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History and Egypt

December 15, 2012

Here’s how you know a country has been around for a while. When BBC.com’s “Timeline” starts with “Settlement of Nile Valley.”

• For the next 9,000 years, it’s mostly downhill from there:

669 BC – Assyrians from Mesopotamia conquer and rule Egypt.

525 BC – Persian conquest.

332 BC – Alexander the Great conquers Egypt.

31 BC – Egypt comes under Roman rule.

642 AD – Arab conquest of Egypt.

1517 – Egypt absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman empire.

1798 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces invade but are repelled by the British and the Turks in 1801.

1882 – British troops take control of Egypt.

1922 – Fuad I becomes King of Egypt and Egypt gains its independence.

1953 – [Military] Coup leader Muhammad Najib becomes president as Egypt is declared a republic.

1956 July – Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal.

1956 October – Tripartite Invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel due to the nationalization of the Suez Canal.

1967 June – Six-Day War in which Israel defeats forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel takes control of Sinai, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

1973 October – Egypt and Syria go to war with Israel during Israel’s celebration of Yom Kippur to reclaim the land they lost in 1967.

1978 September – Camp David Accords for peace with Israel are signed.

2011 February – President Mubarak steps down and hands power to the army council.

• And, like that.

• Egypt’s major mistake was being located along the Nile (which flows north to the Mediterranean, but you knew that) and the Red Sea. If it weren’t for that no one would have ever bothered with it.

• Except, maybe for that whole Cleopatra-Julius Caesar-Marc Antony thing.

• More recently Egypt has been the focal point of the “Arab Spring” that began two years ago on December 18, 2010 in Tunisia. Since that time there has been unrest ranging from demonstrations, to riots, to revolutions to at least one civil war in (according to Wikipedia’s count):

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara and, of course Syria.

• We know from recent events how stable Libya is and, according to the Washington Post, some 64,700 Syrians have died since the demonstrations began in November 2011.

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