It is the third largest country in Africa in population, after Nigeria and Ethiopia and the most populous country in the Arab world. While most of Egypt is geographically part of Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, which is Egyptian territory, is part of Asia. Egypt is bordered by Israel and the Gaza Strip to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to south, Libya to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north.
Most of Egypt is dry, windswept desert but the Nile River, the world’s longest river, flows northward through the country and is the main supplier of water and life for Egypt. Almost all of Egypt’s people live either along the Nile River or the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai Peninsula from the rest of the country.
Egypt is considered the birthplace of civilization and is one of world’s oldest countries, with history and culture dating back more than 5,000 years. Egyptians created the first national government and early forms of mathematics and history.
Most Egyptians are Arabs and about 90 percent of them are Muslims. Coptic Christians make up the majority of the remaining 10 percent. While Egyptian law calls for freedom of religion Coptic Christians have been, and continue to be badly persecuted against by the Muslim majority.
While agriculture, manufacturing and mining are all important to Egypt’s economy most of the national income is from tourism. Egypt attracts more tourists than any other country in Africa, with millions arriving each year to admire great relics of the past such as the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx at Giza and the ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. The country’s Red Sea resorts also attract a growing number of visitors.
Egypt was ruled by a succession of kings called pharaohs throughout much of its early history until 332 B.C. when Alexander the Great conquered the country. In 31 B.C. it was made part of the Roman Empire and A.D. 639 Arab Muslims invaded the country. In 1517 it was invaded and conquered by the Ottoman Empire and would remain under Ottoman control until the beginning of World War I in 1914, when it was militarily seized by the United Kingdom and made into a British protectorate. It won independence in 1922 although the British would still keep troops there.
During the World War II the Germans and Italians invaded Egypt in an attempt to gain control of all of North Africa and the Suez Canal but were repelled the British and the Americans.
In May 1948, Egypt, along with Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, invaded Israel in an attempt to destroy the newly-created state but was crushed. In 1956, soon after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser attempted to nationalize the Suez Canal but was stopped by the United Kingdom, France and Israel. Two years later Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic with Nasser as president of the new state but Syria withdrew three years later.
Meanwhile, tensions remained extremely volatile with Israel and in 1967 Israel launched a devastating pre-emptive military strike in what is now known as the Six-Day War, seizing the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. In 1973, Egypt, now with Anwar Sadat as president, attempted and failed to recapture the peninsula. But in 1978, as part of the Camp David Accords, Israel handed the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt in exchange for a peace agreement, formally ending hostilities between the two countries. In 1979 Egypt became the first Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. Two years later, Muslim extremists, feeling betrayed by Sadat, assassinated him. But Egypt, under Hosni Mubarak, would continue to play a vital role in the finding everlasting peace in the Middle East. Egyptians, however, were becoming increasingly restive and vocal against the old order and in 2011, in what is now known as the Arab Spring, held a numerous protests against government, many which turned violent but eventually causing Mubarak to resign after 30 years in power. The military has been in provisional control since then while forming a new government. private guided holiday