Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous pint-sized French leader, invaded Egypt in 1798, seeking to set up a French colony. However, not long after, the French were repelled, and Egypt became a part of the Ottoman Empire once again.
From 1882, the British Army occupied Egypt to protect the Suez Canal. Muhammad Ali officially ruled from the early 1800s, and his family and successors continued to rule for decades (alongside and during British occupation) until overthrown by a military coup in 1952.
During World War II, Egypt became a crucial element in Britain's defence. The Italian Army tried to advance into Egypt in 1940 but was stopped by the British Army at Mersa Matruh. Egypt continued to serve as a vital base for British troops during World War II and despite the disruption, Egypt's shopkeepers and retail trade benefitted from the thousands of Allied troops staying in Egypt.
In 1953, Egypt was officially declared a republic and a year later, Colonel Nasser was declared Prime Minister, then President. In 1979, after decades of confrontation with neighbouring Israel, the historic Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed. This agreement made Egypt the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel as a country - a significant step in the peace process. More recently, in February 2011, large scale protests and mass demonstrations resulted in the removal of President Mubarak after decades of autocratic rule.
Ancient Egypt has been the focus of much fascination, investigation, speculation and intrigue. It's hard to escape the education system without having studied Ancient Egypt in some way. Drawn in by the mighty pyramids, mysterious hieroglyphics, distinct burial rituals and animal-headed gods - scholars, students, historians and travellers are all amazed by this civilization which has endured cycles of dynastic rule, invasion and natural disasters.
Through key archaeological finds, historians have been able to unravel some of the mysteries of this great land. What is known is that the daily life of the average Egyptian usually involved working in agriculture with the waters of the Nile providing fertile ground for planting of crops. Egyptians usually lived in modest homes with children and domestic pets. Professions were usually inherited - so if your father was a farmer, then so were you.
While most Egyptians led simple lives, dynasties of Pharaohs led lavish lifestyles, with the most well-known being Ramses II, Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Cleopatra. Huge monuments, imposing pyramids, golden artifacts and detailed paintings all hold details about pharaonic rule and succession, as well as commonly held beliefs about religion and the afterlife.
Spanning centuries and full of drama worthy of a soap opera, the epic history of Ancient Egypt is complex and we suggest you read about it before visiting.