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Do you love ancient Egypt?
The New Kingdom is one of the most fascinating periods in the history of this ancient civilization. It was a time of significant change in ancient Egypt when Pharaohs such as Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, and Ramesses II rose to power and led their people through a period of great prosperity.
Such was its prosperity that it became one of the most powerful empires in the world, but like many others, it didn't last forever. The New Kingdom is the period in ancient Egyptian history that followed the Middle Kingdom. It lasted from about 1550 BC to 1070 BC and was marked by several impressive achievements. During this period, some of the greatest ever Egyptian rulers walked on Earth, such as King Tutankhamun and Queen Hatshepsut.
Ancient Egypt is known to have considerable advances in art and architecture during this time period. Before the beginning of the New Kingdom, Egypt was believed to be in a state of decline as it was under the rule of foreign people referred to as Hyksos. Through radiocarbon dating methods, historians have narrowed down the time frame of the beginning of the New Kingdom to a date between 1570 BC and 1544 BC. The New Kingdom of Egypt was founded by Ahmose I, who unified the entire Egyptian empire and paved the way for Egypt to become one of the strongest in the world. Eventually, with time, all great empires crumbled. The New Kingdom of Egypt also declined due to several factors such as economic problems, including internal power struggles and other attendant issues.
We now have a brief outline about the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, but it lasted for around 500 years, with three dynasties ruling it. The Egyptian power during that period was unparalleled. Let's take a closer look at the New Kingdom and some interesting facts related to it.
The three dynasties that ruled Egypt during the era of the New Kingdom were the 18th,19th, and 20th dynasties.
The New Kingdom of Egypt, which lasted from around 1550 BC to 1070 BC, was preceded by the Second Intermediate Period, followed by an intermediate period.
After the end of the New Kingdom, Egypt entered what is now known as the Third Intermediate Period but neither the third nor the second Intermediate Period were as prosperous as the New Kingdom for the Egyptian empire.
The German Egyptologist Baron von Bunsen, who in 1845 coined the term the New Kingdom, referred to one of the three golden ages of the Egyptian empire.
The languages probably spoken in Egypt during this period included the likes of Nubian, Ancient Egyptian, and Canaanite.
Interestingly, except for the ruling period of the 18th dynasty when some people practiced Atenism, ancient Egyptian religion was the majorly practiced religion all across Egypt.
During the period of the New Kingdom, the Egyptian territory reached its maximum extent, ever conquering the lands of Nubia in the south.
During the time of the New Kingdom, Egypt fought against the Hittite king Muwatalli II under the leadership of Ramesses II, which is today known as the Battle of Kadesh. The battle was to prove one's supremacy over the Levant.
Interestingly, the battle between the Egyptian and Hittite empires ended in no result, as both empires claimed to be victorious. Thus, in the end, a treaty was signed by both empires.
Every pharaoh bought their own ideas to strengthen Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut's ruling of the New Kingdom emphasized reestablishing the trade networks which were upset during the rule of the Hyksos.
Historians believe that it was the rule of Queen Hatshepsut which played a pivotal role in making Egypt rich with military conquests as well as expansion to distant lands, even to the land of Punt.
The commercial expedition to the land of Punt was through the Nile River and into the Red Sea. The boats that helped to cruise through the Nile could be assembled.
The New Kingdom of Egypt ranges from the mid-16th century BC to the early days of the 11th century BC. Throughout this period, Egypt's power grew manifolds, and it was leading the world in terms of wealth and military prosperity. Several kings belonging to three different dynasties ruled the country during this period.
Before the establishment of the New Kingdom, the Egyptian monarchs were referred to as 'kings,' but later on, during the New Kingdom, they took the tile of 'Pharaohs.'
It was Ahmose I in 1550 BC who built many pyramids, defeated Hyksos, began the 18th dynasty and the New Kingdom of Egypt.
After Ahmose I's death in 1525 BC, Amenhotep I overtook as Pharaoh.
Did you know, ever since the inception of the New Kingdom, the new capital city of Egypt was Thebes, the principal city of Upper Egypt? However, it was later relocated by Pharaoh Akhenaten in 1353 BC.
The death of Thutmose I in 1492 BC marked an important event as it was the first time a pharaoh was buried in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Queen Hatshepsut, who turned out to be a great pharaoh, reached the throne only with the aid of her stepson, Pharaoh Thutmose III in 1479 BC.
Historians believe that ancient Egypt reached its peak level of power and money under Queen Hatshepsut's rule when she overgrew her role as the regent of Thutmose III in 1458 BC.
The Egyptian ruler, Tutankhamun, died merely at the age of 19, and like Thutmose I, was also buried in the Valley of the Kings.
His tomb has stood the test of time and was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.
Did you know ancient Egypt's 19th and 20th dynasties were known as the Ramesside period? It was also a prosperous period in the history of the New Kingdom.
During the 19th and 20th dynasties, Ramses II was one of the most successful rulers as he claimed victory at the Battle of Kadesh and constructed the famous Abu Simbel temples. Many scholars favor his father, Seti I.
Seti II was known for promoting Chancellor Bay, who held an influential position in the court.
In today's modern world, most tour packages in Egypt include a visit to the Abu Simbel temples. Some people say it is a must to go to the Abu Simbel temples when you visit Egypt, as these sculptures and reliefs constructed by Ramses II paved the way for a new kind of art in Egypt.
The rule of Ramses II was followed by the period of Ramesses III, who was the last important pharaoh of the 20th dynasty. He is recognized for defeating the sea people.
Following the death of Ramesses III, the empire was ruled by his sons, but the New Kingdom was now in its downfall.
The New Kingdom was different from its predecessor and its successor in many ways ranging from its art and architecture to its ruling style. During this period, Egypt progressed on all fronts due to expanding its territory and wars, diplomacy which brought in wealth for the pharaohs.
During the later stages of his life, the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten went on to worship God Aten as he converted from the traditional religion of Egypt.
The capital city of Amarna, established by Pharaoh Akhenaten, was to honor God Aten, worshiping it as the supreme deity. Interestingly, Aten was regarded as 'The Sun God.'
The pharaohs built statues, buildings, temples, and obelisks to display their generosity and show off the wealth they possessed.
Did you know pharaohs such as Ramesses II and Hatshepsut undertook methods like carving on temple walls to spread their message and turn their failures into glories?
The temple in Karnak dedicated to Amen-Re was expanded by Ramesses II when he added 134 columns, displaying the wealth that the pharaohs showered on Gods.
As the Valley of the Kings was generally used for burying pharaohs, there were separate valleys dedicated for princes and queens as well.
The New Kingdom, which lasted around 500 years, played a pivotal role in shaping Egypt and unifying the country once again.
The era of the New Kingdom is best known for its prosperity both in terms of wealth and power.
The period of the New Kingdom is referred to as the golden age of the Egyptian empire as rulers extended the territory of Egypt more than ever and united the entire Egyptian population.
This period marked the end of foreign rulers who had conquered Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period.
The period is also recognized for developing pyramids, tombs, and temples.
The emergence of new religious beliefs such as that of the worship of the Sun God, God Aten, marked a new period in the life of Egypt.
The Abu Simbel temples, which people traveling to Egypt often visited, were also constructed during this period. People can take a Nile cruise to visit these temples in Egypt!
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