A brief history of Egypt

Egyptian history can be traced back over 6,000 years. With such a long past to cover the history of Egypt is commonly limited to the key events, the era’s which have been integral to the history and development of Egyptian society and culture.

The unusual geographic circumstances of the land attracted early civilisations, encouraging them to settle along the banks of the river Nile and take advantage of the fertile land it created.

By the third millennium BC the civilisation living in Egypt had already developed a system of writing as well as comparatively advanced farming equipment but the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt caused a massive leap forward developmentally.

It was a momentous achievement on the part of King Menes and after the Unification was accomplished the iconic Age of the Pharaohs began.

Egypt was able to become an organised, effective society through the encompassing rule of the Pharaoh. Over the centuries that passed the Egyptian civilisation developed significant skills in shipbuilding and sailing; it implemented irrigation systems, learnt surgical methods and understood how to minister medical remedies. The Ancient Egyptians were also skilled sculptors, responsible for developing the legendary structure of the pyramid.

In 30 BC the structure of Egypt was violently shaken after Mark Antony and Queen Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus). After this event the majority of Egypt became Aegyptus – The Roman Province of Egypt.

The next seismic shift occurred in 641 when Egypt was conquered by Arab military commander Amr ibn al Asa. This event resulted in Egypt becoming an Arabic and Islamic state. It was during this era of hereditary autonomous dynasties that Cairo became Egypt’s capital and a cultural hub.

Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire after being conquered in 1517 by Sultan Selim I, but Ottomoan rule had been in place for just a century before the reestablishment of the Mamluk system.

The modern history of Egypt is the sadly familiar one of a land struggling to achieve independence. The extent of British investment in Egypt and the extent of British desire to control the Suez Canal saw the nation occupy Egypt from 1882.

Nominal independence was granted in 1922 but real independence took another thirty years and was achieved between the 1952 Revolution and the 1956 War.

Soon after Egypt achieved independence the nation suffered further losses of life, property and territory as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In 1979 Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords. Although this agreement ended the worst of the armed conflict between the nations the diplomatic conflicts continue to this day.