Across the board, Egyptians refer to themselves as proud citizens of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The name Egypt comes from the ancient Greek county ‘Aigyptos.’ It was the “Gift of the Nile,” as the ancient Greek historian Herodotus put it.

The Egyptian capital of Cairo is a major metropolitan area. The city’s many mosque minarets have earned it the nickname “The City of 1,000 Minarets,” and the capital city is a popular tourist destination.

Cairo
Cairo, the City of Thousand Minarets

The city is home to many famous Egyptian landmarks. In the 10th century, Cairo was the center of the Islamic world. Thus many Islamic buildings such as mosques, madrassas, or hammams exist here.

After years of British colonial rule, Egypt finally won its independence in 1952. Before that, Egypt was a part of the Ottoman Empire.

History

Located in Africa, Egypt has one of the world’s oldest histories, dating back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE near the Nile Delta.

Some of the first examples of writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion, and centralized governance can be found in Ancient Egypt, which earned the reputation of being a “cradle of civilization.”

Being simultaneously Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North African, Egypt’s long and rich cultural past is essential to the country’s national identity.

The modern history of Egypt began in 1922 when the country declared independence from the British Empire. After the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, Egypt proclaimed itself a republic; in 1958, it joined Syria to establish the United Arab Republic, which then collapsed in 1961. Then, Egypt’s official name was officially changed to the Arab Republic of Egypt in 1971.

Egypt’s social and religious unrest and political instability persisted throughout the second half of the 20th century, leading to four separate wars with Israel (1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973) and the intermittent occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egyptian forces up to 1967.

Following the Camp David Accords’ signing in 1978, Egypt formally withdrew its forces from the Gaza Strip and recognized the Palestinian territory.

Flag

The Egyptian tricolor flag, which goes back to the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, consists of three equal horizontal bars of red, white, and black. The white strip of the flag has the Egyptian eagle of Saladin, the country’s official symbol, centered in it.

The crimson band represents the Egyptians’ blood sacrifice in their fight against colonialism. The Egyptians believed that the white ring represented the purity of their hearts. The black stripe below the white represents the triumph of light over darkness.

Flag
Flags of Egypt throughout the Political history of the country.
Geography

Egypt is a transcontinental country, with a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) connecting Africa and Asia and a waterway (the Suez Canal) between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean utilizing the Red Sea.

Egypt hosts the longest river in the world and the father of African rivers, i.e., the River Nile. It has a length of about 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometers) and drains an area estimated at 1,293,000 square miles (3,349,000 square kilometers). The Nile enters the Mediterranean Sea just north of Cairo.

Egypt Map
Map of Egypt

Libya lies to the west of Egypt, Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. There are around 620 miles (1,000 km) of coastline in the Mediterranean in the north and about 1,200 miles (2,050 km) along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba in the east (1,900 km).

Most of Egypt is desert, with just a few oasis towns dotted throughout the country. Egypt includes three deserts: (1) the Eastern, (2) the Western, and (3) Sinai. The Sahara and the Libyan Desert both extend into Egypt.

Ancient Egyptians called this area of the country “red land,” It was home to the deserts that served as a barrier between the Pharaohs’ Kingdom and the western hordes.

Demography

With over 95 million people as of 2017, Egypt is the most populous nation in the Arab world and the third most populous on the African continent. Due to improvements in healthcare and agricultural output made possible by the Green Revolution, the country’s population boomed from 1970 to 2010.

99.7% of Egypt’s population identifies as Egyptians, making them the biggest single ethnic group. In the eastern deserts and on the Sinai Peninsula, you’ll find the Abazas, Turks, Greeks, and Bedouin Arab tribes; in the Siwa Oasis, you’ll find the Berber-speaking Siwis (Amazigh); and in the Nubian settlements, huddled along the Nile, you’ll find the Nubians.

Most of Egypt’s 5 million immigrants are Sudanese. Many of these people have lived in Egypt for decades or even centuries. Immigrants from Iraq, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea make up a smaller percentage of the total.

Arabic is the language of government and education. There are several different dialects of Arabic spoken there, including Egyptian Arabic (68%), Sa’idi Arabic or Upper Egyptian Arabic (29%), Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic (1.6%), Sudanese Arabic (0.6%), Domari Arabic (0.3%), Noubiin Arabic (0.3%), Beja Arabic (0.1%), Siwi, and others.

Egypt is home to 5% of the world’s Muslim population and has the biggest Muslim population in the Arab world. Moreover, Egypt is home to the greatest Christian population in the Middle East and North Africa.

Climate

The weather in Egypt is often quite hot, sunny, and dry. Summertime highs tend to be on the warmer side of high everywhere except the far north. During the hottest part of the summer, the northern seashore benefits from the regular blowing of the Mediterranean’s milder breezes.

The weather in Egypt is usually pleasant, particularly in the southern towns of Aswan, Luxor, and Asyut. It is one of the driest and cloudiest places on Earth.

After the Aswan Dam was built, the Nile flooded yearly, restocking Egypt’s land. This significantly resulted in a steady crop for Egypt year after year.

An increase in sea levels due to global warming threatens Egypt’s heavily populated coastal strip and may devastate the country’s economy, agriculture, and industry. Moreover, some climate scientists predict that by the end of the 21st century, millions of Egyptians may have to flee their homes because of rising sea levels and population growth.

Economy

Over three million Egyptians now work abroad, mainly in Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and Europe, contributing to Egypt’s economy based on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, natural gas, and tourism.

Revenues from the Suez Canal, foreign tourists, and remittances from Egyptians working abroad are the mainstays of Egypt’s economy. The federal government also has funded improvements to transportation and communication networks.

Egypt’s energy industry is well-established, with major players in the coal, oil, natural gas, and hydropower sectors. About 600,000 tons (590,000 long tones; 660,000 short tons) of coal are extracted annually from mines in northeast Sinai.

Moreover, the western desert, the Gulf of Suez, and the Nile Delta contribute to the country’s oil and gas output. It is believed that Egypt possesses 2,180 cubic kilometers of gas reserves.

However, the economy is still under pressure from factors such as an increasing population, a lack of farmable land, and reliance on the Nile.

Regarding GDP, Egypt’s tourism industry is also one of many contributors. One of Egypt’s most popular destinations, the Giza Necropolis, is also the only of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that has survived to the present day.

Over 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) of beaches along the Mediterranean and Red Seas draw visitors to Egypt. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically affected tourism globally.

Egypt’s GDP breakdown during Covid-19.
Government

The politics of Egypt are based on republicanism, with a semi-presidential system of government. According to the constitution, Islam is the official religion of Egypt and Arabic is the official language.

It protects citizens against arbitrary governmental intrusion in the judicial process and respects public and private property ownership. Religiously motivated political parties are outlawed.

The executive power resides with the President of the Republic and his or her cabinet. The President must be at least 40 years old and born in Egypt to Egyptian parents. Moreover, the standard presidential term is six years, with a possible two-year extension.

The Prime Minister (the head of government) and the ministries and deputy ministers are all appointed by the President. The cabinet must submit its agenda to the House of Representatives for consideration.

In the Arab world, Egypt’s legislative history is the longest and most stable. In 1866, the first representative body of the people was formally organized.

It was dissolved after the British occupation in 1882 when the colonizers authorized only a consultative body to meet. However, a new constitution established a parliamentary monarchy once independence was achieved in 1923.

With its origins in the 19th century, Egyptian nationalism became the primary vehicle of expression among Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century, placing it decades ahead of its Arab equivalent.

Lower-middle-class Egyptians are the most likely to accept the Islamist ideology of groups like the  Muslim Brotherhood, established by the 20th-century Muslim reformer Hassan Al-Banna.

Foreign Policy 

Egypt is a major political player in the Arab World, Africa, and the wider Middle East. Cairo has served as an important commercial and cultural hub for the Arab world; today, the city’s academic and religious institutions remain among the region’s most recognizable symbols of identity.

The United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement both count Egypt as one of their original members. Since 1983, it has been a part of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. U.N. Secretary-General  Boutros Boutros-Ghali was the former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister from 1991–1996.

Egypt’s relations with the non-Arab countries of the Middle East, such as Iran and Turkey, have historically been tense. Originally, Egypt’s peace deal with Israel and Iran’s competition with old Egyptian friends in the Gulf were the main causes of tensions with Iran.

Egypt fought two wars in 1956 and 1967 with Israel and, after negotiations, recognized Isreal’s existence in 1982.

The United States gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid every year. U.S. President Ronald Reagan officially recognized Egypt as a key non-NATO ally in 1989.

Since the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, relations between the two nations have been strained, with the Obama administration condemning Egypt for its assault on the Muslim Brotherhood and postponing planned military drills.

Recent efforts have been made to improve ties between the two, with both governments expressing a desire for one another’s help in the war against terrorism.

While President El Sisi’s 2017 visit to the United States capital marked significant progress in the alliance and strengthened relations between Egypt and the United States.

Egypt-US
President Donald Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi during the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2018

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Egypt and China was signed in 2014. Egypt was among the 37 nations whose ambassadors to the UN have signed a statement to the UN Human Rights Council supporting China’s stance on the persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Egypt was one of 53 nations that endorsed a declaration in June 2020 at the United Nations in favor of Hong Kong’s national security law.

Egypt’s Foreign Policy approach under President Sisi.  
Interesting facts about Egyptian culture 
  • The Great Pyramid Complex of Giza, the only remaining monument of the 7 ancient wonders of the world, is still standing in Egypt.
  • Egypt is also home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife and had to follow strict rules to have a good afterlife. Great care was taken in the mummification process because the ancient Egyptians believed the body needed to be preserved to be reborn and ferried to the afterlife.
  • Egyptians worshipped hundreds of Gods and Goddesses and had to work to make them all happy.
  • Mount Sinai (located in the Sinai Peninsula in North Eastern Egypt) is a sacred site for Abrahamic religions. It is the mountain that Moses climbed to receive the ten commandments.
  • Cats were considered sacred animals in ancient Egypt and are still cared for and revered. Cats were thought to bring good luck and were so revered that when a cat died, the pharaohs had them mummified.
  • The first calendar known to humankind was invented in Egypt. However, each month was always 30 days, meaning their years were only 360 days, causing the years to fall out of sync with the seasons.
What Egypt Offers

With aspirations of becoming a regional power exporting hub, there are significant opportunities for investment in Egypt’s renewables sector.

The Egyptian market is increasingly looking outward for high-tech solutions to its climate and sustainability issues.

Due to rapid population growth and housing shortages, there is substantial demand for infrastructure projects. Hence, Egypt offers significant investment opportunities in its oil, petroleum, and energy market.

Moreover, Egypt’s flourishing tourism industry, due to its cultural heritage that holds importance on an international scale, offers a wide range of tourism management programs to promote sustainable and eco-friendly tourism in the country.

These include Integrated Management of Cultural Tourism, sustainable engineering projects, and the establishment of open-air museums.

Hence this being said, Egypt offers an array of tourism jobs that have a great capability to enhance one’s public-dealing skills.

 

*The research is conducted by the author; TDI does not take responsibility for the errors in the research. This also does not necessarily represent the position of the institution.

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