Egypt is probably the world's oldest civilization having emerged from the Nile Valley around 3,100 BC, historically. Egypt is probably one of the oldest vacation spots. Early Greeks, Romans and others went there just for fun, and to see the wonders of some of mankind's earliest triumphs.
But Egypt is much more than Pyramids and monuments. It is also Red Sea scuba diving, hot night spots, luxury hotels and five star restaurants. It is romantic cruises down the Nile on festive river boats, a night at the grand opera and it is a cultural experience like none you have ever experienced.
Egypt is a land bustling with life, sound, visual beauty and excitement. More than anything else, we want you to think of Egypt as fun. For thousands of years, it has been the playground of emperors and kings, and we hope you will take the time to find out why.
The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C. and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia.
The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and who ruled for the next six centuries.
A local military caste, the Mamluks took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt.
Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922, Egypt acquired full sovereignty following World War II.
The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honoured place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society.
The government has struggled to ready the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.
|Location:||Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula|
|Geographic coordinates:||27 00 N, 30 00 E|
|Area:||total: 1,001,450 sq km land: 995,450 sq km|
water: 6,000 sq km
|Area - comparative:||slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico|
|Land boundaries:||total: 2,665 km|
border countries: Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
|Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):||territorial sea: 12 NM|
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
|Climate:||desert; hot, dry summers with moderate winters|
|Terrain:||vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta|
|Elevation extremes:||lowest point: Qattara Depression -133 m|
highest point: Mount Catherine 2,629 m
|Natural resources:||petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc|
|Land use:||arable land: 2.85%|
permanent crops: 0.47%
other: 96.68% (1998 est.)
|Irrigated land:||33,000 sq km (1998 est.)|
|Natural hazards:||periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes, flash floods, landslides; hot, driving windstorm called khamsin occurs in spring; dust storms, sandstorms|
|Environment - current issues:||agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources|
|Environment - international agreements:||party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands|
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
|Population:||76,117,421 (July 2004 est.)|
|Age structure:||0-14 years: 33.4% (male 13,038,369; female 12,418,254)|
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 23,953,949; female 23,419,418)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 1,407,248; female 1,880,183) (2004 est.)
|Median age:||total: 23.4 years|
male: 23 years
female: 23.8 years (2004 est.)
|Population growth rate:||1.83% (2004 est.)|
|Infant mortality rate:||total: 33.9 deaths/1,000 live births|
female: 33.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 34.64 deaths/1,000 live births
|Life expectancy at birth:||total population: 70.71 years|
male: 68.22 years
female: 73.31 years (2004 est.)
|Total fertility rate:||2.95 children born/woman (2004 est.)|
|Ethnic groups:||Eastern Hamitic stock (Egyptians, Bedouins, and Berbers) 99%, Greek, Nubian, Armenian, other European (primarily Italian and French) 1%|
|Religions:||Muslim (mostly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%|
|Languages:||Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes|
|Literacy:||definition: age 15 and over can read and write|
total population: 57.7%
female: 46.9% (2003 est.)
|Country name:||conventional long form: Arab Republic of Egypt|
conventional short form: Egypt
local short form: Misr
former: United Arab Republic (with Syria)
local long form: Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah
|Administrative divisions:||26 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Ad Daqahliyah, Al Bahr al Ahmar, Al Buhayrah, Al Fayoum, Al Gharbiyah, Al Iskandariyah, Al Isma'iliyah, Al Jizah, Al Minufiyah, Al Minya, Al Qahirah, Al Qalyubiyah, Al Wadi al Jadid, Ash Sharqiyah, As Suways, Aswan, Asyut, Bani Suwayf, Bur Sa'id, Dumyat, Janub Sina', Kafr ash Shaykh, Matruh, Qina, Shamal Sina', Suhaj|
|Independence:||28 February 1922 (from UK)|
|National holiday:||Revolution Day, 23 July (1952)|
|Constitution:||11 September 1971|
|Legal system:||based on English common law, Islamic law, and Napoleonic codes; judicial review by Supreme Court and Council of State (oversees validity of administrative decisions); accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations|
|Suffrage:||18 years of age; universal and compulsory|
|Flag description:||three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with the national emblem (a shield superimposed on a golden eagle facing the hoist side above a scroll bearing the name of the country in Arabic) cantered in the white band; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band; also similar to the flag of Syria, which has two green stars, and to the flag of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centred in the white band|