The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C., and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Arab conquerors introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Completion of the Suez Canal in 1869 elevated Egypt as an important world transportation hub. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Egypt gained partial independence from the UK in 1922 and acquired full sovereignty from Britain in 1952. British forces evacuated the Suez Canal Zone in 1956. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have reaffirmed the time-honored place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to meet the demands of Egypt's fast-growing population as it implements large-scale infrastructure projects, energy cooperation, and foreign direct investment appeals.
Inspired by the 2010 Tunisian revolution, Egyptian opposition groups led demonstrations and labor strikes countrywide, culminating in President Hosni MUBARAK's ouster in 2011. Egypt's military assumed national leadership until a new legislature was in place in early 2012; later that same year, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhammad MURSI won the presidential election. Following protests throughout the spring of 2013 against MURSI's government and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian Armed Forces intervened and removed MURSI from power in July 2013 and replaced him with interim president Adly MANSOUR. Simultaneously, the government began enacting laws to limit freedoms of assembly and expression. In January 2014, voters approved a new constitution by referendum and in May 2014 elected former defense minister Abdelfattah ELSISI president. Egypt elected a new legislature in December 2015, its first House of Representatives since 2012. ELSISI was reelected to a second four-year term in March 2018. In April 2019, Egypt approved via national referendum a set of constitutional amendments extending ELSISI’s term in office through 2024 and possibly through 2030 if reelected for a third term. The amendments would also allow future presidents up to two consecutive six-year terms in office, reestablish an upper legislative house, allow for one or more vice presidents, establish a 25% quota for female legislators, reaffirm the military’s role as guardian of Egypt, and expand presidential authority to appoint the heads of judicial councils. Successful legislative elections were held in October-November 2020, having been delayed for six months.
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NOTE: The information regarding Egypt on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Egypt 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Egypt 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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