Information About Egyptian Empires
The Egyptian Empire rose during the period of the New Kingdom (c. 1570- c. 1069 BCE), when the country reached its height of wealth, international prestige, and military might. The empire stretched from modern-day Syria in the north to modern-day Sudan in the south and from the region of Jordan in the east to Libya in the west. Since the empire rose and fell in the course of the New Kingdom, historians refer to the period as either the New Kingdom or the Egyptian Empire interchangeably.
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Egyptian history is divided by later scholars into eras of “kingdoms” and “intermediate periods”; kingdoms were times of a strong central government and a unified nation while intermediate periods were eras of a weak central government and disunity. The New Kingdom emerged from the time known as the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1782- c. 1570 BCE) in which the country was divided between a foreign Semitic people known as the Hyksos holding power in northern Lower Egypt, the Nubians ruling to the south in Upper Egypt, and the city of Thebes in the middle representing the traditional Egyptian government.
The Theban king Ahmose I (c. 1570- c. 1544 BCE) drove the Hyksos out of Egypt and defeated the Nubians, uniting Egypt under his rule from Thebes. In his early campaigns, Ahmose I created buffer states around Egypt’s borders to prevent any other foreign power from gaining a foothold in the country as the Hyksos had. In doing so, he initiated the policy of conquest which would be followed by his successors and give rise to the empire of Egypt.
This period is the most famous in Egyptian history. Egypt's best-known monarchs such as Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun, Ramesses II (the Great), and Ramesses III all reigned during this time and some of the most famous monuments and temples – such as the Colossi of Memnon and the Temple of Amun at Karnak – were built.
The empire flourished through the reign of Ramesses III (1186-1155 BCE) when invasions (primarily by the Sea Peoples), over-spending which depleted the treasury, corruption of government officials, loss of faith in the traditional role of the king, increased power of the priesthood, and a decline in its international prestige all contributed to its fall. In its time, however, it was among the most powerful and prestigious empires of the ancient world.
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