Egypt’s Nile Valley was one of the most fertile places in the ancient world. Each summer, monsoon rains swelled the Nile and flooded surrounding fields, depositing a rich layer of silt.
In prehistoric times, people settled along the river and began cultivating wheat and barley and building rafts of papyrus. Around 3000 B.C., a king from Upper Egypt led forces into the Nile Delta and conquered Lower Egypt, founding the first of more than 30 dynasties that would rule this land over the next 3,000 years.
Rulers from Thebes (today’s Luxor) inaugurated the Middle Kingdom around 2050 B.C. A time of expansion when Egyptian troops conquered much of Nubia (Sudan). Lords of Thebes also repelled an invasion by warriors called Hyksos around 1630 B.C.
Thebes emerged as capital of the New Kingdom (ca 1550 B.C.-1070 B.C.), when Egypt reached the height of its power. New on Kingdom rulers such as Ramses II sent armies against the Hittites and other Middle Eastern rivals. By 1000 B.C., however, Egypt was losing strength. In centuries to come, it fell subject to one foreign power after another.
Who Were The Pharaohs?
Along the Nile River, Irrigation allowed Egyptian farmers to increase the amount of land under cultivation and to produce enough food to support people involved in other pursuits, including priests and rulers.
Powerful men called pharaohs a term meaning “great house” collected taxes in the form of grain and drafted troops and laborers for military campaigns and public projects. Over time, the term “pharaoh” came to mean both the king and his palace.
Around 2700 B.C., Egypt entered its first great age of power and prosperity known as the Old Kingdom, marked by the construction of massive royal tombs like the Great Pyramid at Giza.
Completed around 2500 s.c. Pyramids wembo and the song ambitions of pharaohs, who decided with the sun god Ra. One witten in hieroglyphs by a royal sorbe proud that the pharaoh’s sport would rise up from the pyramid and unced to heaven as the eye of Renang the image on the American dollar bill
Ancient Egypt Mummy
Egyptians sought to preserve the body after death, fearing that the wandering soul might be lost if it had no corpse to return to.
Mummification, preparing the body of the dead by removing perishable internal organs and em balming the remains, was a practice originally confined to royalty. Poor people buried their dead in the sand, which inhibited decay.
In later times, however, many Egypttians were mummified and buried in coffins on which spells were inscribed to ward off evil and launch the spirit safely on its heavenly journey.
“I shall sail rightly in my bark,” reads one such verse. “I am lord of eternity in the crossing of the sky.” Mummified animals were buried as offerings to die ties such as the cat goddess, Bastet.
- CIRCA 3000 B.C. / King Narmer unifies Upper and Lower Egypt (the Nile Delta)
- CIRCA 2700 B.C. / OLD KINGDOM Egyptian pharaohs begin constructing huge pyramids
- CIRCA 2550 B.C. / Pharaoh orders Great Pyramid at Giza
- CIRCA 2050 B.C. / MIDDLE KINGDOM Rule After drought and famine, order Is restored
- CIRCA 1630 B.C. / Hyksos invade Nile Delta
- CIRCA 1550 B.C. / NEW KINGDOM Theban rule begins