is still continuing as of November 2011. The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil...

, which resulted in the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 after nearly 30 years in power.

Names


The English name Egypt was borrowed from Middle French
Middle French
Middle French is a historical division of the French language that covers the period from 1340 to 1611. It is a period of transition during which:...

 Egypte, from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 , from ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 Aígyptos , from earlier Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

 𐁁𐀓𐀠𐀴𐀍 a-ku-pi-ti-yo. The adjective aigýpti-, aigýptios was borrowed into Coptic as ⲅⲩⲡϯⲓⲟⲥ/ⲕⲩⲡϯⲓⲟⲥ gyptios, kyptios, and from there into Arabic as , back formed into , whence English Copt
Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

. The Greek forms were borrowed from Late Egyptian
Late Egyptian
Late Egyptian is the stage of the Egyptian language that was written by the time of the New Kingdom around 1350 BC – the Amarna period. Texts written wholly in Late Egyptian date to the Ramesside Period and later...

 (Amarna) Hikuptah "Memphis", a corruption of the earlier Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 name Hwt-ka-Ptah , meaning "home of the ka
Egyptian soul
The ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body...

 (soul) of Ptah", the name of a temple to the god Ptah
Ptah
In Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ptah was the deification of the primordial mound in the Ennead cosmogony, which was more literally referred to as Ta-tenen , meaning risen land, or as Tanen, meaning submerged land, though Tatenen was a god in his...

 at Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 attributed the word to a folk etymology in which Aígyptos evolved as a compound from , meaning "below the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

".

, the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and modern official name of Egypt (Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

: ), is of Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 origin, directly cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

  , literally meaning "the two straits" (a reference to the dynastic separation of upper and lower Egypt). The word originally connoted "metropolis" or "civilization" and means "country", or "frontier-land".

The ancient Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 name of the country is Kemet [𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖], which means "black land", referring to the fertile black soils of the Nile flood plains, distinct from the deshret , or "red land" of the desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

. The name is realized as and in the Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

 stage of the Egyptian language
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

, and appeared in early Greek as . Another name was "land of the riverbank". The names of Upper and Lower Egypt
Upper and Lower Egypt
Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, namely Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c....

 were Ta-Sheme'aw "sedgeland" and Ta-Mehew "northland", respectively.

Pre-historic Egypt



There is evidence of rock carvings along the Nile
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BC
10th millennium BC
The 10th millennium BC marks the beginning of the Mesolithic and Epipaleolithic period, which is the first part of the Holocene epoch. Agriculture, based on the cultivation of primitive forms of millet and rice, occurred in Southwest Asia...

, a culture of hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

s and fishers
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 replaced a grain
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

-grinding culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. Climate changes and/or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy
Economic system
An economic system is the combination of the various agencies, entities that provide the economic structure that defines the social community. These agencies are joined by lines of trade and exchange along which goods, money etc. are continuously flowing. An example of such a system for a closed...

 and more centralized society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

.

By about 6000 BC a Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt
Upper and Lower Egypt
Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, namely Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c....

. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada
Naqada
Naqada is a town on the west bank of the Nile in the Egyptian governorate of Qena. It was known in Ancient Egypt as Nubt and in classical antiquity as Ombos. Its name derives from ancient Egyptian nub, meaning gold, on account of the proximity of gold mines in the Eastern Desert.Naqada comprises...

 series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada
Naqada
Naqada is a town on the west bank of the Nile in the Egyptian governorate of Qena. It was known in Ancient Egypt as Nubt and in classical antiquity as Ombos. Its name derives from ancient Egyptian nub, meaning gold, on account of the proximity of gold mines in the Eastern Desert.Naqada comprises...

 III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC.

Ancient Egypt




A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BC by King Menes
Menes
Menes was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the early dynastic period, credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt, and as the founder of the first dynasty ....

, leading to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptian culture
Culture of Egypt
The culture of Egypt has thousands of years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself...

 flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts
Art of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egyptian art is the painting, sculpture, architecture and other arts produced by the civilization in the lower Nile Valley from 5000 BC to 300 AD. Ancient Egyptian art reached a high level in painting and sculpture, and was both highly stylized and symbolic...

, language
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom
Old Kingdom
Old Kingdom is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – the first of three so-called "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley .The term itself was...

 period, c. 2700–2200 BC., which constructed many pyramids
Egyptian pyramids
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt.There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. Most were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found...

, most notably the Third Dynasty
Third dynasty of Egypt
For the Sumerian Renaissance, see Third Dynasty of Ur.The Third Dynasty of ancient Egypt is the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Other dynasties of the Old Kingdom include the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth...

 pyramid of Djoser
Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser , or step pyramid is an archeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis. It was built during the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep, his vizier...

 and the Fourth Dynasty
Fourth dynasty of Egypt
The fourth dynasty of ancient Egypt is characterized as a "golden age" of the Old Kingdom. Dynasty IV lasted from ca. 2613 to 2494 BC...

 Giza Pyramids
Giza pyramid complex
The Giza Necropolis is an archaeological site on the Giza Plateau, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This complex of ancient monuments includes the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an...

.


The First Intermediate Period
First Intermediate Period of Egypt
The First Intermediate Period, often described as a “dark period” in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately one hundred years after the end of the Old Kingdom from ca. 2181-2055 BC. It included the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and part of the eleventh dynasties. Very little monumental...

 ushered in a time of political upheaval for about 150 years. Stronger Nile floods and stabilization of government, however, brought back renewed prosperity for the country in the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 c. 2040 BC, reaching a peak during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III
Amenemhat III
Amenemhat III, also spelled Amenemhet III was a pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from c.1860 BC to c.1814 BC, the latest known date being found in a papyrus dated to Regnal Year 46, I Akhet 22 of his rule. He is regarded as the greatest monarch of the Middle Kingdom...

. A second period of disunity
Second Intermediate Period of Egypt
The Second Intermediate Period marks a period when Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom...

 heralded the arrival of the first foreign ruling dynasty in Egypt, that of the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 Hyksos
Hyksos
The Hyksos were an Asiatic people who took over the eastern Nile Delta during the twelfth dynasty, initiating the Second Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt....

. The Hyksos invaders took over much of Lower Egypt around 1650 BC and founded a new capital at Avaris
Avaris
Avaris , capital of Egypt under the Hyksos , was located near modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes...

. They were driven out by an Upper Egyptian force led by Ahmose I
Ahmose I
Ahmose I was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty. He was a member of the Theban royal house, the son of pharaoh Tao II Seqenenre and brother of the last pharaoh of the Seventeenth dynasty, King Kamose...

, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty
Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt
The eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt is perhaps the best known of all the dynasties of ancient Egypt...

 and relocated the capital from Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

 to Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

.

The New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 c. 1550–1070 BC began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power
Power in international relations
Power in international relations is defined in several different ways. Political scientists, historians, and practitioners of international relations have used the following concepts of political power:...

 that expanded during its greatest extension to an empire as far south as Tombos
Tombos
Tombos is a city and municipality in southeast Minas Gerais state, Brazil. It is located in the Zona da Mata region and its population was approximately 12,619 inhabitants in 2004 ....

 in Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

, and included parts of the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 in the east. This period is noted for some of the most well known Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

s, including Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

, Thutmose III
Thutmose III
Thutmose III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose's reign he was co-regent with his stepmother, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh...

, Akhenaten
Akhenaten
Akhenaten also spelled Echnaton,Ikhnaton,and Khuenaten;meaning "living spirit of Aten") known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV , was a Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC...

 and his wife Nefertiti
Nefertiti
Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they started to worship one god only...

, Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun , Egyptian , ; approx. 1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty , during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom...

 and Ramesses II
Ramesses II
Ramesses II , referred to as Ramesses the Great, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire...

. The first historically attested expression of monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 came during this period as Atenism
Atenism
Atenism, or the Amarna heresy, refers to the religious changes associated with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenophis IV, better known under his adopted name, Akhenaten...

. Frequent contacts with other nations brought new ideas to the New Kingdom. The country was later invaded and conquered by Libyans
Ancient Libya
The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile Valley, generally corresponding to modern Northwest Africa. Climate changes affected the locations of the settlements....

, Nubians
Kingdom of Kush
The native name of the Kingdom was likely kaš, recorded in Egyptian as .The name Kash is probably connected to Cush in the Hebrew Bible , son of Ham ....

 and Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

ns, but native Egyptians eventually drove them out and regained control of their country.

The Thirtieth Dynasty
Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt
The Thirtieth Dynasty of ancient Egypt followed Nectanebo I's deposition of Nefaarud II, the son of Hakor. This dynasty is often considered part of the Late Period....

 was the last native ruling dynasty during the Pharaonic epoch. It fell to the Persians
History of Achaemenid Egypt
The history of Achaemenid Egypt is divided into two eras: an initial period of Achaemenid Persian occupation when Egypt became a satrapy, followed by an interval of independence; and a second period of occupation, again under the Achaemenids....

 in 343 BC after the last native Pharaoh, King Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II
Nectanebo II was the third and last pharaoh of the Thirtieth dynasty, as well as the last native ruler of Ancient Egypt. Under Nectanebo II Egypt prospered...

, was defeated in battle.

Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt




The Ptolemaic Kingdom
Ptolemaic Kingdom
The Ptolemaic Kingdom in and around Egypt began following Alexander the Great's conquest in 332 BC and ended with the death of Cleopatra VII and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. It was founded when Ptolemy I Soter declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt, creating a powerful Hellenistic state stretching from...

 was a powerful Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 state, extending from southern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 in the east, to Cyrene
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

 to the west, and south to the frontier with Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

. Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 became the capital city and a center of Greek
Hellenistic Greece
In the context of Ancient Greek art, architecture, and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC...

 culture and trade. To gain recognition by the native Egyptian populace, they named themselves as the successors to the Pharaohs. The later Ptolemies took on Egyptian traditions, had themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, and participated in Egyptian religious life.

The last ruler from the Ptolemaic
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

 line was Cleopatra VII, who committed suicide with her lover Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, after Caesar Augustus had captured them.
The Ptolemies faced rebellions of native Egyptians often caused by an unwanted regime and were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its annexation by Rome. Nevertheless Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt well after the Muslim conquest
Muslim conquest of Egypt
At the commencement of the Muslims conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II...

.

Christianity was brought to Egypt by Saint Mark the Evangelist in the 1st century. Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

's reign marked the transition from the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 to the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 era in Egypt, when a great number of Egyptian Christians were persecuted. The New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 had by then been translated into Egyptian. After the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 in AD 451, a distinct Egyptian Coptic Church was firmly established.

Muslim and Ottoman Egypt



The Byzantines were able to regain control of the country after a brief Persian invasion early in the 7th century, until in AD 639, Egypt was absorbed into the Islamic Empire
Muslim conquest of Egypt
At the commencement of the Muslims conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II...

 by the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Arabs. When they defeated the Byzantine Armies in Egypt, the Arabs brought Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 to the country. Early in this period, Egyptians began to blend their new faith with indigenous beliefs and practices, leading to various Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 orders that have flourished to this day. These earlier rites had survived the period of Coptic Christianity
Coptic Christianity
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the official name for the largest Christian church in Egypt and the Middle East. The Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches, which has been a distinct church body since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, when it took a different...

.

Muslim rulers nominated by the Islamic Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 remained in control of Egypt for the next six centuries, with Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 as the seat of the Caliphate under the Fatimids. With the end of the Kurdish
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
The Ayyubid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. The dynasty ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries CE. The Ayyubid family, under the brothers Ayyub and Shirkuh, originally served as soldiers for the Zengids until they...

, the Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

s, a Turco-Circassian military caste, took control about AD 1250. By the late 13th century, Egypt linked the Red Sea, India, Malaya, and East Indies. They continued to govern the country until the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 in 1517, after which it became a province of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. The mid-14th-century Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 killed about 40% of the country's population.

After the 15th century, the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 invasion pushed the Egyptian system into decline. The defensive militarization damaged its civil society and economic institutions. The weakening of the economic system combined with the effects of plague left Egypt vulnerable to foreign invasion. Portuguese traders took over their trade. Egypt suffered six famines between 1687 and 1731. The 1784 famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 cost it roughly one-sixth of its population.

Muhammad Ali dynasty



The brief French invasion of Egypt led by Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 began in 1798. The expulsion of the French in 1801 by Ottoman
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

, Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

, and British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 forces was followed by four years of anarchy in which Ottomans, Mamluks, and Albanians
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 -- who were nominally in the service of the Ottomans -- wrestled for power. Out of this chaos, the commander of the Albanian regiment, Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

 (Kavalali Mehmed Ali Pasha) emerged as a dominant figure and in 1805 was acknowledged by the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 as his viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 in Egypt; the title implied subordination to the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 but this was in fact a polite fiction: Ottoman power in Egypt was finished and Muhammad Ali, an ambitious and able leader, established a dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 that was to rule Egypt until the revolution of 1952. In later years, the dynasty became a British puppet.

His primary focus was military: he annexed Northern Sudan (1820–1824), Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 (1833), and parts of Arabia
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 and Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

; but in 1841 the European powers, fearful lest he topple the Ottoman Empire itself, forced him to return most of his conquests to the Ottomans, but he kept the Sudan and his title to Egypt was made hereditary. A more lasting result of his military ambition is that it required him to modernize the country. Eager to adopt the military (and therefore industrial) techniques of the great powers, he sent students to the West and invited training missions to Egypt. He built industries, a system of canals for irrigation and transport, and reformed the civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

.

The introduction in 1820 of long-staple cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, the Egyptian variety of which became notable, transformed its agriculture into a cash-crop monoculture
Monoculture
Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing one single crop over a wide area. It is also known as a way of farming practice of growing large stands of a single species. It is widely used in modern industrial agriculture and its implementation has allowed for large harvests from...

 before the end of the century. The social effects of this were enormous: land ownership became concentrated and many foreigners arrived, shifting production towards international markets.

Muhammad Ali was succeeded briefly by his son Ibrahim
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

 (in September 1848), then by a grandson Abbas I
Abbas I of Egypt
Abbas I , , also known as Abbas Hilmi I Pasha Wāli of Egypt and Sudan, was a son of Tusun Pasha and grandson of Muhammad Ali, founder of the reigning dynasty of Egypt and Sudan at the time...

 (in November 1848), then by Said
Sa'id of Egypt
Muhammad Sa'id Pasha was the Wāli self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1854 until 1863, officially owing fealty to the Ottoman Sultan but in practice exercising virtual independence. He was the fourth son of Muhammad Ali Pasha. Sa'id was a Francophone, educated in Paris.Under Sa'id's rule...

 (in 1854), and Isma'il
Isma'il Pasha
Isma'il Pasha , known as Ismail the Magnificent , was the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879, when he was removed at the behest of the United Kingdom...

 (in 1863).

Abbas I was cautious. Said and Ismail were ambitious developers, but they spent beyond their means. The Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, built in partnership with the French, was completed in 1869. The cost of this and other projects had two effects: it led to enormous debt to European bank
Bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s, and caused popular discontent because of the onerous tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

ation it required. In 1875 Ismail was forced to sell Egypt's share in the canal to the British Government. Within three years this led to the imposition of British and French controllers who sat in the Egyptian cabinet, and, "with the financial power of the bondholders behind them, were the real power in the Government."

Modern Egypt



Local dissatisfaction with Ismail and with European intrusion led to the formation of the first nationalist groupings in 1879, with Ahmad Urabi a prominent figure. In 1882 he became head of a nationalist-dominated ministry committed to democratic reforms including parliamentary control of the budget. Fearing a reduction of their control, the UK and France intervened militarily, bombarding Alexandria and crushing the Egyptian army at the battle of Tel el-Kebir. They reinstalled Ismail's son Tewfik
Tewfik Pasha
HH Muhammed Tewfik Pasha ' was Khedive of Egypt and Sudan between 1879 and 1892, and the sixth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty.-Early life:...

 as figurehead of a de facto British protectorate.


In 1914 the Protectorate was made official, and the title of the head of state, which had changed from pasha to khedive
Khedivate of Egypt
The Khedivate of Egypt was an autonomous tributary state of the Ottoman Empire.- Rise of Muhammad Ali :The Egypt Eyalet was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. The eyalet was ruled locally by the Mamluk military caste and their various beys , who started to fight amongst themselves for control of...

 in 1867, was changed to sultan
Sultanate of Egypt
The Sultanate of Egypt is the name of the short-lived protectorate that the United Kingdom imposed over Egypt between 1914 and 1922.-History:...

, to repudiate the vestigial suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan, who was backing the Central powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Abbas II
Abbas II of Egypt
HH Abbas II Hilmi Bey was the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan .-Early life:...

 was deposed as khedive and replaced by his uncle, Hussein Kamel, as sultan.

In 1906, the Dinshaway Incident prompted many neutral Egyptians to join the nationalist movement. After the First World War, Saad Zaghlul
Saad Zaghlul
Saad Zaghloul was an Egyptian revolutionary, and statesman. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from January 26, 1924 to November 24, 1924.-Education, activism and exile:...

 and the Wafd Party
Wafd Party
The Wafd Party was a nationalist liberal political party in Egypt. It was said to be Egypt's most popular and influential political party for a period in the 1920s and 30s...

 led the Egyptian nationalist movement to a majority at the local Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature, or to one of its branch.The name is used by a number of member-states of the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as a number of Latin American countries....

. When the British exiled Zaghlul and his associates to Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 on 8 March 1919, the country arose in its first modern revolution
Egyptian Revolution of 1919
The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 was a countrywide revolution against the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan. It was carried out by Egyptians and Sudanese from different walks of life in the wake of the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul, and other members of the Wafd...

. The revolt led the UK government to issue a unilateral declaration of Egypt's independence
Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence
The Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence was issued by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 28 February 1922...

 on 22 February 1922.

Kingdom



The new government drafted and implemented a constitution
1923 Constitution of Egypt
The 1923 Constitution was a constitution of Egypt during the period 1923-1952. It was replaced by the 1930 Constitution for a 5-year period before being restored in 1935. It adopted the parliamentary representative system based on separation of and cooperation among authorities...

 in 1923 based on a parliamentary
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 system. Saad Zaghlul
Saad Zaghlul
Saad Zaghloul was an Egyptian revolutionary, and statesman. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from January 26, 1924 to November 24, 1924.-Education, activism and exile:...

 was popularly elected as Prime Minister of Egypt
Prime Minister of Egypt
The Prime Minister of Egypt is the head of the Egyptian government. According to the constitution, the prime minister is the leader of the largest political party in the Egyptian Parliament....

 in 1924. In 1936 the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

 was concluded. Continued instability due to remaining British influence and increasing political involvement by the king led to the dissolution of the parliament in a military coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 known as the 1952 Revolution. The Free Officers Movement
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

 forced King Farouk
Farouk of Egypt
Farouk I of Egypt , was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936....

 to abdicate in support of his son Fuad
Fuad II of Egypt
Fuad II was the last King of Egypt and Sudan.- Biography :He ascended the throne on 26 July 1952 upon the abdication of his father King Farouk I following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952...

.
British military presence in Egypt lasted until 1954.

Republic


On 18 June 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared, with General Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

 as the first President of the Republic. Naguib was forced to resign in 1954 by Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

the real architect of the 1952 movement and was later put under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

. Nasser assumed power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 as President in June, 1956. British forces completed their withdrawal from the occupied Suez Canal Zone on 13 June 1956. He nationalized
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956, prompting the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

.

In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel invaded and occupied Egypt's Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

 and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, which Egypt had occupied since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Three years later President Nasser died and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

 in 1970. Sadat switched Egypt's Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States, expelling Soviet advisors in 1972. He launched the Infitah
Infitah
The Infitah was Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's policy of "opening the door" to private investment in Egypt in the years following the 1973 October War with Israel...

 economic reform policy, while clamping down on religious and secular opposition.

In 1973, Egypt, along with Syria, launched the October War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, a surprise attack against the Israeli forces occupying the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. It was an attempt to regain part of the Sinai territory Israel had captured 6 years earlier. Sadat hoped to seize some territory through military force, and then regain the rest of the peninsula by diplomacy. The conflict sparked an international crisis between the US and the USSR, both of whom intervened. The second UN-mandated ceasefire halted military action. While the war ended with a military stalemate, it presented Sadat with a political victory that later allowed him to regain the Sinai in return for peace with Israel.

Sadat made a historic visit to Israel in 1977, which led to the 1979 peace treaty
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

 in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. Sadat's initiative sparked enormous controversy in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 and led to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

, but it was supported by most Egyptians. A fundamentalist military soldier assassinated Sadat in Cairo in 1981. He was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

.

In 2003, the Egyptian Movement for Change, popularly known as Kefaya, was launched to oppose the Mubarak regime and to establish democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 reforms and greater civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

.

2011 revolution


On 25 January 2011, widespread protests began against Mubarak's regime. The objective of the protest was the removal of Mubarak from power. These took the form of an intensive campaign of civil resistance
Civil resistance
The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

 supported by a very large number of people and mainly consisting of continuous mass demonstrations. By 29 January it was becoming clear that Mubarak's regime had lost control when a curfew order was ignored, and the army took a semi-neutral stance on enforcing the curfew decree. Some protesters, a very small minority in Cairo, expressed nationalistic views against what they deemed was foreign interference, highlighted by the then-held view that the U.S. administration had failed to take sides, as well as linking the regime with Israel.

On 11 February 2011, Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo. Vice President Omar Suleiman
Omar Suleiman
Omar Suleiman is a former Egyptian army general, politician, diplomat, and intelligence officer. A leading figure in Egypt's intelligence system beginning in 1986, Suleiman was appointed to the long-vacant Vice Presidency by then-President Hosni Mubarak on 29 January 2011...

 announced that Mubarak had stepped down and that the Egyptian military would assume control of the nation's affairs in the short term. (See also 2011 revolution.) Jubilant celebrations broke out in Tahrir Square at the news. Mubarak may have left Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 the previous night, before or shortly after the airing of a taped speech in which Mubarak vowed he would not step down or leave.

On 13 February 2011, the high level military command of Egypt announced that both the constitution and the parliament of Egypt had been dissolved. The parliamentary election was to be held in September.

A constitutional referendum
Egyptian constitutional referendum, 2011
A constitutional referendum was held in Egypt on 19 March 2011, following the 2011 Egyptian revolution. More than 14 million were in favour, while around 4 million opposed the changes; 41% of 45 million eligible voters turned out to vote....

 was held on 19 March 2011.

On 28 Nov 2011, Egypt held its first parliamentary election since the previous regime had been in power. Turnout was high and there were no reports of irregularities or violence, although members of some parties broke the ban on campaigning at polling places by handing out pamphlets and banners.

The flag



As a result of their conditional independence from Great Britain in 1922, the Egyptian royal family issued a Royal Decree establishing a national flag. This first flag was a major step for Egypt, and its colors were green with a white crescent and three stars in the middle.
The next version of the flag was established in 1958 by Presidential Decree, to incorporate aspects of Syria and Egypt, since they were merged into one country, the United Arab Republic. This new flag had three colors: red, white with two green stars, and black. The rectangular flag had a width of 1/3 the size of its length.
The flag was changed once again in 1972, with an amendment to the law. This new flag had the stars removed, and replaced with a golden hawk. The hawk was replaced in 1984 by the golden eagle of Salah El Dine
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

, the Ayubbid Sultan of the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 who ruled Egypt and Syria in the 12th century. This flag still waves over Egypt today.

Geography



At 1001450 square kilometres (386,662 sq mi), Egypt is the world's 30th-largest country. In land area, it is about the same size as all Central America, twice the size of Spain, four times the size of the United Kingdom, and the combined size of the US states of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. It lies between latitudes 22°
22nd parallel north
The 22nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 22 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 32°N
32nd parallel north
The 32nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 32 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 24°
24th meridian east
The meridian 24° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 36°E
36th meridian east
The meridian 36° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Nevertheless, due to the aridity of Egypt's climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses only about 5.5% of the total land area.
Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea.

Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt's landscape is desert. Winds create prolific sand dunes
Dune
In physical geography, a dune is a hill of sand built by wind. Dunes occur in different forms and sizes, formed by interaction with the wind. Most kinds of dunes are longer on the windward side where the sand is pushed up the dune and have a shorter "slip face" in the lee of the wind...

 that peak at more than 100 feet (30.5 m) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara Desert and of the Libyan Desert
Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 km2, it extends approximately 1100 km from east to west, and 1,000 km from north to south, in about the shape of a rectangle...

. These deserts that protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats were referred to as the "red land" in ancient Egypt.

Towns and cities include Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, the second largest city; Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

; Asyut
Asyut
Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt; the ancient city of the same name is situated nearby. The modern city is located at , while the ancient city is at .- Etymology :...

; Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, the modern Egyptian capital and largest city; El-Mahalla El-Kubra
El-Mahalla El-Kubra
El-Mahalla El-Kubra is a large industrial and agricultural city in Egypt, located in the middle of the Nile Delta on the western bank of the Damietta branch. It is known for its dominant textile industry...

; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada
Hurghada
Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. It is a main tourist center and second largest city in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast.- Overview :...

; Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

; Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo or Ombos or Latin: Ambo and Ombi – is an agricultural town in Egypt famous for the Temple of Kom Ombo...

; Port Safaga
Port Safaga
Port Safaga, also known as Bur Safaga and Safaga , is a town in Egypt, on the coast of the Red Sea, located south of Hurghada. This small port is also a tourist area that consists of several bungalows and rest houses, including the Safaga Hotel, with a capacity of 48 rooms .Having numerous...

; Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

; Sharm el Sheikh; Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

, where the Suez Canal is located; Zagazig
Zagazig
Zagazig is a town in Lower Egypt. Situated in the eastern part of the Nile delta, it is the capital of the governorate of Sharqia.As of 1999, its population was approximately 279,000. It is built on a branch of the Fresh Water or Ismaïlia Canal and on al-Muˤizz Canal , and is 47 miles by rail...

; and Al-Minya
Minya, Egypt
Minya is the capital of Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt. It is located approximately south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city...

. Oases
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

 include Bahariya
Bahariya Oasis
El-Wahat el-Bahariya or el-Bahariya is a depression in Egypt. It is approximately 360 km away from Cairo. Located in Giza Governorate, the main economic sectors are agriculture, iron ore mining, and tourism...

, el Dakhla, Farafra
Farafra, Egypt
The Farafra depression is the second biggest depression by size located in Western Egypt and the smallest by population, near latitude 27.06° North and longitude 27.97° East...

, el Kharga
Kharga Oasis
El-Kharga , also known as Al-Kharijah, is the southernmost of Egypt's five western oases. It is located in the Libyan Desert, about 200 km to the west of the Nile valley, and is some 150 km long. It is located in and is the capital of New Valley Governorate...

 and Siwa
Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo....

. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.

See Egyptian Protectorates
Egyptian Protectorates
Law 102 of 1983 empowered the Prime Minister to designate certain areas to be declared as protectorates. A Prime Minister's decree defines the limits of each protected area and sets the basic principles for its management and for the preservation of its resources. Twenty four protectorates have...

 for more information.




Climate


Most of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months. South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.078740157480315 to 0.196850393700787 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in), mostly between October and March. Snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim, Sidi Barrany, etc. and rarely in Alexandria. Frost
Frost
Frost is the solid deposition of water vapor from saturated air. It is formed when solid surfaces are cooled to below the dew point of the adjacent air as well as below the freezing point of water. Frost crystals' size differ depending on time and water vapour available. Frost is also usually...

 is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt.

Temperatures average between 80 °F (26.7 °C) and 90 °F (32.2 °C) in summer, and up to 109 °F (42.8 °C) on the Red Sea coast. Winter temperatures average between 55 °F (12.8 °C) and 70 °F (21.1 °C). A steady wind from the northwest helps lower temperatures near the Mediterranean coast. The Khamaseen is a wind that blows from the south in spring, bringing sand and dust, and sometimes raises the temperature in the desert to more than 100 °F (37.8 °C).

Prior to the construction of the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

, the Nile flooded annually (colloquially The Gift of the Nile) replenishing Egypt's soil. This gave the country consistent harvest throughout the years.

The potential rise in sea levels due to global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 could threaten Egypt's densely populated coastal strip and have grave consequences for the country's economy, agriculture and industry. Combined with growing demographic pressures, a significant rise in sea levels could turn millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the century, according to some climate experts.

Politics


Egypt has been officially named a "Republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

" since 18 June 1953. However, it has been under Emergency Law
Emergency law in Egypt
Emergency law in Egypt was first enacted in 1958, as Law No. 162 of 1958 and has remained in effect since 1967, except for an 18-month break in 1980...

 continually since 1967 (with the exception of an 18-month break in 1980).
Between 1981 and 2011, Egypt was ruled autocratically by Mohamed Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

, who came to power after the assassination of President Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik
Ahmed Shafik
Ahmed Mohamed Shafik is a former senior commander in the Egyptian Air Force and politician who served as Prime Minister of Egypt from January 2011 to March 2011....

 was sworn in as Prime Minister on 29 January 2011, following the resignation of Ahmed Nazif
Ahmed Nazif
Ahmed Nazif served as the Prime Minister of Egypt from 14 July 2004 to 29 January 2011, when his cabinet was dismissed by President Hosni Mubarak in light of a popular uprising that led to the Egyptian Revolution of 2011...

. Since President Mubarak's resignation during the 2011 revolution
2011 Egyptian revolution
The 2011 Egyptian revolution took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 and is still continuing as of November 2011. The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil...

, Egypt's de facto government has been the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces consists of a body of 20 senior officers in the Egyptian military. As a consequence of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the Council took the power to govern Egypt from its departing President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011.The junta meets regularly, as...

, chaired by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

Although power is nominally organized under a multi-party
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 semi-presidential system
Semi-presidential system
The semi-presidential system is a system of government in which a president and a prime minister are both active participants in the day-to-day administration of the state...

, whereby the executive power is theoretically divided between the President and the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Egypt
The Prime Minister of Egypt is the head of the Egyptian government. According to the constitution, the prime minister is the leader of the largest political party in the Egyptian Parliament....

, in practice it has rested almost solely with the President who traditionally has been elected in single-candidate elections for more than fifty years. Egypt has also held regular multi-party parliamentary elections. The last presidential election, in which Mubarak won a fifth consecutive term, was held in September 2005
Egyptian presidential election, 2005
The Egyptian presidential election of 2005, held on September 7, 2005, was the first allegedly contested presidential election in Egypt's history. Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt, won a fifth consecutive six-year term in office, with official results showing he won 88.6% of the vote...

. In 2009, Dr. Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki, Media Secretary of the NDP, described Egypt as a "pharaonic" political system, and democracy as a "long term goal". Dessouki also stated that "the real center of power in Egypt is the military".

In late February 2005, Mubarak announced in a surprise television broadcast that he had ordered the reform of the country's presidential election law, paving the way for multi-candidate polls in the upcoming presidential election. For the first time since the 1952 movement
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

, the Egyptian people had an apparent chance to elect a leader from a list of various candidates. The President said his initiative came "out of my full conviction of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy." However, the new law placed restrictions on the candidates, designed to prevent well-known politicians such as Ayman Nour
Ayman Nour
Ayman Abd El Aziz Nour is an Egyptian politician, a former member of the Egyptian Parliament and chairman of the El Ghad party.He was imprisoned in January 2005 by the government of President Hosni Mubarak. Nour was released on health grounds on February 18, 2009...

 from standing against Mubarak, and paved the road for his easy re-election victory.

After the 2005 presidential elections observers alleged government interference in the election process through fraud and vote-rigging, and police brutality
Police brutality
Police brutality is the intentional use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially also in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer....

 and violence by pro-Mubarak supporters against opposition demonstrators. After the election, Mubarak imprisoned Ayman Nour, and the U.S. government stated the "conviction of Mr. Nour, the runner-up in Egypt's 2005 presidential elections, calls into question Egypt's commitment to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law."

Most Egyptians were skeptical about the process of democratization
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

 and the intent of the election rules. Less than 25% of the country's 32 million registered voters (out of a population of more than 72 million) turned out for the 2005 elections.

Thirty-four constitutional changes voted on by parliament on 19 March 2007 prohibit parties from using religion as a basis for political activity, allow the drafting of a new anti-terrorism law to replace the emergency legislation in place since 1981, authorize broad police powers of arrest and surveillance, give the president power to dissolve parliament and end judicial election monitoring. Opposition members of parliament abstained from voting on the proposed changes. Only 27% of registered voters turned out under heavy police presence and tight political control. It was officially announced on 27 March 2007 that 75.9% of those who participated in the referendum approved the constitutional amendment
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

s. The results were endorsed by the rump parliament, thus allowing the introduction of laws that curb the activity of opposition elements, particularly Islamists.

The Egyptian military receives billions of dollars of aid from the United States. It remains Egypt's most powerful institution. It has dozens of factories manufacturing weapons as well as consumer goods, and it exempts itself from laws that apply to other sectors.

The CIA World Factbook states that the legal system is based on Islamic and civil law (particularly Napoleonic code
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

s); and that judicial review takes place by a Supreme Court, which accepts compulsory International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 jurisdiction only with reservations.

Foreign relations


Egypt's foreign policy is supported by its population size
Population size
In population genetics and population ecology, population size is the number of individual organisms in a population.The effective population size is defined as "the number of breeding individuals in an idealized population that would show the same amount of dispersion of allele frequencies under...

, historical events, military strength, diplomatic expertise and a strategic geographical position. It has extensive political influence in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 has been a crossroads of regional commerce and culture for centuries, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural development
Sociocultural evolution
Sociocultural evolution is an umbrella term for theories of cultural evolution and social evolution, describing how cultures and societies have changed over time...

.

The permanent Headquarters of the Arab League are located in Cairo and the Secretary General of the Arab League has traditionally been Egyptian. Former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa
Amr Mohammed Moussa is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the Secretary-General of the Arab League, a 22-member forum representing Arab states, from 1 June 2001 until 1 June 2011. He is a candidate in the 2011 Egyptian presidential election....

 is the current group's Secretary General. The Arab League briefly moved from Egypt to Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 in 1978 to protest the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, returning in 1989.

Egypt was the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, with the signing of the treaty. Despite the peace treaty, Israel is still largely considered an enemy country within Egypt. Egypt has historically played an important role as a mediator in resolving disputes between various Arab states, and in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

. Egypt is a major ally
Major non-NATO ally
Major non-NATO ally is a designation given by the United States government to close allies who have strategic working relationships with US armed forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization...

 of the United States.

Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

 Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996...

 served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.

In the 21st century, Egypt has had a major problem with immigration, as millions of Africans flee poverty and war. Border control methods can be "harsh, sometimes lethal."

Military




The Egyptian Armed forces
Egyptian Army
The Egyptian Army is the largest service branch within the Egyptian Armed Forces and holds power in the current Egyptian government. It is estimated to number around 379,000, in addition to 479,000 reservists for a total of 858,000 strong. The modern army was created in the 1820s, and during the...

 have a combined troop strength of around 450,000 active personnel. According to the Israeli chair of the former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz , is an Israeli academic and politician who has been a Knesset member for Likud since 1999. He is now the Finance Minister of Israel.-Biography:...

, the Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 has roughly the same number of modern warplanes as the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 and far more Western tanks, artillery, anti-aircraft batteries and warships than the IDF
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

.

The Egyptian military has recently undergone massive modernization, mostly in its Air Force. Egypt is speculated by Israel to be the second country in the region with a spy satellite
Spy satellite
A spy satellite is an Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications....

, EgyptSat 1
EgyptSat 1
EgyptSat 1 is Egypt's first Earth remote-sounding satellite. This satellite was jointly built by Egypt's National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences together with the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Ukraine and was launched on board a Dnepr rocket on 17 April 2007 from the Baikonur...

, and is planning to launch 3 more satellites (DesertSat1, EgyptSat2 & DesertSat2) over the next two years.

The United States of America provides an annual military assistance, which in 2009 amounted to US$ 1.3 billion (inflation adjusted US$ billion in ).

Administrative divisions


Egypt is divided into 27 governorates
Governorates of Egypt
Egypt is divided for administrative purposes into 27 governorates . Egyptian governorates are the top tier of the country's five-tier jurisdiction hierarchy. A governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt and serves at the president's discretion...

. The governorates are further divided into regions. The regions contain towns and villages. Each governorate has a capital, sometimes carrying the same name as the governorate.

In April 2008, Cairo and Giza were subdivided into 4 governorates, namely the governorates of Cairo, Giza, 6 October and Helwan. As of April 2011, 6 October and Helwan governorates were again incorporated into Giza and Cairo respectively. In 2009, the city of Luxor was declared an independent governorate.

The Upper
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

 governorates are located south of Cairo, while the Lower
Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

 governorates are located in the Delta of the Nile
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

, north of Cairo.
Governorate Capital Location
Alexandria
Al Iskandariyah Governorate
Alexandria Governorate is one of the governorates of Egypt. It is located in the northern part of the country, directly on the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of the most important harbours in Egypt.-Overview:...

 
Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 
Northern
Aswan
Aswan Governorate
Aswan Governorate is one of the governorates of Egypt. The southernmost governorate in Upper Egypt, its capital is Aswan.The Aswan Governorate borders Qena Governorate to the north, Red Sea Governorate to the east, New Valley Governorate to the west, and Sudan to the south...

 
Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

 
Upper
Asyut
Asyut Governorate
Asyut Governorate is one of the governorates of Egypt. It stretches for about 120 km along the banks of the Nile. The capital of the governorate is the city of Asyut.-Etymology:...

 
Asyut
Asyut
Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt; the ancient city of the same name is situated nearby. The modern city is located at , while the ancient city is at .- Etymology :...

 
Upper
Beheira
Beheira Governorate
Beheira Governorate is a coastal governorate in Egypt. Located in the northern part of the country in the Nile Delta, its capital is Damanhur.-Overview:Beheira governorate enjoys an important strategical place, west of the Rosetta branch of the Nile...

 
Damanhur
Damanhur
Damanhur is a city in Lower Egypt, and the capital of the Beheira Governorate. It is located northwest of Cairo, and E.S.E. of Alexandria, in the middle of the western Nile Delta....

 
Lower
Beni Suef  Beni Suef
Beni Suef
- Overview :Beni Suef is an important agricultural center, which grew from a small village at the turn of the century and now hosts a population of over 200,000. It was famous for its linen manufacturing in the Middle Ages, and continues to be heavily involved in cotton-spinning and carpet-making....

 
Upper
Cairo  Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 
Middle
Dakahlia
Dakahlia Governorate
Dakahlia Governorate is an Egyptian governorate lying north east of Cairo. Its area is about 3,500 km² and it has a population of about 5 million. The capital is Mansoura.-Overview:...

 
Mansura  Lower
Damietta  Damietta
Damietta
Damietta , also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile, about north of Cairo.-History:...

 
Lower
Faiyum  Faiyum  Upper
Gharbia  Tanta
Tanta
Tanta is a city in Egypt. It is the country's fifth largest populated area, with an estimated 429,000 inhabitants . Tanta is located north of Cairo and southeast of Alexandria...

 
Lower
Giza  Giza  Upper
Ismailia  Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

 
Canal
Kafr el-Sheikh
Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate
Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate is one of the governorates of Egypt. It lies in the northern part of the country, along the western branch of the Nile in the Nile Delta. Its capital is the city of Kafr el-Sheikh.-History:...

 
Kafr el-Sheikh
Kafr el-Sheikh
Kafr el-Sheikh is the capital of Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate, Egypt, about 134 km north of Cairo, in the Nile Delta. As of November 2006, the town had a population of 147,380 inhabitants.-Factories:...

 
Lower
Luxor  Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

 
Upper
Governorate Capital Location
Matruh  Mersa Matruh  Western
Minya
Minya Governorate
Minya Governorate is one of the governorates of Upper Egypt. The name originates from the chief city of the governorate, originally known in Sahidic Coptic as Tmoone and in Bohairic as Thmonē , meaning “the residence”, in reference to a monastery formerly in the area...

 
Minya
Minya, Egypt
Minya is the capital of Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt. It is located approximately south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city...

 
Upper
Monufia  Shibin el-Kom
Shibin el-Kom
Shibin el Kom is a city in Nile Delta, and the capital of the Monufia Governorate.-Facilities:While the city is not a new one, its infrastructure is being modernized. The most important central and local government offices are located in the city, as well as the main branches of Menoufia University...

 
Lower
New Valley  Kharga  Western
North Sinai  Arish  Sinai
Port Said  Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 
Canal
Qalyubia  Banha
Banha
Banha , also spelled Benha, is the capital of the Qalyubia Governorate in north-eastern Egypt. Egyptians call it Banha Elasal, which means "Sweet like honey"; the nomenclature originally comes from when the Prophet Muhammed sent his massage to Elmoqwqs to convert to Islam, he replied by sending him...

 
Lower
Qena  Qena
Qena
Qena is a city in Upper Egypt, and the capital of the Qena Governorate. Situated on the east bank of the Nile, it was known as Kaine during the Greco-Roman period and as Cainepolis in antiquity.- Overview :...

 
Upper
Red Sea  Hurghada
Hurghada
Hurghada is a city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt. It is a main tourist center and second largest city in Egypt located on the Red Sea coast.- Overview :...

 
Eastern
Sharqia  Zagazig
Zagazig
Zagazig is a town in Lower Egypt. Situated in the eastern part of the Nile delta, it is the capital of the governorate of Sharqia.As of 1999, its population was approximately 279,000. It is built on a branch of the Fresh Water or Ismaïlia Canal and on al-Muˤizz Canal , and is 47 miles by rail...

 
Upper
Sohag  Sohag  Upper
South Sinai  el-Tor
El-Tor
El-Tor , also transliterated as Al-Tur and At-Tur and known as Tur Sinai, formerly Raithu, is the capital of South Sinai Governorate of Egypt, located at the Sinai Peninsula...

 
Sinai
Suez  Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

 
Canal

Human rights



Several local and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 and Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

, have for many years criticized Egypt's human rights record as poor. In 2005, President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 faced unprecedented public criticism when he clamped down on democracy activists challenging his rule. Some of the most serious human rights violations, according to HRW's 2006 report on Egypt, are routine torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

, arbitrary detentions and trials before military and state security courts.

Egypt has also been cited for discriminatory personal status laws governing marriage, custody and inheritance, which critics say put women at a disadvantage. Laws concerning Copt
Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

ic Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s which place restrictions on church building and open worship have been recently eased, but major construction still requires Government approval, while sporadic attacks on Christians and churches continue. Intolerance of Bahá'ís
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 and unorthodox Muslim sects, such as Sufis
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 and Shi'a, also remains a problem.

The Egyptian legal system only recognizes three religions: Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. When the Government moved to computerize identification cards, members of religious minorities, such as Bahá'ís, could not obtain identification documents
Egyptian identification card controversy
The Egyptian identification card controversy is a series of events, beginning in the 1990s, that created a de facto state of disenfranchisement for Egyptian Bahá'ís, atheists, agnostics, and other Egyptians who did not identify themselves as Muslim, Christian, or Jewish on government identity...

. An Egyptian court ruled in early 2008 that members of other faiths can obtain identity cards without listing their faiths, and without becoming officially recognized. (For more on the status of religious minorities, see the Religion section.)

In 2005, the Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 rated political rights in Egypt at "6" (with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least), civil liberties
Civil liberties
Civil liberties are rights and freedoms that provide an individual specific rights such as the freedom from slavery and forced labour, freedom from torture and death, the right to liberty and security, right to a fair trial, the right to defend one's self, the right to own and bear arms, the right...

 as "5" and gave it the freedom rating of "Not Free." It however noted that "Egypt witnessed its most transparent and competitive presidential and legislative elections in more than half a century and an increasingly unbridled public debate on the country's political future in 2005." For freedom of the press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

, Egypt was deemed "Partly Free" in 2008, ranking 124 out of the 196 countries surveyed.

In 2007, Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 released a report criticizing Egypt for torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 and illegal detention. The report alleges that Egypt has become an international center for torture, where other nations send suspects for interrogation, often as part of the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. The report calls on Egypt to bring its anti-terrorism laws
Anti-terrorism legislation
Anti-terrorism legislation designs various types of laws passed in the aim of fighting terrorism. They usually, if not always, follow specific bombings or assassinations...

 into accordance with international human rights statutes and on other nations to stop sending their detainees to Egypt. Egypt's foreign ministry quickly issued a rebuttal to this report, claiming that it was inaccurate and unfair, as well as causing deep offense.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights , founded in April 1985 and with its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, is a non-profit NGO and one of the longest-standing bodies for the defense of human rights in Egypt. It investigates, monitors, and reports on human rights violations...

 (EOHR) is one of the longest-standing bodies for the defence of human rights in Egypt
Human rights in Egypt
The state of human rights in Egypt remains poor due to repressive government policies and brutal government crackdowns.-Rights and liberties ratings:...

. In 2003, the Government established the National Council for Human Rights, headquartered in Cairo and headed by former UN Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations....

 Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996...

 who directly reports to the President. The council has come under heavy criticism by local activists, who contend it undermines human rights work in Egypt by serving as a propaganda tool for the Government to excuse its violations and to give legitimacy to repressive laws such as the recently renewed Emergency Law. Egypt had announced in 2006 that it was in the process of abolishing the Emergency Law, but in March 2007, Mubarak approved several constitutional amendments to include "an anti-terrorism clause that appears to enshrine sweeping police powers of arrest and surveillance", suggesting that the Emergency Law will remain for the long haul.

According to the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 in 2008, an estimated 91.1% of Egypt's girls and women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to genital mutilation.

Economy


Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, and tourism; there are also more than three million Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and Europe. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970 and the resultant Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt, and northern Sudan, and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Strictly, "Lake Nasser" refers only to the much larger portion of the lake that is in Egyptian territory , with the Sudanese preferring to call their smaller body of water...

 have altered the time-honored place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population, limited arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress the economy.

The government has invested in communications and physical infrastructure. Egypt has received U.S. foreign aid (since 1979, an average of $2.2 billion per year) and is the third-largest recipient of such funds from the United States following the Iraq war. Its main revenues however come from tourism as well as traffic that goes through the Suez Canal.

Egypt has a developed energy market based on coal, oil, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, and hydro power
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

. Substantial coal deposits are in the northeast Sinai, and are mined at the rate of about 600000 tonnes (590,522.1 LT) per year. Oil and gas are produced in the western desert regions, the Gulf of Suez
Gulf of Suez
The northern end of the Red Sea is bifurcated by the Sinai Peninsula, creating the Gulf of Suez in the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. The Gulf of Suez is formed within a relatively young, but now inactive rift basin, the Gulf of Suez Rift, dating back about 28 million years...

, and the Nile Delta. Egypt has huge reserves of gas, estimated at 1940 cubic kilometres (465.4 cu mi), and LNG
Liquefied natural gas
Liquefied natural gas or LNG is natural gas that has been converted temporarily to liquid form for ease of storage or transport....

 is exported to many countries.

Economic conditions have started to improve considerably after a period of stagnation from the adoption of more liberal economic policies by the Government, as well as increased revenues from tourism and a booming stock market
Stock market
A stock market or equity market is a public entity for the trading of company stock and derivatives at an agreed price; these are securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately.The size of the world stock market was estimated at about $36.6 trillion...

. In its annual report, the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) has rated Egypt as one of the top countries in the world undertaking economic reforms. Some major economic reforms taken by the new government since 2003 include a dramatic slashing of customs and tariffs. A new taxation law
Tax law
Tax law is the codified system of laws that describes government levies on economic transactions, commonly called taxes.-Major issues:Primary taxation issues facing the governments world over include;* taxes on income and wealth...

 implemented in 2005 decreased corporate taxes from 40% to the current 20%, resulting in a stated 100% increase in tax revenue
Tax revenue
Tax revenue is the income that is gained by governments through taxation.Just as there are different types of tax, the form in which tax revenue is collected also differs; furthermore, the agency that collects the tax may not be part of central government, but may be an alternative third-party...

 by the year 2006.

Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment or foreign investment refers to the net inflows of investment to acquire a lasting management interest in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor.. It is the sum of equity capital,other long-term capital, and short-term capital as shown in...

 (FDI) into Egypt has increased considerably in the past few years, exceeding $6 billion in 2006, due to the recent economic liberalization and priva
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

tization measures taken by minister of investment Mahmoud Mohieddin.

Although one of the main obstacles still facing the Egyptian economy is the trickle down of the wealth to the average population, many Egyptians criticize their Government for higher prices of basic goods while their standards of living
Standard of living
Standard of living is generally measured by standards such as real income per person and poverty rate. Other measures such as access and quality of health care, income growth inequality and educational standards are also used. Examples are access to certain goods , or measures of health such as...

 or purchasing power remains relatively stagnant. Corruption is often cited by Egyptians as the main impediment to further economic growth. The Government promises major reconstruction of the country's infrastructure, using money paid for the newly acquired third mobile license ($3 billion) by Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

.

Egypt's most prominent multinational companies are the Orascom Group
Orascom Group
The Orascom Group is an Egyptian conglomerate, established in 1976. The success of ventures within the Orascom Group as well as the other sectors of the company led to the management decision in 1997 to split Orascom into separate operating companies: Orascom Telecom Holding , Orascom Construction...

 and Raya Contact Center. The IT sector has expanded rapidly in the past few years, with many start-ups selling outsourcing services to North America and Europe, operating with companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and other major corporations, as well as many small and medium enterprises. Some of these companies are the Xceed Contact Center
Xceedcc
Xceed is a global provider of multi-lingual Business Process Outsourcing services. Xceed was established in 2001 to serve as the IT arm of Telecom Egypt with a client base of more than 11 million subscribers. Since then, Xceed has developed into a global provider of BPO services, with sites at...

, Raya, E Group Connections and C3. The sector has been stimulated by new Egyptian entrepreneurs with Government encouragement.

An estimated 2.7 million Egyptians abroad contribute actively to the development of their country through remittances
Remittances
A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country. Note that in 19th century usage a remittance man was someone exiled overseas and sent an allowance on condition that he not return home....

 (US$ 7.8 billion in 2009), as well as circulation of human and social capital and investment.

Demographics


Egypt is the most populated country in the Middle East and the third most populous on the African continent, at about 80 million inhabitants in 2009. Population grew rapidly from 1970–2010 due to medical advances and increases in agricultural productivity, enabled by the Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

. Egypt's population was estimated at only 3 million when Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 invaded the country in 1798. In 1939, Egypt had a population of 16.5 million.

The population is concentrated along the Nile (notably Cairo and Alexandria), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Approximately 90% of the population adheres to Islam
Islam in Egypt
The republic of Egypt has recognized Islam as the state religion since 1980. Egypt is predominantly Muslim, with around 80 million Muslims, comprising 94.7% of the population, as of 2010...

 and most of the rest to Christianity
Christianity in Egypt
Christianity is a minority religion in Egypt. Egyptian Christians are known as Copts and account for about 10% of the population. Despite the small proportion of Christians within Egypt, Egypt's Christian population is the largest in terms of absolute numbers in the greater region of the Middle...

, primarily the Coptic Orthodox denomination. Apart from religious affiliation, Egyptians can be divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centers and the fellah
Fellah
Fellah , also alternatively known as Fallah is a peasant, farmer or agricultural laborer in the Middle East and North Africa...

in or farmers of rural villages.

Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 are by far the largest ethnic group in Egypt at 91% of the total population. Ethnic minorities include the Abazas, Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

, Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

, the Berber-speaking Siwis
Siwis
The Siwis are a Berber-speaking group living in the Siwa Oasis. They are mainly based in Egypt. Their language is also called Siwi. The western desert of Egypt is one of the most arid areas of the world, apart from a little rain on the coastal strip. The Siwa are the inhabitants Egypt's Siwa Oasis,...

 (Amazigh
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

) of the Siwa Oasis
Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo....

, and the Nubian communities clustered along the Nile. There are also tribal Beja
Beja people
The Beja people are an ethnic group dwelling in parts of North Africa and the Horn of Africa.-Geography:The Beja are found mostly in Sudan, but also in parts of Eritrea, and Egypt...

 communities concentrated in the south-eastern-most corner, and a number of Dom
Dom people
The Dom of the Middle East are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group. Some authors relate them to the Domba people of India.- Culture :...

 clans mostly in the Nile Delta and Faiyum who are progressively becoming assimilated as urbanization increases. According to the International Organization for Migration
International Organization for Migration
The International Organization for Migration is an intergovernmental organization. It was initially established in 1951 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration to help resettle people displaced by World War II....

, an estimated 2.7 million Egyptians live abroad. Approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants live in Arab countries (923,600 in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, 332,600 in Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, 226,850 in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, 190,550 in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 with the rest elsewhere in the region) and the remaining 30 % are living mostly in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 (318,000 in the US, 110,000 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and 90,000 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

).

Egypt also hosts an unknown number of refugees and asylum seekers, estimated to be between 500,000 and 3 million. There are some 70,000 Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s, and about 150,000 recently arrived Iraqi refugees
Refugees of Iraq
Throughout the past 100 years, there have been a growing number of refugees fleeing Iraq and settling throughout the world, peaking recently with the latest Iraq War. Most of Iraqi Jews, some 120,000, fled the country in mass exodus of 1950-1952. Tens of thousands of Kurds turned displaced and fled...

, but the number of the largest group, the Sudanese
Sudanese refugees in Egypt
There are tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in Egypt, most of them seeking refuge from ongoing military conflicts in their home country of Sudan. Their official status as refugees is highly disputed, and they have been subject to racial discrimination and police violence...

, is contested. The once-vibrant Greek
Greeks in Egypt
-Antiquity:Greeks have been living in Egypt since the ancient times. Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century BC, claimed that the Greeks were one of the first foreigners that ever lived in Egypt. Diodorus Siculus attested that Rhodian Actis, one of the Heliadae built the city of Heliopolis...

 and Jewish communities in Egypt
History of the Jews in Egypt
Egyptian Jews constitute both one of the oldest and youngest Jewish communities in the world. While no exact census exists, the Jewish population of Egypt was estimated at fewer than a hundred in 2004, down from between 75,000 and 80,000 in 1922. The historic core of the indigenous community...

 have almost disappeared
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

, with only a small number remaining in the country, but many Egyptian Jews visit on religious occasions and for tourism. Several important Jewish archaeological and historical sites are found in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities.

In income distribution, an estimated "35 to 40%" of Egypt's population earn less than the equivalent of $2 a day, while at the high end 2–3% may be termed rich.

Languages


The official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of the Republic is Modern Standard Arabic. The spoken language
Spoken language
Spoken language is a form of human communication in which words derived from a large vocabulary together with a diverse variety of names are uttered through or with the mouth. All words are made up from a limited set of vowels and consonants. The spoken words they make are stringed into...

s are: Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

 (68%), Sa'idi Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
Sa`idi Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken by Sa'idis south of Cairo, Egypt to the border of Sudan. It shares linguistic features both with Egyptian Arabic, as well as Sudanese Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic...

 (29%), Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic
Bedawi Arabic
Bedawi Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken by Bedouins mostly in eastern Egypt, and also in Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Syria...

 (1.6%), Sudanese Arabic
Sudanese Arabic
Sudanese Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken throughout northern Sudan. It has much borrowed vocabulary from the local languages . This has resulted in a variety of Arabic that is unique to Sudan, reflecting the way in which the country has been influenced by both African and Arab cultures...

 (0.6%), Domari
Domari language
Domari is an Indo-Aryan language, spoken by the Dom people across the Middle East, mainly in Iran and Egypt, but significant numbers of speakers are also found in India where they are known as Domba....

 (0.3%), Nobiin
Nobiin language
Nobiin is a Northern Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan phylum. ‘Nobiin’ is the genitive form of Nòòbíí ‘Nubian" and literally means ‘ of the Nubians"...

 (0.3%), Beja
Beja language
Beja or North Cushitic is an Afro-Asiatic language of the southern coast of the Red Sea, spoken by about two million nomads, the Beja, in parts of Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea.-Classification:...

 (0.1%), Siwi
Siwi language
Siwi is a Berber language of Egypt, spoken by about 15,000 to 30,000 people in the oases of Siwa and Gara, near the Libyan border. The language has been heavily influenced by Egyptian Arabic, to a greater degree than most Berber languages...

 and others. Additionally, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 are the main languages of immigrants. In Alexandria in the 19th century there was a large community of Italian Egyptians and Italian was the "lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

" of the city.

The main taught foreign languages in schools are English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 and sometimes Italian.

The historical languages include the Egyptian languages (also known as Copto-Egyptian) consisting of ancient Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 and Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

, and form a separate branch among the family of Afro-Asiatic languages
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

.

The "Koiné" dialect of the Greek language
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 was important in Hellenistic Alexandria, and was used in the philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 of that culture, and was also studied by later Arabic scholars.

Religion


Egypt hosts two major religious institutions, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria established in the middle of the 1st century by Saint Mark the Evangelist
Mark the Evangelist
Mark the Evangelist is the traditional author of the Gospel of Mark. He is one of the Seventy Disciples of Christ, and the founder of the Church of Alexandria, one of the original four main sees of Christianity....

, and Al-Azhar University
Al-Azhar University
Al-Azhar University is an educational institute in Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 970~972 as a madrasa, it is the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world. It is the oldest degree-granting university in Egypt. In 1961 non-religious subjects were added to its curriculum.It is...

 founded in 970 CE by the Fatimids as the first Islamic University in the world.

Islam



Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as its state religion. The percentage of the adherents of various religions is a controversial topic in Egypt, with different sources citing different figures. Around 90% are identified as Muslim. A significant number of Muslim Egyptians also follow native Sufi
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 orders
Tariqah
A tariqa is an Islamic religious order. In Sufism one starts with Islamic law, the exoteric or mundane practice of Islam and then is initiated onto the mystical path of a tariqa. Through spiritual practices and guidance of a tariqa the aspirant seeks ḥaqīqah - ultimate truth.-Meaning:A tariqa is a...

, and there is a minority of Shi'a. Islam plays a central role in the lives of most Egyptian Muslims. The Adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

 (Islamic call to prayer) is heard five times a day, and has the informal effect of regulating the pace of everything from business to media and entertainment. Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 is famous for its numerous mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

s and is justifiably dubbed "the city of 1,000 minarets". Cairo also comprises a significant number of church towers
Steeple (architecture)
A steeple, in architecture, is a tall tower on a building, often topped by a spire. Steeples are very common on Christian churches and cathedrals and the use of the term generally connotes a religious structure...

.

Christianity



There is a significant Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 minority in Egypt, who make up between 5% and 10% of the population. Over 90% of Egyptian Christians belong to the native Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox Church. Other native Egyptian Christians are adherents of the Coptic Catholic Church
Coptic Catholic Church
The Coptic Catholic Church is an Alexandrian Rite particular Church in full communion with the Pope of Rome. Historically, Coptic Catholics represent a schism from the Coptic Orthodox Church, leaving that church in order to come into full communion with the Bishop of Rome.The current Coptic...

, the Evangelical Church of Egypt
Evangelical Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile)
The Evangelical Church of Egypt , in Arabic El-Kanisah El-Injiliyah , and sometimes referred to as the Coptic Evangelical Church of Egypt, is a Protestant church that started as a mission of the United Presbyterian Church of North America among Muslim and Coptic Egyptians in the late nineteenth...

 and various other Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 denominations. Non-native Christian communities are largely found in the urban regions of Cairo and Alexandria.
Coptic Christians face discrimination at multiple levels of the government, ranging from a disproportional representation in government ministries to laws that limit their ability to build or repair churches. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life ranks Egypt as the fifth worst country in the world for religious freedom. The Pew Forum also ranks Egypt among the 12 worst countries in the world in terms of religious violence against religious minorities and in terms of social hostilities against Christians. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate...

 has placed Egypt on its watch list for religious freedom that requires close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the government.

Coptic Christians
Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

 are minimally represented in law enforcement, state security and public office, and are being discriminated against in the workforce on the basis of their religion. The Coptic community, as well as several human rights activists and intellectuals, maintain that the number of Christians occupying government posts is not proportional to the number of Copts in Egypt. They are also the victims of discriminatory religious laws, anti-Christian judges, and anti-Christian state police. Anti-Christian laws include laws governing repairing old churches or constructing new ones, which are usually impossible tasks, requiring presidential permission to build a new church, and a governor’s permission to renovate even the bathroom in an already-built church. Anti-Christian judges tend to "legislate from the bench". An example includes an Egyptian court's refusal to grant Muslim Egyptians who convert to Christianity identity cards that display their new religion.

According to Magdi Khalil, since Mubarak took office in 1981, Copts have suffered over 1,500 attacks and have lost millions of dollars worth of property. After the ousting of Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

, violent incidents have continued. The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard is an American neoconservative opinion magazine published 48 times per year. Its founding publisher, News Corporation, debuted the title September 18, 1995. Currently edited by founder William Kristol and Fred Barnes, the Standard has been described as a "redoubt of...

 magazine has noted six cases of anti-Christian sentiment and violence by extremist Salafist groups, some of which have gone unpunished. On 7 May 2011, a church was burnt down in Cairo.

Religious minorities



Egypt recognizes only three religions; Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Other faiths practiced by Egyptians, such as s small Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 community, are not recognized by the state. Individuals wishing to include such religions on their state issued identifications are denied, and had been put in the position of either not obtaining required identification or lying about their faith. A 2008 court ruling allowed members of unrecognized faiths to obtain identification and leave the religion field blank.

Culture



Egyptian culture
Culture of Egypt
The culture of Egypt has thousands of years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself...

 has six thousand years of recorded history
Recorded history
Recorded history is the period in history of the world after prehistory. It has been written down using language, or recorded using other means of communication. It starts around the 4th millennium BC, with the invention of writing.-Historical accounts:...

. Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 was among the earliest civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s and for millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and other African countries. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenism
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

, Christianity, and Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

, itself with roots in ancient Egypt.

Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is Africa's largest city and has been renowned for centuries as a center of learning, culture and commerce. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab World. Some Egyptian born politicians were or are at the helm of major international organizations like Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1992 to December 1996...

 of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and Mohamed ElBaradei of the IAEA.

Egypt is a recognized cultural trend-setter of the Arabic-speaking world, and contemporary Arab culture is heavily influenced by Egyptian literature, music, film and television. Egypt gained a regional leadership role during the 1950s and 1960s, which gave a further enduring boost to the standing of Egyptian culture in the Arab world.

Identity


The Nile Valley was home to one of the oldest cultures in the world
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, spanning three thousand years of continuous history. When Egypt fell under a series of foreign occupations
History of Egypt
Egyptian history can be roughly divided into the following periods:*Prehistoric Egypt*Ancient Egypt**Early Dynastic Period of Egypt: 31st to 27th centuries BC**Old Kingdom of Egypt: 27th to 22nd centuries BC...

 after 343 BC, each left an indelible mark on the country's cultural landscape
Culture of Egypt
The culture of Egypt has thousands of years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations. For millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself...

. Egyptian identity evolved in the span of this long period of occupation to accommodate, in principle, two new religions, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

; and a new language, Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, and its spoken descendant, Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

.

After two thousand years of occupation, three ideologies competed for the attention of newly independent Egyptians: ethno-territorial Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism is an ideology that rose to prominence in Egypt before the British occupation to Egypt.- History :It is first used to refer to the native officers’ movement, led by Col. Ahmad ‘Urâbî, against Egyptian government policies that favored officers of Turkish, Circassian , or other...

, secular Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

/pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

, and Islamism
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

. Egyptian nationalism predates its Arab counterpart by many decades, having roots in the 19th century and becoming the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century. Arab nationalism reached a peak under Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 but subsided under Sadat; meanwhile, the ideology espoused by Islamists
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 such as the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 is present in small segments of the lower-middle strata of Egyptian society.

The work of early 19th-century scholar Rifa'a et-Tahtawi led to the Egyptian Renaissance, marking the transition from Medieval to Early Modern
History of Modern Egypt
The definition of modern history has varied in accordance to different definitions of Modernity. Some scholars date it as far back as 1517 with the Ottomans’ defeat of the Mamlūks in 1516–17...

 Egypt. His work renewed interest in Egyptian antiquity
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 and exposed Egyptian society to Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 principles. Tahtawi co-founded with education reformer Ali Mubarak a native Egyptology
Egyptology
Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of its native religious practices in the AD 4th century. A practitioner of the discipline is an “Egyptologist”...

 school that looked for inspiration to medieval Egyptian scholars, such as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who themselves studied the history
History of Ancient Egypt
The History of Ancient Egypt spans the period from the early predynastic settlements of the northern Nile Valley to the Roman conquest in 30 BC...

, language
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

 and antiquities
Ancient Egyptian architecture
The Nile valley has been the site of one of the most influential civilizations which developed a vast array of diverse structures encompassing ancient Egyptian architecture...

 of Egypt.

Egypt's renaissance peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the work of people like Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh was an Egyptian jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as the founder of Islamic Modernism...

, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Muhammad Loutfi Goumah
Muhammad Loutfi Goumah
Muhammad Loutfi Goumah , is an Egyptian patriot, essayist, author, and barrister, he studied law and became one of Egypt's most famous lawyers and public speakers...

, Tawfiq el-Hakim, Louis Awad
Louis Awad
Louis Awad was an Egyptian intellectual and writer.Born in the upper Egypt town of Minya, Egypt, Awad studied at the literature department of Cairo University before setting off to England for further studies before the Second World War...

, Qasim Amin
Qasim Amin
Qasim Amin born on 1 December 1863 Alexandria died April 22, 1908 Cairo was an Egyptian jurist and one of the founders of the Egyptian national movement and Cairo University. Qasim Amin was considered by many as the Arab world’s “first feminist”...

, Salama Moussa
Salama Moussa
Salama Moussa Born into a wealthy, land owning Coptic family in the town of Zagazig located in the Nile delta. Salama Musa was a journalist, writer, advocator of secularism, and pioneer of Arab socialism. He wrote or translated 45 published books; his writings still influence Arab thought and he...

, Taha Hussein and Mahmoud Mokhtar
Mahmoud Mokhtar
Mahmoud Mukhtar was an Egyptian sculptor. Notwithstanding his prematurely early death, his impact on contemporary Egyptian art has been colossal...

. They forged a liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 path for Egypt expressed as a commitment to personal freedom, secularism
Secularism
Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries...

 and faith in science to bring progress.

Art and architecture



The Egyptians were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art and architecture. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

s followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Egyptian civilization is renowned for its colossal pyramids
Egyptian pyramids
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped masonry structures located in Egypt.There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. Most were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found...

, temple
Egyptian temple
Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods and commemoration of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt and in regions under Egyptian control. These temples were seen as houses for the gods or kings to whom they were dedicated...

s and monumental tombs. Well-known examples are the Pyramid of Djoser
Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser , or step pyramid is an archeological remain in the Saqqara necropolis, Egypt, northwest of the city of Memphis. It was built during the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by Imhotep, his vizier...

 designed by ancient architect and engineer Imhotep
Imhotep
Imhotep , fl. 27th century BC was an Egyptian polymath, who served under the Third Dynasty king Djoser as chancellor to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis...

, the Sphinx
Sphinx
A sphinx is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head or a cat head.The sphinx, in Greek tradition, has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman. She is mythicised as treacherous and merciless...

, and the temple of Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel temples refers to two massive rock temples in Abu Simbel in Nubia, southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 230 km southwest of Aswan...

. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene, from the vernacular architecture of Hassan Fathy
Hassan Fathy
Hassan Fathy was a noted Egyptian architect who pioneered appropriate technology for building in Egypt, especially by working to re-establish the use of mud brick and traditional as opposed to western building designs and lay-outs...

 and Ramses Wissa Wassef
Ramses Wissa Wassef
Ramses Wissa Wassef was an Egyptian architect and professor of art and architecture at the College of Fine Arts in Cairo.-Biography:...

, to Mahmoud Mokhtar
Mahmoud Mokhtar
Mahmoud Mukhtar was an Egyptian sculptor. Notwithstanding his prematurely early death, his impact on contemporary Egyptian art has been colossal...

's sculptures, to the distinctive Coptic iconography
Coptic art
Coptic art is a term used either for the art of Egypt produced in the early Christian era or for the art produced by the Coptic Christians themselves. Coptic art is most well known for its wall-paintings, textiles, illuminated manuscripts, and metalwork, much of which survives in monasteries and...

 of Isaac Fanous
Isaac Fanous
Isaac Fanous was an Egyptian artist and scholar, who specialized in Coptic art and founded its contemporary school.-Early life and teaching:...

.

The Cairo Opera House
Cairo Opera House
The Cairo Opera House , part of Cairo's National Cultural Center, is the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Home to most of Egypt's finest musical groups, it is located on the southern portion of Gezira Island in the Nile River, in the Zamalek district west of and near downtown...

 serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Egypt's media and arts industry has flourished since the late 19th century, today with more than thirty satellite channels and over one hundred motion pictures produced each year. Cairo has long been known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East;" its annual film festival, the Cairo International Film Festival
Cairo International Film Festival
The Cairo International Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Cairo, Egypt. It was established in 1976 and was the first international film festival held in the Arab world...

, has been rated as one of 11 festivals with a top class rating worldwide by the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations. To bolster its media industry further, especially with the keen competition from the Persian Gulf Arab States and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, a large media city was built. Some Egyptian-born actors include Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif is an Egyptian actor who has starred in Hollywood films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and Funny Girl. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won two Golden Globe Awards.-Early life:...

.

Media



Egyptian media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 are highly influential throughout the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, attributed to large audiences and increasing freedom from government control. Freedom of the media is guaranteed in the constitution; however, many laws still restrict this right. After the Egyptian presidential election of 2005
Egyptian presidential election, 2005
The Egyptian presidential election of 2005, held on September 7, 2005, was the first allegedly contested presidential election in Egypt's history. Hosni Mubarak, the former President of Egypt, won a fifth consecutive six-year term in office, with official results showing he won 88.6% of the vote...

, Ahmed Selim, office director for Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi, declared an era of a "free, transparent and independent Egyptian media."

Today, the Egyptian media is experiencing greater freedom. Several Egyptian Talk shows, like 90 Minutes and Al- Ashera Masa'an, which air on private channels, and even state television programs such as El-beit beitak criticize the Government, which was previously banned.

Literature


Literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 is an important cultural element in the life of Egypt. Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated throughout the Middle East. The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab
Zaynab (novel)
Husayn Haykal's Zaynab is the first modern Egyptian novel published in 1913. The book depicts life in the Egyptian countryside and delves into the relationships between men and women.-Plot introduction:...

 by Muhammad Husayn Haykal
Muhammad Husayn Haykal
Muhammad Hussein Haekal was an Egyptian writer, journalist, politician and Minister of Education in Egypt.- Life :...

 was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published over 50 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie...

 was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

. Egyptian women writers include Nawal El Saadawi
Nawal El Saadawi
Nawal El Saadawi , born October 27, 1931, is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist. She has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society....

, well known for her feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

, and Alifa Rifaat
Alifa Rifaat
Fatimah Rifaat better known by her pen name Alifa Rifaat, was an Egyptian author whose controversial short stories are renowned for their depictions of the dynamics of female sexuality, relationships, and loss in rural Egyptian culture...

 who also writes about women and tradition.

Vernacular poetry is perhaps the most popular literary genre
Literary genre
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. Genre should not be confused with age category, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young-adult, or children's. They also must not be confused...

 among Egyptians, represented by the works of Ahmed Fouad Negm
Ahmed Fouad Negm
Ahmed Fouad Negm -Background:Ahmed Fouad Negm was born to a family of fellahin the Egyptian countryside. His mother, Hanem Morsi Negm, was a housewife, and his father Mohammed Ezat Negm, a police officer. Negm was one of seventeen brothers, only six of whom are still living...

 (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi. In their belief, boats were used by the dead to accompany the sun around the world, as Heaven was referred to as “Upper Waters”. In Egyptian mythology, every night the serpentine god Apophis would attack the Sun Boat as it brought the sun (and as such order )back to the Kingdom in the morning. It is referred to as the “Boat of Millions” as all the gods and souls of the blessed dead may at one point or another be needed to defend or operate it.

Music




Egyptian music
Music of Egypt
The music of Egypt has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians credited one of their Gods Thoth with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world...

 is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. In antiquity
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, including two indigenous instruments: the ney
Ney
The ney is an end-blown flute that figures prominently in Middle Eastern music. In some of these musical traditions, it is the only wind instrument used. It is a very ancient instrument, with depictions of ney players appearing in wall paintings in the Egyptian pyramids and actual neys being found...

 and the oud
Oud
The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging paths...

. Percussion and vocal music also became an important part of the local music tradition ever since. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of people such as Abdu-l Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmud Osman, who influenced the later work of Egyptian music giants such as Sayed Darwish
Sayed Darwish
Sayed Darwish was an Egyptian singer and composer who was considered the father of Egyptian popular music and one of their greatest musicians and their single greatest composer. He was born in Alexandria on March 17, 1892. Darwish died of a heart attack in Alexandria on September 15, 1923 . The...

, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab
Mohammed Abdel Wahab
Mohammed Abdel Wahab , also transliterated Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab was a prominent 20th-century Arab Egyptian singer and composer...

 and Abdel Halim Hafez
Abdel Halim Hafez
Abdel Halim Ali Shabana commonly known as Abdel Halim Hafez , is among the most popular Egyptian and Arab singers and performers. In addition to singing, Halim was also an actor, conductor, business man, music teacher and movie producer...

. From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, while Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other festivities. Some of the most prominent contemporary Egyptian pop singers include Amr Diab
Amr Diab
Amr Abdol-Basset Abdol-Azeez Diab is an Egyptian singer and composer of geel music; the contemporary face of Egyptian el-geel pop music, according to World Music. Diab is the best-selling Arab recording artist of all time, according to Let's Go Egypt...

 and Mohamed Mounir
Mohamed Mounir
Mohamed Mounir is a popular Egyptian singer and actor. He is one of the best-known musicians, both in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, with a musical career spanning more than three decades. He incorporates various genres into his music, including classical Arabic Music, Nubian music, blues,...

.

Festivals


Egypt celebrates many festivals and religious carnivals, also known as mulid. They are usually associated with a particular Coptic or Sufi saint, but are often celebrated by all Egyptians irrespective of creed or religion. Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 has a special flavor in Egypt, celebrated with sounds, lights (local lanterns known as fawanees) and much flare that many Muslim tourists from the region flock to Egypt during Ramadan to witness the spectacle. The ancient spring festival of Sham en Nisim
Sham el nessim
Sham ennisim is an Egyptian national holiday marking the beginning of spring. It always falls on the day after the Eastern Christian Easter...

 (Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

: shom en nisim) has been celebrated by Egyptians for thousands of years, typically between the Egyptian months
Egyptian calendar
The ancient civil Egyptian calendar had a year that was 360 days long and was divided into 12 months of 30 days each, plus five extra days at the end of the year. The months were divided into three weeks of ten days each...

 of Paremoude
Paremoude
Parmouti , also known as Barmouda, is the eighth month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between April 9 and May 8 of the Gregorian calendar. Paremoude was also the fourth month of the Season of Proyet in Ancient Egypt, when the Nile floods recede and the crops start to grow throughout Egypt...

 (April) and Pashons
Pashons
Pashons , also known as Bashans, is the ninth month of the Coptic calendar. It lies between May 9 and June 7 of the Gregorian calendar. The month of Pashons is also the first month of the Season of 'Shemu' in Ancient Egypt, where the Egyptians harvest their crops throughout the land of Egypt...

 (May), following Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 Sunday.

Egypt is one of the boldest countries in the middle east in the music industry. The next generation of the Egyptian music is considered to be the rise, as the music was disrupted by some foreign influences, bad admixing, and abused oriental styles.
The new arising talents starting from the late 1990s are taking over the rein now as they play different genres of many cultures.
Rock And Metal music are prevailing widely in Egypt now,as much as the oriental jazz and folk music are becoming well-known now to the Egyptian and non-Egyptian fans

Sports



Football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 is the Popular National Sport
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

 of Egypt. Egyptian Football clubs Al-Ahly
Al-Ahly
Al-Ahly Sports Club , commonly known as simply Al-Ahly, is an Egyptian sporting club. Founded in April 1907, Al-Ahly was named in 2000 by the Confederation of African Football as the "African Club of the Century"...

, El Zamalek, Ismaily, El-Ittihad El-Iskandary and El Masry are the most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time regional champions. The great rivalries keep the streets of Egypt energized as people fill the streets when their favorite team wins. The Cairo Derby
Cairo derby
The Cairo Derby, also known as the Egyptian Clásico or the Egyptian Derby, is a football match between Egyptian clubs Al-Ahly S.C. and Zamalek SC. It is a match between arguably the two most successful clubs in Egypt and Africa. Ahly and Zamalek were named by the Confederation of African Football...

 is one of the fiercest derbies in Africa and the world, the BBC even picked it as one of the toughest 7 derbies in the world. Egypt is rich in soccer history as soccer has been around for over 100 years. The Egyptian national football team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings
FIFA World Rankings
The FIFA World Rankings is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Spain. The teams of the member nations of FIFA , football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest...

. The country is home to many African championships such as the Africa Cup of Nations. While, Egypt's national team has not qualified for the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 since 1990, the Egyptian team won the Africa Cup Of Nations an unprecedented seven times, including two times in a row in 1957 and 1959 and an unprecedented three times in a row in 2006, 2008, and 2010 setting a world record.

Squash
Squash (sport)
Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball...

 and tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 are other popular sports in Egypt. The Egyptian squash team has been known for its fierce competition in international championships since the 1930s. Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana
Amr Shabana is a professional squash player from Egypt. He won the World Open in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, and reached the World No. 1 ranking in 2006.-Career overview:...

 is Egypt's best player and the winner of the world open three times and the best player of 2006.

The Egyptian Handball team also holds another record; throughout the 34 times the African Handball Nations Championship
African Handball Nations Championship
The African Handball Nations Championship is the official competition for senior national handball teams of Africa, and takes place every two years...

 was held, Egypt won first place five times (including 2008), five times second place, four times third place, and came in fourth place twice. The team won 6th and 7th places in 1995, 1997 at the World Men's Handball Championship, and twice won 6th place at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

In 2007, Omar Samra
Omar Samra
Omar Samra is the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest. He reached the summit at precisely 9:49 am Nepal time on 17 May 2007.- Biography :...

 joined Ben Stephens (England), Victoria James (Wales) and Greg Maud (South Africa) in putting together an expedition to climb Mount Everest from its South side. The Everest expedition began on 25 March 2007 and lasted for just over 9 weeks. On the 17 May at precisely 9:49 am Nepal time, Omar became the first and youngest Egyptian to climb 8,850m Mount Everest. He also became the first Egyptian to climb Everest from its South face, the same route taken by Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953.

Egypt has taken part
Egypt at the Olympics
Egypt first participated at the Olympic Games in 1912, and has sent athletes to compete in most editions of the Summer Olympic Games since then. Along with Iraq and Lebanon, Egypt boycotted the 1956 Games in protest of the tripartite Israeli, British, and French invasion of Egypt in the Suez War...

 in the Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event, occurring every four years, organized by the International Olympic Committee. Medals are awarded in each event, with gold medals for first place, silver for second and bronze for third, a tradition that...

 since 1912.

See also


  • Outline of ancient Egypt
    Outline of ancient Egypt
    The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Egypt:Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt...



External links


Government
General
  • Country Profile from the BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Egypt Maps – Perry-Castañeda Map Collection

Other
  • Leonard William King, History of Egypt, Chaldea
    Chaldea
    Chaldea or Chaldaea , from Greek , Chaldaia; Akkadian ; Hebrew כשדים, Kaśdim; Aramaic: ܟܐܠܕܘ, Kaldo) was a marshy land located in modern-day southern Iraq which came to briefly rule Babylon...

    , Syria
    Syria
    Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

    , Babylonia
    Babylonia
    Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

    , and Assyria
    Assyria
    Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

     in the Light of Recent Discovery, Project Gutenberg.
  • Egyptian History (urdu)
  • By Nile and Tigris, a narrative of journeys in Egypt and Mesopotamia on behalf of the British museum between the years 1886 and 1913, by Sir E. A. Wallis Budge
    E. A. Wallis Budge
    Sir Ernest Alfred Thompson Wallis Budge was an English Egyptologist, Orientalist, and philologist who worked for the British Museum and published numerous works on the ancient Near East.-Earlier life:...

    , 1920 (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu
    DjVu
    DjVu is a computer file format designed primarily to store scanned documents, especially those containing a combination of text, line drawings, and photographs. It uses technologies such as image layer separation of text and background/images, progressive loading, arithmetic coding, and lossy...

     &layered PDF format)
  • Napoleon on the Nile: Soldiers, Artists, and the Rediscovery of Egypt.