To the World from Egypt

Egypt officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in North Africa that includes the Sinai Peninsula, a land bridge to Asia. Covering an area of about 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,560 sq mi), Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. The northern coast borders the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern coast borders the Red Sea.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa. The vast majority of its estimated 78 million people (2007) live near the banks of the Nile River in an area of about 40,000 km² (15,000 sq mi) where the only arable agricultural land is found. Large areas of land form part of the Sahara Desert and are sparsely inhabited. Around half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.

Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx; the southern city of Luxor contains a particularly large number of ancient artifacts such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Today, Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural centre of the Middle East.

Ancient Egypt was a long-standing civilization in northeastern Africa. It was concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River, reaching its greatest extent in the second millennium BC, during the New Kingdom. It reached from the Nile Delta in the north, as far south as Jebel Barkal at the Fourth Cataract of the Nile. Extensions to the geographic range of ancient Egyptian civilization included, at different times, areas of the southern Levant, the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea coastline, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Western body (focused on the several oases).

Ancient Egypt developed over at least three and a half millennia. It began with the incipient unification of Nile Valley polities around 3150 BC, and is conventionally thought to have ended in 31 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered and absorbed Ptolemaic Egypt as a state. This last event did not represent the first period of foreign domination; the Roman period was, however, to witness a marked, if gradual transformation in the political and religious life of the Nile Valley, effectively marking the end of independent civilizational development.

The civilization of ancient Egypt was based on balanced control of natural and human resources, characterised primarily by controlled irrigation of the fertile Nile Valley; the mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions; the early development of an independent writing system and literature; the organization of collective projects; trade with surrounding regions in east / central Africa and the eastern Mediterranean; and finally, military ventures that exhibited strong characteristics of imperial hegemony and territorial domination of neighbouring cultures at different periods. Motivating and organising these activities were a socio-political and economic elite that achieved social consensus by means of an elaborate system of religious belief under the figure of a semi-divine ruler (usually male) from a succession of ruling dynasties, and related to the larger world by means of polytheistic beliefs.