The history of Egypt like most other North African countries cannot be determined with certainty. However, Egypt’s history can be traced to the River Nile. More than 60,000 years ago, river Nile commenced its annual deluge of the land along its banks, this left fertile alluvial soils. Thus, the land along the banks became attractive due to the fertile soils for food production and ease of access to water. Furthermore, people were attracted to the Nile banks due to climatic changes; during dry periods, the Nile banks served as a human confinement area (Kemp 24). Therefore, the History of Egypt can be traced from the period of settlements along the Nile up until the Roman conquest, which occurred in 30BC.
The country’s history has been divided into five major categories: Prehistoric, Ancient, Greco-German, Islamic, and Modern Egypt. The periods are determined by the ruling dynasty of each pharaoh. The Prehistoric period, the earliest period in Egypt’s history, was the period of the earliest human settlement and span from the early dynastic Period in 3100BC; Narmer was the pharaoh. The period was followed by the predynastic period in about 3200BC; the period marked the end of the unification of Egypt under one pharaoh. This period was characterized by a dominant political force, which became the earliest unifying factor of the United Kingdom of Egypt. The period also marked the start of hieroglyphic writing, and names of the early rulers were inscribed on monuments (National Geographic Society 84).
The old kingdom proceeded the predynastic period; this occurred between 2755 and 2255BC. In this period, the capital was at Memphis, and the ruling elites possessed absolute power of the strongly unified government. Additionally, religion had a critical role in government. In fact, the government had developed into a theocracy; the pharaohs were absolute monarchies, and the gods of the earth (Kemp 292). The period spanned five centuries. It was ruled by the third to the sixth dynasties. The fifth dynasty maintained prosperity; however, the period marked the decline of the kingdom due to increased bureaucracy and power by the non-royal administrators.
In conclusion, ancient Egypt progressed under different pharaohs until the death of Muhammad Ali in 1848. This commenced the increasing influence of Egypt by European powers. The proceeding pharaohs who included Said Pasha and Ismail borrowed lavishly from the European bankers in an effort to develop the country (Kemp 342). However, this increased the country’s foreign debt, led to its bankruptcy, and its subsequent control by the French and British debtors. This marked the commencement of the British occupation, which ended in 1954.
Kemp, Barry. Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization. Routledge, 1991. Print.
National Geographic Society. Ancient Egypt: Discovering its Splendors. Washington DC:
National Geographic Society, 1978. Print.