Egypt
external image 52_flag.gif













Geography and Climate
Egypt is located in the northwest of Africa. Its land area is 995,440 km2 and its coastline is 2,450km (1). Egypt borders several major bodies of water. To the north is the Mediterranean Sea and to the east is the Red Sea. The Nile River, one of the world's largest and most important rivers, flows right through the country.

Egypt has a desert climate. This means that they get very little rainfall and it's hot there year round. For example, the average temperature in their coldest month, January, is 54 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the average daily temperature in July is 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The average rainfall is only one inch every year (1).

Most of the Egyptian landscape is uninhabitable. The majority of the people who live in Egypt live along the Mediterranean coast or in the Nile River Valley (2).


external image 1109562091.jpg



Major Religions
Muslim
90 %
Coptic Christian and other
10 %
(1)

Languages Spoken
In Egypt, Arabic is the most common language spoken and the country's official language. English and French are commonly understood amongst well-educated people. (1)

Population/Demographics
Egypt has a total population of 78,866, 635 (5). The three largest cities in the country are Cairo (8,026,454), Alexandria (4,317,398), and Gizeh (3,347,333) (1).

The major ethnic groups that live in Egypt are Egyptian, Greek, Nubian, and some European nationalities (1). The Egyptian ethnicity makes up the largest population with 99% (5).













Government
Egypt has a republic system of government. Their two top military officials are the president and prime minister. The president is elected every six years by Egypt's legislative body, called the People's Assembly. There are no term limits for the office of president. The prime minister is in charge of many of the government's function. The office of prime minister is appointed by the president. Egypt's leaders also have an advisory group called the cabinet. Cabinet members are also appointed by the president. (1)

Egypt has a bi-cameral legislature, which means they have two congressional houses: the People's Assembly and the Advisory Council. The People's Assembly is much more powerful as the Advisory Council only serves a consulting role in government. (1)
The current president of Egypt is Muhammad Hosni Mubarak. He's been in power since 1981 and will be at least until 2011, when the next presidential elections are held. The prime minister is currently Ahmed Mohamed Nazif. (5)

Egypt has a poor freedom ranking, as their people don't have a lot of political rights or civil liberties. (1)

Economy
Egypt has the second largest economy in the Middle East, second only to Saudi Arabia. They make most of their money off of tourism, oil and gas exports, and taxes they collect off of ships traveling through the Suez Canal. (1)

Since Egypt relies heavily on exporting oil and gas and on tourism, the country is vulnerable to be greatly hurt by worldwide economic decline.

Country

Egypt
Economic
Performance
2007

30.1
Economic
Performance
2008

30.1
GNP growth
forecast 2007
(%)

5.1
GNP growth
forecast 2008
(%)

5.1
(1)

Current Events
A lot of what is happening in the news in Egypt revolves around oil refinery, government reforms, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in the Middle East.

There was big news this week in Egypt, as the government signed a $2 Billion deal with two Chinese companies to allow them to build an oil refinery plant within Egyptian borders. (6)

Chinese Companies Sign Deal with Egypt

Egypt has always supported the Muslim Palestinians in the Arab-Israeli Conflict that plagues the Middle East, primarily the country of Israel. Egypt has participated in blocking off the Gaza Strip in Israel, which has led to a shortage of supplies for the people living in the region. (7)

Details on Gaza Strip Blockade

Other Issues Facing Egypt:
Calls for Better Pay in Egypt
Egypt-U.S. Nuclear Plan
Israel and Egypt Meet on Peace Talks

A Brief History of Egypt
Egypt has one of the longest and most colorful histories of any country in the world. Archaelogists believe that agricultural settlements first appeared in Egypt along the Nile River around 6000 B.C.E. Egypt was united by a ruler named King Menes around 3100 B.C.E. and their civilization really began to take shape. (1)

There were three major parts to ancient Egyptian history: the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom. During each of these stages of ancient Egyptian history many accomplishments were made. The Egyptians built massive pyramids, expanded their territory, developed an accurate astronomical calendar, perfected the art of mummification (preserving the dead), developed extensive irrigation systems, amassed great wealth, completed massive building project, and much more. (4) Ancient Egypt's contributions still affect our lives today.

In 525 B.C.E., the Persians invaded Egypt and dethroned the last Pharaoh (Egyptian king). Egypt remained under Persian control until Alexander the Great from Greece captured it in 332 B.C.E. For the next 1,000+ years, Egypt was controlled by many different foreign empires and countries. (1)

In 1798, French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte took control of Egypt. The French would only rule there for three years before being driven out by the Ottoman Empire. In 1805, a man named Muhammad Ali ruled the country and reformed the way the government and economy operated. (4) He organized business, promoted advancements in engineering and medicine, and ruled very strictly. He was in power until he died in 1849. (1)

In 1869, the construction of the Suez Canal was completed. It was built in northeastern Egypt and connected a major trading route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Originally, the French played a great role in financing the building project but eventually Great Britain would gain a lot of control over the canal. (4)

During the late 1800s, Great Britain and France continued to have a heavy influence in the region, mainly due to the fact that Egypt had gone bankrupt towards the end of Muhammad Ali's rule. The people of Egypt did not like all of the foreign involvement in their economy, so the people revolted in 1897. (1) The British quickly crushed the rebellion and gained more control. (4)

In 1922, Egypt was granted full independence by Great Britain. However, Great Britain continued to have a heavy influence in the country's political and economic institutions. (1) Today, Egypt is considered a part of the Middle East and is a very Arab/Muslim nation. They play a major role in the world economy, Middle Eastern politics, and worldwide issues.





external image pyramids.JPG



Works Cited
(1) www.countrywatch.com
(2) "A History of Egypt" by Alfred Johnson
(3) World Cultures Textbook
(4) TCI: World History Alive!
(5) www.cia.gov
(6) Google.com News
(7) BBC.com