The Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt (page 3)

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By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 3, 2012

The Second Intermediate Period of Egypt

The prosperous and successful Middle Kingdom era ended for two reasons. The first caused the second—the historical accident of several weak and ineffectual pharaohs in a row led to the successful invasion and conquest of Egypt by a foreign people.

Historians know very little about the Hyskos before their arrival in Lower Egypt. They came from the eastern Mediterranean, probably from the area later called Palestine. Factional disputes over royal power caused confusion and disorder throughout Egypt in the 1700s BC; the Hyskos took advantage of this situation to invade and conquer Lower Egypt. They succeeded largely by virtue of military superiority, as their bronze armor, strong bows, and iron chariots were better and stronger than anything the Egyptians could offer. By 1650 BC, the Hyskos had achieved total control of Lower Egypt and were poised to take over Upper Egypt. In the face of this threat to their civilization, the Thebans united against the Hyskos. In 1570 BC, brothers Kamose and Ahmose led their people against the invaders, forcing them to retreat. Ahmose and his army chased the Hyskos out of Egypt altogether; Ahmose returned in triumph to Thebes as pharaoh of a reunited Egypt. This ushered in the long-lasting era known to history as the New Kingdom.

Practice questions for these concepts can be found at: 

Early Civilization Practice Test

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