Egyptian Chronology: Dynasties

Ancient Egypt was called the land of Khem.

Egypt lies in northeast Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea.

The Nile River runs south to north through Egypt. The Nile River is over 4000 miles long. There are really two Niles, The White and Blue Nile with their sources in Ethiopia and Lake Victoria in Central Africa. The flow of the Nile is affected by "Cataracts" which are narrow gaps which serve to speed up the Nile by constriction.

This flood leaves a rich deposit of alluvial soil on the banks thus giving Egypt the nickname of "The Gift of the Nile." The fertile strip on either side of the Nile averages only 12 mileswide. Egyptians learned to build sophisticated irrigation systems and dikes to maximize the use of the Nile. The mouth of the Nile forms a wide "Delta" as it enters the Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt is divided into the Southern part known as "Upper Egypt" and Northern part known as "Lower Egypt". Much of lower Egypt was once a savannah teeming with wild animals but due to climatic conditions it has now become an arrid desert.

Egypt is protected by natural boundaries on all sides; 
the Mediterranean Sea to the North; 
the Sahara Desert to the West;
the Nubian Desert and Swamps to the South; 
and the Red Sea and Sinai Peninsula to the East.

Egyptian history is generally divided into six main historical eras.
1.  Archaic or Thinite period (3100-2700 BC).
2.  The Old Kingdom or Pyramid Age (2700-2200 BC).
3.  1st Intermediate period (2200-2060 BC).
4.  The Middle Kingdom (2060-1785 BC).
5.  2nd Intermediate period (1785-1575 BC).
6.  The New Kingdom or Empire (1575-332 BC). 
Egypt has a rich ancient history of dynasties, pharaohs and huge stone cities and structures such as the famous pyramids.

Somewhere around 1375 BCE, an Egyptian Pharaoh publicly changed his name. That change signalled a return to long-standing tradition, a hallmark of Egyptian culture that flourished for more than three thousand years peacefully in the rich Nile River valley.

The king was called Tutankhaton. The last portion of his name, Aton, was the name for the sun-god, which, in the years before the king's reign, had achieved preeminence among the competing deities in Egyptian religious tradition.

The king changed his name to the one by which he is known today -- TUTANKHAMEN or-- King Tut and ended the brief experiment in monotheism (belief in one God) in favor of the older religion with its promise of an afterlife.

Egypt's historical periods are ruled by a group of hereditary kings divided into 31 dynasties. Kings of Egypt became known as "Pharoahs" which loosely translated means "Great House". Pharoahs were considered divine, that is, they were gods-thus their rule was autocratic and religious (Theocracy). Pharoahs usually married their sisters since only a marriage to another divine person could produce a god. Dynastic rule provided a continuous rule of Egypt for over 3000 years with only small interruptions.

Lower Paleolithic (c. 2 Million - 100000 BC) Middle Paleolithic (100000 - 30000 BC) Upper Paleolithic (30000 - 10000 BC) Epipaleolithic Era (10000 - c. 5500 BC) Predynastic Period (5500 - 3100 BC) 1st Dynasty (2920 - 2770 BC) 2nd Dynasty (2770 - 2650 BC) 3rd Dynasty (2650 - 2575 BC) 4th Dynasty (2575 - 2467 BC) 5th Dynasty (2465 - 2323 BC) 6th Dynasty (2323 - 2152 BC) First Intermediate Period (7th - 11th Dynasties) (2150 -1986 BC) 11th Dynasty (1986 - 1937 BC) 12th Dynasty (1937 - 1759 BC) Second Intermediate Period (13th - 17th Dynasties) (1759 - 1539 BC) 18th Dynasty (1539 - 1295 BC) 19th Dynasty (1295 - 1186 BC) 20th Dynasty (1186 - 1069 BC) 21st Dynasty (1070 - 945 BC) 22nd Dynasty (945 - 712 BC) 23rd Dynasty (828 - 725 BC) 24th Dynasty (725 - 715 BC) 25th Dynasty (712 - 657 BC) 26th Dynasty (664 - 525 BC) 27th Dynasty (525 - 404 BC) 28th Dynasty (404 - 399 BC) 29th Dynasty (399 - 380 BC) 30th Dynasty (380 - 343 BC) 31st Dynasty (343 - 332 BC) Ptolemaic Dynasty Roman Period Byzantine Period Abbasid Period Fatimid Period Ayyubid Period Mameluke Period Bahri Mameluke Period Burgi Mameluke Period Ottoman Turk Period French Occupation Period British Occupation Period CLICK HERE to read about each dynasty.
4500-3100 BCE: Predynastic Period: Influenced by Mesopotamian civilization. 4500-3800 BCE: Badarian Period 3850-3650 BCE: Naqada I 3600-3200 BCE: Reconstructed Predynastic Burial 3100 BCE: During this period in ancient Egypt, the Archaic period, Narmer unites Egypt. Hieroglyphic writing develops. The first recorded king of a united Egypt was Menes. Captial of united Egypt was located at Memphis The pallete of Narmer was a stone stella which provides us information about early Egypt and is one of the first recorded historical records in history. Archaic Period gave way to the Old Kingdom 3100-2900 BCE: Dynasty I 2900-2750 BCE: Dynasty II 2772 BCE: The 365 day calendar is introduced. 2750-2675 BCE: Dynasty III 2700 BCE: King Zoser found the third dynasty in Egypt thereby issuing the period of the Old Kingdom, which lasts until 2200. He also builds the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the first known pyramid in Egypt. Pyramids began as flat tombs called "Mastabas". A pyramid was actually only one building in a complex including a (A) Causeway from the Nile; (B) Valley Temple; (C) Mortuary Temple; (D) Boat Pit. The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) was the largest of several built together. During the Old Kingdom, the power of the pharoah was absolute. This period is also known as the Pyramid Age since the great pyramids were built during this era. Characterized by a centralized government which provided stability and order. A landed nobility shared some power with the Pharoah. A bureacracy was formed with many important positions being created; (A) Vizier-The Chief of Staff; (B) Chief Architect; (C) Chief Judge or High Priest. Land was divided into political units known as "Nomes" and were ruled by "Nomarchs" (Monarch). 2675-2565 BCE: Dynasty IV 2565-2423 BCE: Dynasty V 2423-2250 BCE: Dynasty VI 2250-2213 BCE: Dynasty VIII 2213-2025 BCE: Dynasty IX-X 2200 BCE: The first intermediate period begins with the collapse of the Old Kingdom, mostly because of crop failure combined with low revenue due to the pyramid building projects. It ends in 2050. The Pharaohs became ineffective. Pharaohs were isolated from the common people. Economic decay was prevelant. Landed nobility became more powerful and challenged leadership of the Pharaohs. Central authority eroded and Egypt once again split into two kingdoms. 2122-2025 BCE: Dynasty IX 2050 BCE: The period of the Middle Kingdom begins with its capital at Thebes. It ends in 1786. Around this time, an early political treatise, The Plea of the Eloquent Peasant, is written, calling for a benevolent ruler. Egypt was again unified under Mentuhotep II. Captial was moved to lower Egyptian city of Thebes. Rising middle class challenged the landed nobility for power. New middle class made up of (A) Lesser govt officials; (B) Merchants and Traders; (C) Small independent farmers. Pharaoh was actually forced to share power with the Vizier during this period of time. 2025-1979 BCE: Dynasty XI 2000 BCE: The Egyptians domesticate the cat for the purpose of catching snakes. Around this time, advances in astronomy enable the Egyptians to predict the annual flooding of the Nile. 1979-1801 BCE: Dynasty XII 1990 BCE: The Twelfth Dynasty, Egypt's "golden" age, begins. It ends with the Middle Kingdom in 1786. During this period, power is somewhat distributed through the social classes. Religion shifts from a wealth-based system to one based on proper conduct. Queen Soreknofru is one of the rulers during this dynasty. 1801-1627/1606 BCE: Dynasty XIII 1786 BCE: The second intermediate period begins due to internal dissention between the nobility and the pharaoh. It lasts until 1560. Egypt was ripe for invasion because of (A) complacency; (B) Erosion of central authority; (C) Egyptian army was ill-equipped and unprepared for war. Semitic people known as Hyksos (Highland Rulers) successfully invaded lower Egypt in 1785 BC. Hyksos army introduced Iron weapons and wheeled chariots to the Egyptians. Hyksos rule was very harsh and violent. Some alien groups in Egypt collaborated with Hyksos (Hebrews?). Result of Hyksos invasion was to revitalize Egyptian spirit and eventual recapture of the Egyptian throne from the invaders. 1750 BCE: The Hyksos occupy Egypt from Syria and Palestine and introduce the horse and chariot into Egypt. Their position is strengthened by the internal problems in the Egyptian state. 1648-1540 BCE: Dynasty XV 1627/1606-1539 BCE: Dynasty XVII 1600 BCE: A revolution against the Hyksos begins in Upper (southern) Egypt and spreads throughout the country. 1539-1295 BCE: Dynasty XVIII 1560 BCE: The period of the New Kingdom begins when Ahmose defeats the Hyksos and establishes the XVIII Dynasty. The New Kingom ends around 1087. Unlike earlier periods, this period is imperialistic enabled by new modes of warfare introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos. Queen Hatshepsut is one of the rulers of the XVIII Dynasty. The New Kingdom or Empire (1575-332 BC) was characterized by many strong Pharaohs who ruled until the country was overtaken by Alexander the Great. Hyksos were driven out by two brothers; (A) Ahmose and; (B) Kamose. 1500 BCE: By this time, the kingdom of Kush has been established to the south of Egypt. The people of Kush, known as the Kushites, are dark-complexioned Negroids. Hatshepsut (1504-1482 BC); (A) First woman ruler in history that we know anything about; (B) Grandaughter of Kamose and wife/sister of Thutmose II; (C) Ruled as a regent for her minor son, Thutmose III, for over 20 years; (D) Law and religion prohibited her from being a pharaoh so she wore a fake beard and dressed as a man; (E) Funeral temple in the Valley of the Kings is one of Egypt's greatest architectural feats 1500-1400 BCE: The Papyrus of Ani (The Egyptian Book of the Dead) Thutmose III (1482-1450 BC); (A) disposed his mother and probably had her killed; (B) Had her name and image removed from all temples, etc; (C) Responsible for greatly expanding the empire of Egypt; (D) He conducted over 19 military expeditions as far away as Syria; (E) Won a great battle over the Syrian King at the battle of Meggido. Amenhotep I (1412-1375 BC); (A) Great-grandson of Thutmose III; (B) During his reign the Egyptian Empire expanded its' borders to the greatest extent; (C) Time of relative peace because of the strength of Egypt.
Pharaoh Akhnaton: Click Image 1379-1365 BC: Amenhotep IV
Tutankhamen (1365-1358 BC); (A) Ascended the throne at the age of 11 and ruled only till age of 18; (B) Forced to deny Aton and move capital back to Thebes where priests and nobels regained influence; (C) Would have been totally unknown except for his tomb, which is the only Egyptian Pharaoh's tomb found that was not plundered.
The Akhet-Aten Home Page A website dedicated to the Amarna period, featuring such figures as Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Tutankhamen!
1334-1325 BCE: Tutankhamun 1304-1237 BCE: Rameses II ("the Great") rules Egypt. 1295-1185 BCE: Dynasty XIX 1250 BCE: Under the direction of Moses, the Israelites leave Egypt and head for the "promised land." Rameses II (1290-1223 BC); (A) Last great Egyptian pharaoh; (B) Ruled for over 67 years; (C) Engaged in many military expeditions; (D) He won a decisive battle over the Syrians at the Battle of Kadesh and secured the borders for the Egyptian empire; (E) Built many architectural structures including the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak and the Statues at Abu Simel; (F) He is probably most remembered as the pharaoh of the "Hebrew Opression" who allowed Moses to take his people out of Egypt as recored in "Exodus" in the Old Testament. Between 1223 and 332 BC several dynasties ruled Egypt continously until the conquest by Alexander the Great. 1185-1070 BCE: Dynasty XX 1182 BCE: Rameses III defeats the Sea People. Rameses is pharaoh until 1151. He is the last great pharaoh to rule in Egypt. In 1175 he builds his temple palace at Medinet Habu. 1070-945 BCE: Dynasty XXI 945-718 BCE: Dynasty XXII 820-718 BCE: Dynasty XXIII 750 BCE: Kashta, the ruler of Kush, begins a campaign against Egypt. With the help of his son, Piankhy, he is successful. Piankhy becomes pharaoh of Egypt. 730-712 BCE: Dynasty XXIV 775-653 BCE: Dynasty XXV 671 BCE: Egypt is conquered by the Assyrians. But when the Assyrian empire collapses just under ten years later, Egypt enjoys a century or so of independence. 664-525 BCE: Dynasty XXVI 525 BCE: Egypt is conquered by the Persians, who rule until 405. From this point onward, Egypt is ruled by Persian or Greek forces. 525-404/401 BCE: Dynasty XXVII 399-380 BCE: Dynasty XXIX 380-342 BCE: Dynasty XXX 342-332 BCE: Dynasty XXXI The Persians rule Egypt for a second time. 332-331 BCE: Alexander the Great occupies Egypt and founded the city of Alexandria. 305 BCE: The Hellenistic Ptolemaic Dynasty begins. 311-383 CE: The Arian Controversy, a Christian theological dispute over the precise relationship between the members of the Trinity, threatens the unity of the Christian churches in the East.