REPUBLIC of EGYPT
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Location: North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea,
between Libya , the Gaza Strip, the Red Sea, north of Sudan
Area: 1,001,450 sq km
Coastline: 2,450 km
lowest point: Qattara Depression -133 m
highest point: Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Official language: Arabic
Other spoken languages: English, French
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.4%
15-64 years: 62.2%
65 years and over: 4.3%
Currency: Egyptian Lira
Member: Arab League
Egypt is a founding member of the Arab League, whose headquarters
are in Cairo. The head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, is Egyptian.
The country is situated in North Africa, bordered on the north by
the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by the
Red Sea, on the west by Libya and on the south by Sudan. It
has an area of 1,001,449 sq km. Its capital is Cairo; a modern,
densely populated megacity with an underground metro. Other cities
are Alexandria, Giza, Port Said, Asyut, Aswan, Tanta, Siwa. Egypt
has a population of 68million.
Egypt’s terrain is desert except for the fertile land on either side
of the Nile River and in the Nile Delta. The tributaries that form
the Delta are Dumyat in the east and Rashid in the west. There are
mountainous areas; Mt Catherine (2637m) is in southern Sinai, and
The Monastery of St Catherine.
To the west of the Nile is the western, or Libyan Desert, a sandy
plateau with an area of 681,000sq km, marked by several depressions.
The lowest is Qattara Depression, 134m below sea level. There are
some large oases and irrigated agricultural areas. The eastern
desert stretches from the Nile to the Red Sea, and there is a
granite mountain range along the Red Sea with a peak at Jebal Shayeb
(2187m). The Sinai Peninsula to the north and east of the country is
a sandy desert.
Egypt’s climate is very hot in the deserts with no rainfall. Along
the Mediterranean the weather is mild with seasonal rainfall. There
is a frequent hot, dust-laden wind called khamsin.
Egypt is an ancient country renowned for its Pharaonic treasures at
Luxor, the Pyramids at Giza and Abu Simbel. The last native Egyptian
dynasty fell to the Persians in 341BC, then to the Greeks, Romans,
Byzantines, and Persians again and finally to the Arab Muslims who
introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century. In 1517
it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks till 1805 and ruled by
Mohammed Ali Pasha. Ahmad Orabi led a revolt against the occupation
1879-1882. In September 1882, the British intervened and took
control of Egypt 1882. Orabi was exiled to Sri Lanka.
Egypt was a monarchy till 1952, when a popularly supported military
coup forced King Farouk to abdicate. Egypt became a republic in
1953; Gamal Abdel Nasser assumed power in 1954. He formed a
short-lived United Arab Republic with Syria 1958- 1961.
Upon Nasser’s death he was succeeded
by Anwar Sadat as President; he was assassinated in 1981, and
succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s economy depends on agriculture, tourism and services. There
is continued investment in Red Sea resorts. Agricultural production
is consistently improving with desert lands being developed for
farming. With hardly any rainfall, 100% of the land – 25,000sq km --
is irrigated by the Nile.
Products are rice, cotton, corn, wheat, citrus, onions, fava beans,
sugar cane, potatoes; livestock : sheep, goats, cattle, camels,
donkey, chickens and ducks). There are small canal-irrigated farms
along the Nile with water buffalo and cows and chickens. There is
also fishing in the Red Sea and Mediterranean.
Egypt’s natural resources are petroleum, natural gas, phosphates,
lead, zinc, iron ore, manganese, and salt.
Industries are textiles (cotton), petroleum products, aluminum,
foodstuffs, weapons, electrical appliances. Hydroelectricity
accounts for 21% of electricity needs and is produced at the Aswan
The Suez Canal was completed in 1869. It is a 163km shipping canal
between Port Said on the Mediterranean and Suez on the Red Sea. It
allows water transport from Europe to Asia without going around the
Cape of Good Hope. Egypt has oil pipelines that run parallel to the
canal, competing with oil tankers that have to circumnavigate the
The Aswan High Dam is the largest river dam in the world, and was
completed in 1971.
Egypt faces environmental problems with the pollution of the Nile,
the major source of water in the land.
Cities: Cairo, Alexandria,
al-Fayoum, Port Said, Suez, al-Giza
Ras Mohamed National Park,
Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, Omayed Biosphere
Reserve, Wadi Allaqi Biosphere Reserve