Egyptian Civilisation Timeline

Rows of sphinx at Karnak, image from the Kovar Collection, auctioned 2014.

Rows of sphinx at Karnak, image from the Kovar Collection, auctioned 2014.


c. 7000 – Settlement of Nile Valley begins

c. 5000 – Coming of farming to the Nile Valley

c. 3500 – Pre-dynastic period begins

c. 3000 – Unification of Egypt

c. 3100 – Hieroglyphic script developed

c. 2650 – Beginning of the Old Kingdom; First stone pyramid built: the Step Pyramid, at Saqqara for the pharaoh Djoser

c. 2575-2465 – The Great Pyramids of Giza built

c. 2150 – Fall of the Old Kingdom, leading to the 1st Intermediate period

2074 – Middle Kingdom begins; Egypt is united and powerful again

1759 – Fall of the Middle Kingdom, leading to 2nd Intermediate period; Occupation of northern Egypt by the Hyksos

1539 – Reunification of Egypt and the expulsion of the Hyksos begins the New Kingdom; Egypt becomes a leading power in the Middle East

1344-1328 – The pharaoh Akhenaton carries out a short-lived religious reformation

1336-1327 – Tutankhamen reigns

1279-1213 – Reign of Ramses II brings Egypt to the height of its power

c. 1150 – The New Kingdom begins its decline

728 – Egypt is conquered by Nubian kings

c. 671 – Egypt is occupied by the Assyrians

639 – Egyptians expel the Assyrians and begin a period of revival

525 – Egypt is conquered by the Persians

332 – Alexander the Great, of ancient Macedonia, conquers Egypt, founds Alexandria; Macedonian dynasty rules until 31 BC

305  – Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals, founds a Greek-speaking dynasty

196  – Rosetta Stone carved

30  – Cleopatra, the last queen of independent Egypt in ancient times, dies; Egypt is annexed by the Roman Empire


33 AD – Christianity comes to Egypt

c. 350 – Last use of hieroglyphic writing

642 – Arab conquest of Egypt

969 – Cairo established as capital

1250-1517 – Mameluke (slave soldier) rule, characterised by prosperity and well-ordered civic institutions

1517 – Egypt absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman empire

1798 – Napoleon invades but is repelled by the British and the Turks in 1801

1805 – Ottoman Albanian commander Muhammad Ali establishes a dynasty; It rules until 1952, although is nominally part of the Ottoman Empire

1859-69 – Suez Canal built leading to the near-bankrupting Egypt and British takeover

1882 – British troops defeat Egyptian army and take control of the country; Hieroglyphs deciphered

1914 – Egypt formally becomes a British protectorate

1922 – Fuad I becomes King and Egypt gains independence

1922 – Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun

1953 – Egypt became independent

Note: Dates in this timeline are estimates due to the age of some of the events.