History of Egypt

Egyptian history begins in the 4th century when the Roman Empire split. Egypt was originally the Byzantine Empire, which was located on the eastern side of the empire. About 250 years after the split, Arabs invaded Egypt and had complete control of the area by 642 AD. Egypt was ruled by the Islamic Empire for about 300 years, until it was conquered by the Fatamids of Tunisia. It was during this time that Cairo was built and Tunisian rule lasted until 1171. Saladin took leadership in 1171 and began his 80 year Ayyubid dynasty. The famous King Tut reigned during the 18th dynasty, which occurred during the 1300s. Less than 100 years later the Ayyubids fell out of power and the Mamlukes took control until the early 1500s. During this entire period Egypt had a lot of power and wealth.

In 1517 Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Egypt was granted some freedom, but had to pay the Ottomans taxes. Egypt experienced increasing economic strife in the next three decades that included an outbreak of plague.

British Control

In 1798 Napoleon brought his army to Egypt in an effort to disrupt the relationship between Britain and India. He won an initial battle, but was

History of Egypt

History of Egypt

ultimately defeated by the British navy. His army stayed behind and Egyptian and British forces joined together to force surrender. Once the battle ended and the French left, there was a struggle for power in the country. This resulted in Mohammed Ali taking power as the Viceroy of Egypt.

Efforts to modernize Egypt began in the mid-1800s. A railroad system was constructed and a postal service was created. An uprising came late in the century when leader Khedive Ismail and his son Tewfiq were forced to sell Egypt’s shares in the recently built Suez Canal to the British. In response to the uprising, Britain sent troops into the country, which was not looked upon kindly by the native Egyptians. There were years of riots, until eventually, Egypt was again granted independent statehood from the British. However, the British still controlled a great deal of the country, including communication, foreign policy, and the legal system. The leaders of the country were appointed figureheads in the form of Fuad King of Egypt and his son, Farouk King of Egypt. Farouk took power in 1935.

German troops invaded Egypt in 1942, and British troops helped to fend them off. Anti-British sentiment in the country did not really decline, though, and riots continued, eventually driving the British troops from the country by 1947. There was a short war with Israel in 1948, resulting in a coup in which Farouk was removed from power. The leader who followed Farouk, Nasser, instituted a socialist regime. There were improvements in the social structure of the country, but the economy lagged and the system was oppressive for the citizens.

Socialism Ends

Anwar Sadat replaced Nasser in 1970. Sadat removed socialism and encouraged foreign investment. The economy took off and following a brief war with Israel, Sadat eventually made peace with the country through the Camp David Accords. In 1981, Sadat was assassinated and replaced by Hosni Mubarark. Mubarak was forced to resign in 2011 and the country faces economic and social turmoil.

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