During the New Kingdom, Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territory. The government was reorganized into a military state with an administration centralized in the hands of the pharaoh and his chief minister. Through the intensive military campaigns of Pharaoh Thutmose III (1490-1436 B.C.), Palestine, Syria, and the northern Euphrates area in Mesopotamia were brought within the New Kingdom. This territorial expansion involved Egypt in a complicated system of diplomacy, alliances, and treaties. After Thutmose III established the empire, succeeding pharaohs frequently engaged in warfare to defend the state against the pressures of Libyans from the west, Nubians and Ethiopians (Kushites) from the south, Hittites from the east, and Philistines (sea people) from the Aegean-Mediterranean region of the north.
Toward the end of the Twentieth Dynasty, Egyptian power declined at home and abroad. Egypt was once more separated into its natural divisions of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The pharaoh now ruled from his residence-city in the north, and Memphis remained the hallowed capital where the pharaoh was crowned and his jubilees celebrated. Upper Egypt was governed from Thebes.
During the Twenty-first Dynasty, the pharaohs ruled from Tanis (San al Hajar al Qibliyah), while a virtually autonomous theocracy controlled Thebes. Egyptian control in Nubia and Ethiopia vanished. The pharaohs of the Twenty-second and Twentythird dynasties were mostly Libyans. Those of the brief Twentyfourth Dynasty were Egyptians of the Nile Delta, and those of the Twenty-fifth were Nubians and Ethiopians. This dynasty's ventures into Palestine brought about an Assyrian intervention, resulting in the rejection of the Ethiopians and the reestablishment by the Assyrians of Egyptian rulers at Sais (Sa al Hajar), about eighty kilometers southeast of Alexandria (Al Iskandariyah) on the Rosetta branch of the Nile.
Data as of December 1990
Source: Library of Congress Country Studies
ancient Egypt LOC ArticlesAncient Egypt - 664-323 B.C. Late Period
Ancient Egypt - Cult of the Sun God and Akhenaten's Monotheism
Ancient Egypt - Art and Architecture in the New Kingdom
Ancient Egypt - New Kingdom 3d Intermediate Period
Ancient Egypt - Pyramid Building in the Old and Middle Kingdoms
Ancient Egypt - Old Middle Kingdoms and 2d Intermediate Period