Facts About Egyptian Culture, Geography, and History
Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Rich in history and culture - there are many outstanding sides to the country. Home of the Egyptian pyramid there is much to know - below are twelve other facts that will blow your mind about Egypt
12. The largest Arabic population in the world
Egypt has the largest Arabic population in the world. It is the largest, only by population. This ancient nation is the third most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and Ethiopia. Moreover, Arabic language adoption in Egypt is because of the Arab invasion. As a result, Arabic is now the official language of the ancient country. The main variations of Arabic spoken in Egypt are the everyday vernacular Egyptian Arabic and the upper-class Sa’idi Arabic. The Coptic language became extinct in the 17th century.
11. Around 90% of the country is of the Islamic faith
Approximately 90% of Egyptians are Muslim (primarily Sunni), 9% are Coptic, and 1% is other Christian. Of the Egyptians of Muslim faith, 90% are Sunni with the remaining being Shia and Ahmadi Muslims. Islam became the state religion of Egypt in 1980. Islam made headway into Egypt in AD 639.
10. Pharaoh Pepi II had the longest reign in history
Pharaoh Pepi II (2246-2152 B.C.) had the longest reign in history—94 years. Noteworthy, he became Egypt’s king when he was only 6 years old. Also, Pepi II was the last ruler of the old kingdom before the first intermediate period. He was over 100 years old when he died. However, the long reign did not benefit the kingdom as many rulers under the Pharaoh gained power and were no longer loyal to Pepi II. There were external and internal troubles that weakened his government. His children, who reigned briefly, were not able to cope with the political and economic crises.
9. The shape of Egyptians pyramids is thought to have been inspired by sun rays
The shape of ancient Egyptian pyramids is thought to have been inspired by the spreading rays of the sun. The pyramids are finished with a polished reflective white limestone. This gives the pyramids a brilliant appearance from afar. Also, the Egyptian pyramids are thought to represent the first land to appear at the beginning of time. This land is a hill called Ben-Ben. Furthermore, the sloping sides are also believed to allow the dead pharaoh could climb to the sky and live forever.
8. Almost all of Egypt lives on just around 5.5% of the land
Approximately 99% of the Egyptian population lives on about 5.5% of the land. Egypt's landmass is about the size of Central America, which is twice the size of Spain. Egypt is arid in climate and as a result, the population settles around the Nile Valley and Delta. This is because there is arable agricultural land to be found around the Nile River. As inhabitable land is difficult to come by in Egypt, people have no choice but to make do with what is available.
7. Ancient Egyptians were the first people to have a 365 day year divided into 12 months
The ancient Egyptians were the first people to have a year consisting of 365 days divided into 12 months. They also invented clocks. Consequently, they had a solar calendar that consisted of three seasons of 120 days each and 5 epagomenal days. Each season, the Egyptians divide into 4 months, with a month having 30 days each. Religion in Egypt played an important role in their invention of the calendar and the clock.
6. The Nile River is the world's longest-running river
The Nile River which runs through Egypt is the world’s longest, running 4,135 miles (6,670 km). It flows through the tropical climate of eastern Africa. The main source of the Nile is Lake Victoria in East Africa. Interestingly, only 22% of the Nile actually runs through Egypt. There are two major branches that run through the country: the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The two branches meet at Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. The Nile also serves as major transportation and carries major dams.
5. The word "pharaoh" began as a nickname
The word "Pharaoh" began as a nickname for the Egyptian king. It means “great house” because everyone believed the king’s human body was home to a god. The Kings of Egypt were not called Pharaohs by the ancient Egyptians. The word was used for the first time officially to address a ruler in a letter addressed to Amenhotep IV 1353-1336 BCE. He was addressed as "Pharaoh, all life, prosperity and health” in the letter. The last Egyptian-born Pharaoh was Nectanebo II 360-343 in the 30th Dynasty.
4. There was a myth that the Titanic was transporting a mummified Egyptian priestess
Some people blamed the sinking of the Titanic on a mummified Egyptian priestess the doomed ship was transporting. Whilst the story of the mummified Egyptian princess is probably a myth, it caused many arguments and a lot of mystery. An account states that the famed princess was the Princess of Amen-Ra. According to the story, an Egyptian coffin carrying the princesses' remains ended up causing the Titanic disaster after leaving a slew of disasters in its wake. There is, however, evidence that the British Museum has the Priestess Amun coffin lid in one of the Egyptian rooms.
3. Egypt's first writing system was the hieroglyphs, of which over 700 have been recorded
The Egyptians first writing system called hieroglyphs was by 3,300 BC. Egyptian have over 700 hieroglyphs records to show. This was the formal writing system in Ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphs have 1000 distinct characters containing logo graphics, alphabets, and syllabic elements. Back then, people would usually write hieroglyphs on wood and papyrus. These writings were most likely religious in nature. Hieroglyphs literally mean sacred carvings in Greek. The earliest evidence of hieroglyphs was 3300 BC and the last recorded hieroglyphic writing was AD 394.
2. They had a revolution in 2011 that was viewed around the world
The 2011 Egyptian revolution left around 800 people dead, culminating in the dramatic resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Although the locals call it the January 25 revolution, a group of youths set the revolution date intentionally. They wanted to make a statement against the police brutality that had increased during the last few years of President Mubarak's government. The protesters were clear in their demand for the end of Mubarak’s regime, which existed for nearly 30 years. The Tunisia revolution can take the honor of inspiring the Egyptian revolution.
1. Mummifying is believed to ensure the soul lives on forever in the afterlife
By preserving the dead bodies, ancient Egyptians believed that the souls of the mummified would roam forever in the afterlife. Mummification was different based on the social class of the deceased. A priest carried out the mummification rites, using amulets within the bandages. The amulets had survival formulas written on it that the deceased would need in the afterlife. The formulas would help fight the evils of the deceased on their way to the Land of the dead. The process of mummification included removing the organs of the body with care and then placing them in sealed canopic jars.
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