Ancient Egypt-Geography and Early Civilization

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1. Geography and early civilization:

Ancient Egypt was located in northeast Africa on the banks of the Lower Nile River, the longest river in the world. There were deserts that bordered Egypt on the east, south, and west with the Mediterranean Sea to the north. The river divided into channels to the north and formed the Nile Delta. Desert hill land was on the west of the Nile Valley and mountains were on the east.

The ancient Egyptians thought of their country as being divided into two types of land, the 'black land' and the 'red land'. The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile that was used for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was left there every year after the Nile flooded. The 'red land' was the desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighboring countries and invading armies and gave the ancient Egyptians a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.

Egypt was split into 2 kingdoms called Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The capital city of Lower Egypt was called Pe where the ruling king wore a red crown that symbolized his authority. The capital city of Upper Egypt was called Nekhen where the king wore a cone- shaped white crown. Upper Egypt was located in the south and Lower Egypt was located in north because of the flow of the river.

Around 3100 BC Menes became king in Upper Egypt and wanted to bring Upper and Lower Egypt together. Menes had his army invade and control Lower Egypt. He wore both crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt to show the people that he was the leader of both kingdoms. Menes was Egypt’s first pharaoh and he founded Egypt’s first dynasty. Menes built the city of Memphis at the southern tip of the Nile Delta. Memphis was a busy city that had government offices and lots of artists.

The First Dynasty lasted for about 200 years until rivals wanted to take over power and took over Egypt to form the Second Dynasty. The first two dynasties lasted for about four centuries until the Third Dynasty come into rule. The Third Dynasty was called the Old Kingdom. The Old Kingdom lasted about 500 years from 2700 to 2200 BC.

In 1750 BC the Hyksos invaded Lower Egypt on horses and chariots and took over power as pharaohs. The Egyptians finally decided to fight back after 200 years and Ahmose of Thebes became king. This rule was known as the eighteenth dynasty and the beginning of the New Kingdom. The new Kingdom lasted from 1550 to 1050 BC. Egypt wanted to stop any future invasions so they decided to turn Egypt into an empire. Egypt’s army took over the Hyksos land and then took over Syria to the north and the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

Ramses the Great took power during the 1200s BC. He lived in a city on the Nile Delta named Pi-Ramesse and increased the size of his kingdom. As a kid, he trained as a ruler and a warrior and made army captain at age 10. He built the temples at Karnak, Luxor and Abu Simbel. He fought the Hittites from Asia Minor but nobody won. The Tehenu also tried to invade the Nile Delta twice but were fought off by pharaoh Ramses. After Ramses died, warriors called the Sea Peoples sailed into Asia and destroyed the Hittites. They fought the Egyptians for fifty years until the Sea Peoples turned back. This ended the New Kingdom.

The main natural resource of Egypt was the Nile River. The River gave Egyptians fish, transportation and a yearly flood that fertilized the land so they could grow crops. Egypt also had different kinds of rocks and minerals that they used to mine into blocks. Holes were drilled in the rock’s surface and then they filled the holes with wood that was soaked with water. The wood expanded after time and caused the rock to split. Other natural resources the Egyptians used were copper, flint, flax and papyrus. Flint was used to make weapons and...
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