Before 3400 BC – 2 kingdoms Upper Egypt (South) and
Lower Egypt (North)
After 3200BC Menes (Namer), King of Upper Egypt unites
Upper and Lower Egypt and establishes a ruling dynasty.
A dynasty is a series of rulers from the same family or line.
Dynasties ruled Egypt from 3200BC – 300BC.
Pharaoh King of Egypt. He is both a religious and a
-The pharaoh has absolute or unlimited power. He could do
anything he wanted to and make any law he chose. This was
called the “divine right of kings”.
-They were regarded as godlike and temples where built in
-Posthumously they were mummified and placed in tombs
(sometimes in pyramids to protect them and help escort them
into the afterlife.)
The Old Kingdom
Once Menes united Egypt he
made Memphis the capital of Egypt.
During the Old Kingdom many of the pyramids were built.
-The Great Pyramid of Giza was build as a tomb for the
-There were also other great advancement in science and the
arts. (sphinx, pyramids, mummification, etc.)
Peasants, farmers, army, labor (most production goes
to king) Little/NO social mobility
Pharaoh, royal family, priests, scribes govt officials
eventually grow into a noble class
Pharaoh has helpers to rule over the large empire.
Nobles gain more power and have a power struggle
with the pharaoh internal strife
The Middle Kingdom
Mentuhotep - 2040BC Re-united Egypt. He
created a central monarchy and made Thebes the
-The pharaoh once again had all the power in the
-Egypt experienced a period of expansion. Traders
went to neighboring lands.
A) draining of swampland in the Nile Delta new
B) digging of a canal to connect the Nile to the Red
Sea trade and transportation.
The Middle Kingdom comes to an end when foreigners
from western Asia known as Hyksos came into the
country with their horse-drawn chariots and superior
weapons (scimitars) and ruled Egypt for almost 100
The New Kingdom
-Eventually leaders in Egypt drove out the Hyksos and
re-united by a line of strong pharaohs.
-Ruled strong and strict.
-Gained land, build and empire when an individual or
single people rule over many other people and their
The NEW Kingdom is know as the
“Golden Age” and a period of stability and prosperity.
Hatshepsut 1503BC- 1482BC – 1st
female pharaoh. Kept boarders secure
and increased trade with other lands. Built
a huge temple at Deir el Bahri.
Thutmose III 1482BC – 1450BC–
(Stepson/nephew) Great conquest and
trade at the height of Egypt’s power.
Called “the conqueror”.
Amenhotop IV 1380BC – 1362BC – believed in one god, the
sun god Ra (Re, Aten, etc.).
Monotheism – The belief in one god.
Most Egyptians were polytheistic – the belief in many gods.
-He tries to bring about religious and social changes. Tries to
get Egyptians to only believe in Ra.
-Changes his own name to Akhenaton (“he who is pleasing to
-Not successful. Many believed that destroying the Egyptian
gods was the same as destroying Egypt.
Tutankhamen (King Tut), the boy pharaoh undoes
Akhenaton’s changes and restores polytheism back to Egypt.
He dies young.
-His tomb was found untouched in the “Valley of the
Kings” in the 1920s.
Ramses II 1279BC – 1213 BC – Ordered temples and
monuments to be built.
-Also called “Ramses the Great”.
-Unable to re-establish strong boarders.
-Pharaohs that followed him were not strong leaders and for
the next thousand years (~300BC) Egypt was dominated by
Cleopatra VII tried to re-establish Egypt’s independence in
the 1st century BC but was unsuccessful and Egypt became
a providence in Rome’s empire.