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Between 3100 and 332 B.C was the rise and climax of one of the richest and oldest
ancient civilizations. It?s lifeline was the Nile river in the Nile valley. Here, Egyptian
dynasties ruled from the first cataract of the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea. At the it?s
height it ruled an empire that reached from Syria in the east to Nubia in the south.
In this report I will be covering the Archaic Period, the Old Kingdom, the Middle
Kingdom the New Kingdom and The Late Period or 3100-332 B.C.
Archaic Period: 3100 B.C to 2750 B.C
There long history began with there first King who began the first Egyptian dynasty. In
3100 B.C Pharaoh Menes united upper and lower Egypt. Making Egypt?s first empire. In
doing so, he made the Egyptian double crown. It was made by putting the red crown of
Lower Egypt on top of the white crown of upper Egypt.
Menes ruled from the ancient city of Thinis near Abydos. Under his reign the first
hieroglyphic writing was made. He is also credited with making his empire
Old Kingdom: 2750 B.C to 2181 B.C / First Intermediate Period: 2182-2260
Little is known about Menes successors until the reign of Zoser at the end of the 3rd
dynasty. His capital was located at Memphis on the Nile?s west bank. He built the
world?s first pyramid and the first building of that size to be entirely made of stone. Even
though it was a pyramid it wasn?t a true pyramid, but a step pyramid.
After the reign of the last king of the Sixth dynasty (the last dynasty in the old kingdom.)
Pepi II in 2181 B.C, there was a period of crisis and social upheaval known as the First
Intermediate Period. The reasons leading up to this dark time, was a series of low floods
and the result was famine during the Sixth dynasty. This undermined the stability of Egypt
and provoked rebellion.
What followed put Egypt in rapid decline. With no central power the provinces became
independent states the were often at war with each other. To make the situation worse
was a penetration of nomadic foreigners into the delta region of the Nile Valley.
Middle Kingdom: 2061-1784 B.C/Second Intermediate Period 1633-1570
The accession in 2060 B.C. of Mentuhotep II of Thebes the first pharaoh of the Middle
Kingdom, ended 90 years of conflict with a dynasty established a Herakleopolis, south of
Memphis. This strong Eleventh Dynasty ruler restored order in Egypt. He drove the
Asiatics from the delta and campaigned against the Libyans and nomadic tribes in the Sinai
and the eastern desert. Trade also expanded to Nubia, Syria and Palestine under his reign.
Mentuhotep II reigned for 50 years and was buried at Deir el-Bahri. Under the reign of
Sesostris II (1897-1878 B.C) huge irrigation works were built at the oasis at
Faiyum. Sesostris III (1878-1843) expanded Egypt?s southern border to the second
At such times of powerful rulers, Egypt was governed by an efficient administration.
Taxation provided much of the wealth and was carefully organized. A census of fields and
of all cattle was taken every two years. In addition to tax calculation and collection,
another important official function was the building up reserves of grain stocks to prevent
famine after a bad harvest. The state controlled all foreign trade and owned the mines and
After the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty in 1633 B.C Egypt fell into another period of
decline known as the second intermediate period. During this period Egypt was divided
into four areas: the southern area ruled by 17th dynasty Theban rulers, the central area
that owed allegiance to Thebes, the 15th and 16th dynasties or the Hyksos that ruled most
of the delta and the 14th dynasty that ruled a small are in the delta.
The Hyksos identity is not known and there was no evidence that they invaded Egypt.
This suggest that there takeover was peaceful as a result of their increased population in
the delta. During the middle kingdom the Hyksos were employed by the state of Egypt to
mine in the Sinai mines and in Egypt itself. Later their population in the delta was so large
that it was larger than the Egyptian population the delta, so this was the probable cause of
The Hyksos rule over Egypt was very unpopular with the people of Egypt and according
to tradition Hyksos were an anarchy, who were accused of burning temple and cities. But
evidence suggest that the Hyksos respected and even adapted to the Egyptian culture and
religion. And they also made many advances in many things. One of the more important
things were the
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