Egypt Early History
Among the most ancient traces of human presence in the Egyptian territory there are artifacts considered preacheulean in the surroundings of Thebes and coarse trihedral artifacts, generically referable to a lower Acheulean, found on the highest alluvial terraces of the Abbassieh plain, E of Cairo. Acheulean materials are reported from different sites such as Arkin, Khor Abu Anga, the oases of Dâkhla and El-Khârga (final Acheulean), Bir Sahara. In the latter site, Mousterian industries, associated with white rhino fauna, an extinct camel, buffalo, antelope and warthogs, range from approx. 45,000 and 32,000 years ago. A Mousterian of Levallois techniqueit is located on the upper terraces of the aforementioned plain of Abbassieh and in the oasis of El-Khârga. Aterian sites, present for example both in Bir Sahara and in the El-Khârga oasis, would have succeeded the Mousterian around 40,000 years ago. The Paleolithic superior is attested in the oasis of Dungul, in Jebel Lagama, where a sequence of between ca. 30,000 and 26,000 years a. C., at Nazlet Khater, a flint extraction site dating back to just over 31,000 years ago, from which a burial probably believed to be contemporary comes from. The upper and final phases of the Paleolithic are known by the name of Fakhuriano (in the region of Esna) from the site of Dair el Fakhuri (approx. 18,000 years ago), with gills with knocked back and continuous retouching, perforations and indentations and denticulates, associated a fauna with primeval ox, harelope, gazelle, hippopotamus, etc., and of Sebiliano, name given to microlithic industries found in Sebil near Kom Ombo, with the presence of the technique still Levallois, dated around 11,000 years ago. There are many traces relating to the Neolithic times, in which there were villages of huts, tombs with abundant funeral equipment, clay products, ornaments and amulets, as well as intense agricultural activity and livestock breeding. In this regard, it should be emphasized that, although recent theories attribute the most ancient Neolithization to autonomous developments occurring in the Sahara, the archaeological evidence still seems to favor the theory of the introduction of some species from the Near East. Typical of the lithic tools are some knives with a large curved blade with accurate double-sided processing. It is finally at the Neolithic it is believed that the most ancient expressions of Egyptian rock art can be traced back, especially in the Luxor area. With the Copper Age, also known as the pre-dynastic period, the cultural facies of Badariano, Amraziano and Gerzeano flourished, especially in Middle Egypt. For antiquity see: Egyptian civilization.
HISTORY: FROM THE 10TH TO THE 19TH CENTURY
Invaded by the Arabs in 641, Egypt, having entered the direct political-administrative sphere of the Muslim caliphate, gradually became Arabized, without being completely Islamized, since the Coptic communities maintained their Christian religion. While the Abbasid Empire accused the first serious territorial losses in the East, in Egypt Aḥmad ibn Ṭūlūn founded a dynasty (868-905), starting Egyptian history within the broader framework of Islam. He tried to emancipate himself from Baghdad and his policy was also pursued by the Ikhsidites (935-969); these were defeated by Ǧawhar, the valiant general of al-Muizz, architect of the conquest of the Fatimites of Ifrīqiyah. Now released from Baghdad, the Fatimites made Egypt the most important country of Islam and tried to reduce the natives to their Shiite faith, especially with the caliph al-Ḥakīm. Engaged in cruel wars against Syria, they lost territories in North Africa and eventually even the kingdom by Saladin (1138-1193). Under the Ayyubites (1169-1250), according to programingplease, Egypt extended its control to Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Nubia, Cyrenaica and later also to Mesopotamia. However, the dynasty’s power soon declined mainly due to the growing influence, within the Fatimite structures itself, of the Turkish military element consisting mainly of former slaves (Arabic mamlūk) who managed to have effective power in their hands and ruled the destinies of Egypt and neighboring countries from 1250 to 1517. On that date, the Ottoman Turks defeated the last Mamluk ruler, incorporating Egypt into the great Turkish Empire. In the sec. XVI-XVIII Ottoman authority over Egypt was exercised by governors sent from Constantinople: authority in fact balanced by that of the military feudal aristocracy from which the previous Mamluk rulers had been expressed. The Napoleonic expedition of 1798 and the French occupation until 1801, although ended without positive results, caused a crisis in the political and social structures of the country, revealing to the Egyptians the technical values of European civilization. Egypt seemed devoted to- Turkish officer of Macedonian origin – he skillfully managed to take control of the situation in 1805 and, having vanquished the Mamluks (1811), he started the ambitious work of social renewal and reforms, continued by his son Saʽid Pasciá and his successor, Ismāʽīl Pasciá, which extended the government’s authority over Sudan to the Great Lakes. However, the intense pace of public works (including the cutting of the Suez isthmus) led to the ruin of the already compromised financial situation, offering Europe the opportunity to intervene. The final reason was the “revolt of the colonels” (1881), led by ʽArābī Pasciá: the British occupied the territory and held it until 1914 without a well-defined juridical physiognomy.