Egypt - where it all begins
Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.
Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its over 81 million people live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Monuments in Egypt such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx were constructed by its ancient civilization. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, and Karnak and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study. The tourism industry and the Red Sea Riviera employ about 12% of Egypt's workforce.
5000 years of civilization contributed to the cultural heritage of Egypt and to building the strength and independence of its citizens. The country's history is a sequence of invasions, eras or glory, battles and victories, which can be split into the following main periods and milestones:
- Pharaonic Era (3100 BC - 332 BC)
- Greek Era (332 BC - 32 AD)
- Roman Era (32 AD - 638 AD)
- Coptic Era (starting from 65 AD)
- Islamic Era: starting with the Islamic conquest of Egypt (640 AD - 1517 AD)
- Ottoman Rule (1517 - 1882)
- French Invasion (1798)
- British Colonization of Egypt (1882 - 1952)
- The 23rd of July Revolution (1952) after which Egypt is declared a Republic. British troops leave Egypt in 1954.
- The 6th of October War (1973)
- Egypt signs a Peace Treaty with Israel (1979)
- Hosni Mubarak is elected president of the Arab Republic of Egypt (1981)
- The January popular Revolution begins against the Egyptian government (25 January 2011)
- Hosni Mubarak steps down as President of the Arab Republic of Egypt (11 February 2011)