The story of Egypt intersects the story in the Bible. We meet Egypt in the table of nations of Genesis 10 and Egypt is in and out of the story through the rest of the Bible. Abraham goes to Egypt in Genesis 12 to avoid a famine. Two generations later Joseph's brothers sell him into slavery and he travels to Egypt where he eventually becomes the prime minister. The whole of Jacob's family moves to Egypt to avoid the famine in Canaan but the land of rescue becomes the land of bondage.  After the Exodus the Lord is constantly reminding the people that He brought them out of Egypt.  Egypt then becomes a symbol of bondage. In its final days, when the kingdom of Judah is falling apart, we read in Jeremiah 42 the remnant of Judah is specifically told not to go to seek refuge from war in Egypt but to trust in the Lord and remain in the land.  And at that point at least they chose Egypt over faithfulness.

The Christian message spread to Egypt early in fact the time line below shows Christian settlements in the 50s.  The Coptic church also calls itself the See of St. Mark as traditionally Mark is the founder of the Church there.  Many of the Greek church fathers, for example Clement of AlexandriaOrigen and Athanasius were based there.    

Today Egypt is a country in North Africa, on the Mediterranean Sea, claims to be a continuation of one of the oldest civilizations on earth. Our English name for Egypt comes from the Greek Aegyptos (Αἴγυπτος)which was the Greek transliteration of the Egyptian name 'Hwt-Ka-Ptah' (which means House of the Spirit of Ptah, who was an ancient Egyptian God of craftsmen). In the early days Egypt was simply known as Kemet which means 'Black Land' so named for the rich, dark soil along the Nile River where the first settlements began. Later, the country was known simply as Misr which means 'country', a name still in use by Egyptians for their nation in the present day. Egypt was not itself a world empire but became part of various empires.  As an independent nation it was famous for great cultural advances in every area of human knowledge from the arts to science and technology.

The time line below starts before the Egypt coalesced into a single country and much of that is based on archeology rather than recorded history.  There are periods of strong central government and intermediate periods where the lack of central government produces warring city states. 

The Early Dynastic Period (c.3150-c.2686 BC) saw the unification of the north and south kingdoms of Egypt under the Pharaoh Manes (also known as Meni or Menes) of the south who conquered the north in 3118 BC. This version of the early history comes from the Aegyptica (History of Egypt) by the ancient historian Manetho who lived in either the 3rd century BC or 2nd century AD.  Modern scholars dispute his history as perhaps being over embellished.  During the period known as the Old Kingdom (c.2686-c.2181 BC) some of the most famous monuments in Egypt, such as the pyramids and the Great Sphinx at Giza, were constructed.  The era known as The First Intermediate Period (2181-2055 BC) saw a collapse of the central government. Independent states with their own rulers developed throughout Egypt until two great centers emerged: Hierakonpolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These centers founded their own dynasties which ruled their regions independently and intermittently fought with each other for supreme control until 2055 BC when the Theban Pharaoh Mentuhotep II defeated the forces of Hierakonpolis and united Egypt under the rule of Thebes. The stability provided by Theban rule allowed for the flourishing of what is known as the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC). The Middle Kingdom is considered Egypt's 'Classical Age' when art and culture reached great heights and Thebes became the most important and wealthiest city in the country. 

The Hyksos are a people of mysterious oregin, most likely they came from the area of Syria/Palestine.  They first appeared in Egypt c. 1800 BC and settled in the town of Avaris. While the names of the Hyksos kings are Semitic in origin, no definite ethnicity has been established for them. The Hyksos grew in power until they were able to take control of the whole of Lower Egypt by c. 1720 BC, rendering the Theban Dynasty of Upper Egypt a vassal state and the pharaoh no more than a figure head. This era is known as The Second Intermediate Period (c. 1650-c.1550 BC). While the Hyksos (whose name simply means 'foreign rulers') were hated by the Egyptians, they introduced a great many technilogical improvements such as the composite bow, the horse, and the chariot along with crop rotation and developments in bronze and ceramic work. By 1700 BC the Kingdom of Kush had risen to the south of Thebes in Nubia and allied themselves with the Hyksos rulers against the Kingdom of Thebes. The Egyptians mounted a number of campaigns to drive the Hyksos out and subdue the Nubians but all failed until Ahmose I, who had been a soldier in the Theban army, finally succeeded c. 1555/50 BC.

Ahmose I initiated what is known as the period of the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC) which again saw great prosperity in the land under a strong central government. Many of the Egyptian sovereigns best known today ruled during this period and the majority of the great structures of antiquity such as the Ramesseum, Abu Simbel, the temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the tombs of the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens come from this time.  The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus, concerning women's health and contraceptives, was written during this period.

In 1350 BC the pharaoh Amenhotep IV succeeded to the throne and, shortly after, changed his name to Akhenaten ('living spirit of Aten') to reflect his belief in a single god, Aten. The Egyptians traditionally believed in many gods whose importance influenced every aspect of their daily lives.    Among the most popular of these deities were Amun, Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti, renounced the traditional religious beliefs and customs of Egypt and instituted a new religion based upon the recognition of one god. If the time line is correct Israel was in Egypt at the time and may have been a theological influence. This is known as The Amarna Period (1353-1336 BC) during which Amarna grew as the capital of the country and polytheistic religious customs were banned. Among his many accomplishments, Akhenaten was the first ruler to decree statuary and a temple in honor of his queen instead of only for himself or the gods and used the money which once went to the temples for public works and parks. The power of the clergy declined sharply as that of the central government grew and the land prospered further under his rule. His reign was followed by his son, the most recognizable Egyptian ruler in the modern day, Tutankhamun, who reigned from 1332-1323 BC. He was originally named 'Tutankhaten' to reflect the religious beliefs of his father but, upon assuming the throne, changed his name to 'Tutankhamun' to honor the ancient god Amun. He restored the ancient temples, removed all references to his father's single deity, and returned the capital to Thebes. His reign was cut short by his death and, today, he is most famous for the intact grandeur of his tomb.

The greatest ruler of the New Kingdom, however, was Ramesses II (also known as Ramesses the Great, 1279-1213 BC) who commenced the most elaborate building projects of any Egyptian ruler and who reigned so efficiently that he had the means to do so. Although the famous Battle of Kadesh of 1274 (between Ramesses II of Egypt and Muwatalli II of the Hitties) is today regarded as a draw, Ramesses considered it a great Egyptian victory and celebrated himself as a champion of the people, and finally as a god, in his many public works. His temple of Abu Simbel depicts the battle of Kadesh and the smaller temple at the site, following Akhenaten's example, is dedicated to Ramesses favorite queen Nefertari. Under the reign of Ramesses II the first peace treaty in the world (The Treaty of Kadesh) was signed in 1258 BCE and Egypt enjoyed almost unprecedented affluence. He became known to later generations as 'The Great Ancestor' and reigned for so long that all of his subjects had been born knowing only Ramesses II as their ruler. Upon his death, many feared that the end of the world had come as they had known no other pharaoh and no other kind of Egypt.

The Decline of Egypt and Coming of Alexander the Great

His successor, Ramesses III, followed his policies but, by this time, Egypt's great wealth had attracted the attention of the Sea Peoples who began to make regular incursions along the coast. The Sea Peoples, like the Hyksos, are of unknown origin but are thought to have come from the southern Aegean area. Between 1276-1178 BC the Sea Peoples were a threat to Egyptian security (Ramesses II had defeated them in a naval battle early in his reign). After his death, however, they increased their efforts, sacking Kadesh, which was then under Egyptian control, and ravaging the coast. Between 1180-1178 BC Ramesses III fought them off, finally defeating them at the Battle of Xois in 1178 BC. Following the reign of Ramesses III, his successors attempted to maintain his policies but increasingly met with resistance from the people of Egypt, those in the conquered territories, and, especially, the priestly class. In the years after Tutankhamun had restored the old religion of Amun, and especially during the great time of prosperity under Ramesses II, the priests of Amun had acquired large tracts of land and amassed great wealth which now threatened the central government and disrupted the unity of Egypt. By the time of Ramesses XI (1107-1078 BC), the end of the 20th Dynasty, the government had become so weakened by the power and corruption of the clergy that the country again fractured and central administration collapsed, initiating the so-called Third Intermediate Period of 1069-653 BCE.

Under the Kushite King Piye (752-722 BC) Egypt was again unified and the culture flourished but beginning in 671 BC the Assyrians under Esarhaddon began their invasion of Egypt, conquering it by 667 BC. Having made no long-term plans for control of the country, the Assyrians left it in ruin in the hands of local rulers and abandoned Egypt to its fate. This is the state the country was in when Cambyses II of Persia struck at the city of Pelusium in 525 BC. Knowing the reverence the Egyptians held for cats (who were thought living representations of the popular goddess Bastet) Cambyses II ordered his men to paint cats on their shields and to drive cats, and other animals sacred to the Egyptians, in front of the army toward Pelusium. The Egyptian forces surrendered and the country fell to the Persians. It would remain under Persian occupation until the coming of Alexander the Great in 332-331 BC.

Alexander was welcomed as a liberator and conquered Egypt without a fight. He established the city of Alexandria and moved on to conquer Phoenicia and the rest of the Persian Empire. After his death in 323 BC his general, Ptolemy, brought his body back to Alexandria and founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty (305-30 BC). The last of the Ptolemies was Cleopatra VII who committed suicide in 30 BC after the defeat of her forces (and those of her consort Mark Antony) by the Romans under Octavian Caesar at the Battle of Actium (31 BC). Egypt then became a province of Rome (30 BC-476) then of the Byzantine Empire (c. 527-646) until it was conquered by the Arab Muslims under Caliph Umar in 646 and fell under Islamic Rule.



8000 BC Evidence of Grazing around what is now the Sahara Deseart
5500 BC Oldest pottery workshop in Egypt founded at Abydos.
5000 BC Organized farming begins in Egypt.
c. 4000 BC Depictions of gods and afterlife on walls of Egyptian tombs.
c. 3414 BC - c. 3100 BC Xois founded as a city during the 1st Dynasty.
3200 BC Hieroglyphic script developed in Egypt.
c.3150-c.2686 BC Early Dynastic Period
3118 BC Pharaoh Menes Conquers lower Egypt creating a unified state of Egypt.
 3100 BC - 2181 BC Xois inscribed on Palermo Stone as an ancient city during the 5th Dynasty.
2691 BC - 2625 BC Estimated reign of Pharaoh Djoser.
2686–2181 BC Old Kingdom
2667 BC - 2648 BC Imhotep in Egypt writes medical texts describing diagnosis and treatment of 200 diseases.  (Most of the treatments are questionable by modern standards.)
2630 BC First pyramid is built at Saqqara, Egypt.
2600 BC The step pyramid is built by Pharaoh Zoser (Djoser).
2528 BC The Great Pyramid is constructed by Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops).
c. 2500 BC The Great Sphinx is built at Giza.
2181–2055 BC 1st Intermediate Period
2064 BC - 1986 BC Twin Dynasty Wars in Egypt.
2055–1650 BC Middle Kingdom
1800 BC Bronze working introduced to Egypt.
c. 1800 BC The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus deals with women's health and contraception.
c 1813 BC - c 1638 BC Abraham
1790 BC - 1540 BC 2nd Intermediate Period
1783 BC Avaris is built and set as capital of Hyksos.
1720 BC Egypt is conquered by the Hyksos.
1700 BC The Kingdom of Kush is formed to the south of Egypt.
1650 BC - 1550 BC Xois serves as capital of the 14th Dynasty.
c. 1600 - 1200 BC Israel's sojourn in Egypt. (Joseph probably served in the court of a Hyksos king.)
c. 1550 BC Composition of The Book of the Dead.
1550 BC Ahmoses I defeats and expels the Hyksos from Egypt and destroy their capital Avaris.
1550 BC - 1069 BC The New Kingdom of Egypt
1504 BC - 1492 BC Egyptian empire reaches greatest extent under Tuthmosis I.
 1500 BC Egyptian empire extends to the Euphrates.
1479 BC - 1458 BC Queen Hatshepsut rules Egypt.
1479 BC - 1425 BC Reign of Thutmose III in Egypt.
c. 1457 BC Battle of Megiddo: Thutmose III of Egypt defeats a coalition of Canaan, Kadesh, Mitanni, and Megiddo led by Durusha, king of Kadesh.
c. 1450 BC Kadesh and Megiddo lead a Canaanite alliance against the Egyptian invasion by Thutmose III.
1390 BC - 1352 BC Reign of Amenhotep III of Egypt.
1353 BC - 1336 BC The Amarna Period in Egypt.
1295 BC - 1294 BC The reign of Ramesses I in Egypt.
1295 BC - 1188 BC The Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt.
1294 BC - 1279 BC The reign of Seti I in Egypt.
1279 BC - 1212 BC Reign of Ramesses II (The Great) in Egypt.
1274 BC Battle of Kadesh between Pharaoh Ramesses II of Egypt and King Muwatalli II of the Hittites.
c. 1264 BC - c. 1244 BC Probable dates for the construction of Abu Simbel.
1258 BC The Treaty of Kadesh between Egyptians and Hittites. The world's first peace treaty.
c. 1244 BC - c. 1224 BC Other probable dates for the construction of Abu Simbel.
1186 BC - 1155 BC Reign of Ramesses III, Pharaoh of Egypt.
1180 BC The Sea Peoples begin increased incursions into Egypt.
1180 BC - 1178 BC Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty fortifies Xois against the threat of the invading Sea Peoples.
1178 BC Rameses III defends Egypt from the Sea Peoples on the shores at Xois, defeating them completely.
1069 BC - 653 BC Third Intermediate Period in Egypt.
750 BC Iron working is introduced to Egypt.
712 BC - 671 BC Egypt is ruled by the Kushite dynasty.
671 BC Egypt is conquered by Assyria.
671 BC Assyrian armies capture Memphis in Egypt.
667 BC Ashurbanipal wages war in Egypt to put down a rebellion.
664–332 BC Late Period
664 BC Psamtik I becomes Pharoah in Egypt.
651 BC Egypt expels Assyrians.
601 BC Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon unsuccessfully attempts to invade Egypt.
525 BC Cambyses II of Persia takes the city of Pelusium, conquers Egypt.
525 BC - 404 BC Persia conquers Egypt.
520 BC Darius of Persia links the Nile and the Red Sea by a canal.
c. 398 BC - c. 380 BC Plato travels in Egypt, Cyrene, Italy, Syracuse and Sicily.
341 BC The Persians complete conquest of Egypt.
  Classical Antiquity - Greek and Roman Period
332 BC Alexander the Great conquers Syria and turns toward Egypt.
331 BC Alexander the Great founds Alexandria at the port town of Rhakotis in Egypt.
331 BC Egypt is conquered by Alexander the Great without resistance.
323 BC Death of Alexander the Great.
332–30 BC Ptolemaic Egypt - The Hellenistic Age. Greek thought and culture infuses with indigenous people.
323 BC - 282 BC Rule of Ptolemy I Soter.
305 BC - 285 BC Reign of Ptolemy I in Egypt, initiated of the Great Library.
300 BC Ptolemy I founds the Museum of Alexandria.
285 BC - 246 BC Reign of Ptolemy II in Egypt, developement of Library at Alexandria.
c 275 The Septuagint is translated to become part of this library 
277 BC - 276 BC 4,000 Celts are employed in Egypt under Ptolemy II.
259 BC Celts in Egypt fail to overthrow Ptolemy II and are starved to death on an island.
247 BC The lighthouse at Alexandria (Pharos) is completed.
217 BC 14,000 Celts serve under Ptolemy IV in his victory at Raphia over the Seleucid King Antiochos III.
c. 69 BC - 12 Aug 30 BC Life of Cleopatra VII of Egypt.
47 BC Cleopatra VII is sole ruler of Egypt; she presents herself as the goddess Isis.
32 BC - 31 BC Battle of Actium: Octavian (the later Emperor Augustus) defeats Cleopatra of Egypt.
30 BC–641 AD Roman & Byzantine Egypt
30 BC Egypt becomes province of the Roman empire.
Death of Cleopatra VII, end of the Ptolemaic line in Egypt.
30 BC - 14 AD Reign of Augustus Caesar in Rome, restoration of Roman province of Alexandria.
c. 4 BC Mary Joseph and Jesus flee to Egypt to escape Herod
c. 1 First non-stop voyages from Egypt to India.
c. 50 - c. 60 Establishment of various Christian communities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Egypt, and at least the city of Rome.
232 Emperor Maximinus Thrax commands a legion in Egypt.
c. 527  - 646 The Byzantine Empire controls Egypt.
621–629 Sassanid Egypt
  Middle Ages
641–969 Arab Egypt (Rashadun Califate)
969–1171 Fatimid Egypt (a Shia caliphate)
1171–1250 Ayyubid Egypt (a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt.)
1250–1517 Mamluk Egypt (an independant Sultinate that lasted from the overthrough of the Ayyubid to the Ottoman conquest.)
  Early Modern
1517–1867 Ottoman Egypt
1798–1801 French occupation
1805–1882 Egypt under Muhammad Ali
1867–1914 Khedivate of Egypt
  Modern Egypt
1882–1953 British occupation
1914-1918 World War I
1914–1922 Sultanate of Egypt
1939-1945 World War II
1922–1953 Kingdom of Egypt
1953–present Republic 11/28/13 11/28/13 12/25/13 12/25/13