Egypt is a nation in North Africa. It borders Israel and Jordan to the northeast, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Most of the country is sparsely populated desert, and most of the population lives near the Nile River. The capital and largest city of Egypt is Cairo. It is primary inhabited by the Arabs, who are mostly Sunni Muslims or Coptic Christians.
Egypt was the breadbasket of the
Roman Empire, providing the grain to feed the city of Rome. It became a part of the Byzantine Empire after the split.
It was conquered by invading
Arab armies in the seventh century and converted to Islam. It remained an integral part of the caliphate for the next 500 years.
In the thirteenth century, Egypt was taken over by the
Mamluks, slave warriors from the Caucasus. They ruled Egypt until 1798, although in 1519 the Ottoman Empire gained suzerainty over them.
In 1798, the Mamluks were expelled by the armies of
Napoleon Bonaparte. A new kingdom was established, and Muhammad Ali became the khedive. He began a modernization program, with limited success.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, Egypt became a colony of the
United Kingdom. In 1868, the Suez Canal was constructed, which linked the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
Egypt gained independence in 1954, and a
republic was established. Egypt fought several wars with Israel, culminating in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, where it was defeated. After that war, Egypt recognized Israeli independence.
In 2011, the dictator
Hosni Mubarak was overthrown and replaced by a democratic government led by Mohamed Morsi. However, the country remains insecure and protests are common.