Egypt is a country located in northern Africa along the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Egypt is known for its ancient history, desert landscapes, and large pyramids. Most recently, however, the country has been in the news due to severe civil unrest that began in late January 2011. Protests began occurring in Cairo and other major cities on January 25. The protest was against poverty, unemployment, and the government of President Hosni Mubarak. The protests continued for weeks and eventually led to Mubarak’s stepping down from office.

Fast Facts: Egypt

  • Official Name: Arab Republic of Egypt
  • Capital: Cairo
  • Population: 99,413,317 (2018)
  • Official Language: Arabic
  • Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)
  • Form of Government: Presidential republic
  • Climate: Desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters
  • Total Area: 386,660 square miles (1,001,450 square kilometers)
  • Highest Point: Mount Catherine at 8,625 feet (2,629 meters)
  • Lowest Point: Qattara Depression at -436 feet (-133 meters)

History of Egypt

Egypt is known for its long and Ancient History. According to the U.S. Department of State, Egypt has been a unified region for over 5,000 years and there is evidence of settlement prior to that. By 3100 BCE, Egypt was controlled by a ruler named Mena and he began the cycle of rule by Egypt’s various pharaohs. Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza were built during the fourth dynasty and ancient Egypt was at its height from 1567–1085 BCE.

The last of Egypt’s pharaohs was dethroned during a Persian invasion of the country in 525 BCE, but in 322 BCE it was conquered by Alexander the Great. In 642 CE, Arab forces invaded and took control of the area and began to introduce the Arabic language, which still exists in Egypt today.

In 1517, the Ottoman Turks entered and took control of Egypt, which lasted until 1882 except for a short time when Napoleon’s forces took control of it. Beginning in 1863, Cairo began to grow into a modern city and Ismail took control of the country in that year and remained in power until 1879. In 1869, the Suez Canal was built.

Ottoman rule in Egypt ended in 1882 after the British stepped in to end a revolt against the Ottomans. They then occupied the area until 1922, when the United Kingdom declared Egypt independent. During World War II, the U.K. used Egypt as an operations base. Social instability began in 1952 when three different political forces began to clash over control of the region as well as the Suez Canal. In July 1952, the Egyptian government was overthrown. On June 19, 1953, Egypt was declared a republic with Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser as its leader.

Nasser controlled Egypt until his death in 1970, at which time President Anwar el-Sadat was elected. In 1973, Egypt entered a war with Israel and in 1978 the two countries signed the Camp David Accords, which later led to a peace treaty between them. In 1981, Sadat was assassinated and Hosni Mubarak was elected as president shortly thereafter.

Throughout the rest of the 1980s and into the 1990s, Egypt’s political progress slowed and there were a number of economic reforms aimed at expanding the private sector, while reducing the public. In January 2011, protests against Mubarak’s government began and Egypt remains socially unstable.

Government of Egypt

Egypt is considered a republic with an executive branch of government made up of a chief of state and a prime minister. It also has a legislative branch with a bicameral system made up of the Advisory Council and the People’s Assembly. Egypt’s judicial branch is made up of its Supreme Constitutional Court. It is divided into 29 governorates for local administration.

Economics and Land Use in Egypt

Egypt’s economy is highly developed but it is mostly based on the agriculture that takes place in the Nile River valley. Its main agricultural products include cotton, rice, corn, wheat, beans, fruits, vegetables cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats. Other industries in Egypt are textiles, food processing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, cement, metals, and light manufacturing. Tourism is also a major industry in Egypt.

Geography and Climate of Egypt

Egypt is located in northern Africa and shares borders with Gaza Strip, Israel, Libya, and Sudan. Egypt’s boundaries also include the Sinai Peninsula. Its topography consists mainly of desert plateau but the eastern part is cut by the Nile River valley. The highest point in Egypt is Mount Catherine at 8,625 feet (2,629 m), while its lowest point is the Qattara Depression at -436 feet (-133 m). Egypt’s total area of 386,662 square miles (1,001,450 sq km) makes it the 30th largest country in the world.

The climate of Egypt is desert and as such it has very hot, dry summers and mild winters. Cairo, Egypt’s capital which is located in the Nile valley, has an average July high temperature of 94.5 degrees (35˚C) and an average January low of 48 degrees (9˚C).