The History of Ancient Egypt

This page will take you through the history of Ancient Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3000 BC) to the annexation of Egypt into the Roman Empire in 30 BC.

Ancient Egypt was a series of stable kingdoms, which were separated by periods of instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom (c. 2675-2130 BC), the Middle Kingdom (c. 1980-1630 BC) and the New Kingdom (c. 1539-1075 BC).

A Map of Ancient Egypt with the Main Cities and Sites. (c) Tina Ross

Click Here for the Timeline of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt reached the height of its power during the New Kingdom, ruling Upper and Lower Egypt, Nubia and much of the Near East. The end of the New Kingdom signalled a period of slow decline, whereby it was conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Achaemenid Persian Empire and Alexander the Great. After his death, Ptolemy I created the Ptolemaic Kingdom, which ruled Egypt until 30 BC, Cleopatra VII committed suicide and the Roman Empire annexed Egypt.

The key to the long success of Ancient Egypt was the River Nile. The fertile flood plains allowed the Egyptians to produce surplus crops, which in turn sustained a larger population and led to social development and culture. A complex social system of a bureaucracy of scribes, religious leaders and administrators under the rule of the pharaoh, who controlled the population through an elaborate system of religious beliefs, enabled Egypt to develop the hieroglyphic writing system, advance technologically, undertake colossal building projects and assert dominace over surrounding regions.

(c) Marek Szyszko

Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy on the Ancient and Modern World. Its art and architecture has been copiously copied and its artifacts have been carried off to other nations, even as early as the Romans, and its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for thousands of years.

The Old Kingdom (c. 2675-2130 BC)

The Middle Kingdom (c. 1980-1630 BC)

The New Kingdom (c. 1539-1075 BC)

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