The Formation of An Egyptian Empire
The first settlements in the Nile Valley began around 7,000 years ago. As in other parts of the world, these settlements gradually developed into more and more complex societies. The first peoples to inhabit this region called their land Kemet, which means black lands. This name comes from the rich black soil that was found there.
The different regions of the Nile River were ruled and governed by tribal chiefs and kings. As the centuries passed, smaller kingdoms joined together forming larger and larger kingdoms. This continued until around 6,000 years ago when the Nile Valley consisted of only two large kingdoms. These kingdoms were called Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt. Lower Egypt was in the northern portion of the Nile Valley, and Upper Egypt was in the southern portion of the Nile Valley.
Around 5,000 years ago a powerful king from the Upper Egyptian nation led an army north in order to conquer Lower Egypt. This king’s name was Narmer. Narmer established a unified Egypt throughout the Nile Valley. He built a capital on the border between Lower and Upper Egypt, which he named Memphis. From Memphis, Narmer and his decedents ruled Egypt. A family that rules a nation is known as a dynasty. From 5,000 years ago until around 2,300 years ago Egypt was ruled by 30 different dynasties. Historians divide the nearly 2,500 years of Egyptian history into three periods. These periods are known as the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom.