Egyptian civilization has flourished continuously since prehistoric times. While the civilization’s rulers, writing, natural climate, religion and borders have changed many times over the millennia, Egypt still exists as a modern-day country.
The civilization has always been strongly connected with other parts of the world, bringing in and exporting goods, religions, food, people and ideas. At times ancient Egypt ruled territory outside the modern-day country’s border, controlling territory in what is now Sudan, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Palestine.
The country was also occupied by other powers — the Persians, Nubians, Greeks and Romans all conquered the country at different points in time.
A number of names were used for Egypt in ancient times. A popular ancient name for Egypt was “Kemet,” which means the “black land.” Scholars generally believe that this name derives from the fertile soil that is left over when the Nile flood recedes in August.
Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, and the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great. The Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander’s death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.