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Northeast africa

Back to Africa: 3000 to 1500 B.C.

The story of Northeast Africa in this period is essentially that of Egypt with little change occurring in the adjacent regions, except for Cush or (Kush). After the overthrow of the foreign Hyksos rulers local control was resumed within the establishment of the New Kingdom of the Egyptian Empire, with the great pharaoh, Thutmose III, taking over part of the coast of the Near East and bringing Egypt in contact with other cultures. He even took an interest in Asiatic flora and fauna and brought specimens home. Extensive commercial ties resulted in imports of Cretan wares, Syrian amphorae and African gold, ebony, ivory, hides and exotic animals. At about 1,500 B.C. the Egyptians had pushed south to become the masters of Kush, "to protect their security" and incidentally to obtain gold. The Kushites, who may have descended from C-group Caucasoids, became increasingly Egyptianized. (Ref. 83 ) The greatest geographical expansion, however, was reached under Amenhotep III, about 1,390 B.C. This ruler had his likeness constructed in two colossal statues across the Nile from Luxor, by transporting huge pieces of quartzite

The pedestal blocks with each statue made a total weight of 720 metric tons each (Ref. 90 )
some four hundred miles from a quarry down stream on the Nile. Recent scientific research, identifying the rock, would indicate that the transport had to have been accomplished on a specially built lighter drawn upstream by oars and gangs of draggers on the banks. About a century earlier such a great barge was engraved on the walls of the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir-el-Bahri. (Ref. 231 , 90 )

NOTE: Insert Illustration (page 103)

Amenhotep IV allowed some political decline, but, changing his name to Akhnaton (or Ikhnaton) he attempted to force a new, strictly monotheistic religion on the Egyptian people, but the new faith did not last long. Tutenkhamon ruled in 1,355 and Rameses II, who exhausted his resources in wars against the Hittites and then married an Hittite princess, ruled about 1,250 B.C. He built the first Suez Canal, a task not too difficult then, as the sea was higher than at present. A victory inscription of Pharaoh Merneptah (about 1,224-1,214 B.C.) mentions the Hebrews, and this may have been when Moses led the Hebrews back to Palestine. After 1,165 Egypt lost all territory beyond the Nile valley itself. In the early part of this period under the Ramessid kings of the XX dynasty, the dominant religion had returned to the worship of the Sun God Re and Amon, but gradually the Osirian church began to take over among the majority of the people. This involved the worship of the God Osiris and his sister-wife, the nature Goddess Isis and their infant son, Horus. The mysteries of this religion, including the death and resurrection of Osiris and the interpretation of Isis as the "Mother of God" spread throughout the Near East in the next many centuries, and eventually served at one time as both a model and a rival for Christianity, persisting well up to the 6th century C.E. However, at about 1,100 B.C. the high priest of Amon took over the throne and the empire became a stagnant theocracy. Even Kush was able to regain its independence. Invasions of "Sea peoples" - mixed armies of Cretans and Luvians, perhaps - probably contributed to Egyptian decline. Ref. ( 28 , 46 , 38 , 8 , 224 )

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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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