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Egypt

Consequently, the Egyptian culture began to decline, and while the native population continued to speak their language, hieroglyphic writing slowly fell by the wayside.

The Roman Empire split during the 4th century, and Egypt was placed in the Eastern part of the empire, known as the Byzantine Empire. As their links with the old Greco-Roman world faded, the Byzantine Empire grew increasingly oriental in style.

In 639 AD an army of 4,000 Arabs crossed into Egypt from Palestine, and rapidly took control of the region, ending the 975 year Greco-Roman reign.

Medieval Egypt

Upon their settlement, the Arabs introduced Islam and Arabic, and subsequently dominated Egypt for many centuries. The Ottoman Turks gained control of Egypt in 1517, and aside from a brief French incursion (1798-1806), the Ottomans remained until the mid-19th century.

The Ottoman invasion caused a decline within Egypt's economic system, and, coupled with the effects of plague, exposed the country to foreign attackers.

Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt developed into a vital transportation hub, but fell heavily into debt. To protect its investments, Britain seized control in 1882.

Modern Egypt

Egypt became a British protectorate in 1914, then achieved partial independence in 1922, and full sovereignty in 1945.

The Egyptian Republic was officially declared on June 18, 1953, and General Muhammad Naguib was appointed the first president. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leader of the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, forced the resignation of Naguib in 1954, and assumed power in 1956.

In 1967, Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula as well as the Gaza Strip, which had been occupied by Egypt since 1948, and the Six Day War ensued. At wars end, Egypt lost both territories to Israel, and in 1973 launched a surprise attack (the October War) in an attempt to regain control.

A ceasefire was issued by the United Nations on October 24, 1973, and most fighting on the Egyptian front ended a couple of days later.


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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.