Throughout 3.000 years of history, the Egypt ancient had a total of 33 dynasties. First of all, it is key to know the definition of dynasty, which is the following: set of rulers who come from the same family.
In this article you will find a summary of the history of Egypt divided into stages, among which we highlight the most important events of the main dynasties and their pharaohs. Today, we know all these facts thanks in part to Manetho, an Egyptian historian of the third century BC.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
This first period goes from 3000 to 2686 BC and included the first two Egyptian dynasties. In the beginning, the High and the Low Egypt they were two different kingdoms, but Menes, also called Narmer, king of Upper Egypt, conquer the other part.
It is after the proto-dynastic period when, after unifying the two parts of the territory, the dynasty I, whose capital is fixed in Memphis. There were a total of eight pharaohs and cities began to develop along the Nile. In addition, writing is created. You have more information about her in this article: Egyptian writing and hieroglyphs: meaning and characteristics.
In Dynasty II, whose first president was Hetepsejemuy, power was centralized, through which around ten pharaohs. During these years there was a kind of conflict or civil war, since all the governors used the title of Horus, minus Sejemib, who used that of Seth.
In 2686 BC the Old Kingdom began, when the leaders managed to form a central government that had absolute power. This power remained until 2181 BC and four different dynasties passed through power. It was one of the prosperous times of Ancient Egypt.
Within Dynasty III, Zoser stands out, since the first pyramid was erected during his mandate: the Step Pyramid of Zoser, in Saqqara. Also, mines began to be exploited in Sinai, a peninsula in the Middle East.
In Dynasty IV war expeditions were sent to Nubia and Libya. On the other hand, the Great Pyramid of Cheops was built, as well as the Great Sphinx of Khafre, both in Giza.
It is during Dynasty V, founded by Userkaf, when religion takes more relevance and Ra and Osiris are given more importance. They begin to make funerary engravings on the pyramids.
It is in Dynasty VI when the first pharaoh of the Egyptian civilization, besides being one of the first female rulers in the world: Nitocris. This period ends due to the confrontations between the pharaohs and the nobles.
First Intermediate Period
Between 2181 and 2025 BC we find the First Intermediate Period. At this time of war they ruled from Dynasty VIII to X. This first was brief and suffered a serious economic instability. Hardly any documents are preserved and there was a notable looting of the pyramids.
At this stage there is a invasion Asia in the Nile Delta. The crisis and clashes with the nomarchs, the governors of each department of the territory.
The pharaohs of Dynasty IX only had influence in Lower Egypt, while the nomarchs they established their capital in Heracleópolis. The same thing happened in Dynasty X, which some texts suggest did not even come into existence.
In 2025 BC the Middle Kingdom begins, which lasts until 1773 BC It is a time when the arts developed, especially the manufacture of jewelry. Egypt achieved remarkable commercial power and continued with large construction projects. The capital became Thebes.
During the XI dynasty, the transition from the First Intermediate Period to the Middle Kingdom occurred, thanks to the pharaoh Mentuhotep II, who reunited all parts of Egypt.
In the 3.000th dynasty the Pyramid of Hawara was built, next to which a labyrinth was created which, according to Herodotus, a leading Greek historian of the XNUMXth century BC, had a total of XNUMX rooms. A canal was also built that connected the Nile with the Red Sea.
Although it was a time of splendor in which there were even new expeditions to the Middle East, the Hyksos, a people from the Middle East, invaded the Nile Delta.
Second Intermediate Period
During this period, which lasted between 1773 and 1550 BC, five dynasties followed each other. The XIII is characterized by short terms, of even months, executed by military and foreigners.
None of these rulers achieve absolute power from Egypt. What's more, this territory is divided into three regions different, which were established in these areas:
- The Nile Delta and Memphis
- The territory from El-Fayum to Nubia
- Thebes and its region
Two independent kingdoms were formed in the 70th dynasty: the northwestern and the northeastern delta. The rulers were still foreigners and were around XNUMX. The Hyksos controlled the north of the empire during the XNUMXth dynasty. However, its five representatives preserved the Egyptian culture and organizational form.
The 70th dynasty ruled Upper Egypt for XNUMX years and located the capital at Thebes. From these dates there are hardly any archaeological remains. The pharaohs were local rulers.
The XNUMXth dynasty passed in the same way as the XNUMXth, while the Hyksos controlled the north and center of the empire. With the pharaoh Kamose there were clashes with the north and the Hyksos were expelled.
The New Kingdom made its way between 1550 and 1069 BC At this time there is a resurgence of art, although we also find corruption, theft and looting.
The time of maximum splendor of ancient Egypt occurred during the XNUMXth dynasty. Amenhotep IV performs a great change in religion, which happens to be monotheistic. He worships Aten, the sun god, and therefore changes his name to Akhenaten, which means glow of Aten.
During these years the capital passes from Thebes to Amarna. After his reign, his wife Nefertiti ruled. Later, at the hands of Tutankhamun, the capital returns to Thebes and previous beliefs are reestablished.
If you want to know more about the life of Tutankhamun and the rest of the prominent pharaohs, we recommend this article: Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
The XNUMXth dynasty, along with the XNUMXth, is known as Ramsesid era. During this period, Ramses II conquered Nubia and ordered the construction of Abu Simbel. He was the pharaoh with whom the most buildings were made.
In the XNUMXth dynasty, Ramses III stopped the invaders from the Balkans, Asia Minor and the East. However, those known as Peoples of the Sea (the Trojans and some allies), end up settling in big cities like Memphis. After this ruler, the pharaohs are losing power in front of the high priests of Amun.
Third Intermediate Period
In 1069 BC the Third Intermediate Period begins, which lasts until 656 BC. At this stage the territory is once again divided between Lower and Upper Egypt. After the XNUMXst dynasty, both parties are ruled by leaders Libyans.
The first Libyan dynasty is the XXII. They bring some of their customs, such as establishing a kind of fiefdom. At the same time, a relative founds the XXIII dynasty.
Another Libyan tribe settled in western Egypt and created the XXIV dynasty, which tried unsuccessfully to conquer Upper Egypt. They produce changes in religion, since the cult of animals is carried out and the practice of oracles is extended.
Also at the same time we find the XXV dynasty, which conquered an area of Nubia and managed to control Upper Egypt. They reunited the empire and remained as the only ruling family. There were five pharaohs of Nubian origin, who became known as the black pharaohs.
In recent years, an Assyrian invasion occurred. These began by controlling Lower Egypt to end the power of the entire territory.
In the Late Period, between 672 and 332 BC, we find the XXVI dynasty or Saita, which comes from the XXIV and was the last of native origin. During this reign the empire falls and the persians they take Egypt. In this article you have more information about this other civilization: Ancient Mesopotamia: Most Important Civilizations.
The XXVII dynasty is also known as first persian domination. The XVIII is formed by a single ruler who reigned for six years: Amirteo. The XXIX dynasty moves the capital to Mendes. In recent years, revolutions have occurred.
In the XXX dynasty the expulsion of the Persians and a time of prosperity is achieved. However, in 343 BC, the Persians reconquered Egypt and the XXXI dynasty was established, which is characterized by violence and oppression. It is Alexander the Great who invades Persia and manages to expel this people from the area.
The phase between 332 and 30 BC is called Hellenistic period. In it, during the Macedonian dynasty, Alexander the Great is crowned pharaoh. He founds Alexandria and is succeeded by Philip III and Alexander IV.
Its general Ptolemy founds the Ptolemaic dynasty. He endowed Egypt with a stability that lasted for three centuries. In addition, he adopted the Egyptian traditions. From these years is the well-known Rosetta Stone.
The last pharaoh was Cleopatra VII, which joined with the Roman emperor Julius Caesar to defeat his brother and husband Ptolemy XIII, with whom he had several confrontations. Later, she married Marco Antonio. In the following image, we can see it represented on the left:
Finally, after the death of the couple, Emperor Augustus annexed Egypt to the Roman Empire, putting an end to one of the most important civilizations in history.
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