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Ancient Egypt Timeline: The Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms

written by: Noreen Gunnell • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/15/2013

Learn about some of the major events that happened in Ancient Egypt that over the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms plus everything in between. Learn significant dates, events, and people. Vocabulary terms are in bold italics.

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    This article is meant to be used as a reference with lesson plans in this series on Ancient Egypt. It is a basic timeline that lists significant dates, events, and people.
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    Timeline

    Old Kingdom: (3200-2180 BC)

    • Menes unites Upper & Lower Egypt & sets up First Dynasty. Combines the white crown of Upper Egypt with the red crown of lower Egypt.
    • This time period saw important advances in agriculture, metalworking, transportation, and communication in Ancient Egypt. Memphis was the capital.
      • Re is the chief God.
      • Pharaohs, (sons of Re), were all powerful rulers. Kings and gods.
    • Pharaohs developed a highly centralized government.
    • Central governmentat Memphis directed activities of provinces or nomes.
    • After the Pharaoh, the next most powerful official was the overworked vizier. His many duties included collecting taxes, monitoring the cultivation of fields, and the maintenance of the irrigation system. The vizier also acted as a judge at times.
    • Each nome could send soldiers to fight for the pharaoh since Egypt had no national army at this time. They could also fight against the pharaoh.

    The Age of Pyramids. First stone pyramid is the Step Pyramid built for Djoser under the direction of his architect, Imhotep during the Third Dynasty. It is a series of stacked mastabas. Mastabas are flat, low structures made of mud-brick or stone and were used a tombs before the development of pyramids. Mastaba is an Arabic word meaning bench.

    The Great Pyramid built at Giza for Khufu in 2560 BC. Nearly 500 feet high and covering 13 acres it was about the size of 90 football fields. It is made of more than 2 million stone blocks and took 200,000 workers on average more than 20 years to complete. Some of the stone was granite cut 400 miles south at Aswan. The work was so hard, stone-cutting gangs had names like “Enduring" or “"Vigorous".

    • Blocks weighed about 2.5 tons (5000 lbs). on average
    • They were placed on wooden sleds and pulled to the Nile on a path paved with logs.
    • Put on special barges filled with sand and floated to the tomb site, unloaded and pulled up huge ramps to each new level of the pyramid.

    First Intermediate Period:

    • Old Kingdom Ended around 2180 BC during the Eighth Dynasty. Ancient Egypt fell into disunion, the climate grew drier, people moved closer to Nile, and there was famine. It was known as the Time of Chaos or Disorder.

    Middle Kingdom: (2040-1674 BC)

    • Capital at Thebes established by Mentuhotep of the Eleventh Dynasty. Dynasty triumphed over Herakleopolis.
    • Power of the pharaohs was more limited.
    • Amenemhet seized power and set up Twelfth Dynasty.
    • Middle Kingdom reached its peak during the reigns of Sesostris III and Amenemhet III.
    • Conquered Nubia and city states in Syria and Palestine.
    • Trade with other lands increased. Ships and caravans carried goods to and from Egypt.
    • Improved methods of irrigation.
    • Turquoise and copper mined.

    Second Intermediate Period: During the Thirteenth Dynasty in 1674 B.C settlers from western Asia called the Hyksos, (a Greek word meaning rulers of foreign lands), were able to seize power in Egypt and establish rule.

    • Theben ruler Kamose was able take back several towns and regain control of the Nile.
    • His brother Ahmose defeated the Hyksos completely and captured their capital at Avaris.
    • Egypt adopted the horse and chariot and bronze weapons from the Hyksos.

    New Kingdom: (1570-1070 BC)

    • Ahmose I began the Eighteenth Dynasty.
    • Borders extended into Nubia and Palestine by Amenhotep I (the 2nd Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty).
    • Art and architecture grew under Amenhotep III's rule.
    • Amenhotep IV insists Egyptians worship only Aton, the Sun God, establishes the first true monotheistic religion. In the fifth year of his reign he changed his name to Akhenaten and began construction on the new Egyptian capital, also called Akhetaton. His change of religion and of the capital are both deeply resented by the Egyptian people. Later, his son-in-law Tutankhamen returns the capital to Thebes.
    • Use this SlideShow on the New Kingdom when teaching about Ancient Egypt.

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