About 5500-3000 B.C.
Climatic change about 7,000 years ago turns
most of Egypt—except for along the Nile—to
desert. Farming begins and communities form
along the river, with important population
centers at Buto, Naqada, and Hierakonpolis.
Egypt remains divided into Upper and Lower
(southern and northern) Egypt.
Early Dynastic
(Dynasties I-III)
2950-2575 B.C.
Consolidation of Upper and Lower Egypt and
founding of Memphis, the first capital.
Calendar and hieroglyphic writing created.
Royal necropolis located at Abydos; vast
cemeteries at Saqqara and other sites.
Old Kingdom
(Dynasties IV-VIII)
2575-2150 B.C.
Age of pyramids reaches zenith at Giza; cult
of the sun god Re centered at Heliopolis.
Cultural flowering; trade with Mediterranean
region and brief occupation of Lower Nubia.
First Intermediate Period
(Dynasties IX-XI)
2125-1975 B.C.
Political chaos as Egypt splits into two regions
with separate dynasties.
Middle Kingdom
(Dynasties XI-XIV)
1975-1640 B.C.
Reunification by Theban kings. Dynasty XII
kings win control of Lower Nubia; royal burials
shift north to near Memphis. Major irrigation
projects. Classical literary period.
Second Intermediate Period
(Dynasties XV-XVII)
1630-1520 B.C.
Asiatic Hyksos settlers rule the north,
introducing the horse and chariot; Thebans rule
the south.
New Kingdom
(Dynasties XVIII-XX)
1539-1075 B.C.
Thebans expel the Hyksos and reunite Egypt. In
this "age of empire," warrior kings conquer
parts of Syria, Palestine, and Lower Nubia.
Third Intermediate Period
(Dynasties XXI-XXIV)
1075-715 B.C.
Egypt is once again divided. The high priests of
Amun control Thebes; ethnic Libyans rule
Late Period
(Dynasties XXV-XXX)
715-332 B.C.
Nubians from Kush conquer Egypt; Egypt
reunited under Saite dynasty. Persia rules in
fifth century B.C. Egypt independent from 404
to 343 B.C.
Greco-Roman Period
332 B.C.-A.D. 395
Ptolemies rule after the death of Alexander the
Great in 332 B.C. Dramatic growth of population
and agricultural output. Roman emperors build
many temples, depicting themselves in the
Egyptian style.