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Egypt - A History

     The 5 Historical Periods of Egypt :

The first King of Egypt was Menes who united Egypt in 3100 B.C. Under the rule of these kings, Egypt grew to become a very big civilisation. The history of Egypt can be divided in 5 periods:


  • Old Kingdom - 2,686 B.C. - 2,160 B.C Pyramids are built of which those of Giza
  • First Intermediate Period - 2160 B.C. - 2040 B.C. Egypt is divided anew that the Pharaoh was without any power..
  • The Middle Kingdom 2040B.C. - 1786 B.C.
  • Second Intermediate Period - 1,786 B.C. - 1,567B.C. Egypt is taken over by the foreigner Hyksos
  • The New Kingdom - 1570 B.C. - 1085 B.C. During this period Egypt lost its power slowly and was taken over by Alexander the Great and later on the Romans.


            Printable Egyptian History Timeline [Maltese]


   The Pharaohs

The pharaoh was the person, who ruled and controlled all of Ancient Egypt. This term of ‘Pharaoh’ started to be used from the New Kingdom period. The Pharaoh was a person of great power since he was considered also as a god amongst the living, the personification of the god Ra, thus being untouchable. Usually the Pharaoh title would go on from father to son although there could be female pharaohs such as Nefertiti, Hatshepsut and the famous Cleopatra. Other famous pharaohs include Ramses II, Amenhotep I, Khufu, Thutmose I and obviously Tutankhamen. The importance of these rulers is shown in several buildings and monuments they commissioned like the Valley of the Kings, the Temples of Thebes, the Sphinx and none the less, the Pyramids, amongst others. These were done to recall their memory, and to keep on showing their importance after their lives, they were even mummified so to preserve their body.


   Queens of Egypt

There have been many queens that reigned in Egypt. Most of them have remained unknown in the public’s eye, while others have left an important mark in the history of Egypt. Many are still famous and have quite interesting stories. Some queens helped their husbands; the pharaoh, to rule his kingdom while few of them took it upon themselves to proclaim themselves as pharaoh. Some of Egypt’s queens stopped at nothing to ensure that they too, like the male pharaohs, be remembered and that their legacy would be magnificent. Many queens are still famous for their beauty, others for their complicated lives during their reign as queens, many who stand out in the Egyptian history for their unique contributions and there are those who had become a legend. So, who were these queens?

 Queen Ankesenamun – was a queen of the Eight Dynasty of Egypt and wife of her half-brother Tutankhamun. She was definitely married to one king, Tutankhamun, and she was made the Great Royal wife of the pharaoh. It might be possible however, that her first marriage was to her father Akhenaten, after the death of her mother, and to her husband Tutankhamun’s successor Ay when the former died mysteriously at the age of 18.

Queen Hatshepsut – the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs who reigned longer than any other woman in the Egyptian dynasty. She was successful in warfare, re-established lost trading relationships and brought great wealth to Egypt. In comparison with other female pharaohs her reign was much longer and prosperous. 

Queen Nefertiti – also one of the most famous queens of Egypt of the Eighteenth Dynasty. She is known for her beauty and her bust has been a symbol for many women and modern cosmetic lines. She was the Chief Queen of Egypt during her husband Akhenaten’s reign and little information on her is known. It is believed that Nefertiti was highly influential when her husband attempted to convert the Egyptian nation from a polytheistic to a monotheistic religion.

Queen Nefertari – during the Nineteenth Dynasty, she was one of the many wives but one of Ramses’ the Great favourites. For him she was the most beautiful. Her life holds a mystery and she is among the best known queens of Egypt together with Cleopatra, Nefertiri and Hathepsut. We have no information about her birth parents but she is of royal blood. From her monuments, one can note that she was of high importance and that she played an important role in that time.

Queen Cleopatra VII – the most famous queens and the last pharaoh of Egypt, before Egypt became under the rule of the Roman Empire. Cleopatra also inherited the throne from her father when she was 18 and married her brother who was 6 years younger than her. She was the first queen who was able to speak the Egyptian language, was extremely intelligent and made Egypt one of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest civilizations. Nothing stopped her to get what she wanted and used everything she had to ensure her legacy would last forever. She was the lover of both Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony.


Empathy exercise: Imagine you are a Pharoah of Ancient Egypt. In about 50-100 words write down or list what problems do you think you will find and how would you go about solving them. Use the biographies of the Pharaoh mentioned (males and females) to get an idea of what troubles they encountered and how they solved them!

Pop Questions:

  • What’s called the ruler of Egypt ? 

  • Who was the first Egyptian ‘king’ ?  

  • Name two other Egyptian ‘kings’.

Colouring Activity

Download this free page showing a Pharoah and his Queen and colour!

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