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The first traces of human activity in the Nile Valley date back to around 200,000 BC. By the time of the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3100 BC), a unified kingdom had emerged, centered on the city of Memphis. The first pharaoh of the Old Kingdom (c. 2686 BC – c. 2181 BC), Menes, is credited with uniting Upper and Lower Egypt under a single rule. The Middle Kingdom (c. 2055 BC – c. 1650 BC) saw the height of Egyptian power, with the pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty ruling over a vast empire that extended from the Sudanese border to Palestine. After a period of decline, the New Kingdom (c. 1550 BC – c. 1069 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, and saw the country reach the height of its power. The Nineteenth Dynasty (c. 1292 BC – c. 1185 BC) saw the pharaohs Ramesses II and III lead successful military campaigns against the Hittites and the Libyans, and establish an empire that stretched from Syria to Nubia. Following the death of Ramesses III, the country entered a period of decline, culminating in the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069 BC – c. 664 BC), when Egypt was divided into several competing kingdoms. The country was reunified by the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (c. 664 BC – 525 BC), but by then it was a shadow of its former self, and was eventually conquered by the Persians. It remained under Persian rule until Alexander the Great’s invasion in 332 BC, after which it passed to the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 30 BC, Egypt became a Roman province. Christianity spread throughout Egypt from the second century onwards, and by the fourth century it had become the dominant religion. Arab Muslims conquered the country in the seventh century, and Egypt became a province of the Islamic Caliphate. The Mamluks, a military caste of Turkish slave origin, seized power in 1250, and ruled the country for two centuries. In 1517, Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Turks, who ruled it until 1882, when the British occupied the country. Egypt became a British protectorate in 1914, and gained independence in 1922.

“Sometimes, flying feels too God-like to be attained by man. Sometimes, the world from above seems too beautiful, too wonderful, too distant for human eyes to see.” – Charles A. Lindbergh