About Egypt Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

History Of Egypt

Civilization Emerges in the Nile Valley 2-3

The Age of the Pharaohs (3200 BCE - 30 BCE) 3-4

British Colonial Rule (1914-1954) 4-5

Modern Egypt (1954 -- Present Day) 5-6

Conclusion & Suggestions

Egypt has always remained one of the most intriguing areas on the planet, with historians, archaeologists and laymen alike flocking to the country on a steady basis throughout the last two centuries to indulge their curiosity and explore the heart of human civilization. The home of iconic monuments built by the world's first civilizations -- including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx and a wide assortment of temples and ruins -- Egypt has come to represent the age of humanity's emergence for modern society. The age old cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor have become modernized during the last century, but visitors and residents to Egypt have come to recognize the nation's seemingly natural blend of antiquity and progress . From the ubiquitous images of mummies being exhumed from the underground tombs, to the tumultuous reign of Cleopatra during the Roman era, Egypt boasts one of the longest continuous histories in the entire world. In this paper, I shall explore the history of ancient Egyptian civilization, along with the impact of colonialism on Egypt's development into a modern nation. Related issues to be discussed include the ancient civilizations ruled by the Pharaohs, the role of the Nile River and its valley in shaping Egyptian history, and the construction of the Suez Canal.

Main Body of Discussion

Civilization Emerges in the Nile Valley (6000 BCE -- 3200 BCE)

Thousands of years before cultures sprang up in Greece and Rome, the first civilizations were being built along the fertile farmlands of Egypt's Nile Valley, as the world's longest river created a true oasis in the desert. The development of agriculture itself is believed to be a product of the Nile Valley's astounding ability to support life, and early humans congregated here to grow food, thus creating the world's first cities (Janick, 2000, p. 28). For thousands of years, people improved their ability to cultivate wheat, flax, papyrus and other crops, domesticating animals and engaging in trade. Because the Nile River overflows its banks and spills into the surrounding Delta on an annual basis, the land of the Nile Valley is always replenished with nutrients from silt deposits, and this provided the opportunity for people to transition away from nomadic wandering to steady civilizations (Jankowski, 2000, p. 16). Surrounded for hundreds of miles by the desolate Sahara Desert, Egypt's first cities of Cairo and Alexandria became the home of millions of inhabitants, and today 99% of Egyptians occupy only about 5.5% of the country's land area, while 98% of Egyptians live on only 3% of its widespread territory (Fouberg & Murphy, 2009, p. 91).

The Age of the Pharaohs (3200 BCE - 30 BCE)

With great societies springing up throughout the Nile Valley, the inevitable human desires to rule and to be ruled led to a series of dynasties which spanned thousands of years. Known by many names today -- including the "Age of the Pyramids" and "the Old Kingdom" -- this era in human history was defined by the organization of civilizations under the rule of a deity-figure known as the Pharaoh. There were dozens of Pharaohs who ruled over Egypt during its ancient history, and many of these figures of worship built the incredible monuments we still revere to this day (Jankowski, 2000, p. 22). From the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza to towering obelisks, Egyptian Pharaohs attempted to achieve immortality by creating buildings, temples and pyramids which could stand forever in tribute to their glory (Midant-Reynes, 2005, p. 45). Many of the most famous Pharaohs also came to believe in their own worship, aspiring to live as truly divine beings, and religion at the time motivated them to explore ways of preserving the human body for posterity. Believing that the soul could be made immortal if the body never decomposed, the early Egyptian Pharaohs perfected the process of mummification, draining the dead body of fluids and wrapping it in the distinctive "mummy" attire the world knows today. Among the most powerful Pharaohs to rule over ancient Egypt were Ramesses II, King Tutankhamen, and Cleopatra VII, one of the only female Pharaohs ever (Midant-Reynes, 2005, p. 52).

British Colonial Rule (1914 -- 1954)

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is the case with the majority of nations which were conquered and colonized by the British during their reign of global imperialism, the Egyptian people of Northern Africa experienced a rapid restructuring of an age old cultural identity system. Located in the "Cradle of Civilization" -- a region straddling both the African continent and the Arab-speaking Middle East -- Egypt has long been home to a diverse population that represents its many cultural influences, with Arab adherents of Islam living in relative stability alongside Christians, Jews, tribal bands of native peoples, and even a thriving population of refugees from nearby conflicts in Syria and Lybia. After being co-opted as a British protectorate in the early 20th century to fuel a flailing textile industry, the fertile valley lands along the Nile were transformed once again, this time into cotton plantations. According to economic historian Charles Issawi, as early as 1880 more than 80% of Egypt's export trade and 44% of its imported goods were asspcoated with British trading, and by 1914 cotton had become the vast majority (90%) of Egyptian imports worldwide (1961, p. 8).

The modern colonial scholar Mahmood Mamdani has observed that "British colonial governance was about identity formation & #8230; (because) the colonial political objective involved more than just redefining the relationship between colonial power and subject; it involved reshaping the very self-consciousness of the colonized, how they thought of themselves, their self-identity" (Mamdani, 2009). This phenomenon occurred in Egypt is well, despite the era of British colonial rule lasting for a shorter duration than in many other Middle Eastern or African nations. The British protectorate changed the title of Egypt's head of state from khedive to sultan, in an effort to remove Ottoman influence (Jankowksi, 2000, p. 97), and even today the modern Egyptian style of architecture, urban planning, and even fashion is heavily influenced by the era of British occupation.

Modern Egypt (1954 -- Present Day)

For decades following the departure of British military forces from Egypt in 1954, the country strived to become a republic ruled in accordance with democratic ideals, but a series of corrupt presidents like Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak shrunk the nation's middle class in order to consolidate power. Although Egypt has been considered an American ally since the Cold War era, relations remained tense between the two countries as Egypt's government became active in regional conflicts. Nonetheless, Egypt also emerged as one of Israel's lone allies in the Arab world, and for years the nation came to represent a happy marriage of Western and Aram ideals (Jankowski, 2000, p. 105). Today, however, Egypt has been thrust into turmoil as a result of internal politics, as a series of spontaneous uprisings and protests so-called "Arab Spring" led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Egypt's Middle Eastern neighbors like Syria, caused by the merciless drive towards civil war by dictator Bashar al-Assad and his militant actions, actually have their roots in the democratic uprisings to rock Egyptian society during the last two years.

Conclusion & Suggestions

When the authoritarian regimes of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt were threatened by the revolutionary power of public protest, the State Department and other wings of the American federal government offered indirect assistance and moral support to the dissenters. Although many international foreign policy experts agree with the prevailing assessment that "the Afghanistan and Iraq wars have diminished the United States' political will, military capability, and diplomatic credibility to conduct future humanitarian interventions" (Kurth 2005, 87), America's influence on the Egyptian and Libyan "Arab Springs" cannot be understated. The ultimate fall from power of both Gaddafi, who chose to turn his army against the Libyan people, and Mubarak, who sensibly sought refuge abroad, demonstrated that Egypt is still capable of delivering democratic freedoms to those who seek it. While the tactical advantages of backing the Egyptian and Libyan uprisings were evidently clear at the time, the Middle Eastern region has been confronted with a far more complex dilemma as the Syrian conflict has ignited a full blown civil war. Today, Egypt exists in a state of constant unrest and turmoil, as the Muslim Brotherhood government was recently overthrown, leading to a renewed series of protests throughout the nation.


Fouberg, Erin H.; Murphy, Alexander B. (4 December 2009). Human Geography: People, Place,

and Culture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 91.

Issawi, Charles. (1961). Egypt since 1800: A study in lop-sided development. The Journal of Economic History, 21(1), 1-25.

Janick, J. (2000, October). Ancient Egyptian agriculture and the origins of horticulture.

In International Symposium…

Sources Used in Documents:


Fouberg, Erin H.; Murphy, Alexander B. (4 December 2009). Human Geography: People, Place,

and Culture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 91.

Issawi, Charles. (1961). Egypt since 1800: A study in lop-sided development. The Journal of Economic History, 21(1), 1-25.

Janick, J. (2000, October). Ancient Egyptian agriculture and the origins of horticulture.

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