Egypt profile - Timeline

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A chronology of key events:

circa 7000 BCE - Settlement of Nile Valley begins.

circa 3000 BCE - Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt unite. Successive dynasties witness flourishing trade, prosperity and the development of great cultural traditions. Writing, including hieroglyphics, is used as an instrument of state. Construction of the pyramids - around 2,500 BC - is a formidable engineering achievement.

Image source, AFP

669 BCE - Assyrians from Mesopotamia conquer and rule Egypt.

525 BCE - Persian conquest.

332 BCE - Alexander the Great, of ancient Macedonia, conquers Egypt, founds Alexandria. A Macedonian dynasty rules until 31 BC.

31 BCE - Egypt comes under Roman rule; Queen Cleopatra commits suicide after Octavian's army defeats her forces.

33 CE - Christianity comes to Egypt, and by 4th century has largely displaced Egyptian religion.

642 - Arab conquest of Egypt.

969 - Cairo established as capital.

1250-1517 - Mameluke (slave soldier) rule, characterised by great prosperity and well-ordered civic institutions.

1517 - Egypt absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman empire.

1798 - Napoleon Bonaparte's forces invade but are repelled by the British and the Turks in 1801.

1805 - Ottoman Albanian commander Muhammad Ali establishes dynasty that goes on to reign until 1953, although nominally part of the Ottoman Empire.

1859-69 - Suez Canal built, but it and other infrastructure projects near-bankrupt Egypt and lead to gradual British takeover.

1882 - British troops defeat Egyptian army and take control of country.

1914 - Egypt formally becomes a British protectorate.

Independence restored

1922 - Fuad I becomes king and Egypt gains independence, although British influence remains significant until 1950s.

1928 - Muslim Brotherhood founded by Hassan al-Banna, who is killed in 1949. Campaigns to reorient Egypt and whole Muslim Middle East away from Western influence.

1948 - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria attack the new state of Israel. Egyptian army's poor performance increases unpopularity of King Farouk.

1949 - Committee of the Free Officers' Movement formed to overthrow corrupt monarchy.

1952 January - At least 20 people are killed in anti-British riots in Cairo.

1952 July - Coup by the Free Officers' Movement. Farouk abdicates in favour of his infant son Ahmed Fuad II.

Rise of Nasser

1953 June - Coup leader Muhammad Najib becomes president as Egypt is declared a republic.

1954 - Fellow coup leader Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes prime minister and in 1956 president, ruling unchallenged until his death in 1970.

1954 - Evacuation Treaty signed. British forces, who began a gradual withdrawal under 1936 treaty, finally leave Egypt.

1955 - Prime Minister Nasser reorients Egypt away from West towards neutrality, buys arms from Communist Czechoslovakia to re-equip arm.

1956 January - Egypt and Britain relinquish control over Sudan, established at end of 19th century.

1956 July - President Nasser nationalises the Suez Canal to fund the Aswan High Dam, after Britain and US withdraw financing.

1956 October-November - Invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel over nationalisation of Suez Canal fails through US opposition, greatly enhancing President Nasser's standing at home and abroad.

1958 - President Nasser steps up campaign to promote pan-Arab unity, most visible signs of which is brief United Arab Republic unitary state including Syria (1958-61). He also supports friendly elements in Lebanese and North Yemen conflicts, to little avail.

1961-66 - President Nasser adopts socialist policies, including nationalisation of industry and an ambitious welfare programme, combined with repression of Muslim Brotherhood and leftist opponents, in an unsuccessful attempt to boost the economy and the popularity of his government.

1967 May - Egypt expels UN buffer forces from Sinai and closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, then sign defence pact with Jordan. Israel interprets this as preparation for war.

1967 June - Israeli pre-emptive attack defeats Egypt, Jordan and Syria, leaving it in control of Sinai up to the Suez Canal and Egyptian-occupied Gaza.

Emergency Law largely suspends civil rights. Remains in force with brief break in early 1980s until 2012.

Sadat presidency

1970 September - Nasser dies, having never recovered his leading role among Arab states after the 1967 defeat, and is succeeded by Vice-President Anwar al-Sadat.

1971 - The Aswan High Dam is completed, with Soviet funding, and has a huge impact on irrigation, agriculture and industry in Egypt.

1972 - President Sadat expels Soviet advisers and reorients Egypt towards the West, while launching an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to open the economy to market forces and foreign investment.

1973 October - Egypt and Syria go to war with Israel to reclaim land lost in 1967. Egypt begins negotiations for the return of Sinai after the war.

1975 June - The Suez Canal is re-opened for first time since 1967 war.

1977 January - "Bread riots" in major cities against end to subsidies on basic foodstuffs under agreement with World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

1977 October - President Sadat visits Israel, beginning process that leads to 1979 peace treaty, return of occupied Sinai Peninsula, and Egypt's suspension from Arab League until 1989. Egypt becomes major beneficiary of US financial aid.

1981 October - President Sadat assassinated by Islamist extremists month after clampdown on private press and opposition groups in wake of anti-government riots. Succeeded by Vice-President Hosni Mubarak.

Image source, AFP

Mubarak presidency

1981 - President Mubarak reimposes state of emergency, restricting political activity, freedom of expression and assembly.

1986 - Amy deployed in Cairo to crush mutiny by Central Security paramilitary police.

1991 - Egypt joins allied coalition to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait, and benefited from major multilateral loans and debt relief in return, allowing government to launch another attempt at liberalising economy.

1992-97 - Gama'a al-Islamiyya Islamic Group begins five-year campaign of attacks on government and tourist targets, culminating in killing of 62 people at Luxor historic site in 1997.

2005 May - Referendum backs constitutional amendment allowing multiple candidates at presidential elections, after months of opposition protests.

2005 July - Scores of people are killed in bomb attacks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh as Islamists resume terror attacks.

2005 December - Parliamentary polls end with clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, who win record 20% of seats by standing as independents.

2006 April - Bomb attacks in the Red Sea resort of Dahab kill more than 20 people.

2006 November - Egypt is one of at least six Arab countries developing domestic nuclear programmes to diversify energy sources, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports.

Image source, AFP

Fall of Mubarak

2010 November - Parliamentary polls, followed by protests against alleged vote rigging. Muslim Brotherhood fails to win a single seat, though it held a fifth of the places in the last parliament.

2011 January - Anti-government demonstrations, apparently encouraged by Tunisian street protests which prompted sudden departure of President Ben Ali.

2011 February - President Mubarak steps down and hands power to an army council. Goes on trial in August, charged with ordering the killing of demonstrators.

2011 April-August - Protests continue in Cairo's Tahrir Square over slow pace of political change. Islamist groups come to the fore. Army finally disperses protesters in August.

Image source, AFP

2011 November - Violence in Cairo's Tahrir Square as security forces clash with protesters accusing the military of trying to keep their grip on power.

2012 January - Islamist parties emerge as victors of drawn-out parliamentary elections.

2012 May - Military leaders announce the end of the state of emergency in place since Anwar al-Sadat's assassination in 1981.

Rise and fall of President Morsi

2012 June - Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi narrowly wins presidential election.

2012 August - Islamist fighters attack an army outpost in Sinai, killing 16 soldiers, and mount a brief incursion into Israel, beginning new insurgency.

Image source, AFP

2012 December - Islamist-dominated constituent assembly approves draft constitution that boosts the role of Islam and restricts freedom of speech and assembly.

2013 January - More than 50 people are killed during days of violent street protests. Army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi warns that political strife is pushing the state to the brink of collapse.

2013 July - Army overthrows President Morsi amid mass demonstrations calling on him to quit. Hundreds are killed as security forces storm pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo the following month.

2013 December - Government declares Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after a bomb blast in Mansoura kills 12.

2014 January - New constitution bans parties based on religion.

2014 May - Former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi wins presidential election.

Islamic State attacks

2014 November - Sinai-based armed group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis pledges allegiance to extreme Islamic State movement, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq. Renames itself Sinai Province.

2015 May - Ousted President Morsi sentenced to death over 2011 mass breakout of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners, along with more than 100 others.

2015 June - Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat and three members of the public killed in suspected Islamist car bombing in Cairo.

2015 July - Islamic State launches wave of attacks in North Sinai and on Coptic churches nationwide.

2015 October - Islamic State claims responsibility for destruction of Russian airliner in Sinai, in which all crew and 224 tourist passengers were killed.

2016 January - Islamic State carries out attack at Giza tourist site and is suspected of attack on tourists in Hurghada.

2016 November - IMF approves a three-year $12bn loan to Egypt designed to help the country out of its deep economic crisis.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Egyptian security forces have struggled to stop attacks by jihadists in North Sinai

2017 April - State of emergency declared after suicide bombers kill dozens at two churches where worshippers celebrated Palm Sunday.

2017 June - Egypt joins Saudi-led campaign to isolate Qatar, accusing it of promoting terrorism.

2017 November - Jihadists attack mosque in Bir al-Abed village in North Sinai, killing 305.

2018 March - President Sisi wins a second term in elections against a sole minor opposition candidate. More serious challengers either withdrew or were arrested.

2018 October - Seventeen people are sentenced to death over the 2016-17 wave of Islamic State group attacks on churches, and a further 19 receive life sentences.