Monday, March 01, 2010
Gift of the Nile: Egypt
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 77.4 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found.
Egypt possesses one of the most developed and diversified economies in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service at almost equal rates in national production.
The ancient Egyptian name of the country is Kemet (km.t), which means "black land", referring to the fertile black soils of the Nile flood plains, distinct from the deshret (dšṛt), or "red land" of the desert.
The English name Egypt was borrowed from Middle French Egypte, from Latin Aegyptus, from ancient Greek Aígyptos.
The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period, c.2700−2200 BC., famous for its many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza Pyramids.
The New Kingdom (c.1550−1070 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power that expanded during its greatest extension to an empire as far south as Tombos in Nubia, and included parts of the Levant in the east. This period is noted for some of the most well-known Pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II.