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Egypt's Timeline

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about 3100 BC

King Menes unified Upper and Lower Egypt and established his capital at Memphis, near present-day Cairo.

about 2600 BC

The Old Kingdom was notable for the construction of pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza was built around this time.

about 1400 BC

The Egyptian Empire reached its height during the reign of Thutmose III. Egypt controlled the Middle East from Syria to Ethiopia.

332 BC

Alexander the Great conquered Egypt and founded Alexandria.

31 BC

A Roman fleet decisively defeated Egyptian forces under Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. Egypt became a Roman province the next year.

AD 642

Arabs conquered Egypt and introduced Islam and the Arabic language into the country.

973

Shiite Fatimid rulers moved the capital from Alexandria to the new city of Cairo. Cairo quickly became a center of the Islamic world.

1171

Saladin overthrew the Fatimids and established the Ayyubid dynasty. Sunni Islam was restored as the state religion.

1250

Mameluke bodyguards overthrew the sultan and seized control of Egypt.

1517

Ottoman Turks invaded and conquered Egypt. The Mamelukes retained local authority, and eventually challenged Ottoman power in Egypt.

1798

Napoleon Bonaparte led a French invasion of Egypt. The invasion eventually failed, but many important archaeological treasures were found, including the famous Rosetta Stone, which was uncovered in 1799.

1805

Muhammad Ali secured control of Egypt and steered the country on an ambitious modernization program.

1882

British troops occupied Egypt. A nationalist movement soon sprang up.

1914

Great Britain declared Egypt a protectorate.

1922

Egypt became independent, but Great Britain retained many powers.

1942

The German advance in North Africa during World War II was halted by Allied forces at the Battle of Al ‘Alamayn (Al ‘Alamein).

1948

Egypt and other Arab countries invaded the newly created state of Israel, but were defeated.

1952

Gamal Abdel Nasser led a revolt that overthrew Egypt’s monarchy. Two years later Nasser assumed complete executive authority.

1956

Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal to finance the Aswan High Dam project. French, British, and Israeli armies invaded and captured the Sinai Peninsula. The United Nations helped negotiate a settlement.

1958

Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic. Syria withdrew in 1961, but Egypt continued to use the name until 1971.

1967

Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula and most of its air force during the Six-Day War with Israel.

1970

Nasser died and was succeeded by Anwar al-Sadat.

1973

Egypt fought Israel and was defeated in the Yom Kippur War.

1979

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty arranging for the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

1981

Sadat was assassinated by military officers. He was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.

1991

Egyptian forces participated in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq.

1994

The Egyptian government moved to quell attacks by militant Muslim fundamentalists.

1995

Archaeologists discovered the tomb of King Ramses II's many sons, the largest tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.