Egypte (Arabisch: ???, Mi?r), officieel de Arabische Republiek Egypte (???????? ??? ????????, Jumh?riyat Mi?r al-`Arab?yah; beluisteren) is een grote staat in het noordoosten van Afrika. In de Arabische wereld is Egypte vooral bekend onder de naam Misr, simpelweg een verkorting van de officiŽle naam. De naam Egypte is ontstaan in het oude Griekenland. Daar werd in de loop der tijd de naam van een belangrijk heiligdom in Memphis, genaamd 'Hwt-ka-Ptah' gehanteerd voor het gehele gebied. Hwt-ka-Ptah betekent 'Huis van de Geest van Ptah' en werd in het Grieks vertaald in '?? ?? ????' of 'Aeguptos', de naam die men (in verbasterde vorm) nog steeds hanteert. Egypte omvat ook het SinaÔschiereiland, dat fysiek als een deel van het Aziatisch continent wordt gezien. Het belangrijkste bewoonde deel wordt gevormd door de oevers en de delta van de rivier de Nijl. Dit gebied is zeer dichtbevolkt. Grote delen van het land behoren tot de Saharawoestijn en zijn zeer dunbevolkt, maar nemen wel maar liefst 96 % van het Egyptische land in beslag. In het westen liggen echter een aantal oases. In totaal bedraagt de oppervlakte van Egypte 1.001.450 km≤. Egypte grenst in het noorden aan de Middellandse Zee, in het oosten aan de Gazastrook, IsraŽl en de Rode Zee, in het zuiden aan Soedan en in het westen aan LibiŽ. In het oosten van Egypte ligt het SinaÔschiereiland dat behoort tot het Aziatische continent. Dit schiereiland is door middel van de Landengte van Suez verbonden met de rest van het land. De hoofdstad is CaÔro (??????? - stad 6.801.000, agglomeratie ca. 15 miljoen inwoners). Het is tevens de grootste stad van Afrika. Andere steden: AlexandriŽ (3.339.100), Gizeh (2.221.900), Shubra-El-Khema (870.700), Port SaÔd (472.300), Suez (417.500), El-Mahalla El-Kubra (395.400), Tanta (371.000), al-Mansurah (370.000), Luxor (360.500), Assioet (343.500), Assoean, Hurghada, Kom Ombo, Port Safaga, Port SaÔd, Sharm el Sheikh, Zagazig. Inwoneraantallen zijn tellingen van 1996, behalve voor CaÔro (schatting 2001). [bewerk] Bevolking Inwonersaantal: 76 miljoen (schatting juli 2004); dit is 76 per km≤, maar de bevolking is erg geconcentreerd in de Nijlvallei; in 1900 waren er naar schatting 10 miljoen Egyptenaren . Bevolkingsgroei: 2,2% (gemiddelde 1980-2001) Bevolkingsgroepen: Egyptenaren (inclusief BedoeÔnen en Berbers) 99% Vluchtelingen: 78.000 (eind 2002), waarvan 50.000 Palestijnen, 20.000 uit Soedan. Talen: Arabisch (officiŽle taal), Engels, Frans (handelstalen), Arabische (Egyptisch, Soedanees e.a.), Nubische en Berbertalen Godsdienst: Soennisme (staatsgodsdienst) 90%, Christenen 8 tot 15 % (voornamelijk Koptisch christendom en andere christelijke minderheden), sjiisme < 1 % en joden [bewerk] Geschiedenis Zie Geschiedenis van Egypte voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. De jaarlijkse overstromingen van de Nijl zorgden voor vruchtbare grond waarop landbouw mogelijk was en ťťn van 's werelds grootste oude beschavingen kon floreren. Het eerste verenigde koninkrijk werd gesticht rond 3200 v. Chr. door koning Menes. Verschillende dynastieŽn regeerden over Egypte voor de daaropvolgende drie millenia. De laatste 'Egyptische' dynastie, de dertigste dynastie, werd in 341 v. Chr. door de Perzische Achaemeniden verslagen. Later werd Egypte door diverse buitenlandse (Griekse, Romeinse, Byzantijnse en Turkse) dynastieŽn geregeerd. Het waren de islamitische Arabieren die in de zevende eeuw de islam en het Arabisch in het land introduceerden. Het land viel in eerste instantie onder het Arabische Rijk geregeerd door de Kalief, maar werd eerst min of meer zelfstandig en later overheerst door de Fatimiden, die een tegen-kaliefaat stichtten. Na de kruistochten, waarbij de christelijke ridders nooit echt voet aan de grond kregen in Egypte, was het de Turkse slavenklasse van Mamelukken die een dynastie stichtten in Egypte. In 1517 veroverde het Osmaanse Rijk Egypte en vanaf toen regeerden de Mamelukken in naam van de Osmanen. In 1798 werd het land voor een periode van negen maanden bezet door Franse expeditietroepen onder leiding van generaal Napoleon Bonaparte. Nadat de Britten onder leiding van admiraal Horatio Nelson een kustblokkade instelden, ontvluchtte Napoleon het land met achterlating van zijn leger. In de negentiende eeuw werd Egypte een belangrijk land voor de Europese kolonialisten. Met name de aanleg (gefinancierd met Brits en Frans kapitaal) van het Suezkanaal maakte het land strategisch zeer belangrijk. De Britten waren zeer royaal met het verstrekken van leningen en spoedig zat Egypte zo diep in de schulden dat het compleet afhankelijk was van de Britten. In 1882 namen de Britten Egypte over, maar de khedive (onderkoning) zwoer officieel zijn trouw aan de Osmaanse sultan. In de Eerste Wereldoorlog werd Egypte een Brits protectoraat. In 1922 werd het land gedeeltelijk onafhankelijk van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en werd in naam geŽxperimenteerd met democratie, maar achter de schermen hielden de Britten het land stevig in hun greep. Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog werden de Britten bijgestaan door ANZAC-troepen in het behouden van het strategisch gelegen land. Tegelijk werden vanuit Egypte de offensieven tegen de As-mogendheden gelanceerd, eerst in 1941 in AbessyniŽ en in LibiŽ (tegen de Italianen) en op Kreta (tegen de Duitsers), in 1942 tegen het Afrika-korps van Erwin Rommel dat bij het in het westen gelegen El Alamein teruggeslagen werd en in 1944 richting Griekenland en JoegoslaviŽ. Gedurende de gehele Wereldoorlog vertrokken er konvooien van en naar Gibraltar om Malta te bevoorraden. Het Suezkanaal diende als doorvoer van troepen van en naar Brits IndiŽ, AustraliŽ en Nieuw-Zeeland en naar de troepen die tegen de Japanners vochten. In 1952 werd een staatsgreep gepleegd waarbij koning Farouk I werd afgezet en generaal Mohammed Naguib als president benoemd werd. In 1954 werd Gamal Abdel Nasser, de werkelijke architect van de revolutie, president. Zijn politiek van het nasserisme, een combinatie van Arabisch nationalisme en socialisme, was bijzonder populair in het land en de verdere Arabische regio. Door Nassers nationalisatie van het Suezkanaal werd de woede van het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Frankrijk gewekt. Deze landen vormden met IsraŽl een complot, wat leidde tot de Suezcrisis van 1956. Tussen 1958 en 1961 vormden Egypte en SyriŽ een unie, de Verenigde Arabische Republiek (VAR) en een confederatie met Noord-Jemen onder de naam Verenigde Arabische Staten (VAS). Zowel de VAR als de VAS viel voor eind 1961 uiteen over de kwestie van het leiderschap. In de Zesdaagse Oorlog werd de SinaÔ door IsraŽl bezet, maar erger was nog dat de samenwerkende legers van SyriŽ, JordaniŽ en Egypte zo snel en eenvoudig door de IsraŽliers verslagen werden; president Nasser trad daarop af. Tijdens de Jom Kippoeroorlog in oktober 1973 namen SyriŽ en Egypte wraak, maar ook dat mislukte. In 1978 werden tussen Egypte en IsraŽl de Camp David-akkoorden getekend, wat tot betere onderlinge betrekkingen leidde. In 1981 werd president Anwar Sadat onder andere wegens deze toenadering door islamitische extremisten vermoord. De toenmalige vicepresident Hosni Moebarak regeert het land sindsdien praktisch als dictator. Op 7 september 2005 vonden de eerste verkiezingen plaats waar meerdere door Moebarak uitverkoren kandidaten aan mee mochten doen. Moebarak won met 88% van de stemmen. Voor november 2005 staan parlementsverkiezingen gepland. Zie ook: Geschiedenis van het oude Egypte en Geschiedenis van modern Egypte [bewerk] Politiek [bewerk] Politiek systeem Het land kent een ťťnkamerparlement met 454 leden (444 elke 5 jaar gekozen, 10 door de president benoemd) en daarnaast een raadgevend orgaan met 210 leden (140 gekozen, 70 door de president benoemd). De president werd tot 7 september 2005 elke 6 jaar door het parlement genomineerd en daarna in een referendum door het volk gekozen. De president heeft aanzienlijke macht en hij kiest zelf de regering en de opvulling van diverse hoge posten. President: Hosni Moebarak (sinds 1981) Premier: Ahmed Mazif (sinds 9 juli 2004) Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken: Ahmed Maher (sinds mei 2001) [bewerk] Politiek partijen Nationaal-democratische partij (NDP) 388 zetels (van 444)(de NDP won eigenlijk maar 175 zetels, echter de overige 213 zetels gingen naar onafhankelijke kandidaten die zich na de verkiezingen meteen bij de NDP aansloten) Wafd-partij 7 zetels (liberaal) Progressieve Nationaal Unionistische Partij 6 zetels Overige partijen 4 zetels Onafhankelijken 20 zetels 17 zetels zijn voor parlementariŽrs die officieel onafhankelijk zijn, maar in nauw contact met de Moslimbroederschap staan. Vacant 2 zetels Politieke partijen op basis van religie, zoals de Moslimbroederschap, zijn in Egypte verboden. [bewerk] Huidige politieke situatie Vanuit de andere partijen is zware kritiek op het autocratische bewind van president Moebarak. Sinds de moord op president Anwar Sadat door moslimextremisten in 1981 geldt in Egypte de noodtoestand (in 2003 opnieuw voor 3 jaar verlengd), wat onder meer inhoudt dat Moebarak naar eigen goeddunken verordeningen kan treffen. De hoop van de oppositiegroeperingen gaat nu uit naar Moebaraks zoon Gamal Moebarak, leider van het politiek secretariaat van de regerende NDP. De mensenrechtensituatie in Egypte is precair. Weliswaar zijn in 2003 de staatszekerheidsrechtbanken, waar personen in snelrecht zonder voldoende bewijs veroordeeld werden en de dwangarbeid afgeschaft, maar er wordt nog steeds rechtgesproken door speciale militaire en noodtoestandstribunalen. Economisch verkeert Egypte in een moeilijke positie. Na de aanslagen op toeristen in Luxor in 1997 liep het toerisme terug, en ook de Golfoorlog en het oplaaiende conflict tussen IsraŽl en de Palestijnen deed de toeristensector geen goed. Daarnaast viel de handel met Irak in het kader van het 'olie voor voedsel'-programma van de Verenigde Naties weg. In de buitenlandse politiek probeert Egypte zich tussen het Westen en de Arabische wereld in te houden. Bij de bevolking is deze politiek niet erg populair, zoals bleek uit grootscheepse protesten tegen de Golfoorlog. Ook de vrede met IsraŽl is in eigen land niet populair. [bewerk] Presidentsverkiezingen van 7 september 2005 Op 7 september 2005 werden voor het eerst presidentsverkiezingen gehouden waar meerdere - door president Moebarak goedgekeurde - kandidaten aan mee mochten doen. In totaal namen tien kandidaten deel. Winnaar werd de zittende president Moebarak met 88% van de stemmen. Andere belangrijke kandidaten waren Ayman Nour en Noman Gomaa. Eťn van de kandidaten was vrouw. De president hield spreekbeurten in het hele land om zo de burgers toe te kunnen spreken. Diverse partijen, zoals linkse oppositiegroeperingen en de islamistische Moslimbroederschap, hebben de verkiezingen geboycot. [bewerk] Parlementsverkiezingen van november en december 2005 Verspreid over 9 en 20 november en 1 december vonden in de verschillende gouvernaten parlementsverkiezingen plaats. De Nationale Democratische Partij van president Hosni Moebarak was naar verwachting de grote winnaar. Stemmen op andere partijen werd soms door Moebarak of zijn partij onmogelijk gemaakt. Na afloop van de verkiezingen werden vele tegenstanders van onder andere de Moslimbroederschap gearresteerd. [bewerk] Bestuurlijke indeling Zie Gouvernoraten van Egypte voor het hoofdartikel over dit onderwerp. Egypte is ingedeeld in 27 gouvernoraten, met aan het hoofd ervan een gouverneur. [bewerk] Economie Munteenheid: Egyptisch pond (koers: 1E£=?0,15 (eind 2005)) BNP: $99.6 miljard (2001), 1530$ per inwoner Groei BNP: 4.5% (gemiddelde 1990-2001) Export: $4.1 miljard (2001) Exportproducten: olieproducten, halffabrikaten, voedingsmiddelen Exportpartners: ItaliŽ 9%, Verenigde Staten 9%, Nederland 7%, India 6%, IsraŽl 5%, Frankrijk 4%, Spanje 4% Import: $12.6 miljard (2001) Importproducten: voedingsmiddelen, machines, consumptiegoederen, chemische producten Importpartners: Verenigde Staten 11%, Duitsland 8%, Saoedi-ArabiŽ 5%, ItaliŽ 5%, China 4%, Frankrijk 4% [bewerk] Toerisme De volgende dingen zijn de toeristische trekpleisters van Egypte: rondreizen op kamelen in de woestijnen drijven op de Rode Zee tempels Gizeh: de 3 beroemde piramides van Gizeh vormen samen met de grote sfinx 1 van de zeven wereldwonderen. Abu Simbel: twee rotstempels zijn 1 van de meest indrukwekkende monumenten Aswan: in de Oudheid was dat de poort van Afrika. Nu geliefd voor de watervallen, het fascinerende landschap, ... Aswandam: meest imposante bouwwerk in Egypte van de 20ste eeuw Dendera: de tempel die gebouwd was voor de god van de liefde en de lust Edfu: plaats waar de grootste tempel stond Kom Ombo: een tempel die buiten de stad op een berg staat gewijd aan Sobek en de krokodillenkop en aan Horus met de valkenkop. Karnak en Luxor: plaatsen waar de bekendste tempelcomplexen zijn met zeer mooie faraonische monumenten van koningen en edelen, waardevolle kunstwerken en inscripties. Memphis: de hoofdstad met de imposante sfinx en het liggende kalkstenen beeld van Ramses II.
Egypt (Egyptian: Km.t, Coptic: ???? K?mi, Arabic: ??? Mi?r; Egyptian Arabic: MŠ?r), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in North Africa that includes the Sinai Peninsula, a land bridge to Asia. Covering an area of about 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,560 square miles), Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and Israel and the Gaza Strip to the northeast; on the north and the east are the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, respectively. Egypt is the fifteenth most populous country in the world. The vast majority of its 78.8 million population (2006) live near the banks of the Nile River (about 40,000 km≤ or 15,450 sq miles) where the only arable agricultural land is found. Large areas of land form part of the Sahara Desert and are sparsely inhabited. Around half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo (the largest city in Africa and the Middle East), Alexandria and other major towns in the Nile Delta. Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most ancient and important monuments, including the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza; the southern city of Luxor contains a particularly large number of ancient artifacts such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Today, Egypt is widely regarded as the main political and cultural centre of the Middle East. One of the ancient Egyptian names of the country, km.t, or "black land," is derived from the fertile black soils deposited by the Nile floods, distinct from the 'red land' (dSr.t) of the desert. The name is realized as k?mi and k?m? in the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, and appeared in early Greek as KymeŪa. Mi?r, the Arabic and official name for modern Egypt (Egyptian Arabic: Ma?r), is of Semitic origin directly cognate with the Hebrew ????????? (MitzrŠyim), meaning "the two straits" (a reference to the dynastic separation of upper and lower Egypt), and possibly means "a country" or "a state". Mi?r in Arabic also means "a country" or "a state". The English name "Egypt" came via the Latin word Aegyptus derived from the ancient Greek word ???????? (Aigyptos). According to Strabo, ???????? (Aigyptos), in ancient Greek meant "below the Aegean" (A?????? ??????, "Aegaeou upti?s"), and was formed by the combination of the two words. It has also been suggested that the word is a corruption of the ancient Egyptian phrase ?wt-k3-pt? meaning "home of the Ka (Soul) of Ptah", the name of a temple of the god Ptah at Memphis.  History The Nile River in Egypt.Main articles: History of Egypt, Ancient Egypt, and Egyptians The Nile Valley has been a site of continuous human habitation since at least the Paleolithic. Traces of these early peoples appear in the form of artifacts and rock carvings along the terraces of the Nile and in the desert oases. In the 10th millennium BC, a grain-grinding culture using the earliest type of sickle blades had been replaced by another culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers using stone tools. Climate changes and/or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, eventually forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralized society. By about 6000 BC, organized agriculture and large building construction had appeared in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to Dynastic Egyptian civilization. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining somewhat culturally separate, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appear during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC. tAwy ('Two Lands') in hieroglyphs A unified kingdom was founded circa 3150 BC by King Menes, giving rise to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptians subsequently referred to their unified country as tAwy, meaning 'Two Lands'; and later km.t (Coptic: K?mi), the 'Black Land', a reference to the fertile black soil deposited by the Nile river. Egyptian culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts, language and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period, c.2700?2200 BC., famous for its many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza Pyramids. The Great Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, built during the Old Kingdom, are modern national icons that also lie at the heart of Egypt's thriving tourism industry.The First Intermediate Period ushered in a time of political upheaval for about 150 years. Stronger Nile floods and stabilization of government, however, brought back renewed prosperity for the country in the Middle Kingdom c. 2040 BC, reaching a peak during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III. A second period of disunity heralded the arrival of the first alien ruling dynasty in Egypt, that of the Semitic Hyksos. The Hyksos invaders took over much of Lower Egypt around 1650 BC, and founded a new capital at Avaris. They were eventually driven out by an Upper Egyptian force led by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and relocated the capital from Memphis to Thebes. The New Kingdom (c.1550?1070 BC) began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power that expanded during its greatest extension to an empire as far south as Jebel Barkal in Nubia, and included parts of the Levant in the east. This period is known for some of the most well-known Pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. The first known self-conscious expression of monotheism came during this period in the form of Atenism. Frequent contacts with other nations brought in new ideas in the New Kingdom. First built in the third or fourth century AD, the Hanging Church is Cairo's most famous Coptic church.The Thirtieth Dynasty was the last native ruling dynasty during the Pharaonic epoch. It fell to the Persians in 343 BC after the last native pharaoh, King Nectanebo II, was defeated in battle. Later, Egypt fell to the Greeks and Romans, beginning over two thousand years of foreign rule. Before Egypt became part of the Byzantine realm, Christianity had been brought by Saint Mark the Evangelist in the AD first century. Diocletian's reign marks the transition from the Roman to the Byzantine era in Egypt, when a great number of Egyptian Christians were persecuted. The New Testament was by then translated into Egyptian, and after the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, a distinct Egyptian Coptic Church was firmly established. The Byzantines were able to regain control of the country after a brief Persian invasion early in the seventh century, until in AD 639, Egypt was invaded by the Muslim Arabs. The form of Islam the Arabs brought to Egypt was Sunni, though early in this period Egyptians began to blend their new faith with indigenous beliefs and practices that had survived through Coptic Christianity, giving rise to various Sufi orders that have flourished to this day. Muslim rulers nominated by the Islamic Caliphate remained in control of Egypt for the next six centuries, including a period for which it was the seat of the Caliphate under the Fatimids. With the end of the Ayyubid dynasty, a Turco-Circassian military caste, the Mamluks, took control about AD 1250 and continued to govern even after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Mosque of Mohamed Ali built in the early nineteenth cenutry within the Cairo Citadel.The brief French Invasion of Egypt in 1801 had a great social impact on the country and its culture, as native Egyptians were introduced to the principals of the French Revolution and were invited to head their own government. A series of civil wars took place between the Ottoman Turks, the Mamluks, and Albanian mercenaries following the evacuation of French troops, resulting in the Albanian Muhammad Ali taking control of Egypt where he was appointed as the Ottoman viceroy in 1805. He led a modernization campaign of public works, including irrigation projects, agricultural reforms and increased industrialization, which were then taken up and further expanded by his grandson and successor Isma'il Pasha. Following the completion of the Suez Canal by Ismail in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub. In 1866, the Assembly of Delegates was founded to serve as an advisory body for the government. Its members were elected from across Egypt and eventually they came to have an important influence on governmental affairs. The country also fell heavily into debt to European powers. Ostensibly to protect its investments, the United Kingdom seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914 when as a result of the declaration of war with the Ottoman Empire, Britain declared a protectorate over Egypt and deposed the khedive, replacing him with his uncle who was appointed Sultan of Egypt. Public riot during the 1919 Revolution sparked by the British exile of nationalist leader Saad Zaghlul.Between 1882 and 1906, a local nationalist movement for independence was taking shape. The Dinshaway Incident prompted Egyptian opposition to take a stronger stand against British occupation and the first political parties were founded. After the first World War, Saad Zaghlul and the Wafd Party led the Egyptian nationalist movement after gaining a majority at the local Legislative Assembly. When the British exiled Zaghlul and his associates to Malta on March 8, 1919, Egypt witnessed its first modern revolution. Constant revolting by the Egyptian people throughout the country led Great Britain to issue a unilateral declaration of Egypt's independence on February 22, 1922. The new Egyptian government drafted and implemented a new constitution in 1923 based on a parliamentary representative system. Saad Zaghlul was popularly-elected as Prime Minister of Egypt in 1924, and in 1936 the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty was concluded. However, continued instability in the government due to remaining British control and increasing involvement by the King in politics led to the eventual toppling of the monarchy and the dissolution of the parliament through a coup d'ťtat by a group of army officers in 1952. They forced King Farouk I to abdicate in support of his son King Ahmed Fouad II. Evening view of Cairo, the largest city in Africa and the Middle East. The Cairo Opera House (center) is the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital.The Egyptian Republic was declared on 18 June 1953 with General Muhammad Naguib as the first President of the Republic. Naguib was forced to resign in 1954 by Gamal Abdel Nasser ? the real architect of the 1952 movement ? and was later put under house arrest. Nasser assumed power as President and declared the full independence of Egypt from the United Kingdom on June 18, 1956. His nationalization of the Suez Canal on July 26, 1956 prompted the 1956 Suez Crisis. Three years after the 1967 Six Day War, in which Egypt lost the Sinai to Israel, Nasser died and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat. Sadat switched Egypt's Cold War allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States, expelling Soviet advisors in 1972, and launched the Infitah economic reform policy, while violently clamping down on religious and secular opposition alike. In 1973, Egypt, along with Syria, launched a surprise attack on Israel in an attempt to regain the occupied Sinai Penninsula. Both the US and the USSR intervened and a cease-fire was reached between both sides. Despite not being a complete military success, most historians agree that the Yom Kippur war presented Sadat with a political victory that would later allow him to pursue peace with Israel. In 1977, Sadat made a historical visit to Israel which led to the 1978 peace treaty in exchange for the complete Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. Sadat's initiative sparked enormous controversy in the Arab world and led to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League, but was supported by the vast majority of Egyptians. Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by a fundamentalist military soldier in 1981 and was succeeded by the incumbent Hosni Mubarak. In 2003, the Egyptian Movement for Change, popularly known as Kifaya, was launched to seek a return to democracy and greater civil liberties.  Politics Main article: Politics of Egypt  National The Office of the President of Egypt at the Presidential Palace.Egypt has been a republic since 18 June 1953. President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak has been the President of the Republic since October 14, 1981, following the assassination of former-President Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat. Mubarak is currently serving his fifth term in office. He is the leader of the ruling National Democratic Party. Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif was sworn in as Prime Minister on 9 July 2004, following the resignation of Dr. Atef Ebeid from his office. Although power is ostensibly organized under a multi-party semi-presidential system, whereby the executive power is theoretically divided between the President and the Prime Minister, in practice it rests almost solely with the President who traditionally has been elected in single-candidate elections for more than fifty years. Egypt also holds regular multi-party parliamentary elections. The last presidential election, in which Mubarak won a fifth consecutive term, was held in September 2005. In late February 2005, President Mubarak announced in a surprise television broadcast that he had ordered the reform of the country's presidential election law, paving the way for multi-candidate polls in the upcoming presidential election. For the first time since the 1952 movement, the Egyptian people had an apparent chance to elect a leader from a list of various candidates. The President said his initiative came "out of my full conviction of the need to consolidate efforts for more freedom and democracy." However, the new law placed draconian restrictions on the filing for presidential candidacies, designed to prevent well-known candidates such as Ayman Nour from standing against Mubarak, and paved the road for his easy re-election victory. The Egyptian Parliament.Concerns were once again expressed after the 2005 presidential elections about government interference in the election process through fraud and vote-rigging, in addition to police brutality and violence by pro-Mubarak supporters against opposition demonstrators. This poses major questions about the government's purported commitment to democracy. As a result, most Egyptians are skeptical about the process of democratization and the role of the elections. Less than 25 percent of the country's 32 million registered voters (out of a population of more than 78 million) actually turned out for the 2005 elections. Newspapers, however, have exhibited an increasing degree of freedom in criticizing the president, and the results of the 2005 parliamentary elections, which saw Islamist candidates such as the banned Muslim Brotherhood winning seats, indicate that a change of some sorts may be underway.  International Main article: Foreign Relations of Egypt Egypt's foreign policy operates along a non-aligned level. Factors such as population size, historical events, military strength, diplomatic expertise and a strategic geographical position give Egypt extensive political influence in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and within the Nonaligned Movement as a whole. Cairo has been a crossroads of Arab commerce and culture for millennia, and its intellectual and Islamic institutions are at the center of the region's social and cultural development. The permanent headquarters for the League of Arab States (The Arab League) is located in Cairo. The Secretary General of the League has traditionally been an Egyptian. Former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa is the current Secretary General of the Arab League. The Arab League briefly moved out of Egypt to Tunis in 1978 as a protest at the peace treaty with Israel, but returned in 1989. Egypt was the first Arab state to establish diplomatic relations with the state of Israel, after the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty at the Camp David Accords. Egypt has a major influence amongst other Arab states, and has historically played an important role as a mediator in resolving disputes between various Arab nations, and in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Most Arab nations still give credence to Egypt playing that role, though its effects are often limited. Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996. A territorial dispute with Sudan over an area known as the Hala'ib Triangle, has meant that diplomatic relations between the two remain strained.  Human rights Main article: Human rights in Egypt Several local and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have reported on Egypt's poor human rights record for many years. In 2005, the government of Egypt faced unprecedented public criticism when Egyptian democracy activists challenged President Hosni Mubarak's quarter century of authoritarian rule. Some of the most serious violations according to HRW's 2006 report on Egypt include routine torture, arbitrary detentions and trials before military and state security courts. Discriminatory personal status laws governing marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance which put women at a disadvantage have also been cited. Laws concerning Christians which place restrictions on church building have been recently eased, but major constructions still require governmental approval. According to HRW, "discrimination against Egyptian Christians and intolerance of Baha?is and unorthodox Muslim sects remains a problem. Egyptian law recognizes conversions to Islam, but not from Islam to other religions. Muslims who convert to Christianity face difficulties in getting new identity papers and some have been arrested for allegedly forging such documents. Baha?i institutions and community activities are prohibited by law." Approximately fifteen thousand people remain in prolonged detention without charge under the Emergency Law according to the Cairo-based Human Rights Association for Assistance to Prisoners. The Egyptian government last renewed the Emergency Law (Law No. 162 of 1958) in May 2006 for another term. The government contends that the law is needed to fight terrorism, however human rights organizations have criticized it as being unnecessary and excessively applied. In 2005, the Freedom House rated political rights in Egypt as "6" (1 representing the most free and 7 the least free rating), civil liberties as "5" and gave it the freedom rating of "Not Free." It also noted that "Egypt witnessed its most transparent and competitive presidential and legislative elections in more than half a century and an increasingly unbridled public debate on the country's political future in 2005." The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) is one of the longest-standing bodies for the defense of human rights in Egypt and directly reports to the President of Egypt.  Military Egyptian F-16s flying in close formationMain article: Military of Egypt The Egyptian military is one of the largest and strongest military powers on the African continent and the Middle East. The Egyptian Armed forces have also had more battle-field experience than most armies in the region, with a combined troop strength of around 450,000 active personnel. Conscription is compulsory for Egyptian men of 18 years of age who are not the only male child. Full-time students may defer their service until the age of 28. The length of the service depends on the level and kind of education achieved by the conscript and needs of the army at the time of conscription. Egypt continues to contribute regularly to United Nations peacekeeping missions, most recently in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.  Administrative divisions Map of EgyptMain article: Governorates of Egypt Egypt is divided into twenty-seven governorates (muhafazat, singular muhafazah). Governorate English name Type Ad Daqahliyah Dakahlia lower Aswan Aswan upper Asyut Assyout upper Al-Bahr Al-Ahmar Red Sea frontier Bani Suwayf Beni-Suef upper El-Beheirah Behera lower Bur Sa'id Port Said urban Dumyat Damietta lower Al-Fayyum Fayoum upper Al-Gharbiyah Gharbia lower Al Iskandariyah Alexandria urban Al-Isma'iliyah Ismailia lower Janub Sina' South Sinai frontier El Gizah Giza upper Governorate English name Type Kafr ash Shaykh Kafr El-Sheikh lower Matruh Matrouh frontier Al-Monufiyah Menoufia lower Al-Minya Menia upper Al-Qahirah Cairo urban Al-Qalyubiyah Kalyoubia lower Qina Quena upper Shamal Sina' North Sinai frontier Al-Sharqiyah Sharkia lower Suhaj Suhag upper Al-Suways Suez urban El Wadi El-Gedid New Valley frontier Al-Uqsur Luxor upper  Economy Lions guard the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge which traverses the Nile at Tahrir Square. The construction of the bridge served as a catalyst for the development of the affluent commercial district Zamalek (Gezira Island).Main article: Economy of Egypt Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, and tourism; there are also more than five million Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Europe. The United States as well has a large population of Egyptian immigrants. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored 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 the economy. The government has struggled to prepare the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investments in communications and physical infrastructure. Egypt has been receiving U.S. foreign aid (since 1979, an average of $2.2 billion per year) and is the third-largest recipient of such funds from the United States following the Iraq war. Its main revenues however come from tourism as well as traffic that goes through the Suez Canal. Economic conditions are starting to improve considerably after a period of stagnation from the adoption of more liberal economic policies by the government, as well as increased revenues from tourism and a booming stock market. In its annual report, the IMF has rated Egypt as one of the top countries in the world undertaking economic reforms.  Demographics Egyptian farm.Main articles: Demographics of Egypt and Egyptians Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East and the second-most populous on the African continent, with nearly 79 million people. Almost all the population is concentrated along the banks of the Nile (notably Alexandria and Cairo), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Approximately 90% of the population adheres to Islam and most of the remainder to Christianity (primarily the Coptic Orthodox denomination). Apart from religious affiliation, Egyptians can be divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centers and the fellahin or farmers of rural villages. Egyptians are by the far the largest ethnic group in Egypt at 97-98% (about 76.4 million) of the total population. Ethnic minorities include the Bedouin Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula, the Berber-speaking Siwis of the Siwa Oasis, and the ancient Nubian communities clustered along the Nile in the southernmost part of Egypt. Egypt also hosts some 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers, made up mostly of 70,000 Palestinian refugees and 20,000 Sudanese refugees. The once-vibrant Jewish community in Egypt has virtually disappeared, with only a small number remaining in Egypt and those who visit on religious occasions. Several important Jewish archaeological and historical sites remain.  Religion Cairo's unique city scape with its ancient mosquesMain article: Religion in Egypt Religion plays a central role in most Egyptians' lives, as visitors to the country quickly discover. The rolling calls to prayer that are heard five times a day have the informal effect of regulating the pace of everything from business to entertainment. Cairo is famous for its numerous mosque minarets and church towers. Egypt is predominantly Muslim, at approximately 90% of the population, with the majority being adherents of the Sunni branch of Islam. A significant number of Muslim Egyptians also follow native Sufi orders. Christians represent about 10% of the population, 95% of whom belong to Coptic denominations (primarily Coptic Orthodox, but also Coptic Catholic and Coptic Protestant), while the remainder include Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox, largely found in Alexandria and Cairo. According to the constitution, any new legislation must implicitly agree with Islamic laws. The mainstream Hanafi school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through Wizaret Al-Awkaf (Ministry of Religious Affairs). Al-Awkaf controls all mosques and overviews Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam vocational schools and at Al-Azhar University. The department supports Sunni Islam and has commissions authorised to give Fatwa judgements on Islamic issues. Egypt hosts two major religious institutions. Al-Azhar University (Arabic: ????? ??????) is the oldest Islamic institution of higher studies (founded around 970 A.D) and considered by many to be the oldest extant university. Egypt also has a strong Christian heritage as evidenced by the existence of the Coptic Orthodox Church headed by the Patriarch of Alexandria, which has a following of approximately 50 million Christians worldwide, most importantly in Ethiopia and Eritrea (one of the famous Coptic Orthodox Churches is Saint Takla Haimanot Church in Alexandria). Over seven million Egyptians follow the Christian faith as members of the Coptic Church.Religious freedom for Egypt's Coptic Christian community is hampered to varying degrees by extremist Islamist groups and by discriminatory and restrictive government policies. Until recently, Christians were required to obtain presidential approval for even minor repairs in churches, but the law was recently eased. Copts have faced increased marginalization after the 1952 coup d'ťtat. That however changed to some degree when President Sadat appointed Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as the Egyptian Foreign Minister. Prominent Copts on the cabinet now include Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali and Environment Minister Maged George. In addition, Naguib Sawiris, an extremely successful businessman and one of the wealthiest people internationally is an Egyptian Copt. Under the Mubarak government, Coptic Christmas (January 7) was recognized as an official holiday in 2002. The Coptic community however has occassionally been the target of hate crimes and physical assault, most recently during attacks on three churches in Alexandria. In addition, many Copts continue to complain of being minimally represented in law enforcement, state security and public office, and of being discriminated against in the workforce on the basis of their religion. Egypt was once home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Jews partook of all aspects of Egypt's social and political life; one of the most ardent Egyptian nationalists, Yaqub Sanu' (Abu Naddara), was a Jew, as was popular singer Leila Mourad. After the 1956 Suez Crisis, some 25,000 Egyptian Jews were expelled by Gamal Abdel Nasser, their Egyptian citizenship was revoked and their property was confiscated. A steady stream of migration of Egyptian Jews followed, reaching a peak after the Six-Day War with Israel in 1967. Today, Jews in Egypt number less than 200. BahŠ'Ūs in Egypt, whose population ranges between several hundred and a few thousand, have their institutions and community activities banned. Since their faith is not officially recognized by the state, they are also not allowed to use it on their national identity cards (conversely, Islam, Christianity, & Judaism are officially recognized); hence most of them do not hold national identity cards. In April 2006 a court case recognized the BahŠ'Ū Faith, but the government appealed the court decision and succeeded in having it suspended on 15 May. There are Egyptians who identify as atheist and agnostic, but their numbers are largely unknown as openly advocating such positions risks legal sanction. In 2000, an openly atheist Egyptian writer, who called for the establishment of a local association for atheists, was tried on charges of insulting Islam in four of his books.  Geography White Desert, Farafra.Main article: Geography of Egypt At 386,636 mi≤ (1,001,450 km≤ ), Egypt is the world's thirtieth-largest country (after Mauritania). It is comparable in size to Tanzania, and is more than half the size of the US state of Alaska. Egypt is bordered by Libya on the west, Sudan on the south, and on Israel and Gaza Strip on the northeast. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, which in turn is traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea. Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt's landscape is a big, sandy desert. The winds blowing can create sand dunes over one hundred feet high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara Desert and of the Libyan Desert. These deserts were referred to as the "red land" in ancient Egypt, and they protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats. Towns and cities include Alexandria, one of the greatest ancient cities, Aswan, Asyut, Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital, El-Mahalla El-Kubra, Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu, Hurghada, Luxor, Kom Ombo, Port Safaga, Port Said, Sharm el Sheikh, Suez, where the Suez Canal is located, Zagazig, and Al-Minya. Oases include Bahariya, el Dakhla, Farafra, el Kharga and Siwa. Satellite image of Egypt, generated from raster graphics data supplied by The Map LibraryProtectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa. See Egyptian Protectorates for more information.  Climate Egypt has a dry climate. It is hot in the summer, with temperatures averaging between 80 and 90įF. Winters are warm, with temperatures averaging between 55 and 70įF. A steady wind from the northwest helps hold down the temperature near the coast. The Khamaseen is a wind that blows from the south in Egypt, usually in spring or summer, bringing sand and dust, and sometimes raises the temperature in the desert to more than 100įF. Rain seldom falls in Egypt. Along the Mediterranean Coast, the average yearly rainfall is 8 inches. Farther south, only about one inch of rain falls every year.  Culture Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a commemoration of the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt's second largest city.Main article: Culture of Egypt Egyptian culture has five thousand years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations and for millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenism, Christianity, and Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in ancient Egypt. Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is Africa's largest city and has been renowned for centuries as a center of learning, culture and commerce. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab World. Some Egyptian born politicians were or are currently at the helm of major international organizations like Boutros Boutros-Ghali of the United Nations and Mohamed ElBaradei of the IAEA.  Renaissance In the mid-nineteenth century, Rifa'a et-Tahtawi started the Egyptian Renaissance, which renewed interest in Egyptian antiquity and exposed Egypt to Enlightenment principals. Tahtawi co-founded with education reformer Ali Mubarak a native Egyptology school that looked for inspiration to medieval Egyptian scholars, such as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who themselves studied the history, language and antiquities of Egypt. Egypt's renaissance reached a peak through the work of people like Muhammad Abduh, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Qasim Amin, Salama Moussa and Taha Hussein. They forged a liberal path for Egypt expressed as a commitment to individual freedom, secularism and faith in science to bring progress.  Arts The Egyptians were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaohs followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene. The Cairo Opera House serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Egypt's media and arts industry has flourished since the late nineteenth century, today with more than thirty satellite channels and over one hundred motion pictures produced each year. Cairo in fact has long been known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East." To bolster its media industry further, especially with the keen competition from the Persian Gulf Arab States and Lebanon, a large media city was built. Some Egyptian actors, like Omar Sharif, have achieved world-wide fame.  Literature Literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of Egypt. Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated throughout the Middle East. The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab by Muhammad Husayn Haykal was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Egyptian women writers include Nawal El Saadawi, well known for her feminist activism, and Alifa Rifaat who also writes about women and tradition. Vernacular poetry is perhaps the most popular literary genre amongst Egyptians, represented by such luminaries as Ahmed Fuad Nigm (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi.  Music Upper Egyptian folk musicians from Kom Ombo.Main article: Music of Egypt Egyptian music is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. In antiquity, Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, including two indigenous instruments: the ney and the oud. Percussion and vocal music also became an important part of the local music tradition ever since. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of people such as Abdu-l Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmud Osman, who influenced the later work of Egyptian music giants such as Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez. From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, while Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other festivities.  Festivals Egypt is famous for its many festivals and religious carnivals, also known as "mulids". They are usually associated with a particular Coptic or Sufi saint, but are often celebrated by all Egyptians irrespective of creed or religion. Ramadan has a special flavor in Egypt, celebrated with sounds, lights (local lanterns known as fawanees) and much flare that many Muslim tourists from the region flock to Egypt during Ramadan to witness the spectacle. The ancient spring festival of Sham en Nisim (Copto-Egyptian: ?????????? shom en nisim) has been celebrated by Egyptians for thousands of years, typically between the Egyptian months of Baramouda (April) and Bashans (May) following Easter Sunday.  Sports Football (soccer) is the de facto national sport of Egypt. Egyptian Soccer clubs El Ahly and El Zamalek are the two most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time champions of the sport regionally. Squash and tennis are other close favorites among Egyptians. The Egyptian Squash team has been known for its fierce competition in world-wide championships since 1930s.
Het belangrijkste bewoonde deel wordt gevormd door de oevers en de delta van de rivier de Nijl. Dit gebied is zeer dichtbevolkt. Grote delen van het land behoren tot de Saharawoestijn en zijn zeer dunbevolkt, maar nemen wel maar liefst 96 % van het Egyptische land in beslag. In het westen liggen echter een aantal oases. In totaal bedraagt de oppervlakte van Egypte 1.001.450 km≤. Egypte grenst in het noorden aan de Middellandse Zee, in het oosten aan de Gazastrook, IsraŽl en de Rode Zee, in het zuiden aan Soedan en in het westen aan LibiŽ. In het oosten van Egypte ligt het SinaÔschiereiland dat behoort tot het Aziatische continent. Dit schiereiland is door middel van de Landengte van Suez verbonden met de rest van het land. De hoofdstad is CaÔro (??????? - stad 6.801.000, agglomeratie ca. 15 miljoen inwoners). Het is tevens de grootste stad van Afrika. Andere steden: AlexandriŽ (3.339.100), Gizeh (2.221.900), Shubra-El-Khema (870.700), Port SaÔd (472.300), Suez (417.500), El-Mahalla El-Kubra (395.400), Tanta (371.000), al-Mansurah (370.000), Luxor (360.500), Assioet (343.500), Assoean, Hurghada, Kom Ombo, Port Safaga, Port SaÔd, Sharm el Sheikh, Zagazig. Inwoneraantallen zijn tellingen van 1996, behalve voor CaÔro (schatting 2001).