Time Line

Approximately 2925 BCE -- Menes unites Upper and Lower Egypt and establishes his capital at Memphis.

2650 BCE -- Imhotep designs and builds the Step Pyramid for Zoser at Sakkara

2550 - 2450 BCE - Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure build the three pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza

1600 BCE -- the capital of Egypt shifts from Memphis to Thebes

1300 BCE -- Rameses the Great rules Egypt

525 BCE -- Egypt is conquered by the Persians

332 BCE -- Alexander the Great conquers Egypt

30 BCE -- Cleopatra VII dies and Egypt is formally annexed by the Roman Empire

50-75 CE -- Christianity arrives in Egypt (approximately)

284 CE -- The Romans massacre nearly 150,000 Egyptian Christians

330 CE -- The Emperor Constantine founds the city of Constantinople to strengthen Rome's hold on the eastern part of its Empire.

395 CE -- Upon his death, the Roman Emperor Theodesius splits the Roman Empire between his two sons: one to rule from Rome, and one to rule from Constantinople.

476 CE -- Rome is conquered by the Goths, and the eastern half of the Empire carries on as the Byzantine Empire.

611 CE -- Muhammad receives the first revelations from God in a cave near Mecca

622 CE (1 AH) -- Muhammad and his followers leave Mecca for Medina

632 CE -- Muhammad dies

640 CE -- The armies of Amr Ibn al-'As conquer Egypt and found the city of al-Fustat

661-750 CE -- The Umayyad Empire rules most of the Islamic world

680 CE -- Husayn dies in the battle at Kerbala, causing a rift between Sunni and Shi'i Muslims

750 - 1258 CE -- The Abbassid Empire rules most of the Islamic world

868 CE -- Ahmad Ibn Tulun is sent to Egypt as governor, he builds the city of al-Qatta'i

876-879 -- The mosque of Ibn Tulun is constructed

884 -- Ibn Tulun dies and is succeeded by his son, Khumarraweh, who is murdered in 896

905 -- The Abbassid Caliph sends Suleiman al-Katib to retake Egypt on his behalf. Suleiman and his descendents rule as the Ikhshid dynasty.

969 -- The Fatimids conquer Egypt and found a new city, Medinet al-Qahira, with the new mosque of al-Azhar at its center

996 -- The Sultan al-Hakim comes to power. His rule is characterized by odd behavior. He disappears while wandering in the hills to the east of Cairo in 1021

1150 -- Palestine is conquered by the Crusaders

1171 -- Saladin becomes the ruler of Egypt upon the death of the last Fatimid caliph

1193 -- Saladin dies, and a period of unrest begins

1249 -- The Crusaders land in Egypt as the sultan dies. The sultan's wife, Shajarat al-Durr, takes control and rules from behind the scenes until 1257.

1258 -- Baghdad is sacked by the Mongols, and the Abbassid Caliph comes to live in Cairo, where he and his descendants remain the official heads of state until 1517, even though they hold no actual power.

1517 -- The Ottomans conquer Egypt

1798 -- The French, seeking to control the fastest route from Europe to India, launch a military expedition to Egypt under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte. The expedition turns into a disaster, as British warships follow the French and destroy their fleet, leaving the French stranded in Egypt.

1801 -- By agreement with the British, the French withdraw from Egypt. Muhammad Ali is appointed governor of Egypt.

1805 -- Muhammad Ali clashes with the mamluks for the first time

1811 -- Muhammad Ali massacres most of the mamluks and takes control of Egypt, and begins an extensive program to modernize the country

1824-6 -- Egyptian troops fight on behalf of the Ottoman sultan in the Greek War of Independence

1836 -- Egyptian troops, led by Ibrahim Pasha, threaten Istanbul

1838 -- The Ottoman Sultan agrees to allow direct foreign investment in provinces of the Empire, opening Egypt up to direct trade with Europe

1841 -- Muhammad Ali goes insane, forcing other members of the family to rule on his behalf

1849 -- Muhammad Ali dies. His son Abbas takes control, and negotiates with the British to build a railway network throughout the country.

1854 -- Abbas dies and is succeeded by Said. Said opens Egypt up to planning and concessions for the building of a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea port of Suez.

1863 -- Abbas dies, and is succeeded by Ismail. Ismail begins spending lavish sums of money to build a new Cairo with the income from the cotton boom.

1869 -- The Suez Canal is finished, and the Empress Eugenie of France, among a number of important European personalities, comes to Egypt for the festivities

1879 -- With Egypt in debt, Ismail is forced off the throne. Egypt briefly becomes a democracy, but the experiement fails and Tewfiq is appointed Khedive within eighteen months.

1881 -- Frustrated by the increasing European control of Egypt, Colonel Urabi Pasha takes control of the Parliament and begins agitating for an independent, democratic Egypt

1882 -- In response to the Egyptian army's loyalty to Colonel Urabi, the British and French land troops in Egypt and take control of the country. The Egyptian consul-general, Evelyn Baring, becomes the de facto ruler of the country

1892 -- Tewfiq dies and is replaced by Abbas II "Hilmi." He tries to act independently of the Europeans, and is in constant conflict with them throughout his reign.

1906 -- British soldiers in the Delta town of Denshawai, trying to use domesticated pigeons for target practice, are attacked by villagers defending their property. Although no one is harmed in the attack, one of the British soldiers later dies of heatstroke, and four of the villagers are executed for murder, two are imprisoned for life, and many others are flogged in public. The Denshawai Incident, as it becomes known, becomes the spark that ignites widespread Egyptian opposition to the European presence in Egypt

1914 -- World War One breaks out. When Khedive Abbas tries to encourage the Egyptian population to support the Ottomans (who are allied with the Germans against the British and French), he is deposed in favor of his uncle, Hussein Kamil, and Egypt is officially annexed by Britain. Many of the Egyptian nationalists are sent into exile in Malta for the duration of the war.

1918 -- The war ends, and the Egyptian nationalists return and begin a widespread, full scale effort to force the British out. The nationalist forces polarize under Khedive Fuad (who came to power in 1917) and the Wafd part of Saad Zaghlul, who have differing views on how Egypt should attain its independence.

1922 -- The British agree to give Egypt its independence, while retaining control over many important aspects of Egyptian sovereignty. Fuad adopts the title of "King." The royalist forces are still opposed by the nationalists, led by Saad Zaghlul, and the tensions between them are often played out in clashes on the street

1927 -- Nationalist leader Saad Zaghlul dies, leaving the King unopposed for control of the country

1936 -- King Fuad dies, and is succeeded by his son, Farouk

1939 -- World War Two breaks out in Europe, and, once again, Egypt is expected to contribute to the British war effort. King Farouk is resistant to all-out support of the British war effort.

1942 -- Fearful that King Farouk is about to appoint a Prime Minister with pro-Axis leanings, the British force him, at gunpoint, to appoint a more moderate candidate. The insult is felt by all Egyptians, who lose respect for their King for backing down.

1947-8 -- Egyptian troops participate in the unsuccessful war against the new State of Israel.

1952 -- On July 22, a group of military officers calling themselves the Free Officers seize control of the country in a surprise coup. King Farouk is forced into exile on the 26th, which is now the Egyptian national holiday.

1956 -- The new leader of Egypt, Gamal Abd al-Nasir, announces that Egypt is taking control of the Suez Canal, which is still operated by the British. The British, French, and Israelis launch a military battle to reclaim the Canal, but Egypt, with the support of the United States and the Soviet Union, is able to force the troops out.

1967 -- Egyptian troops participate in the unsuccessful war against Israel, which results in Israeli occupation of the entire Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal, forcing the Canal's closure. Disgraced, Nasir resigns as president, but changes his mind when the public outcry over his resignation is too great.

1970 -- Nasir dies. Vice President Anwar al-Sadat comes to power as President.

1973 -- On the 7th of October, Egyptian troops cross the Suez Canal and reclaim part of the territory occupied by the Israelis. Although the war ends in a stalemate, it is an important moral victory for the Egyptians. Following the war, the Egyptians and Israelis negotiate the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula under the supervision of the United Nations.

1978 -- Egypt and Israel sign a peace treaty.

1981 -- President Sadat is assassinated in Cairo. Vice President Hosni Mubarak becomes President.

1990-91 -- Egypt participates in the Gulf War on the side of the Americans and Europeans, against Iraq.