Aswan High Dam, Arabic Al-Sadd al-ʿĀlī, rockfill dam across the Nile River, at Aswān, Egypt, completed in 1970 (and formally inaugurated in January 1971) at a cost of about $1 billion. The dam, 364 feet (111 metres) high, with a crest length of 12,562 feet (3,830 metres) and a volume of 57,940,000 cubic yards (44,300,000 cubic metres), impounds a reservoir, Lake Nasser, that has a gross capacity of 5.97 trillion cubic feet (169 billion cubic metres). Of the Nile’s total annual discharge, some 2.6 trillion cubic feet (74 billion cubic metres) of water have been allocated by treaty between Egypt and Sudan, with about 1.96 trillion cubic feet (55.5 billion cubic metres) apportioned to Egypt and the remainder to Sudan. Lake Nasser backs up the Nile about 200 miles (320 km) in Egypt and almost 100 miles (160 km) farther upstream (south) in Sudan; creation of the reservoir necessitated the costly relocation of the ancient Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, which would otherwise have been submerged. Ninety thousand Egyptian fellahin (peasants) and Sudanese Nubian nomads had to be relocated. Fifty thousand Egyptians were transported to the Kawm Umbū valley, 30 miles (50 km) north of Aswān, to form a new agricultural zone called Nubaria, and most of the Sudanese were resettled around Khashm al-Qirbah, Sudan.
The Aswan High Dam yields enormous benefits to the economy of Egypt. For the first time in history, the annual Nile flood can be controlled by man. The dam impounds the floodwaters, releasing them when needed to maximize their utility on irrigated land, to water hundreds of thousands of new acres, to improve navigation both above and below Aswān, and to generate enormous amounts of electric power (the dam’s 12 turbines can generate 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually). The reservoir, which has a depth of 300 feet (90 metres) and averages 14 miles (22 km) in width, supports a fishing industry.
The Aswan High Dam has produced several negative side effects, however, chief of which is a gradual decrease in the fertility and hence the productivity of Egypt’s riverside agricultural lands. This is because of the dam’s complete control of the Nile’s annual flooding. Much of the flood and its load of rich fertilizing silt is now impounded in reservoirs and canals; the silt is thus no longer deposited by the Nile’s rising waters on farmlands. Egypt’s annual application of about 1 million tons of artificial fertilizers is an inadequate substitute for the 40 million tons of silt formerly deposited annually by the Nile flood.
Completed in 1902, with its crest raised in 1912 and 1933, an earlier dam 4 miles (6 km) downstream from the Aswan High Dam holds back about 174.2 billion cubic feet (4.9 billion cubic metres) of water from the tail of the Nile flood in the late autumn. Once one of the largest dams in the world, it is 7,027 feet (2,142 metres) long and is pierced by 180 sluices that formerly passed the whole Nile flood, with its heavy load of silt.
After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed on July 21, 1970. More than two miles long at its crest, the massive $1 billion dam ended the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region, and exploited a tremendous source of renewable energy, but had a controversial environmental impact.
A dam was completed at Aswan, 500 miles south of Cairo, in 1902. The first Aswan dam provided valuable irrigation during droughts but could not hold back the annual flood of the mighty Nile River. In the 1950s, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser envisioned building a new dam across the Nile, one large enough to end flooding and bring electric power to every corner of Egypt. He won United States and British financial backing, but in July 1956 both nations canceled the offer after learning of a secret Egyptian arms agreement with the USSR. In response, Nasser nationalized the British and French-owned Suez Canal, intending to use tolls to pay for his High Dam project. This act precipitated the Suez Canal Crisis, in which Israel, Britain, and France attacked Egypt in a joint military operation. The Suez Canal was occupied, but Soviet, U.S., and U.N. forced Israel, Britain, and France to withdraw, and the Suez Canal was left in Egyptian hands in 1957.
Soviet loans and proceeds from Suez Canal tolls allowed Nasser to begin work on the Aswan High Dam in 1960. Some 57 million cubic yards of earth and rock were used to build the dam, which has a mass 16 times that of the Great Pyramid at Giza. On July 21, 1970, the ambitious project was completed. President Nasser died of a heart attack in September 1970, before the dam was formally dedicated in 1971.
The giant reservoir created by the dam–300 miles long and 10 miles wide–was named Lake Nasser in his honor. The formation of Lake Nasser required the resettlement of 90,000 Egyptian peasants and Sudanese Nubian nomads, as well as the costly relocation of the ancient Egyptian temple complex of Abu Simbel, built in the 13th century B.C.
The Aswan High Dam brought the Nile’s devastating floods to an end, reclaimed more than 100,000 acres of desert land for cultivation, and made additional crops possible on some 800,000 other acres. The dam’s 12 giant Soviet-built turbines produce as much as 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually, providing a tremendous boost to the Egyptian economy and introducing 20th-century life into many villages. The water stored in Lake Nasser, several trillion cubic feet, is shared by Egypt and the Sudan and was crucial during the African drought years of 1984 to 1988.
Despite its successes, the Aswan High Dam has produced several negative side effects. Most costly is the gradual decrease in the fertility of agricultural lands in the Nile delta, which used to benefit from the millions of tons of silt deposited annually by the Nile floods. Another detriment to humans has been the spread of the disease schistosomiasis by snails that live in the irrigation system created by the dam. The reduction of waterborne nutrients flowing into the Mediterranean is suspected to be the cause of a decline in anchovy populations in the eastern Mediterranean. The end of flooding has sharply reduced the number of fish in the Nile, many of which were migratory. Lake Nasser, however, has been stocked with fish, and many species, including perch, thrive there.
Aswan High Dam is a rock-fill dam located at the northern border between Egypt and Sudan.
The dam is fed by the River Nile and the reservoir forms Lake Nasser.
Construction for the project began in 1960 and was completed in 1968. It was officially inaugurated in 1971.
The total investment for constructing the dam reached $1bn.
With a reservoir capacity of 132km³, the Aswan High Dam provides water for around 33,600km² of irrigation land. It serves the irrigation needs of both Egypt and Sudan, controls flooding, generates power, and helps in improving navigation across the Nile.
Egypt and Sudan reached an agreement in 1959 that saw the allocation of 18.5 cubic kilometres of water to Sudan.
History of the Aswan High Dam“Institute Hydroproject of Russia, in collaboration with various engineers from Egypt, designed the Aswan High rock-fill dam.”The Aswan Low Dam was constructed in 1898 under the direction of Sir William Willcocks. The dam was completed in 1902 and was raised twice between 1907 and 1912, followed by a further two between 1929 and 1933 to further alleviate the Nile from flooding.
However, the Aswan Low Dam was not adequate to control the annual flooding, which gave rise to the idea of constructing a higher dam in 1952, with funding from the World Bank being sought in 1954.
The US and the UK had previously tried to fund part of the project but it did not materialise. The US withdrew the funding, followed by the UK and the World Bank. The Soviet Union finally provided the required funds in 1958. Construction of Aswan High Dam began in 1960.
Purpose and benefits of the North African projectThe dam was constructed to regulate the flow of the river, which serves the whole of Egypt.
Flooding of the Nile occurs annually, with almost half of the water being drained into the sea wastefully. The dam controls floods by regulating the flow of river and supplies water for irrigation throughout the year, which almost doubles the agricultural yield.
The dam also improved navigation across the Nile, benefiting the tourism and fishing industries. Water from the dam is used to feed 12 power turbines, which provides half of Egypt’s power demands. The reservoir also helps supply water during droughts.
Details of the rock-fill dam projectAswan High Dam measures 111m in height, 3,830m in length, and has a base width of 980m. The spillway has a discharge capacity of 11,000m³ a second.
“The dam was constructed with the aim of regulating the flow of the River Nile, which serves as a lifeline to almost all of Egypt.”An array of rocks, cement, and metals creates the reservoir of the dam measuring 550km in length and 35km in width. With its surface area of 5,250 square kilometres, elevation of 183m, and depth of 185m, the reservoir has a storage capacity of 132 cubic kilometres.
The dam consists of 180 sluice gates to regulate the flow of water to achieve flood control. It also has 12 Francis turbines, with an installed capacity of 2,100MW to supply electricity for industrial and household use.
The dam’s construction required some 44 million cubic metres of building materials and a workforce of about 34,000 people.
Controversies surrounding Aswan High DamRelated projectNile River Barrage, Naga Hammadi, EgyptThe barrage is of crucial importance to the development of the Nile Valley water supply infrastructure.
Aswan High Dam had been controversial right from its inception. The project was hit by financial controversies before its implementation when the US, the UK, and the World Bank backed out from their decision of partially funding the project.
It created tension between various countries and contributed to the Cold War, when Egypt decided to fund the project by nationalising the Suez Canal. The project came through after the then Soviet Union funded part of the project.
The dam also witnessed various oppositions due to environmental issues. The River Nile was the main source of providing silts required for irrigation along the course of the river. Issues concerning aquatic life were also raised.
The dam’s site also submerged certain historical sites and caused the relocation of about 100,000 inhabitants.
Key players involved with the African damIn collaboration with various engineers from Egypt, the Institute Hydroproject of Russia designed the Aswan High rock-fill dam. Out of the 34,000 people involved during the construction process, 25,000 were Egyptian engineers. The construction project involved Osman Ahmed Osman.
he Aswan Dam, located in Aswan, Egypt, tames the Nile River and utilizes the power of the river for a variety of social and economic causes. There are actually two dams on the Nile River at Aswan, the Aswan High Dam and the Aswan Low Dam, both of which work together to prevent the annual large floods from the Nile. Prior to the building of the Aswan Dam, the Nile flooded every winter, potentially destroying any crops that were planted in the fertile Nile Valley. For the purpose of this article the two Aswan Dams will be counted as a single dam, due to the fact that their effects are virtually inseparable.Contents1 Description2 History3 Environmental and cultural issues4 Notes5 References6 External links7 CreditsDescription
Aswan High Dam (NASA satellite photo)The Aswan Dam is a rock fill dam, a type of dam that relies on compacted dirt for its stability. Unlike a traditional cement dam, a rock fill dam relies on the friction between small particles of stone and dirt to maintain its stability. Rock fill dams also need to be placed in a solid bedrock of rock for stability.
The traditional elements of a rock fill dam, stone and clay, are the main material elements of the Aswan Dam. The towering edifice extends 111 meters from the ground, to hold back an astonishing 5.97 trillion cubic feet of water. The water that is held back by the Aswan Dam forms the Lake Nasser, a major source for water in the area. The water that is held back by the dam rushes into the reservoir at a maximum of 11,000 m³ of water per second. To allow for the possibility that heavy rainfall could push the maximum flow of the dam, a series of emergency spillways have been built around the dam to safely process an additional 5,000 m³ per second.
Most of the water that enters into Lake Nasser is slated for agricultural causes, as the area experiences very little annual rainfall. The water from the reservoir is applied to crops on the field through an extensive irrigation system, a system that allows two crops a year to be produced. This is a significant change from traditional farming methods that rely on natural precipitation. When utilizing natural precipitation as the sole source of agricultural water, only one crop a year can be produced. When using artificial irrigation, the crop yield of the area can be doubled, which enhances the economy of the region. Approximately 8 million feddans (a unit of measurement roughly equivalent to an acre) receive water from Lake Nasser for irrigation purposes. The agricultural yield of the dam is about an 83 percent efficiency, which while not high on first glance, is considerably higher than many other dams built around the world for the same purposes.One flaw in the system of water distribution, however, is the flow of water down the series of branch canals. Many feel that the water flow down the branch canals is not equally distributed.[1]
The irrigation aims of the Aswan Dam are often complicated by the chemical composition of the water flowing down the Nile River. The water that reaches the dam has a saline composition of approximately 0.25 kg/m3, a composition commonly referred to as "sweet water." The levels of salt in the Nile water have allowed for another industry to develop around the Aswan dam: That of salt exportation. Through a series of extraction methods, the Egyptian government has been able to export a large amount of salt to the world markets. In 1995, the levels of salt exportation from Egypt were higher than the levels of salt imported, an unusual occurrence for the Egyptian economy. At this time, over 27 million tons of salt are exported from Egypt, much of which derives from the Aswan Dam.
A closeup view of the Soviet-Egyptian friendship monumentThe Nile River has been a focus of engineering interest since the later nineteenth century. It had long been thought that a dam in the area would prove highly beneficial for the neighboring communities and agricultural lands. To this end, British engineers began work on the first Aswan Dam in 1899. Construction continued for three years, but the final product proved to be inadequate for the strong currents of the Nile. In response to the failures of the original dam, the height of the Aswan Dam was raised in 1907, and again in 1929. The two lengthy attempts to raise the height of the dam still proved insufficient to contain the river's flow. The dam nearly overflowed in 1946, prompting the authorities to reconsider the future of the old dam. Rather than simply add to the height of the dam, as had been attempted in the past, the Egyptian authorities decided to built a second dam farther down the river. Construction on the second dam began after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, when Gamal Abdel Nasser gained political control of the country. The second dam was originally intended to be a joint effort between Egypt, the United States, and Great Britain, but the foreign backers pulled the funding before construction began.
Without the promised funding from the United States and Great Britain, Egypt was left unable to fully fund the ambitious building project. Recognizing the need for monetary funds, the Soviet Union offered to provide some of the needed funding to gain a foothold in Africa during the Cold War. Most historians agree that the Soviet funding of the Aswan Dam was related more towards an attempt to gain a long term foothold in the area, rather than an attempt to gain economically. For the construction, the Soviet Union provided technicians and large machinery, as well as funds. Construction on the second dam lasted for twenty years, from 1950 to 1970. In an unexpected construction method, the reservoir was allowed to fill with water before construction was officially completed. However, in light of the endemic dryness in the region, the attempt to gather as much water as possible can be easily understood.Environmental and cultural issues
A wall commemorating the completion of Aswan High DamThe main benefit of the Aswan Dam is its ability to control the annual flooding of the Nile River. Because of its ability to prevent the annual floods, the dam has helped the agricultural industries in the area. The dam has also provided much needed water for irrigation, as well as producing electricity from the hydroelectric output of the river. The dams helped Egypt to reach its highest ever level of electric production, granting many small villages the luxury of using electricity for the first time.
Despite the benefits of the Aswan Dam, blocking the flow of the Nile River has caused a few environmental concerns that need to be weighed against the economic benefits. First, the creation of Lake Nasser flooded a large part of Nubia, forcing 90,000 people to lose their homes and their homeland. During the initial floodings, it was found that Lake Nasser destroyed many rich archaeological sites, which could have benefited the study of the cultures and history of the area.
Another set of environmental issues revolves around the agricultural lands that the dam was expected to benefit. Instead of feeling the full benefits of the dam, some agricultural fields have become waterlogged as a result of silt deposits that build up in the reservoir. Other fields have been slowly eroded, particularly of coastline. In addition, the delta has lost much of its acclaimed fertility, due to the fact that the Nile River no longer carries nutrients all the way to the mouth of the river.
Just north of the border between Egypt and Sudan lies the Aswan High Dam, a huge rockfill dam which captures the world's longest river, the Nile River, in the world's third-largest reservoir, Lake Nasser. The dam, known as Saad el Aali in Arabic, was completed in 1970 after ten years of work.
Egypt has always depended on the water of the Nile River. The two main tributaries of the Nile River are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The sources of the White Nile are the Sobat River and Bahr al-Jabal (the "Mountain Nile"), and the Blue Nile begins in the Ethiopian Highlands. The two tributaries converge in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, where they form the Nile River. The Nile River has a total length of 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometers) from source to sea.
Nile FloodingBefore the building of a dam at Aswan, Egypt experienced annual floods from the Nile River that deposited four million tons of nutrient-rich sediment which enabled agricultural production. This process began millions of years before Egyptian civilization began in the Nile River valley and continued until the first dam at Aswan was built in 1889. This dam was insufficient to hold back the water of the Nile and was subsequently raised in 1912 and 1933. In 1946, the true danger was revealed when the water in the reservoir peaked near the top of the dam.
In 1952, the interim Revolutionary Council government of Egypt decided to build a High Dam at Aswan, about four miles upstream of the old dam. In 1954, Egypt requested loans from the World Bank to help pay for the cost of the dam (which eventually added up to one billion dollars). Initially, the United States agreed to loan Egypt money but then withdrew their offer for unknown reasons. Some speculate that it may have been due to Egyptian and Israeli conflict. The United Kingdom, France, and Israel had invaded Egypt in 1956, soon after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal to help pay for the dam.
The Soviet Union offered to help and Egypt accepted. The Soviet Union's support was not unconditional, however. Along with the money, they also sent military advisers and other workers to help enhance Egyptian-Soviet ties and relations.
Building of the Aswan DamIn order to build the Aswan Dam, both people and artifacts had to be moved. Over 90,000 Nubians had to be relocated. Those who had been living in Egypt were moved about 28 miles (45 km) away, but the Sudanese Nubians were relocated 370 miles (600 km) from their homes. The government was also forced to develop one of the largest Abu Simel temples and dig for artifacts before the future lake would drown the land of the Nubians.
After years of construction (the material in the dam is the equivalent to 17 of the great pyramids at Giza), the resulting reservoir was named after the former president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who died in 1970. The lake holds 137 million acre-feet of water (169 billion cubic meters). About 17 percent of the lake is in Sudan and the two countries have an agreement for distribution of the water.
Aswan Dam Benefits and ProblemsThe Aswan Dam benefits Egypt by controlling the annual floods on the Nile River and prevents the damage which used to occur along the floodplain. The Aswan High Dam provides about half of Egypt's power supply and has improved navigation along the river by keeping the water flow consistent.
There are several problems associated with the dam as well. Seepage and evaporation account for a loss of about 12-14% of the annual input into the reservoir. The sediments of the Nile River, as with all river and dam systems, has been filling the reservoir and thus decreasing its storage capacity. This has also resulted in problems downstream.
Farmers have been forced to use about a million tons of artificial fertilizer as a substitute for the nutrients which no longer fill the floodplain. Further downstream, the Nile delta is having problems due to the lack of sediment as well since there is no additional agglomeration of sediment to keep erosion of the delta at bay, so it slowly shrinks. Even the shrimp catch in the Mediterranean Sea has decreased due to the change in water flow.
Poor drainage of the newly irrigated lands has led to saturation and increased salinity. Over one-half of Egypt's farmland in now rated medium to poor soils.
The parasitic disease schistosomiasis has been associated with the stagnant water of the fields and the reservoir. Some studies indicate that the number of individuals affected has increased since the opening of the Aswan Dam.
The Nile River and now the Aswan High Dam are Egypt's lifeline. About 95% of Egypt's population live within twelve miles from the river. Were it not for the river and its sediment, the grand civilization of ancient Egypt probably would have never existed.
EgyptAfricaPower TrendsFor more about the terms or data used here, search the Glossary, learn All About Icons, or check out our FAQs. Information on plant specifics can be found here. If you use the data, please see our citation policy.
Tons CO2MWh EnergyIntensity2004:010,042,00002009:07,393,7000Future:07,393,7000Top Power Producing Plants in the RegionHighest CO2 Emitting Plants in the RegionSee MoreShow Past & FutureTons CO2MWh EnergyIntensityABU SIMBULAfricaEgyptMuḩāfaz̧at AswānAbū Sunbul2009:14,28013,7221,040ASWANAfricaEgyptMuḩāfaz̧at AswānAswan2009:04,074,0000ASWAN HIGH DAMAfricaEgyptMuḩāfaz̧at AswānAswan2009:07,393,7000AWLAD EL SHEIKH (Planned)AfricaEgyptMuḩāfaz̧at Aswān2009:000EDFU SUGAR PLANT (Planned)AfricaEgyptMuḩāfaz̧at AswānEdfu2009:000Similar Power Plant RatingsCO2 EmissionsEnergy OutputIntensityShow Past & FutureBlogCARMA Notes: Future DataOctober 15, 2012 - One of CARMA's rather unique features is the inclusion of data about the future. The v3.0 data contains entries for year 2004, year 2009, and the “Future”. All three points in time are displayed on any of the detail pages at (for example: ). Many CARMA users are interested in information about future developments in their area. Where are plants being constructed or planned? Where are existing plants being expanded? Which companies are likely to see their emissions rise the most? A proprietary, commercial database underpinning CARMA provides information that can help answer these questions.
First, a word of caution: The underlying database that provides information about future developments is only as good as the state of public information around the world; it reports what companies and plant builders have actually divulged. In some cases, the reported plans may be concrete and comprehensive. In other cases, they may be tentative and incomplete. There is no way of knowing which is which. In short, the “Future” figures in CARMA must be interpreted with caution. I want to briefly show some examples of how to (and how not to) use this information.
Let's consider individual plants. The simplest “Future” case is the construction of a new power plant. Such plants are included in CARMA with the signifier “(Planned)” appended to the plant name: . We can see that this plant was not in operation in 2004 or 2009, but data are included for the “Future” period. “Future” refers to any point in time after 2009. So, a planned facility might have entered commercial operation last year – or it may not go into commercial operation for a decade or more. Information about start dates is sometimes included in CARMA's input data, but (unfortunately) cannot be released to the public due to proprietary data restrictions.
In the case of a planned plant, the “Future” data are simply a model estimate of plant performance once commercial operation begins, based on engineering specifications. The best way to search for planned plants via the website is to use the Dig Deeper tool and sort a given locale's power plants using the “Future” radio button on the right side.
In some cases, future plans include capacity expansions at an existing facility. The Taichung plant in Taiwan is a case in point. We can see that electricity generation and CO2 emissions jump up in the “Future” period compared to 2009. If a plant shows no change in data between 2009 and the Future, that is indicative of no planned capacity expansions (or retirements). If the two sets of data are different, then some planned change(s) is expected, though the date(s) of the change is uncertain. The “Future” data are, again, a model estimate of how the plant might operate after the alterations are completed.
“Future” data are also available for geographic regions and countries, though they should be treated carefully. In both cases, the figures simply report aggregated “Future” electricity production and emissions from all associated power plants. We do not know if the “Future” totals reflect plants planned for operation in the next 5 years or 20 years. Nor do we know if the reported future plans are exhaustive or a small sample of what will actually occur. Looking at the totals for Uttar Pradesh state in India, for example, we see that “Future” CO2 emissions are significantly higher than 2009 emissions. But whether this increase occurs by 2015 or 2025 – and whether actual emissions go even higher – is impossible to tell from CARMA's data alone.
Overall, CARMA's “Future” data is most helpful in revealing planned power plants that were not in operation as of 2009 (“new builds”) and a reasonable estimate of their likely electricity production and CO2 emissions. The “Future” data can also be used to identify the likely effects of capacity expansion (or retirement) at existing facilities by comparing the 2009 and “Future” data. The “Future” data are far less helpful when looking at region and company totals. In those cases, uncertainty about the timing and comprehensiveness of future plans make the totals difficult to reliably interpret. Users should be aware of these limitations and recognize that “Future” data reported by CARMA are by no means exhaustive projections or predictions.
Posted by: Kevin UmmelComments: Digg Technorati StumbleUponTags: CARMA FeaturesCARMA Notes: Corporate DataOctober 10, 2012 - As in previous releases, CARMA v3.0 includes information about the electricity production and emissions of corporate entities involved in power generation. Every plant in the CARMA database is assigned to a company. The vast majority of that information comes from a proprietary, commercial database underpinning CARMA. In some cases, corporate ownership of U.S. plants is also provided by data from the Department of Energy.
Power plant ownership is quite complicated, and there are often multiple layers of ownership between the immediate plant operator and the ultimate owner. CARMA attempts to report the ultimate owner whenever possible (i.e. the highest entity in the corporate hierarchy), relying largely on information from a private data supplier. When the parent company cannot be identified for a plant, the operating company (often a utility) is reported instead.
It must be stressed that maintaining accurate corporate information is extremely challenging. CARMA's data suppliers are the best in the business, but even they cannot guarantee accuracy, especially outside North America where corporate hierarchies are less evident. There is also the problem that many large facilities are owned by multiple entities and it is not possible to track ownership shares worldwide. For all these reasons, the company data in CARMA should be considered a reasonable “best guess” of the primary entity ultimately responsible for ownership or operation of the plant.
For example, the generating units at the Scherer Plant in Juliette, Georgia (the largest CO2 emitter in the U.S.) are jointly owned to varying degrees by seven different corporate entities. Based on this information, one could reasonably consider Oglethorpe Power Corporation to be the primary owner. On the other hand, the plant is actually operated on a day-to-day basis by Georgia Power (also part owner), which is, in turn, a subsidiary of Southern Company – as is Gulf Power, also part owner of the plant. CARMA's data suppliers, and hence the CARMA database, report the parent company as Southern Company. I use this example to illustrate the potential complexity of ownership arrangements and dispense the necessary “grain of salt”. To be fair, this is an especially complex case.
Although electricity and emissions data are available for multiple points in time (e.g. 2004, 2009, and the “Future”), the company assigned to each plant is based upon the most recent information available. For example, the CARMA v3.0 release in July, 2012 uses corporate ownership data thought to be current as of March, 2012. Notice that this makes company totals for earlier points in time (e.g. 2004 and 2009) possibly subject to error, since ownership could have been different at that time. The 2004 company totals for Southern Company, for example, are the aggregate 2004 electricity production and emissions of plants that Southern Company is currently listed as owning (not the plants they actually owned as of 2004). In general, the 2009 company totals are more likely to be accurate than 2004, especially in developing country power markets where changes are occurring rapidly.
CARMA also assigns a “Parent Country” to each company in the database. At present, this is based solely on an analysis of where the plurality of the company's associated generating capacity is located. In the vast majority of cases, this yields an accurate result. If you come across exceptions, please contact me so I can rectify for future releases.
Finally, it is worth reiterating that CARMA's company totals simply reflect emissions from associated power plants. Occasionally, one will find companies that have both power plants and other business activities. For example, major oil and gas companies like BP often own generators, and their operation is reflected as best as possible in CARMA's company totals. But these figures do not reflect the full extent of CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions from BP's wider activities (drilling, refineries, pipelines, etc.).
Posted by: Kevin UmmelComments: Digg Technorati StumbleUponTags: CARMA FeaturesCARMA Notes: Geographic DataOctober 8, 2012 - CARMA v3.0 greatly improves both and scope and quality of geographic information provided for individual power plants.
Basic information like country, state/province, and city comes from a proprietary, commercial database of global power plants. Similar data is provided for U.S. facilities by the Department of Energy (DoE). This raw data is processed with an algorithm that cleans and standardizes the data and conducts a “fuzzy string” match against the open-source GeoNames place names database. The algorithm attempts to extract maximum geographic information; in some cases, it is able to add information not found in the raw data. I believe this makes CARMA v3.0 probably the most extensive public geocoding of global power plants to date.
CARMA's geocoding algorithm attempts to return the continent, country, state/province, county/district, city, and postal code for each plant. Data coverage is universal for continent and country and nearly so (>95%) for state/province. A further 80% of plants have been assigned a city, 40% a county/district (i.e. secondary region), and ~16% a unique postal code.
CARMA users are often interested in pin-pointing the location of facilities, usually for the purposes of modeling pollutant dispersal or making high-quality maps. This requires specific geographic coordinates. Coordinate data from the DoE and EPA are used to provide high-resolution coordinates for all plants in the U.S. Outside the U.S., the same datasets that disclose emissions or power generation sometimes report coordinates, too. In addition, many large facilities have been manually geocoded using public sources (usually Wikipedia). All told, 12% of facilities responsible for about about 40% of current electricity and emissions are assigned high-resolution coordinates.
When high-resolution coordinates are not available, CARMA v3.0 provides the coordinates for the associated city center, as given by GeoNames. An additional 70% of plants are assigned these approximate coordinates. Comparison of approximate and precise coordinates for plants with both suggest that the approximate coordinates have an average spatial error of about 7 km. When downloading a .csv file from, a variable called “crd” is included to indicate if the given coordinates are approximate (crd=1) or precise (crd=2).
The CARMA website reports aggregate totals for the geographic entities previously mentioned, as well as counties, congressional districts, and metro areas for the U.S. The definition of a “metro area” has changed in v3.0 and now reflect the borders of “combined statistical areas”, as determined by the OMB. For users of CARMA's API, it is important to note that all regions in CARMA v3.0 (excluding congressional districts and metro areas) now have unique, permanent identifiers that match those used by GeoNames. For example, the Australian state of New South Wales has region_id=2155400 (specified in the URL), which matches that used by the GeoNames API. This allows the two databases to be easily linked, if desired.
The regional totals provided in CARMA v3.0 are simply the aggregate electricity production and emissions of all geocoded facilities within the borders of the region in question. The one exception is cities. The city totals (for example, Madrid) are the aggregate of all plants with precise or approximate coordinates within 100 km (~60 miles) of the city center. CARMA v3.0 provides such totals for capital cities and those with population greater than 50,000 – more than 13,000 cities worldwide. It's also worth noting that CARMA's algorithms attempt to ensure accurate country totals for electricity generation and, for most countries, CO2 emissions. National totals from the DoE and International Energy Agency are used. There may be discrepancies in some cases. If you notice any, please let me know.Posted by: Kevin UmmelComments: Digg Technorati StumbleUponTags: CARMA FeaturesCARMA Notes: Data AccuracyOctober 4, 2012 - Although CARMA incorporates all known major public disclosure databases, the majority of the site's data is necessarily estimated using statistical models. This will hopefully change in the future as governments and companies become more open about the source of global warming pollution, but for now estimates are unavoidable. So, how accurate are CARMA's model estimates?
This question is addressed in detail in a technical paper describing the CARMA methodology and results. Here I want to share some of the main findings and highlight important caveats related to use of the data.
As detailed elsewhere, CARMA's models are fit to a high-resolution dataset of U.S. plant performance. The models then predict the electricity production and CO2 emissions of plants outside the U.S. for which publicly disclosed data is not available. As part of the CARMA technical paper, an analysis was undertaken to estimate the likely accuracy of the model output. Overall, the models do a better job of predicting the carbon intensity of a given plant (kg CO2 per MWh) and have more difficulty accuracy predicting total electricity generation. For example, it is estimated that, for CO2-emitting plants with estimated values, CARMA reports CO2 intensity that is within 20% of the true value about 60% of the time. But for electricity generation, the reported value is within 20% of the true value only about 40% of the time.
Why is predicting the amount of electricity generated by a given plant in a given year so difficult? The short answer is that utilization of many plants jumps around from year to year (i.e. high inter-annual variability) for reasons that cannot be easily observed or modeled. For example, the CARMA technical paper analyzes how annual generation changed between 2009 and 2010 for ~5,000 U.S. power plants that showed no change in engineering characteristics. Nearly 50% of the plants saw annual generation change at least 20% between 2009 and 2010 and about 30% saw a change of at least 40%. Remember, the variables that CARMA's models are able to use have not changed for these plants – but generation is still jumping around from year-to-year. This variability makes it fundamentally difficult to detect clear patterns or “rules” that the models can use to precisely predict performance when public data is not available.
When we consider these difficulties, the CARMA models are actually performing reasonably well. For example, an “ideal” model, given the range of variables available to CARMA and accounting for inter-annual variability, would likely predict annual generation to within 20% of the true value in about 55% of cases. The evidence suggests that the CARMA v3.0 models currently achieve that level of accuracy for slightly more than 40% of plants. And whereas an ideal model could be expected to be within 40% of the true value for about 70% of plants, CARMA does so in more than 60% of cases. Overall, that's pretty decent model performance.
It's also clear that accuracy depends on the type of power plant in question. In general, larger plants are easier to predict than smaller ones. And coal power plants – owing to their predominant and more consistent use as base-load electricity providers – exhibit greater model accuracy than other fuel types. Conversely, smaller and/or gas- or oil-based units are likely to see higher prediction errors. Hydroelectric power plants are a mixed bag since performance in any given year is highly dependent on local weather conditions that are not observed by CARMA's models.
On the plus side, CARMA's estimates can be fairly interpreted as reasonable long-term performance metrics. CARMA's models show no evidence of systematic bias, so while estimates for any particular year may exhibit significant error, the long-term performance of most plants is likely consistent with the model predictions. This is especially true of larger plants. Measures of typical, long-term performance for larger facilities (existing and planned) are, perhaps, the most relevant information for many real-world applications of CARMA. In addition, prediction of CO2 intensity – an equally useful metric for many CARMA users - is shown to be quite feasible and exhibits relatively low error.
Posted by: Kevin UmmelComments: Digg Technorati StumbleUponTags: CARMA FeaturesCARMA Notes: MethodologyOctober 2, 2012 - Perhaps the most common question from CARMA users is: “Where do the figures on the site come from?” There is a brief answer to this question in the site's FAQ section. A detailed CARMA v3.0 technical paper provides a complete answer to that question. This blog post aims to provide something in-between: sufficient detail for the average user, but not too much.
In an ideal world, the electricity generation, CO2 emissions, location, and ownership of the world's power plants would be regularly published by the appropriate national authorities. Of course, this is not the case. In fact, for the vast majority of countries it is difficult (if not impossible) to find any comprehensive, public information about state of power generators, never mind their environmental impact.
At present, only about 10% of the world's CO2-emitting power plants regularly disclose CO2 emissions through public databases. These plants are limited to the United States, European Union, Canada, India, and South Africa. Collectively, these databases disclose the specific source of about 35% of global power sector CO2 emissions. A database maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency also discloses the electricity production of nuclear power plants worldwide. Some databases, like in the U.S., India, and South Africa, report both electricity generation and emissions. Others report only emissions. Some have corporate data, some do not. Some report the location of plants, some do not. Some are exhaustive (covering all facilities in their jurisdiction), some are not. Outside of these sources, information about plant-specific performance is fragmented, privately-held, or non-existent. In short, it's kind of a mess.
CARMA's basic task is to consolidate the public data that is made available and come up with reasonable estimates for the rest. A private, commercial database maintained by Platts, Inc. provides valuable information about the location, engineering, fuel type, and ownership of effectively all of the world's generating units (though it reveals nothing about actual generation or emissions). This database provides a basis for knowing which plants are reported publicly and which are undisclosed and in need of estimates. It also provides variables that can be used to predict the performance of a given plant.
Electricity generation and emissions for undisclosed plants are estimated using statistical models. The U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency publish detailed information about almost all power plants in the U.S. It is possible to process this data to determine what is happening at individual units in particular months. From this data, CARMA constructs a large, detailed dataset of unit-level, monthly performance at U.S. facilities (electricity generation, CO2 emissions, fuel type and consumption, etc.). This dataset is used to fit statistical models that predict how much electricity or CO2 a plant is likely to produce given its size, age, the various technologies and fuels in use, the nature of the electricity grid, etc. The resulting models are then applied to the global database provided by Platts, Inc. to derive estimated performance for power plants that lack publicly disclosed data.
Obviously, there are limitations to this approach. For example, it assumes that the experience and performance of U.S. power plants is similar to those in any other country (controlling, of course, for the various fuel and engineering characteristics that can be observed). The biggest challenge, though, is that utilization rates for plants across time are highly variable. This makes it difficult to accurately estimate the emissions of a given plant in a given year. While CARMA will always have difficulty precisely predicting the performance of a given plant in a given year, it does do a a few things well:
First, and most obviously, it consolidates the high-quality information that is available. This is not a trivial task given that each national disclosure database has its own particular format, standards, and (annoying) idiosyncrasies. And the national databases alone do not provide all the desired data points, which means they must be painstakingly matched against the Platts, Inc. database (and others) to extract the full suite of required information.
Second, even when disclosed data is unavailable, CARMA's statistical models do a decent job of estimating the amount of CO2 a given plant emits for each MWh of electricity produced (called “Intensity” on the site and given units of kgCO2/MWh). In some ways, the carbon intensity is the most important metric, since it allows us to identify those power plants that are the greatest relative threat in terms of climate change.
Third, even if CARMA's models cannot precisely estimate total electricity generation or emissions for a given plant and year, the model output is likely to be indicative of the long-term performance of a plant. In other words, CARMA's models still do a reasonable job of identifying a plant's typical or average emissions over a longer period, even if the performance for any given year is over- or under-estimated.
Ultimately, CARMA is a mix of the ideal (disclosed data) and the imperfect (estimated data). The hope is that, over time, better disclosure efforts will tip the balance in favor of the former. Users interested in the U.S. will be happy to know that CARMA's U.S. power plant data come from the DoE and EPA and can be considered high-quality. For facilities outside the U.S., it is possible to check the disclosure status of a given plant by downloading the associated .csv file from the site and finding the “dis” variable in the output. This variable indicates one of the following situations:
dis=0: No data disclosed
dis=1: Electricity generation disclosed
dis=2: CO2 emissions disclosed
dis=3: Electricity generation and CO2 emissions disclosedPosted by: Kevin UmmelComments: Digg Technorati StumbleUponTags: CARMA FeaturesBlog Archive
The Aswan Dam, or more specifically since the 1960s, the Aswan High Dam, is the world's largest embankment dam built across the Nile in Aswan, Egypt, between 1960 and 1970. Its significance largely eclipsed the previous Aswan Low Dam initially completed in 1902 downstream. Based on the success of the Low Dam, then at its maximum utilization, construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952; with its ability to better control flooding, provide increased water storage for irrigation and generate hydroelectricity the dam was seen as pivotal to Egypt's planned industrialization. Like the earlier implementation, the High Dam has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt.
Before the High Dam was built, even with the old dam in place, the annual flooding of the Nile during late summer had continued to pass largely unimpeded down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water with natural nutrients and minerals that annually enriched the fertile soil along its floodplain and delta; this predictability had made the Nile valley ideal for farming since ancient times. However, this natural flooding varied, since high-water years could destroy the whole crop, while low-water years could create widespread drought and associated famine. Both these events had continued to occur periodically. As Egypt's population grew and technology increased, both a desire and the ability developed to completely control the flooding, and thus both protect and support farmland and its economically important cotton crop. With the greatly increased reservoir storage provided by the High Aswan Dam, the floods could be controlled and the water could be stored for later release over multiple years.
The Aswan Dam was designed by the Moscow-based Hydroproject Institute.[2]Contents1Construction history1.1Aswan Low Dam, 1898–19021.2Aswan High Dam prelude, 1954–19591.3Construction and filling, 1960–19762Specifications3Irrigation scheme4Effects4.1Drought protection, agricultural production and employment4.2Electricity production4.3Resettlement and Compensations4.4Archaeological sites4.5Loss of sediments4.6Waterlogging and increase in soil salinity4.7Health4.8Other effects5See also6References7External linksConstruction historyThe earliest recorded attempt to build a dam near Aswan was in the 11th century, when the Arab polymath and engineer Ibn al-Haytham (known as Alhazen in the West) was summoned to Egypt by the Fatimid Caliph, Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, to regulate the flooding of the Nile, a task requiring an early attempt at an Aswan Dam.[3] His field work convinced him of the impracticality of this scheme.[4]
Aswan Low Dam, 1898–1902Main article: Aswan Low DamThe British began construction of the first dam across the Nile in 1898. Construction lasted until 1902 and the dam was opened on 10 December 1902. The project was designed by Sir William Willcocks and involved several eminent engineers, including Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Aird, whose firm, John Aird & Co., was the main contractor.[5][6]
Aswan High Dam prelude, 1954–1959In 1952, the Greek-Egyptian engineer Adrian Daninos began to develop the plan of the new Aswan Dam. Although the Low Dam was almost overtopped in 1946, the government of King Farouk showed no interest in Daninos's plans. Instead the Nile Valley Plan by the British hydrologist Harold Edwin Hurst was favored, which proposed to store water in Sudan and Ethiopia, where evaporation is much lower. The Egyptian position changed completely after the overthrow of the monarchy, led by the Free Officers Movement including Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Free Officers were convinced that the Nile Waters had to be stored in Egypt for political reasons, and within two months, the plan of Daninos was accepted.[7] Initially, both the United States and the USSR were interested in helping development of the dam. Complications ensued due to their rivalry during the Cold War, as well as growing intra-Arab tensions.
In 1955, Nasser was claiming to be the leader of Arab nationalism, in opposition to the traditional monarchies, especially the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq following its signing of the 1955 Baghdad Pact. At that time the U.S. feared that communism would spread to the Middle East, and it saw Nasser as a natural leader of an anticommunist procapitalist Arab League. America and Britain offered to help finance construction of the High Dam, with a loan of $270 million, in return for Nasser's leadership in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. While opposed to communism, capitalism, and imperialism, Nasser identified as a tactical neutralist, and sought to work with both the U.S. and the USSR for Egyptian and Arab benefit.[8] After the UN criticized a raid by Israel against Egyptian forces in Gaza in 1955, Nasser realized that he could not portray himself as the leader of pan-Arab nationalism if he could not defend his country militarily against Israel. In addition to his development plans, he looked to quickly modernize his military, and he turned first to the U.S. for aid.Egyptian President Nasser and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at the ceremony to divert the Nile during the construction of the Aswan High Dam on 14 May 1964. At this occasion Khrushchev called it "the eighth wonder of the world".American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and President Dwight Eisenhower told Nasser that the U.S. would supply him with weapons only if they were used for defensive purposes and if he accepted American military personnel for supervision and training. Nasser did not accept these conditions, and consulted the USSR for support.
Although Dulles believed that Nasser was only bluffing and that the USSR would not aid Nasser, he was wrong: the USSR promised Nasser a quantity of arms in exchange for a deferred payment of Egyptian grain and cotton. On 27 September 1955, Nasser announced an arms deal, with Czechoslovakia acting as a middleman for the Soviet support.[9] Instead of attacking Nasser for turning to the Soviets, Dulles sought to improve relations with him. In December 1955, the U.S. and Britain pledged $56 and $14 million, respectively, toward construction of the High Aswan Dam.[10]Gamal Abdel Nasser observing the construction of the dam, 1963Though the Czech arms deal created an incentive for the US to invest at Aswan, Great Britain cited the deal as a reason for repeal its promise of dam funds. Dulles was angered more by Nasser's diplomatic recognition of China, which was in direct conflict with Dulles's policy of containment of communism.[11]
Several other factors contributed to the US deciding to withdraw its offer of funding for the dam. Dulles believed that the USSR would not fulfill its commitment of military aid. He was also irritated by Nasser's neutrality and attempts to play both sides of the Cold War. At the time, other Western allies in the Middle East, including Turkey and Iraq, were resentful that Egypt, a persistently neutral country, was being offered so much aid.[12]
In June 1956, the Soviets offered Nasser $1.12 billion at 2% interest for the construction of the dam. On 19 July the U.S. State Department announced that American financial assistance for the High Dam was "not feasible in present circumstances."[10]
On 26 July 1956, with wide Egyptian acclaim, Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal that included fair compensation for the former owners. Nasser planned on the revenues generated by the canal to help fund construction of the High Dam. When the Suez War broke out, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel seized the canal and the Sinai. But pressure from the U.S. and the USSR at the United Nations and elsewhere forced them to withdraw.
In 1958, the USSR proceeded to provide support for the High Dam project.A view from the vantage point in the middle of High Dam towards the monument of Arab-Soviet Friendship (Lotus Flower) by architects Piotr Pavlov, Juri Omeltchenko and sculptor Nikolay VechkanovIn the 1950s, archaeologists began raising concerns that several major historical sites, including the famous temple of Abu Simbel were about to be submerged by waters collected behind the dam. A rescue operation began in 1960 under UNESCO (for details see below under Effects).
Construction and filling, 1960–1976
A central pylon of the monument to Arab-Soviet Friendship. The memorial commemorates the completion of the Aswan High Dam. The coat of arms of the Soviet Union is on the left and the coat of arms of Egypt is on the right.The Soviets also provided technicians and heavy machinery. The enormous rock and clay dam was designed by the Soviet Hydroproject Institute along with some Egyptian engineers. 25,000 Egyptian engineers and workers contributed to the construction of the dams.
On the Egyptian side, the project was led by Osman Ahmed Osman's Arab Contractors. The relatively young Osman underoffer his only competitor by one-half.[13]
1960: Start of construction on 9 January[14]1964: First dam construction stage completed, reservoir started filling1970: The High Dam, as-Sad al-'Aali, completed on 21 July[15]1976: Reservoir reached capacity.SpecificationsThe Aswan High Dam is 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) long, 980 m (3,220 ft) wide at the base, 40 m (130 ft) wide at the crest and 111 m (364 ft) tall. It contains 43,000,000 cubic metres (56,000,000 cu yd) of material. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres per second (390,000 cu ft/s) of water can pass through the dam. There are further emergency spillways for an extra 5,000 cubic metres per second (180,000 cu ft/s), and the Toshka Canal links the reservoir to the Toshka Depression. The reservoir, named Lake Nasser, is 550 km (340 mi) long and 35 km (22 mi) at its widest, with a surface area of 5,250 square kilometres (2,030 sq mi). It holds 132 cubic kilometres (1.73×1011 cu yd) of water.A panorama of the Aswan DamIrrigation schemeSee also: Water resources management in modern Egypt
Green irrigated land along the Nile amidst the desert
Water balances
Main irrigation systems (schematically)Due to the absence of appreciable rainfall, Egypt's agriculture depends entirely on irrigation. With irrigation, two crops per year can be produced, except for sugar cane which has a growing period of almost one year.
The high dam at Aswan releases, on average, 55 cubic kilometres (45,000,000 acre⋅ft) water per year, of which some 46 cubic kilometres (37,000,000 acre⋅ft) are diverted into the irrigation canals.
In the Nile valley and delta, almost 336,000 square kilometres (130,000 sq mi) benefit from these waters producing on average 1.8 crops per year. The annual crop consumptive use of water is about 38 cubic kilometres (31,000,000 acre⋅ft). Hence, the overall irrigation efficiency is 38/46 = 0.82 or 82%. This is a relatively-high irrigation efficiency. The field irrigation efficiencies are much less, but the losses are reused downstream. This continuous reuse accounts for the high overall efficiency.
The following table shows that the equal distribution of irrigation water over the branch canals taking off from the one main irrigation canal, the Mansuriya Canal near Giza, leaves much to be desired:[16]
Branch canalWater delivery in m3/feddan *Kafret Nasser4,700Beni Magdul3,500El Mansuria3,300El Hammami upstream2,800El Hammami downstream1,800El Shimi1,200* Period 1 March to 31 July. 1 feddan is 0.42 ha or about 1 acre.* Data from the Egyptian Water Use Management Project (EWUP)[17]The salt concentration of the water in the Aswan reservoir is about 0.25 kilograms per cubic metre (0.42 lb/cu yd), a very low salinity level. At an annual inflow of 55 cubic kilometres (45,000,000 acre⋅ft), the annual salt influx reaches 14 million tons. The average salt concentration of the drainage water evacuated into the sea and the coastal lakes is 2.7 kilograms per cubic metre (4.6 lb/cu yd).[18] At an annual discharge of 10 cubic kilometres (2.4 cu mi) (not counting the 2 kilograms per cubic metre [3.4 lb/cu yd] of salt intrusion from the sea and the lakes, see figure "Water balances"), the annual salt export reaches 27 million ton. In 1995, the output of salt was higher than the influx, and Egypt's agricultural lands were desalinizing. Part of this could be due to the large number of subsurface drainage projects executed in the last decades to control the water table and soil salinity.[19]
Drainage through subsurface drains and drainage channels is essential to prevent a deterioration of crop yields from waterlogging and soil salinization caused by irrigation. By 2003, more than 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) have been equipped with a subsurface drainage system and approximately 7.2 square kilometres (2.8 sq mi) of water is drained annually from areas with these systems. The total investment cost in agricultural drainage over 27 years from 1973 to 2002 was about $3.1 billion covering the cost of design, construction, maintenance, research and training. During this period 11 large-scale projects were implemented with financial support from World Bank and other donors.[20]
EffectsThe High Dam has resulted in protection from floods and droughts, an increase in agricultural production and employment, electricity production, and improved navigation that also benefits tourism. Conversely, the dam flooded a large area, causing the relocation of over 100,000 people. Many archaeological sites were submerged while others were relocated. The dam is blamed for coastline erosion, soil salinity, and health problems.
The assessment of the costs and benefits of the dam remains controversial decades after its completion. According to one estimate, the annual economic benefit of the High Dam immediately after its completion was E£255 million, $587 million using the exchange rate in 1970 of $2.30 per E£1): £140 million from agricultural production, £100 million from hydroelectric generation, £10 million from flood protection, and £5 million from improved navigation. At the time of its construction, total cost, including unspecified "subsidiary projects" and the extension of electric power lines, amounted to £450 million. Not taking into account the negative environmental and social effects of the dam, its costs are thus estimated to have been recovered within only two years.[21] One observer notes: "The impacts of the Aswan High Dam (...) have been overwhelmingly positive. Although the Dam has contributed to some environmental problems, these have proved to be significantly less severe than was generally expected, or currently believed by many people."[22] Another observer disagreed and he recommended that the dam should be torn down. Tearing it down would cost only a fraction of the funds required for "continually combating the dam's consequential damage" and 500,000 hectares of fertile land could be reclaimed from the layers of mud on the bed of the drained reservoir.[23]
Periodic floods and droughts have affected Egypt since ancient times. The dam mitigated the effects of floods, such as those in 1964, 1973, and 1988. Navigation along the river has been improved, both upstream and downstream of the dam. Sailing along the Nile is a favorite tourism activity, which is mainly done during the winter when the natural flow of the Nile would have been too low to allow navigation of cruise ships.[clarification needed] A new fishing industry has been created around Lake Nasser, though it is struggling due to its distance from any significant markets. The annual production was about 35 000 tons in the mid-1990s. Factories for the fishing industry and packaging have been set up near the Lake.[24]
Drought protection, agricultural production and employment
The Egyptian countryside benefited from the Aswan High Dam through improved irrigation as well as electrification, as shown here in Al Bayadiyah, south of Luxor.The dams also protected Egypt from the droughts in 1972–73 and 1983–87 that devastated East and West Africa. The High Dam allowed Egypt to reclaim about 2.0 million feddan (840,000 hectares) in the Nile Delta and along the Nile Valley, increasing the country's irrigated area by a third. The increase was brought about both by irrigating what used to be desert and by bringing under cultivation of 385,000 ha that were previously used as flood retention basins.[25] About half a million families were settled on these new lands. In particular the area under rice and sugar cane cultivation increased. In addition, about 1 million feddan (420,000 hectares), mostly in Upper Egypt, were converted from flood irrigation with only one crop per year to perennial irrigation allowing two or more crops per year. On other previously irrigated land, yields increased because water could be made available at critical low-flow periods. For example, wheat yields in Egypt tripled between 1952 and 1991 and better availability of water contributed to this increase. Most of the 32 km3 of freshwater, or almost 40 percent of the average flow of the Nile that were previously lost to the sea every year could be put to beneficial use. While about 10 km3 of the water saved is lost due to evaporation in Lake Nasser, the amount of water available for irrigation still increased by 22 km3.[24] Other estimates put evaporation from Lake Nasser at between 10 and 16 cubic km per year.[26]
Electricity production
Power plant of the Aswan High Dam, with the dam itself in the background.The dam powers twelve generators each rated at 175 megawatts (235,000 hp), with a total of 2.1 gigawatts (2,800,000 hp). Power generation began in 1967. When the High Dam first reached peak output it produced around half of Egypt's production of electric power (about 15 percent by 1998), and it gave most Egyptian villages the use of electricity for the first time. The High Dam has also improved the efficiency and the extension of the Old Aswan Hydropower stations by regulating upstream flows.[24]
Resettlement and Compensations
A picture of the old Wadi Halfa town that was flooded by Lake Nasser.Lake Nasser flooded much of lower Nubia and 100,000 to 120,000 people were resettled in Sudan and Egypt.[27]View of New Wadi Halfa, a settlement created on the shore of Lake Nasser to house part of the resettled population from the Old Wadi Halfa town.In Sudan, 50,000 to 70,000 Sudanese Nubians were moved from the old town of Wadi Halfa and its surrounding villages. Some were moved to a newly created settlement on the shore of Lake Nasser called New Wadi Halfa, and some were resettled approximately 700 kilometres south to the semi-arid Butana plain near the town of Khashm el-Girba up the Atbara River. The climate there had a regular rainy season as opposed to their previous desert habitat in which virtually no rain fell. The government developed an irrigation project, called the New Halfa Agricultural Development Scheme to grow cotton, grains, sugar cane and other crops. The Nubians were resettled in twenty five planned villages that included schools, medical facilities, and other services, including piped water and some electrification.
In Egypt, the majority of the 50,000 Nubians were moved three to ten kilometers from the Nile near Kom Ombo, 45 kilometers downstream from Aswan in what was called "New Nubia". Housing and facilities were built for 47 village units whose relationship to each other approximated that in Old Nubia. Irrigated land was provided to grow mainly sugar cane.[28][29]
In 2019–20, Egypt started to compensate the Nubians who lost their homes following the dam impoundment.[30]
Archaeological sites
The statue of Ramses the Great at the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is reassembled after having been moved in 1967 to save it from being flooded.22 monuments and architectural complexes that were threatened by flooding from Lake Nasser, including the Abu Simbel temples, were preserved by moving them to the shores of the lake under the UNESCO Nubia Campaign.[31] Also moved were Philae, Kalabsha and Amada.[24]
These monuments were granted to countries that helped with the works:
The Debod temple to MadridThe Temple of Dendur to the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New YorkThe Temple of Taffeh to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden of LeidenThe Temple of Ellesyia to the Museo Egizio of TurinThese items were removed to the garden area of the Sudan National Museum of Khartoum:[32]
The temple of Ramses II at AkshaThe temple of Hatshepsut at BuhenThe temple of Khnum at KummaThe tomb of the Nubian prince Djehuti-hotep at DebeiraThe temples of Dedwen and Sesostris III at SemnaThe granite columns from the Faras CathedralA part of the paintings of the Faras Cathedral; the other part is in the National Museum of Warsaw.The Temple of Ptah at Gerf Hussein had its free-standing section reconstructed at New Kalabsha, alongside the Temple of Kalabsha, Beit el-Wali, and the Kiosk of Qertassi.
The remaining archaeological sites, including the Buhen fort or the cemetery of Fadrus have been flooded by Lake Nasser.
Loss of sediments
Lake Nasser behind the Aswan dam displaced more than 100,000 people and traps significant amounts of sediment.Before the construction of the High Dam, the Nile deposited sediments of various particle size – consisting of fine sand, silt and clay – on fields in Upper Egypt through its annual flood, contributing to soil fertility. However, the nutrient value of the sediment has often been overestimated. 88 percent of the sediment was carried to the sea before the construction of the High Dam. The nutrient value added to the land by the sediment was only 6,000 tons of potash, 7,000 tons of phosphorus pentoxide and 17,000 tons of nitrogen. These amounts are insignificant compared to what is needed to reach the yields achieved today in Egypt's irrigation.[33] Also, the annual spread of sediment due to the Nile floods occurred along the banks of the Nile. Areas far from the river which never received the Nile floods before are now being irrigated.[34]
A more serious issue of trapping of sediment by the dam is that it has increased coastline erosion surrounding the Nile Delta. The coastline erodes an estimated 125–175 m (410–574 ft) per year.[35]
Waterlogging and increase in soil salinityBefore the construction of the High Dam, groundwater levels in the Nile Valley fluctuated 8–9 m per year with the water level of the Nile. During summer when evaporation was highest, the groundwater level was too deep to allow salts dissolved in the water to be pulled to the surface through capillary action. With the disappearance of the annual flood and heavy year-round irrigation, groundwater levels remained high with little fluctuation leading to waterlogging. Soil salinity also increased because the distance between the surface and the groundwater table was small enough (1–2 m depending on soil conditions and temperature) to allow water to be pulled up by evaporation so that the relatively small concentrations of salt in the groundwater accumulated on the soil surface over the years. Since most of the farmland did not have proper subsurface drainage to lower the groundwater table, salinization gradually affected crop yields.[25] Drainage through sub-surface drains and drainage channels is essential to prevent a deterioration of crop yields from soil salinization and waterlogging. By 2003, more than 2 million hectares have been equipped with a subsurface drainage system at a cost from 1973 to 2002 of about $3.1 billion.[36]
Skin vesicles: a symptom of schistosomiasis. A more common symptom is blood in the urine.Contrary to many predictions made prior to the Aswan High Dam construction and publications that followed, that the prevalence of schistosomiasis (bilharzia) would increase, it did not.[37] This assumption did not take into account the extent of perennial irrigation that was already present throughout Egypt decades before the high dam closure. By the 1950s only a small proportion of Upper Egypt had not been converted from basin (low transmission) to perennial (high transmission) irrigation. Expansion of perennial irrigation systems in Egypt did not depend on the high dam. In fact, within 15 years of the high dam closure there was solid evidence that biharzia was declining in Upper Egypt. S. haematobium has since disappeared altogether.[38] Suggested reasons for this include improvements in irrigation practice. In the Nile Delta, schistosomiasis had been highly endemic, with prevalence in the villages 50% or higher for almost a century before. This was a consequence of the conversion of the Delta to perennial irrigation to grow long staple cotton by the British. This has changed. Large scale treatment programmes in the 1990s using single dose oral medication contributed greatly to reducing the prevalence and severity of S. mansoni in the Delta.
Other effectsSediment deposited in the reservoir is lowering the water storage capacity of Lake Nasser. The reservoir storage capacity is 162 km3, including 31 km3 dead storage at the bottom of the lake below 147 m above sea level, 90 km3 live storage, and 41 km3 of storage for high flood waters above 175m above sea level. The annual sediment load of the Nile is about 134 million tons. This means that the dead storage volume would be filled up after 300–500 years if the sediment accumulated at the same rate throughout the area of the lake. Obviously sediment accumulates much faster at the upper reaches of the lake, where sedimentation has already affected the live storage zone.[33]
Before the construction of the High Dam, the 50,000 km of irrigation and drainage canals in Egypt had to be dredged regularly to remove sediments. After construction of the dam, aquatic weeds grew much faster in the clearer water, helped by fertilizer residues. The total length of the infested waterways was about 27,000 km in the mid-1990s. Weeds have been gradually brought under control by manual, mechanical and biological methods.[24]The catch of sardines in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast declined after the Aswan Dam was completed, but the exact reasons for the decline are still disputed.Mediterranean fishing and brackish water lake fishery declined after the dam was finished because nutrients that flowed down the Nile to the Mediterranean were trapped behind the dam. For example, the sardine catch off the Egyptian coast declined from 18,000 tons in 1962 to a mere 460 tons in 1968, but then gradually recovered to 8,590 tons in 1992. A scientific article in the mid-1990s noted that "the mismatch between low primary productivity and relatively high levels of fish production in the region still presents a puzzle to scientists."[39]
A concern before the construction of the High Dam had been the potential drop in river-bed level downstream of the Dam as the result of erosion caused by the flow of sediment-free water. Estimates by various national and international experts put this drop at between 2 and 10 meters. However, the actual drop has been measured at 0.3–0.7 meters, much less than expected.[24]
The red-brick construction industry, which consisted of hundreds of factories that used Nile sediment deposits along the river, has also been negatively affected. Deprived of sediment, they started using the older alluvium of otherwise arable land taking out of production up to 120 square kilometers annually, with an estimated 1,000 square kilometers destroyed by 1984 when the government prohibited, "with only modest success," further excavation.[40] According to one source, bricks are now being made from new techniques which use a sand-clay mixture and it has been argued that the mud-based brick industry would have suffered even if the dam had not been built.[34]
Because of the lower turofferity of the water sunlight penetrates deeper in the Nile water. Because of this and the increased presence of nutrients from fertilizers in the water, more algae grow in the Nile. This in turn increases the costs of drinking water treatment. Apparently few experts had expected that water quality in the Nile would actually decrease because of the High Dam.[25]
See alsoflagEgypt portaliconWater portaliconRenewable energy portalEnergy in EgyptEgyptian Public WorksList of conventional hydroelectric power stationsList of largest damsList of power stations in EgyptWater politics in the Nile BasinEgypt (Arabic: مِصر, romanized: Miṣr, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [masˤr]), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip of Palestine and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. The Gulf of Aqaba in the northeast separates Egypt from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt, while Alexandria, the second-largest city, is an important industrial and tourist hub at the Mediterranean coast.[14] At approximately 100 million inhabitants, Egypt is the 14th-most populated country in the world.
Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage along the Nile Delta back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government.[15] Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt's long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which reflects its unique transcontinental location being simultaneously Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and North African.[16] Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was largely Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Sunni Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority, along with other lesser practiced faiths.
Modern Egypt dates back to 1922, when it gained independence from the British Empire as a monarchy. Following the 1952 revolution, Egypt declared itself a republic, and in 1958 it merged with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which dissolved in 1961. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Egypt endured social and religious strife and political instability, fighting several armed conflicts with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, and occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967. In 1978, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords, officially withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and recognising Israel. The country continues to face challenges, from political unrest, including the recent 2011 revolution and its aftermath, to terrorism and economic underdevelopment. Egypt's current government, a semi-presidential republic led by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has been described by a number of watchdogs as authoritarian or heading an authoritarian regime, responsible for perpetuating the country's problematic human rights record.
Islam is the official religion of Egypt and Arabic is its official language.[17] With over 100 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa (after Nigeria and Ethiopia), and the fourteenth-most populous in the world. The great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Egypt is considered to be a regional power in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world, and a middle power worldwide.[18] It is a developing country, ranking 116th on the Human Development Index. It has a diversified economy, which is the third-largest in Africa, the 33rd-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the 20th-largest globally by PPP. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the World Youth Forum.Contents1Names2History2.1Prehistory and Ancient Egypt2.1.1Achaemenid Egypt2.2Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt2.3Middle Ages (7th century – 1517)2.3.1Abbasid period2.3.2Fatimids, Ayyuoffers and Mamluks2.4Early modern period: Ottoman Egypt (1517–1867)2.4.1Muhammad Ali dynasty2.5Khedivate of Egypt (1867–1914)2.6Sultanate of Egypt (1914–1922)2.7Kingdom of Egypt (1922–1953)2.8Republic of Egypt (1953–1958)2.8.1President Nasser (1956–1970)2.9United Arab Republic (1958–1971)2.10Arab Republic of Egypt (1971–present)2.10.1President Sadat (1970–1981)2.10.2President Mubarak (1981–2011)2.10.3Revolution (2011)2.10.4President Morsi (2012–2013)2.10.5Political crisis (2013)2.10.6President el-Sisi (2014–present)3Geography3.1Climate3.2Biodiversity4Government4.1Military and foreign relations4.2Law4.2.1Human rights4.2.2Freedom of the press4.3Administrative divisions5Economy5.1Tourism5.2Energy5.3Transport5.3.1Suez Canal5.4Water supply and sanitation6Demographics6.1Ethnic groups6.2Languages6.3Religion6.4Education6.5Health6.6Largest cities7Culture7.1Arts7.2Literature7.3Media7.4Cinema7.5Music7.6Dances7.7Museums7.8Festivals7.9Cuisine7.10Sports8See also9Notes10References11External linksNamesThe English name "Egypt" is derived from the Ancient Greek "Aígyptos" ("Αἴγυπτος"), via Middle French "Egypte" and Latin "Aegyptus". It is reflected in early Greek Linear B tablets as "a-ku-pi-ti-yo".[19] The adjective "aigýpti-"/"aigýptios" was borrowed into Coptic as "gyptios", and from there into Arabic as "qubṭī", back formed into "قبط" ("qubṭ"), whence English "Copt". The Greek forms were borrowed from Late Egyptian (Amarna) Hikuptah or "Memphis", a corruption of the earlier Egyptian nameO6tprD28Z1ptH(⟨ḥwt-kȝ-ptḥ⟩ 𓉗 𓏏𓉐𓂓𓏤𓊪 𓏏 𓎛), meaning "home of the ka (soul) of Ptah", the name of a temple to the god Ptah at Memphis.[20]"Miṣr" (Arabic pronunciation: [mesˤɾ]; "مِصر") is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while "Maṣr" (Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [mɑsˤɾ]; مَصر) is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic.[21] The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew "מִצְרַיִם‎" ("Miṣráyim/Mitzráyim/Mizráim"). The oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the Akkadian "mi-iṣ-ru" ("miṣru")[22][23] related to miṣru/miṣirru/miṣaru, meaning "border" or "frontier".[24] The Neo-Assyrian Empire used the derived term Rassam cylinder Mu-s,ur.jpg, Mu-ṣur.[25]
The ancient Egyptian name of the country waskmmtO49(𓆎 𓅓 𓏏𓊖) km.t, which means black land, likely referring to the fertile black soils of the Nile flood plains, distinct from the deshret (⟨dšṛt⟩), or "red land" of the desert.[26][27] This name is commonly vocalised as Kemet, but was probably pronounced [kuːmat] in ancient Egyptian.[28] The name is realised as kēme and kēmə (Ⲕⲏⲙⲉ) in the Coptic stage of the Egyptian language, and appeared in early Greek as Χημία (Khēmía).[29] Another name was ⟨tꜣ-mry⟩ "land of the riverbank".[30] The names of Upper and Lower Egypt were Ta-Sheme'aw (⟨tꜣ-šmꜥw⟩) "sedgeland" and Ta-Mehew (⟨tꜣ mḥw⟩) "northland", respectively.HistoryMain article: History of Egypt
This section may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. Please consider splitting content into sub-articles, condensing it, or adding subheadings. Please discuss this issue on the article's talk page. (January 2022)Prehistory and Ancient EgyptMain articles: Prehistoric Egypt and Ancient Egypt
Temple of Derr ruins in 1960There is evidence of rock carvings along the Nile terraces and in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BCE, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BCE began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society.[31]
By about 6000 BCE, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley.[32] During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BCE.[33]The Giza Necropolis is the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BCE by King Menes, leading to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptian culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts, language and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period, c. 2700–2200 BCE, which constructed many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza pyramids.
The First Intermediate Period ushered in a time of political upheaval for about 150 years.[34] Stronger Nile floods and stabilisation of government, however, brought back renewed prosperity for the country in the Middle Kingdom c. 2040 BCE, reaching a peak during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III. A second period of disunity heralded the arrival of the first foreign ruling dynasty in Egypt, that of the Semitic Hyksos. The Hyksos invaders took over much of Lower Egypt around 1650 BCE and founded a new capital at Avaris. They were driven out by an Upper Egyptian force led by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and relocated the capital from Memphis to Thebes.
The New Kingdom c. 1550–1070 BCE began with the Eighteenth Dynasty, marking the rise of Egypt as an international power that expanded during its greatest extension to an empire as far south as Tombos in Nubia, and included parts of the Levant in the east. This period is noted for some of the most well known Pharaohs, including Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. The first historically attested expression of monotheism came during this period as Atenism. Frequent contacts with other nations brought new ideas to the New Kingdom. The country was later invaded and conquered by Libyans, Nubians and Assyrians, but native Egyptians eventually drove them out and regained control of their country.[35]
Achaemenid Egypt
Egyptian soldier of the Achaemenid army, c. 480 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief.In 525 BCE, the powerful Achaemenid Persians, led by Cambyses II, began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from his home of Susa in Persia (modern Iran), leaving Egypt under the control of a satrapy. The entire Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt, from 525 to 402 BCE, save for Petubastis III, was an entirely Persian ruled period, with the Achaemenid Emperors all being granted the title of pharaoh. A few temporarily successful revolts against the Persians marked the fifth century BCE, but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians.[36]
The Thirtieth Dynasty was the last native ruling dynasty during the Pharaonic epoch. It fell to the Persians again in 343 BCE after the last native Pharaoh, King Nectanebo II, was defeated in battle. This Thirty-first Dynasty of Egypt, however, did not last long, as the Persians were toppled several decades later by Alexander the Great. The Macedonian Greek general of Alexander, Ptolemy I Soter, founded the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Ptolemaic and Roman EgyptMain articles: Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt
The Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, at the Temple of DenderaThe Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to Cyrene to the west, and south to the frontier with Nubia. Alexandria became the capital city and a centre of Greek culture and trade. To gain recognition by the native Egyptian populace, they named themselves as the successors to the Pharaohs. The later Ptolemies took on Egyptian traditions, had themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, and participated in Egyptian religious life.[37][38]
The last ruler from the Ptolemaic line was Cleopatra VII, who committed suicide following the burial of her lover Mark Antony who had died in her arms (from a self-inflicted stab wound), after Octavian had captured Alexandria and her mercenary forces had fled. The Ptolemies faced rebellions of native Egyptians often caused by an unwanted regime and were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its annexation by Rome. Nevertheless, Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt well after the Muslim conquest.
Christianity was brought to Egypt by Saint Mark the Evangelist in the 1st century.[39] Diocletian's reign (284–305 CE) marked the transition from the Roman to the Byzantine era in Egypt, when a great number of Egyptian Christians were persecuted. The New Testament had by then been translated into Egyptian. After the Council of Chalcedon in CE 451, a distinct Egyptian Coptic Church was firmly established.[40]
Middle Ages (7th century – 1517)Main article: Egypt in the Middle Ages
The Amr ibn al-As mosque in Cairo, recognized as the oldest in AfricaThe Byzantines were able to regain control of the country after a brief Sasanid Persian invasion early in the 7th century amidst the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 during which they established a new short-lived province for ten years known as Sasanian Egypt, until 639–42, when Egypt was invaded and conquered by the Islamic caliphate by the Muslim Arabs. When they defeated the Byzantine armies in Egypt, the Arabs brought Islam to the country. Some time during this period, Egyptians began to blend in their new faith with indigenous beliefs and practices, leading to various Sufi orders that have flourished to this day.[39] These earlier rites had survived the period of Coptic Christianity.[41]
In 639 an army of around 4,000 men were sent in Egypt by the second caliph, Umar, under the command of Amr ibn al-As. They were joined by additional 5,000 men in 640 and defeated a Roman army at the battle of Heliopolis. Amr next proceeded in the direction of Alexandria, which surrendered to him by a treaty signed on 8 November 641. Alexandria was regained for the Byzantine Empire in 645 but was retaken by Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by Constans II was repulsed. From that time no serious effort was made by the Byzantine Romans to regain possession of the country.
The Arabs founded the capital of Egypt called Fustat, which was later burned down during the Crusades. Cairo was later built in the year 986 to grow to become the largest and richest city in the Arab caliphate, second only to Baghdad and one of the biggest and richest in the world.
Abbasid period
The Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo, of Ahmad Ibn TulunThe Abbasid period was marked by new taxations, and the Copts revolted again in the fourth year of Abbasid rule. At the beginning of the 9th century the practice of ruling Egypt through a governor was resumed under Abdallah ibn Tahir, who decided to reside at Baghdad, sending a deputy to Egypt to govern for him. In 828 another Egyptian revolt broke out, and in 831 the Copts joined with native Muslims against the government. Eventually the power loss of the Abbasids in Baghdad has led for general upon general to take over rule of Egypt, yet being under Abbasid allegiance, the Tulunid dynasty (868–905) and Ikhshidid dynasty (935–969) were among the most successful to defy the Abbasid Caliph.
Fatimids, Ayyuoffers and Mamluks
The Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the sixth caliph, as renovated by Dawoodi BohraMuslim rulers remained in control of Egypt for the next six centuries, with Cairo as the seat of the Fatimid Caliphate. With the end of the Ayyuoffer dynasty, the Mamluks, a Turco-Circassian military caste, took control about 1250. By the late 13th century, Egypt linked the Red Sea, India, Malaya, and East Indies.[42] The mid-14th-century Black Death killed about 40% of the country's population.[43]
Early modern period: Ottoman Egypt (1517–1867)
Napoleon defeated the Mamluk troops in the Battle of the Pyramids, 21 July 1798, painted by Lejeune.Main article: Egypt EyaletEgypt was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1517, after which it became a province of the Ottoman Empire. The defensive militarisation damaged its civil society and economic institutions.[42] The weakening of the economic system combined with the effects of plague left Egypt vulnerable to foreign invasion. Portuguese traders took over their trade.[42] Between 1687 and 1731, Egypt experienced six famines.[44] The 1784 famine cost it roughly one-sixth of its population.[45]
Egypt was always a difficult province for the Ottoman Sultans to control, due in part to the continuing power and influence of the Mamluks, the Egyptian military caste who had ruled the country for centuries.
Egypt remained semi-autonomous under the Mamluks until it was invaded by the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 (see French campaign in Egypt and Syria). After the French were defeated by the British, a power vacuum was created in Egypt, and a three-way power struggle ensued between the Ottoman Turks, Egyptian Mamluks who had ruled Egypt for centuries, and Albanian mercenaries in the service of the Ottomans.
Muhammad Ali dynastyMain article: History of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty
Egypt under Muhammad Ali dynasty
Muhammad Ali was the founder of the Muhammad Ali dynasty and the first Khedive of Egypt and Sudan.After the French were expelled, power was seized in 1805 by Muhammad Ali Pasha, an Albanian military commander of the Ottoman army in Egypt. While he carried the title of viceroy of Egypt, his subordination to the Ottoman porte was merely nominal. Muhammad Ali massacred the Mamluks and established a dynasty that was to rule Egypt until the revolution of 1952.
The introduction in 1820 of long-staple cotton transformed its agriculture into a cash-crop monoculture before the end of the century, concentrating land ownership and shifting production towards international markets.[46]
Muhammad Ali annexed Northern Sudan (1820–1824), Syria (1833), and parts of Arabia and Anatolia; but in 1841 the European powers, fearful lest he topple the Ottoman Empire itself, forced him to return most of his conquests to the Ottomans. His military ambition required him to modernise the country: he built industries, a system of canals for irrigation and transport, and reformed the civil service.[46]
He constructed a military state with around four percent of the populace serving the army to raise Egypt to a powerful positioning in the Ottoman Empire in a way showing various similarities to the Soviet strategies (without communism) conducted in the 20th century.[47]
Muhammad Ali Pasha evolved the military from one that convened under the tradition of the corvée to a great modernised army. He introduced conscription of the male peasantry in 19th century Egypt, and took a novel approach to create his great army, strengthening it with numbers and in skill. Education and training of the new soldiers became mandatory; the new concepts were furthermore enforced by isolation. The men were held in barracks to avoid distraction of their growth as a military unit to be reckoned with. The resentment for the military way of life eventually faded from the men and a new ideology took hold, one of nationalism and pride. It was with the help of this newly reborn martial unit that Muhammad Ali imposed his rule over Egypt.[48]
The policy that Mohammad Ali Pasha followed during his reign explains partly why the numeracy in Egypt compared to other North-African and Middle-Eastern countries increased only at a remarkably small rate, as investment in further education only took place in the military and industrial sector.[49]
Muhammad Ali was succeeded briefly by his son Ibrahim (in September 1848), then by a grandson Abbas I (in November 1848), then by Said (in 1854), and Isma'il (in 1863) who encouraged science and agriculture and banned slavery in Egypt.[47]
Khedivate of Egypt (1867–1914)Main article: Khedivate of EgyptEgypt under the Muhammad Ali dynasty remained nominally an Ottoman province. It was granted the status of an autonomous vassal state or Khedivate in 1867, a legal status which was to remain in place until 1914 although the Ottomans had no power or presence.
The Suez Canal, built in partnership with the French, was completed in 1869. Its construction was financed by European banks. Large sums also went to patronage and corruption. New taxes caused popular discontent. In 1875 Isma'il avoided bankruptcy by selling all Egypt's shares in the canal to the British government. Within three years this led to the imposition of British and French controllers who sat in the Egyptian cabinet, and, "with the financial power of the bondholders behind them, were the real power in the Government."[50]
Other circumstances like epidemic diseases (cattle disease in the 1880s), floods and wars drove the economic downturn and increased Egypt's dependency on foreign debt even further.[51]The battle of Tel el-Kebir in 1882 during the Anglo-Egyptian WarLocal dissatisfaction with the Khedive and with European intrusion led to the formation of the first nationalist groupings in 1879, with Ahmed ʻUrabi a prominent figure. After increasing tensions and nationalist revolts, the United Kingdom invaded Egypt in 1882, crushing the Egyptian army at the Battle of Tell El Kebir and militarily occupying the country.[52] Following this, the Khedivate became a de facto British protectorate under nominal Ottoman sovereignty.[53]
In 1899 the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement was signed: the Agreement stated that Sudan would be jointly governed by the Khedivate of Egypt and the United Kingdom. However, actual control of Sudan was in British hands only.
In 1906, the Denshawai incident prompted many neutral Egyptians to join the nationalist movement.
Sultanate of Egypt (1914–1922)Main article: Sultanate of Egypt
Female nationalists demonstrating in Cairo, 1919In 1914 the Ottoman Empire entered World War I in alliance with the Central Empires; Khedive Abbas II (who had grown increasingly hostile to the British in preceding years) decided to support the motherland in war. Following such decision, the British forcibly removed him from power and replaced him with his brother Hussein Kamel.[54][55]
Hussein Kamel declared Egypt's independence from the Ottoman Empire, assuming the title of Sultan of Egypt. Shortly following independence, Egypt was declared a protectorate of the United Kingdom.
After World War I, Saad Zaghlul and the Wafd Party led the Egyptian nationalist movement to a majority at the local Legislative Assembly. When the British exiled Zaghlul and his associates to Malta on 8 March 1919, the country arose in its first modern revolution. The revolt led the UK government to issue a unilateral declaration of Egypt's independence on 22 February 1922.[56]
Kingdom of Egypt (1922–1953)Main article: Kingdom of Egypt
Fuad I of Egypt with Edward, Prince of Wales, 1932Following independence from the United Kingdom, Sultan Fuad I assumed the title of King of Egypt; despite being nominally independent, the Kingdom was still under British military occupation and the UK still had great influence over the state.British infantry near El Alamein, 17 July 1942The new government drafted and implemented a constitution in 1923 based on a parliamentary system. The nationalist Wafd Party won a landslide victory in the 1923–1924 election and Saad Zaghloul was appointed as the new Prime Minister.
In 1936, the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty was concluded and British troops withdrew from Egypt, except for the Suez Canal. The treaty did not resolve the question of Sudan, which, under the terms of the existing Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement of 1899, stated that Sudan should be jointly governed by Egypt and Britain, but with real power remaining in British hands.[57]
Britain used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region, especially the battles in North Africa against Italy and Germany. Its highest priorities were control of the Eastern Mediterranean, and especially keeping the Suez Canal open for merchant ships and for military connections with India and Australia. The government of Egypt, and the Egyptian population, played a minor role in the Second World War. When the war began in September 1939, Egypt declared martial law and broke off diplomatic relations with Germany. It did not declare war on Germany, but the Prime Minister associated Egypt with the British war effort. It broke diplomatic relations with Italy in 1940, but never declared war, even when the Italian army invaded Egypt. King Farouk took practically a neutral position, which accorded with elite opinion among the Egyptians. The Egyptian army did no fighting. It was apathetic about the war, with the leading officers looking on the British as occupiers and sometimes holding some private sympathy with the Axis. In June 1940 the King dismissed Prime Minister Aly Maher, who got on poorly with the British. A new coalition Government was formed with the Independent Hassan Pasha Sabri as Prime Minister.
Following a ministerial crisis in February 1942, the ambassador Sir Miles Lampson, pressed Farouk to have a Wafd or Wafd-coalition government replace Hussein Sirri Pasha's government. On the night of 4 February 1942, British troops and tanks surrounded Abdeen Palace in Cairo and Lampson presented Farouk with an ultimatum. Farouk capitulated, and Nahhas formed a government shortly thereafter. However, the humiliation meted out to Farouk, and the actions of the Wafd in cooperating with the British and taking power, lost support for both the British and the Wafd among both civilians and, more importantly, the Egyptian military.
Most British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947 (although the British army maintained a military base in the area), but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the War. Anti-monarchy sentiments further increased following the disastrous performance of the Kingdom in the First Arab-Israeli War. The 1950 election saw a landslide victory of the nationalist Wafd Party and the King was forced to appoint Mostafa El-Nahas as new Prime Minister. In 1951 Egypt unilaterally withdrew from the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 and ordered all remaining British troops to leave the Suez Canal.
As the British refused to leave their base around the Suez Canal, the Egyptian government cut off the water and refused to allow food into the Suez Canal base, announced a boycott of British goods, forbade Egyptian workers from entering the base and sponsored guerrilla attacks, turning the area around the Suez Canal into a low level war zone. On 24 January 1952, Egyptian guerrillas staged a fierce attack on the British forces around the Suez Canal, during which the Egyptian Auxiliary Police were observed helping the guerrillas. In response, on 25 January, General George Erskine sent out British tanks and infantry to surround the auxiliary police station in Ismailia and gave the policemen an hour to surrender their arms on the grounds the police were arming the guerrillas. The police commander called the Interior Minister, Fouad Serageddin, Nahas's right-hand man, who was smoking cigars in his bath at the time, to ask if he should surrender or fight. Serageddin ordered the police to fight "to the last man and the last bullet". The resulting battle saw the police station levelled and 43 Egyptian policemen killed together with 3 British soldiers. The Ismailia incident outraged Egypt. The next day, 26 January 1952 was "Black Saturday", as the anti-British riot was known, that saw much of downtown Cairo which the Khedive Ismail the Magnificent had rebuilt in the style of Paris, burned down. Farouk blamed the Wafd for the Black Saturday riot, and dismissed Nahas as prime minister the next day. He was replaced by Aly Maher Pasha.[58]
On 22–23 July 1952, the Free Officers Movement, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, launched a coup d'état (Egyptian Revolution of 1952) against the king. Farouk I abdicated the throne to his son Fouad II, who was, at the time, a seven-month-old baby. The Royal Family left Egypt some days later and the Council of Regency, led by Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim was formed, The council, however, held only nominal authority and the real power was actually in the hands of the Revolutionary Command Council, led by Naguib and Nasser.
Popular expectations for immediate reforms led to the workers' riots in Kafr Dawar on 12 August 1952, which resulted in two death sentences. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, the Free Officers abrogated the monarchy and the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on 18 June 1953. Naguib was proclaimed as president, while Nasser was appointed as the new Prime Minister.
Republic of Egypt (1953–1958)Main article: History of the Republic of EgyptFollowing the 1952 Revolution by the Free Officers Movement, the rule of Egypt passed to military hands and all political parties were banned. On 18 June 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared, with General Muhammad Naguib as the first President of the Republic, serving in that capacity for a little under one and a half years.
President Nasser (1956–1970)
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in Mansoura, 1960Naguib was forced to resign in 1954 by Gamal Abdel Nasser – a Pan-Arabist and the real architect of the 1952 movement – and was later put under house arrest. After Naguib's resignation, the position of President was vacant until the election of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956.[59]
In October 1954 Egypt and the United Kingdom agreed to abolish the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement of 1899 and grant Sudan independence; the agreement came into force on 1 January 1956.
Nasser assumed power as president in June 1956. British forces completed their withdrawal from the occupied Suez Canal Zone on 13 June 1956. He nationalised the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956; his hostile approach towards Israel and economic nationalism prompted the beginning of the Second Arab-Israeli War (Suez Crisis), in which Israel (with support from France and the United Kingdom) occupied the Sinai peninsula and the Canal. The war came to an end because of US and USSR diplomatic intervention and the status quo was restored.
United Arab Republic (1958–1971)
Smoke rises from oil tanks beside the Suez Canal hit during the initial Anglo-French assault on Egypt, 5 November 1956.In 1958, Egypt and Syria formed a sovereign union known as the United Arab Republic. The union was short-lived, ending in 1961 when Syria seceded, thus ending the union. During most of its existence, the United Arab Republic was also in a loose confederation with North Yemen (or the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen), known as the United Arab States. In 1959, the All-Palestine Government of the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian client state, was absorbed into the United Arab Republic under the pretext of Arab union, and was never restored. The Arab Socialist Union, a new nasserist state-party was founded in 1962.
In the early 1960s, Egypt became fully involved in the North Yemen Civil War. The Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser, supported the Yemeni republicans with as many as 70,000 Egyptian troops and chemical weapons. Despite several military moves and peace conferences, the war sank into a stalemate. Egyptian commitment in Yemen was greatly undermined later.
In mid May 1967, the Soviet Union issued warnings to Nasser of an impending Israeli attack on Syria. Although the chief of staff Mohamed Fawzi verified them as "baseless",[60][61] Nasser took three successive steps that made the war virtually inevitable: on 14 May he deployed his troops in Sinai near the border with Israel, on 19 May he expelled the UN peacekeepers stationed in the Sinai Peninsula border with Israel, and on 23 May he closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.[62] On 26 May Nasser declared, "The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel".[63]
Israel re-iterated that the Straits of Tiran closure was a Casus belli. This prompted the beginning of the Third Arab Israeli War (Six-Day War) in which Israel attacked Egypt, and occupied Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, which Egypt had occupied since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. During the 1967 war, an Emergency Law was enacted, and remained in effect until 2012, with the exception of an 18-month break in 1980/81.[64] Under this law, police powers were extended, constitutional rights suspended and censorship legalised.[65]
At the time of the fall of the Egyptian monarchy in the early 1950s, less than half a million Egyptians were considered upper class and rich, four million middle class and 17 million lower class and poor.[66] Fewer than half of all primary-school-age children attended school, most of them being boys. Nasser's policies changed this. Land reform and distribution, the dramatic growth in university education, and government support to national industries greatly improved social mobility and flattened the social curve. From academic year 1953–54 through 1965–66, overall public school enrolments more than doubled. Millions of previously poor Egyptians, through education and jobs in the public sector, joined the middle class. Doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, journalists, constituted the bulk of the swelling middle class in Egypt under Nasser.[66] During the 1960s, the Egyptian economy went from sluggish to the verge of collapse, the society became less free, and Nasser's appeal waned considerably.[67]
Arab Republic of Egypt (1971–present)President Sadat (1970–1981)
Egyptian tanks advancing in the Sinai desert during the Yom Kippur War, 1973In 1970, President Nasser died of a heart attack and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat. Sadat switched Egypt's Cold War allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States, expelling Soviet advisors in 1972. He launched the Infitah economic reform policy, while clamping down on religious and secular opposition. In 1973, Egypt, along with Syria, launched the Fourth Arab-Israeli War (Yom Kippur War), a surprise attack to regain part of the Sinai territory Israel had captured 6 years earlier. Eventually Israel won the war, but early successes restored Egypt's confidence and morale, allowing Sadat to later regain Sinai in exchange for peace with Israel.[68]Celebrating the signing of the 1978 Camp David Accords: Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter, Anwar SadatIn 1975, Sadat shifted Nasser's economic policies and sought to use his popularity to reduce government regulations and encourage foreign investment through his program of Infitah. Through this policy, incentives such as reduced taxes and import tariffs attracted some investors, but investments were mainly directed at low risk and profitable ventures like tourism and construction, abandoning Egypt's infant industries.[69] Even though Sadat's policy was intended to modernise Egypt and assist the middle class, it mainly benefited the higher class, and, because of the elimination of subsidies on basic foodstuffs, led to the 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots.
In 1977, Sadat dissolved the Arab Socialist Union and replaced it with the National Democratic Party.
Sadat made a historic visit to Israel in 1977, which led to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. In return, Egypt recognized Israel as a legitimate sovereign state. Sadat's initiative sparked enormous controversy in the Arab world and led to Egypt's expulsion from the Arab League, but it was supported by most Egyptians.[70] Sadat was assassinated by an Islamic extremist in October 1981.
President Mubarak (1981–2011)Hosni Mubarak came to power after the assassination of Sadat in a referendum in which he was the only candidate.[71]
Hosni Mubarak reaffirmed Egypt's relationship with Israel yet eased the tensions with Egypt's Arab neighbours. Domestically, Mubarak faced serious problems. Even though farm and industry output expanded, the economy could not keep pace with the population boom. Mass poverty and unemployment led rural families to stream into cities like Cairo where they ended up in crowded slums, barely managing to survive.
On 25 February 1986, the Security Police started rioting, protesting against reports that their term of duty was to be extended from 3 to 4 years. Hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and casinos were attacked in Cairo and there were riots in other cities. A day time curfew was imposed. It took the army 3 days to restore order. 107 people were killed.[72]
In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, terrorist attacks in Egypt became numerous and severe, and began to target Christian Copts, foreign tourists and government officials.[73] In the 1990s an Islamist group, Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, engaged in an extended campaign of violence, from the murders and attempted murders of prominent writers and intellectuals, to the repeated targeting of tourists and foreigners. Serious damage was done to the largest sector of Egypt's economy—tourism[74]—and in turn to the government, but it also devastated the livelihoods of many of the people on whom the group depended for support.[75]
During Mubarak's reign, the political scene was dominated by the National Democratic Party, which was created by Sadat in 1978. It passed the 1993 Syndicates Law, 1995 Press Law, and 1999 Nongovernmental Associations Law which hampered freedoms of association and expression by imposing new regulations and draconian penalties on violations.[76] As a result, by the late 1990s parliamentary politics had become virtually irrelevant and alternative avenues for political expression were curtailed as well.[77]Cairo grew into a metropolitan area with a population of over 20 million.On 17 November 1997, 62 people, mostly tourists, were massacred near Luxor.
In late February 2005, Mubarak announced a reform of the presidential election law, paving the way for multi-candidate polls for the first time since the 1952 movement.[78] However, the new law placed restrictions on the candidates, and led to Mubarak's easy re-election victory.[79] Voter turnout was less than 25%.[80] Election observers also alleged government interference in the election process.[81] After the election, Mubarak imprisoned Ayman Nour, the runner-up.[82]
Human Rights Watch's 2006 report on Egypt detailed serious human rights violations, including routine torture, arbitrary detentions and trials before military and state security courts.[83] In 2007, Amnesty International released a report alleging that Egypt had become an international centre for torture, where other nations send suspects for interrogation, often as part of the War on Terror.[84] Egypt's foreign ministry quickly issued a rebuttal to this report.[85]
Constitutional changes voted on 19 March 2007 prohibited parties from using religion as a basis for political activity, allowed the drafting of a new anti-terrorism law, authorised broad police powers of arrest and surveillance, and gave the president power to dissolve parliament and end judicial election monitoring.[86] In 2009, Dr. Ali El Deen Hilal Dessouki, Media Secretary of the National Democratic Party (NDP), described Egypt as a "pharaonic" political system, and democracy as a "long-term goal". Dessouki also stated that "the real center of power in Egypt is the military".[87]
Revolution (2011)Main article: Egyptian revolution of 2011Top: Celebrations in Tahrir Square after the announcement of Hosni Mubarak's resignationBottom: Protests in Tahrir Square against President Morsi on 27 November 2012.On 25 January 2011, widespread protests began against Mubarak's government. On 11 February 2011, Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo. Jubilant celebrations broke out in Cairo's Tahrir Square at the news.[88] The Egyptian military then assumed the power to govern.[89][90] Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, became the de facto interim head of state.[91][92] On 13 February 2011, the military dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution.[93]
A constitutional referendum was held on 19 March 2011. On 28 November 2011, Egypt held its first parliamentary election since the previous regime had been in power. Turnout was high and there were no reports of major irregularities or violence.[94]
President Morsi (2012–2013)Mohamed Morsi was elected president on 24 June 2012.[95] On 2 August 2012, Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced his 35-member cabinet comprising 28 newcomers, including four from the Muslim Brotherhood.[96]
Liberal and secular groups walked out of the constituent assembly because they believed that it would impose strict Islamic practices, while Muslim Brotherhood backers threw their support behind Morsi.[97] On 22 November 2012, President Morsi issued a temporary declaration immunising his decrees from challenge and seeking to protect the work of the constituent assembly.[98]
The move led to massive protests and violent action throughout Egypt.[99] On 5 December 2012, tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of President Morsi clashed, in what was described as the largest violent battle between Islamists and their foes since the country's revolution.[100] Mohamed Morsi offered a "national dialogue" with opposition leaders but refused to cancel the December 2012 constitutional referendum.[101]
Political crisis (2013)Main article: 2013 Egyptian coup d'étatOn 3 July 2013, after a wave of public discontent with autocratic excesses of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government,[102] the military removed Morsi from office, dissolved the Shura Council and installed a temporary interim government.[103]
On 4 July 2013, 68-year-old Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour was sworn in as acting president over the new government following the removal of Morsi. The new Egyptian authorities cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, jailing thousands and forcefully dispersing pro-Morsi and/or pro-Brotherhood protests.[104][105] Many of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and activists have either been sentenced to death or life imprisonment in a series of mass trials.[106][107][108]
On 18 January 2014, the interim government instituted a new constitution following a referendum approved by an overwhelming majority of voters (98.1%). 38.6% of registered voters participated in the referendum[109] a higher number than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi's tenure.[110]
President el-Sisi (2014–present)
Women in Cairo wear face masks during the -19 pandemic in Egypt in March 2020.On 26 March 2014, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egyptian Defence Minister and Commander-in-Chief Egyptian Armed Forces, retired from the military, announcing he would stand as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election.[111] The poll, held between 26 and 28 May 2014, resulted in a landslide victory for el-Sisi.[112] Sisi was sworn into office as President of Egypt on 8 June 2014. The Muslim Brotherhood and some liberal and secular activist groups boycotted the vote.[113] Even though the interim authorities extended voting to a third day, the 46% turnout was lower than the 52% turnout in the 2012 election.[114]
A new parliamentary election was held in December 2015, resulting in a landslide victory for pro-Sisi parties, which secured a strong majority in the newly formed House of Representatives.
In 2016, Egypt entered in a diplomatic crisis with Italy following the murder of researcher Giulio Regeni: in April 2016, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi recalled the Italian ambassador from Cairo because of lack of co-operation from the Egyptian Government in the investigation. The ambassador was sent back to Egypt in 2017 by the new Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
El-Sisi was re-elected in 2018, facing no serious opposition. In 2019, a series of constitutional amendments were approved by the parliament, further increasing the President's and the military's power, increasing presidential terms from 4 years to 6 years and allowing El-Sisi to run for other two mandates. The proposals were approved in a referendum.
The dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam escalated in 2020.[115][116] Egypt sees the dam as an existential threat,[117] fearing that the dam will reduce the amount of water it receives from the Nile.[118]
GeographyMain article: Geography of Egypt
Egypt's topographyEgypt lies primarily between latitudes 22° and 32°N, and longitudes 25° and 35°E. At 1,001,450 square kilometres (386,660 sq mi),[119] it is the world's 30th-largest country. Due to the extreme aridity of Egypt's climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses about 5.5% of the total land area.[120] 98% of Egyptians live on 3% of the territory.[121]
Egypt is bordered by Libya to the west, the Sudan to the south, and the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east. Egypt's important role in geopolitics stems from its strategic position: a transcontinental nation, it possesses a land bridge (the Isthmus of Suez) between Africa and Asia, traversed by a navigable waterway (the Suez Canal) that connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean by way of the Red Sea.
Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt's landscape is desert, with a few oases scattered about. Winds create prolific sand dunes that peak at more than 30 metres (100 ft) high. Egypt includes parts of the Sahara desert and of the Libyan Desert. These deserts protected the Kingdom of the Pharaohs from western threats and were referred to as the "red land" in ancient Egypt.
Towns and cities include Alexandria, the second largest city; Aswan; Asyut; Cairo, the modern Egyptian capital and largest city; El Mahalla El Kubra; Giza, the site of the Pyramid of Khufu; Hurghada; Luxor; Kom Ombo; Port Safaga; Port Said; Sharm El Sheikh; Suez, where the south end of the Suez Canal is located; Zagazig; and Minya. Oases include Bahariya, Dakhla, Farafra, Kharga and Siwa. Protectorates include Ras Mohamed National Park, Zaranik Protectorate and Siwa.
On 13 March 2015, plans for a proposed new capital of Egypt were announced.[122]
ClimateMain article: Climate of Egypt
The Qattara Depression in Egypt's north westMost of Egypt's rain falls in the winter months.[123] South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in),[124] mostly between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai's mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim and Sidi Barrani, and rarely in Alexandria. A very small amount of snow fell on Cairo on 13 December 2013, the first time in many decades.[125] Frost is also known in mid-Sinai and mid-Egypt. Egypt is the driest and the sunniest country in the world, and most of its land surface is desert.
Egypt has an unusually hot, sunny and dry climate. Average high temperatures are high in the north but very to extremely high in the rest of the country during summer. The cooler Mediterranean winds consistently blow over the northern sea coast, which helps to get more moderated temperatures, especially at the height of the summertime. The Khamaseen is a hot, dry wind that originates from the vast deserts in the south and blows in the spring or in the early summer. It brings scorching sand and dust particles, and usually brings daytime temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F) and sometimes over 50 °C (122 °F) in the interior, while the relative humidity can drop to 5% or even less. The absolute highest temperatures in Egypt occur when the Khamaseen blows. The weather is always sunny and clear in Egypt, especially in cities such as Aswan, Luxor and Asyut. It is one of the least cloudy and least rainy regions on Earth.
Prior to the construction of the Aswan Dam, the Nile flooded annually (colloquially The Gift of the Nile) replenishing Egypt's soil. This gave Egypt a consistent harvest throughout the years.
The potential rise in sea levels due to global warming could threaten Egypt's densely populated coastal strip and have grave consequences for the country's economy, agriculture and industry. Combined with growing demographic pressures, a significant rise in sea levels could turn millions of Egyptians into environmental refugees by the end of the 21st century, according to some climate experts.[126][127]
BiodiversityMain article: Wildlife of Egypt
The Eastern Imperial Eagle is the national animal of Egypt.Egypt signed the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity on 9 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 2 June 1994.[128] It has subsequently produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which was received by the convention on 31 July 1998.[129] Where many CBD National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans neglect biological kingdoms apart from animals and plants,[130] Egypt's plan was unusual in providing balanced information about all forms of life.
The plan stated that the following numbers of species of different groups had been recorded from Egypt: algae (1483 species), animals (about 15,000 species of which more than 10,000 were insects), fungi (more than 627 species), monera (319 species), plants (2426 species), protozoans (371 species). For some major groups, for example lichen-forming fungi and nematode worms, the number was not known. Apart from small and well-studied groups like amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles, the many of those numbers are likely to increase as further species are recorded from Egypt. For the fungi, including lichen-forming species, for example, subsequent work has shown that over 2200 species have been recorded from Egypt, and the final figure of all fungi actually occurring in the country is expected to be much higher.[131] For the grasses, 284 native and naturalised species have been identified and recorded in Egypt.[132]
GovernmentMain article: Politics of Egypt
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the current President of Egypt.The House of Representatives, whose members are elected to serve five-year terms, specialises in legislation. Elections were last held between November 2011 and January 2012 which was later dissolved. The next parliamentary election was announced to be held within 6 months of the constitution's ratification on 18 January 2014, and were held in two phases, from 17 October to 2 December 2015.[133] Originally, the parliament was to be formed before the president was elected, but interim president Adly Mansour pushed the date.[134] The Egyptian presidential election, 2014, took place on 26–28 May 2014. Official figures showed a turnout of 25,578,233 or 47.5%, with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi winning with 23.78 million votes, or 96.9% compared to 757,511 (3.1%) for Hamdeen Sabahi.[135]
After a wave of public discontent with autocratic excesses of the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi,[102] on 3 July 2013 then-General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the removal of Morsi from office and the suspension of the constitution. A 50-member constitution committee was formed for modifying the constitution which was later published for public voting and was adopted on 18 January 2014.[136]
In 2013, Freedom House rated political rights in Egypt at 5 (with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least), and civil liberties at 5, which gave it the freedom rating of "Partly Free".[137]
Egyptian nationalism predates its Arab counterpart by many decades, having roots in the 19th century and becoming the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century.[138] The ideology espoused by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood is mostly supported by the lower-middle strata of Egyptian society.[139]
Egypt has the oldest continuous parliamentary tradition in the Arab world.[140] The first popular assembly was established in 1866. It was disbanded as a result of the British occupation of 1882, and the British allowed only a consultative body to sit. In 1923, however, after the country's independence was declared, a new constitution provided for a parliamentary monarchy.[140]
Military and foreign relationsMain articles: Egyptian Armed Forces and Foreign relations of Egypt
Egyptian honor guard soldiers during a visit of U.S. Navy Adm. Mike MullenThe military is influential in the political and economic life of Egypt and exempts itself from laws that apply to other sectors. It enjoys considerable power, prestige and independence within the state and has been widely considered part of the Egyptian "deep state".[71][141][142]
Egypt is speculated by Israel to be the second country in the region with a spy satellite, EgyptSat 1[143] in addition to EgyptSat 2 launched on 16 April 2014.[144]
Top: Former President Hosni Mubarak with former US President George W. Bush at Camp David in 2002; Bottom: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, August 2014.The United States provides Egypt with annual military assistance, which in 2015 amounted to US$1.3 billion.[145] In 1989, Egypt was designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States.[146] Nevertheless, ties between the two countries have partially soured since the July 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi,[147] with the Obama administration denouncing Egypt over its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, and cancelling future military exercises involving the two countries.[148] There have been recent attempts, however, to normalise relations between the two, with both governments frequently calling for mutual support in the fight against regional and international terrorism.[149][150][151] However, following the election of Republican Donald Trump as the President of the United States, the two countries were looking to improve the Egyptian-American relations. On 3 April 2017 al-Sisi met with Trump at the White House, marking the first visit of an Egyptian president to Washington in 8 years. Trump praised al-Sisi in what was reported as a public relations victory for the Egyptian president, and signaled it was time for a normalization of the relations between Egypt and the US.[152]
Relations with Russia have improved significantly following Mohamed Morsi's removal[153] and both countries have worked since then to strengthen military[154] and trade ties[155] among other aspects of bilateral co-operation. Relations with China have also improved considerably. In 2014, Egypt and China established a bilateral "comprehensive strategic partnership".[156] In July 2019, UN ambassadors of 37 countries, including Egypt, have signed a joint letter to the UNHRC defending China's treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.[157]
The permanent headquarters of the Arab League are located in Cairo and the body's secretary general has traditionally been Egyptian. This position is currently held by former foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. The Arab League briefly moved from Egypt to Tunis in 1978 to protest the Egypt–Israel peace treaty, but it later returned to Cairo in 1989. Gulf monarchies, including the United Arab Emirates[158] and Saudi Arabia,[159] have pledged billions of dollars to help Egypt overcome its economic difficulties since the overthrow of Morsi.[160]President el-Sisi with US President Donald Trump, 21 May 2017Following the 1973 war and the subsequent peace treaty, Egypt became the first Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Despite that, Israel is still widely considered as a hostile state by the majority of Egyptians.[161] Egypt has played a historical role as a mediator in resolving various disputes in the Middle East, most notably its handling of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the peace process.[162] Egypt's ceasefire and truce brokering efforts in Gaza have hardly been challenged following Israel's evacuation of its settlements from the strip in 2005, despite increasing animosity towards the Hamas government in Gaza following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi,[163] and despite recent attempts by countries like Turkey and Qatar to take over this role.[164]
Ties between Egypt and other non-Arab Middle Eastern nations, including Iran and Turkey, have often been strained. Tensions with Iran are mostly due to Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and Iran's rivalry with traditional Egyptian allies in the Gulf.[165] Turkey's recent support for the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its alleged involvement in Libya also made both countries bitter regional rivals.[166]
Egypt is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations. It is also a member of the Organisation internationale de la francophonie, since 1983. Former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1991 to 1996.
In 2008, Egypt was estimated to have two million African refugees, including over 20,000 Sudanese nationals registered with UNHCR as refugees fleeing armed conflict or asylum seekers. Egypt adopted "harsh, sometimes lethal" methods of border control.[167]
LawMain article: Egyptian Civil Code
The High Court of Justice in Downtown CairoThe legal system is based on Islamic and civil law (particularly Napoleonic codes); and judicial review by a Supreme Court, which accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction only with reservations.[58]
Islamic jurisprudence is the principal source of legislation. Sharia courts and qadis are run and licensed by the Ministry of Justice.[168] The personal status law that regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody is governed by Sharia. In a family court, a woman's testimony is worth half of a man's testimony.[169]
On 26 December 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to institutionalise a controversial new constitution. It was approved by the public in a referendum held 15–22 December 2012 with 64% support, but with only 33% electorate participation.[170] It replaced the 2011 Provisional Constitution of Egypt, adopted following the revolution.
The Penal code was unique as it contains a "Blasphemy Law."[171] The present court system allows a death penalty including against an absent individual tried in absentia. Several Americans and Canadians were sentenced to death in 2012.[172]
On 18 January 2014, the interim government successfully institutionalised a more secular constitution.[173] The president is elected to a four-year term and may serve 2 terms.[173] The parliament may impeach the president.[173] Under the constitution, there is a guarantee of gender equality and absolute freedom of thought.[173] The military retains the ability to appoint the national Minister of Defence for the next two full presidential terms since the constitution took effect.[173] Under the constitution, political parties may not be based on "religion, race, gender or geography".[173]
Human rightsMain article: Human rights in EgyptSee also: Sudanese refugees in Egypt, August 2013 Rabaa massacre, and Persecution of CoptsThe Egyptian Organization for Human Rights is one of the longest-standing bodies for the defence of human rights in Egypt.[174] In 2003, the government established the National Council for Human Rights.[175] Shortly after its foundation, the council came under heavy criticism by local activists, who contend it was a propaganda tool for the government to excuse its own violations[176] and to give legitimacy to repressive laws such as the Emergency Law.[177]Protesters from the Third Square movement, which supported neither the former Morsi government nor the Armed Forces, 31 July 2013The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life ranks Egypt as the fifth worst country in the world for religious freedom.[178][179] The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan independent agency of the US government, has placed Egypt on its watch list of countries that require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the government.[180] According to a 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey, 84% of Egyptians polled supported the death penalty for those who leave Islam; 77% supported whippings and cutting off of hands for theft and robbery; and 82% support stoning a person who commits adultery.[181]
Coptic Christians face discrimination at multiple levels of the government, ranging from underrepresentation in government ministries to laws that limit their ability to build or repair churches.[182] Intolerance towards followers of the Baháʼí Faith, and those of the non-orthodox Muslim sects, such as Sufis, Shi'a and Ahmadis, also remains a problem.[83] When the government moved to computerise identification cards, members of religious minorities, such as Baháʼís, could not obtain identification documents.[183] An Egyptian court ruled in early 2008 that members of other faiths may obtain identity cards without listing their faiths, and without becoming officially recognised.[184]
Clashes continued between police and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi. During violent clashes that ensued as part of the August 2013 sit-in dispersal, 595 protesters were killed[185] with 14 August 2013 becoming the single deadliest day in Egypt's modern history.[186]
Egypt actively practices capital punishment. Egypt's authorities do not release figures on death sentences and executions, despite repeated requests over the years by human rights organisations.[187] The United Nations human rights office[188] and various NGOs[187][189] expressed "deep alarm" after an Egyptian Minya Criminal Court sentenced 529 people to death in a single hearing on 25 March 2014. Sentenced supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi were to be executed for their alleged role in violence following his removal in July 2013. The judgement was condemned as a violation of international law.[190] By May 2014, approximately 16,000 people (and as high as more than 40,000 by one independent count, according to The Economist),[191] mostly Brotherhood members or supporters, have been imprisoned after Morsi's removal[192] after the Muslim Brotherhood was labelled as terrorist organisation by the post-Morsi interim Egyptian government.[193] According to human rights groups there are some 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt.[194][195]Prominent Egyptian dissident Alaa Abd El-Fattah was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in December 2021.[196]After Morsi was ousted by the military, the judiciary system aligned itself with the new government, actively supporting the repression of Muslim Brotherhood members. This resulted in a sharp increase in mass death sentences that arose criticism from then-U.S. President Barack Obama and the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki Moon.
Homosexuality is illegal in Egypt.[197] According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 95% of Egyptians believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.[198]
In 2017, Cairo was voted the most dangerous megacity for women with more than 10 million inhabitants in a poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Sexual harassment was described as occurring on a daily basis.[199]
Freedom of the pressReporters Without Borders ranked Egypt in their 2017 World Press Freedom Index at No. 160 out of 180 nations. At least 18 journalists were imprisoned in Egypt, as of August 2015. A new anti-terror law was enacted in August 2015 that threatens members of the media with fines ranging from about US$25,000 to $60,000 for the distribution of wrong information on acts of terror inside the country "that differ from official declarations of the Egyptian Department of Defense".[200]
Some critics of the government have been arrested for allegedly spreading false information about the -19 pandemic in Egypt.[201][202]
Administrative divisionsMain articles: Governorates of Egypt and Subdivisions of EgyptEgypt is divided into 27 governorates. The governorates are further divided into regions. The regions contain towns and villages. Each governorate has a capital, sometimes carrying the same name as the governorate.[203]Governorates of Egypt1. Matrouh 2. Alexandria 3. Beheira 4. Kafr El Sheikh 5. Dakahlia 6. Damietta 7. Port Said 8. North Sinai 9. Gharbia 10. Monufia 11. Qalyubia 12. Sharqia 13. Ismailia 14. Giza 15. Faiyum 16. Cairo 17. Suez 18. South Sinai 19. Beni Suef 20. Minya 21. New Valley 22. Asyut 23. Red Sea 24. Sohag 25. Qena 26. Luxor 27. AswanEconomyMain article: Economy of Egypt
Change in per capita GDP of Egypt, 1820–2018. Figures are inflation-adjusted to 2011 International dollars.Egypt's economy depends mainly on agriculture, media, petroleum exports, natural gas, and tourism; there are also more than three million Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Europe. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honoured place of the Nile River in the agriculture and ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population, limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress the economy.
The government has invested in communications and physical infrastructure. Egypt has received United States foreign aid since 1979 (an average of $2.2 billion per year) and is the third-largest recipient of such funds from the United States following the Iraq war. Egypt's economy mainly relies on these sources of income: tourism, remittances from Egyptians working abroad and revenues from the Suez Canal.[204]
Egypt has a developed energy market based on coal, oil, natural gas, and hydro power. Substantial coal deposits in the northeast Sinai are mined at the rate of about 600,000 tonnes (590,000 long tons; 660,000 short tons) per year. Oil and gas are produced in the western desert regions, the Gulf of Suez, and the Nile Delta. Egypt has huge reserves of gas, estimated at 2,180 cubic kilometres (520 cu mi),[205] and LNG up to 2012 exported to many countries. In 2013, the Egyptian General Petroleum Co (EGPC) said the country will cut exports of natural gas and tell major industries to slow output this summer to avoid an energy crisis and stave off political unrest, Reuters has reported. Egypt is counting on top liquid natural gas (LNG) exporter Qatar to obtain additional gas volumes in summer, while encouraging factories to plan their annual maintenance for those months of peak demand, said EGPC chairman, Tarek El Barkatawy. Egypt produces its own energy, but has been a net oil importer since 2008 and is rapidly becoming a net importer of natural gas.[206]
Economic conditions have started to improve considerably, after a period of stagnation, due to the adoption of more liberal economic policies by the government as well as increased revenues from tourism and a booming stock market. In its annual report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rated Egypt as one of the top countries in the world undertaking economic reforms.[207] Some major economic reforms undertaken by the government since 2003 include a dramatic slashing of customs and tariffs. A new taxation law implemented in 2005 decreased corporate taxes from 40% to the current 20%, resulting in a stated 100% increase in tax revenue by 2006.Smart Village, a business district established in 2001 to facilitate the growth of high-tech businessesAlthough one of the main obstacles still facing the Egyptian economy is the limited trickle down of wealth to the average population, many Egyptians criticise their government for higher prices of basic goods while their standards of living or purchasing power remains relatively stagnant. Corruption is often cited by Egyptians as the main impediment to further economic growth.[208][209] The government promised major reconstruction of the country's infrastructure, using money paid for the newly acquired third mobile license ($3 billion) by Etisalat in 2006.[210] In the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, Egypt was ranked 114 out of 177.[211]The Suez CanalAn estimated 2.7 million Egyptians abroad contribute actively to the development of their country through remittances (US$7.8 billion in 2009), as well as circulation of human and social capital and investment.[212] Remittances, money earned by Egyptians living abroad and sent home, reached a record US$21 billion in 2012, according to the World Bank.[213]
Egyptian society is moderately unequal in terms of income distribution, with an estimated 35–40% of Egypt's population earning less than the equivalent of $2 a day, while only around 2–3% may be considered wealthy.[214]
TourismMain article: Tourism in Egypt
Tourists riding an Arabian camel in front of Pyramid of Khafre. The Giza Necropolis is one of Egypt's main tourist attractions.Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt's economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The tourism sector employs about 12% of Egypt's workforce.[215] Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou told industry professionals and reporters that tourism generated some $9.4 billion in 2012, a slight increase over the $9 billion seen in 2011.[216]
The Giza Necropolis is one of Egypt's best-known tourist attractions; it is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.
Egypt's beaches on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, which extend to over 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles), are also popular tourist destinations; the Gulf of Aqaba beaches, Safaga, Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Dahab, Ras Sidr and Marsa Alam are popular sites.
EnergyMain article: Energy in Egypt
An offshore platform in the Darfeel Gas FieldEgypt produced 691,000 bbl/d of oil and 2,141.05 Tcf of natural gas in 2013, making the country the largest non-OPEC producer of oil and the second-largest dry natural gas producer in Africa. In 2013, Egypt was the largest consumer of oil and natural gas in Africa, as more than 20% of total oil consumption and more than 40% of total dry natural gas consumption in Africa. Also, Egypt possesses the largest oil refinery capacity in Africa 726,000 bbl/d (in 2012).[205]
Egypt is currently planning to build its first nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, in the northern part of the country, with $25 billion in Russian financing.[217]
TransportMain article: Transport in EgyptTransport in Egypt is centred around Cairo and largely follows the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The main line of the nation's 40,800-kilometre (25,400 mi) railway network runs from Alexandria to Aswan and is operated by Egyptian National Railways. The vehicle road network has expanded rapidly to over 34,000 km (21,000 mi), consisting of 28 line, 796 stations, 1800 train covering the Nile Valley and Nile Delta, the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, the Sinai, and the Western oases.The Cairo Metro (line 2)The Cairo Metro in Egypt is the first of only two full-fledged metro systems in Africa and the Arab World. It is considered one of the most important recent projects in Egypt which cost around 12 billion Egyptian pounds. The system consists of three operational lines with a fourth line expected in the future.
EgyptAir, which is now the country's flag carrier and largest airline, was founded in 1932 by Egyptian industrialist Talaat Harb, today owned by the Egyptian government. The airline is based at Cairo International Airport, its main hub, operating scheduled passenger and freight services to more than 75 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The Current EgyptAir fleet includes 80 aeroplanes.
Suez CanalMain article: Suez Canal
The Suez Canal BridgeThe Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt considered the most important centre of the maritime transport in the Middle East, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows ship transport between Europe and Asia without navigation around Africa. The northern terminus is Port Said and the southern terminus is Port Tawfiq at the city of Suez. Ismailia lies on its west bank, 3 kilometres (1+7⁄8 miles) from the half-way point.
The canal is 193.30 km (120+1⁄8 mi) long, 24 metres (79 feet) deep and 205 m (673 ft) wide as of 2010. It consists of the northern access channel of 22 km (14 mi), the canal itself of 162.25 km (100+7⁄8 mi) and the southern access channel of 9 km (5+1⁄2 mi). The canal is a single lane with passing places in the Ballah By-Pass and the Great Bitter Lake. It contains no locks; seawater flows freely through the canal. In general, the canal north of the Bitter Lakes flows north in winter and south in summer. The current south of the lakes changes with the tide at Suez.
On 26 August 2014 a proposal was made for opening a New Suez Canal. Work on the New Suez Canal was completed in July 2015.[218][219] The channel was officially inaugurated with a ceremony attended by foreign leaders and featuring military flyovers on 6 August 2015, in accordance with the budgets laid out for the project.[220][221]
Water supply and sanitationMain article: Water supply and sanitation in Egypt
Green irrigated land along the Nile amidst the desert and in the deltaThe piped water supply in Egypt increased between 1990 and 2010 from 89% to 100% in urban areas and from 39% to 93% in rural areas despite rapid population growth. Over that period, Egypt achieved the elimination of open defecation in rural areas and invested in infrastructure. Access to an improved water source in Egypt is now practically universal with a rate of 99%. About one half of the population is connected to sanitary sewers.[222]
Partly because of low sanitation coverage about 17,000 children die each year because of diarrhoea.[223] Another challenge is low cost recovery due to water tariffs that are among the lowest in the world. This in turn requires government subsidies even for operating costs, a situation that has been aggravated by salary increases without tariff increases after the Arab Spring. Poor operation of facilities, such as water and wastewater treatment plants, as well as limited government accountability and transparency, are also issues.
Due to the absence of appreciable rainfall, Egypt's agriculture depends entirely on irrigation. The main source of irrigation water is the river Nile of which the flow is controlled by the high dam at Aswan. It releases, on average, 55 cubic kilometres (45,000,000 acre·ft) water per year, of which some 46 cubic kilometres (37,000,000 acre·ft) are diverted into the irrigation canals.[224]
In the Nile valley and delta, almost 33,600 square kilometres (13,000 sq mi) of land benefit from these irrigation waters producing on average 1.8 crops per year.[224]
DemographicsMain articles: Demographics of Egypt and Egyptians
Egypt's population density (people per km2)Historical populations in thousandsYearPop.±% p.a.18826,712— 18979,669+2.46%190711,190+1.47%191712,718+1.29%192714,178+1.09%193715,921+1.17%194718,967+1.77%196026,085+2.48%196630,076+2.40%197636,626+1.99%198648,254+2.80%199659,312+2.08%200672,798+2.07%201794,798+2.43%Source: Population in Egypt[225][9]Egypt is the most populated country in the Arab world and the third most populous on the African continent, with about 95 million inhabitants as of 2017.[226] Its population grew rapidly from 1970 to 2010 due to medical advances and increases in agricultural productivity[227] enabled by the Green Revolution.[228] Egypt's population was estimated at 3 million when Napoleon invaded the country in 1798.[229]
Egypt's people are highly urbanised, being concentrated along the Nile (notably Cairo and Alexandria), in the Delta and near the Suez Canal. Egyptians are divided demographically into those who live in the major urban centres and the fellahin, or farmers, that reside in rural villages. The total inhabited area constitutes only 77,041 km², putting the physiological density at over 1,200 people per km2, similar to Bangladesh.
While emigration was restricted under Nasser, thousands of Egyptian professionals were dispatched abroad in the context of the Arab Cold War.[230] Egyptian emigration was liberalised in 1971, under President Sadat, reaching record numbers after the 1973 oil crisis.[231] An estimated 2.7 million Egyptians live abroad. Approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants live in Arab countries (923,600 in Saudi Arabia, 332,600 in Libya, 226,850 in Jordan, 190,550 in Kuwait with the rest elsewhere in the region) and the remaining 30% reside mostly in Europe and North America (318,000 in the United States, 110,000 in Canada and 90,000 in Italy).[212] The process of emigrating to non-Arab states has been ongoing since the 1950s.[232]
Ethnic groupsEthnic Egyptians are by far the largest ethnic group in the country, constituting 99.7% of the total population.[58] Ethnic minorities include the Abazas, Turks, Greeks, Bedouin Arab tribes living in the eastern deserts and the Sinai Peninsula, the Berber-speaking Siwis (Amazigh) of the Siwa Oasis, and the Nubian communities clustered along the Nile. There are also tribal Beja communities concentrated in the southeasternmost corner of the country, and a number of Dom clans mostly in the Nile Delta and Faiyum who are progressively becoming assimilated as urbanisation increases.
Some 5 million immigrants live in Egypt, mostly Sudanese, "some of whom have lived in Egypt for generations."[233] Smaller numbers of immigrants come from Iraq, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Eritrea.[233]
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated that the total number of "people of concern" (refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people) was about 250,000. In 2015, the number of registered Syrian refugees in Egypt was 117,000, a decrease from the previous year.[233] Egyptian government claims that a half-million Syrian refugees live in Egypt are thought to be exaggerated.[233] There are 28,000 registered Sudanese refugees in Egypt.[233]
The once-vibrant and ancient Greek and Jewish communities in Egypt have almost disappeared, with only a small number remaining in the country, but many Egyptian Jews visit on religious or other occasions and tourism. Several important Jewish archaeological and historical sites are found in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities.
LanguagesMain article: Languages of EgyptThe official language of the Republic is Literary Arabic.[234] The spoken languages are: Egyptian Arabic (68%), Sa'idi Arabic (29%), Eastern Egyptian Bedawi Arabic (1.6%), Sudanese Arabic (0.6%), Domari (0.3%), Nobiin (0.3%), Beja (0.1%), Siwi and others.[citation needed] Additionally, Greek, Armenian and Italian, and more recently, African languages like Amharic and Tigrigna are the main languages of immigrants.
The main foreign languages taught in schools, by order of popularity, are English, French, German and Italian.
Historically Egyptian was spoken, of which the latest stage is Coptic Egyptian. Spoken Coptic was mostly extinct by the 17th century but may have survived in isolated pockets in Upper Egypt as late as the 19th century. It remains in use as the liturgical language of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.[235][236] It forms a separate branch among the family of Afroasiatic languages.
ReligionMain article: Religion in EgyptEgypt has the largest Muslim population in the Arab world, and the sixth world's largest Muslim population, and home for (5%) of the world's Muslim population.[237] Egypt also has the largest Christian population in the Middle East and North Africa.[238]
Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with Islam as its state religion. The percentage of adherents of various religions is a controversial topic in Egypt. An estimated 85–90% are identified as Muslim, 10–15% as Coptic Christians, and 1% as other Christian denominations, although without a census the numbers cannot be known. Other estimates put the Christian population as high as 15–20%.[note 1] Non-denominational Muslims form roughly 12% of the population.[245][246]
Egypt was a Christian country before the 7th century, and after Islam arrived, the country was gradually Islamised into a majority-Muslim country.[247][248] It is not known when Muslims reached a majority variously estimated from c. 1000 CE to as late as the 14th century. Egypt emerged as a centre of politics and culture in the Muslim world. Under Anwar Sadat, Islam became the official state religion and Sharia the main source of law.[249] It is estimated that 15 million Egyptians follow Native Sufi orders,[250][251][252] with the Sufi leadership asserting that the numbers are much greater as many Egyptian Sufis are not officially registered with a Sufi order.[251] At least 305 people were killed during a November 2017 attack on a Sufi mosque in Sinai.[253]
There is also a Shi'a minority. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs estimates the Shia population at 1 to 2.2 million[254] and could measure as much as 3 million.[255] The Ahmadiyya population is estimated at less than 50,000,[256] whereas the Salafi (ultra-conservative Sunni) population is estimated at five to six million.[257] Cairo is famous for its numerous mosque minarets and has been dubbed "The City of 1,000 Minarets".[258]St. Mark Coptic Cathedral in AlexandriaOf the Christian population in Egypt over 90% belong to the native Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, an Oriental Orthodox Christian Church.[259] Other native Egyptian Christians are adherents of the Coptic Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church of Egypt and various other Protestant denominations. Non-native Christian communities are largely found in the urban regions of Cairo and Alexandria, such as the Syro-Lebanese, who belong to Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Maronite Catholic denominations.[260]
Ethnic Greeks also made up a large Greek Orthodox population in the past. Likewise, Armenians made up the then larger Armenian Orthodox and Catholic communities. Egypt also used to have a large Roman Catholic community, largely made up of Italians and Maltese. These non-native communities were much larger in Egypt before the Nasser regime and the nationalisation that took place.
Egypt hosts the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It was founded back in the first century, considered to be the largest church in the country.
Egypt is also the home of Al-Azhar University (founded in 969 CE, began teaching in 975 CE), which is today the world's "most influential voice of establishment Sunni Islam" and is, by some measures, the second-oldest continuously operating university in the world.[261]
Egypt recognises only three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Other faiths and minority Muslim sects practised by Egyptians, such as the small Baháʼí Faith and Ahmadiyya communities, are not recognised by the state and face persecution by the government, which labels these groups a threat to Egypt's national security.[262][263] Individuals, particularly Baháʼís and atheists, wishing to include their religion (or lack thereof) on their mandatory state issued identification cards are denied this ability (see Egyptian identification card controversy), and are put in the position of either not obtaining required identification or lying about their faith. A 2008 court ruling allowed members of unrecognised faiths to obtain identification and leave the religion field blank.[183][184]
EducationMain article: Education in Egypt
Cairo University
Egyptian literacy rate among the population aged 15 years and older by UNESCO Institute of StatisticsThe illiteracy rate has decreased since 1996 from 39.4 to 25.9 percent in 2013. The adult literacy rate as of July 2014 was estimated at 73.9%.[264] The illiteracy rate is highest among those over 60 years of age being estimated at 64.9%, while illiteracy among youth between 15 and 24 years of age was listed at 8.6 percent.[265]
A European-style education system was first introduced in Egypt by the Ottomans in the early 19th century to nurture a class of loyal bureaucrats and army officers.[266] Under British occupation investment in education was curbed drastically, and secular public schools, which had previously been free, began to charge fees.[266]
In the 1950s, President Nasser phased in free education for all Egyptians.[266] The Egyptian curriculum influenced other Arab education systems, which often employed Egyptian-trained teachers.[266] Demand soon outstripped the level of available state resources, causing the quality of public education to deteriorate.[266] Today this trend has culminated in poor teacher–student ratios (often around one to fifty) and persistent gender inequality.[266]
Basic education, which includes six years of primary and three years of preparatory school, is a right for Egyptian children from the age of six.[267] After grade 9, students are tracked into one of two strands of secondary education: general or technical schools. General secondary education prepares students for further education, and graduates of this track normally join higher education institutes based on the results of the Thanaweya Amma, the leaving exam.[267]
Technical secondary education has two strands, one lasting three years and a more advanced education lasting five. Graduates of these schools may have access to higher education based on their results on the final exam, but this is generally uncommon.[267]
Cairo University is Egypt's premier public university. The country is currently opening new research institutes for the aim of modernising research in the nation, the most recent example of which is Zewail City of Science and Technology. Egypt was ranked 94th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, down from 92nd in 2019.[268][269]
HealthMain article: Health in Egypt
Children's Cancer Hospital EgyptEgyptian life expectancy at birth was 73.20 years in 2011, or 71.30 years for males and 75.20 years for females. Egypt spends 3.7 percent of its gross domestic product on health including treatment costs 22 percent incurred by citizens and the rest by the state.[270] In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 4.66% of the country's GDP. In 2009, there were 16.04 physicians and 33.80 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants.[271]
As a result of modernisation efforts over the years, Egypt's healthcare system has made great strides forward. Access to healthcare in both urban and rural areas greatly improved and immunisation programs are now able to cover 98% of the population. Life expectancy increased from 44.8 years during the 1960s to 72.12 years in 2009. There was a noticeable decline of the infant mortality rate (during the 1970s to the 1980s the infant mortality rate was 101-132/1000 live births, in 2000 the rate was 50-60/1000, and in 2008 it was 28-30/1000).[272]
According to the World Health Organization in 2008, an estimated 91.1% of Egypt's girls and women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to genital mutilation,[273] despite being illegal in the country. In 2016 the law was amended to impose tougher penalties on those convicted of performing the procedure, pegging the highest jail term at 15 years. Those who escort victims to the procedure can also face jail terms up to 3 years.[274]
The total number of Egyptians with health insurance reached 37 million in 2009, of which 11 million are minors, providing an insurance coverage of approximately 52 percent of Egypt's population.[275]
Largest citiesSee also: List of cities and towns in EgyptLargest cities or towns in Egypt2017 censusRankNameGovernoratePop.RankNameGovernoratePop.CairoCairoAlexandriaAlexandria1CairoCairo9,153,13511AsyutAsyut462,061GizaGizaShubra El KheimaShubra El Kheima2AlexandriaAlexandria5,039,97512KhususQalyubia459,5863GizaGiza4,146,34013IsmailiaIsmailia386,3724Shubra El KheimaQalyubia1,165,91414ZagazigSharqia383,7035Port SaidPort Said751,073156 OctoberGiza350,0186SuezSuez660,59216AswanAswan321,7617MansouraDakahlia548,25917New CairoCairo298,3438El Mahalla El KubraGharbia522,79918DamiettaDamietta282,8799TantaGharbia508,75419DamanhurBeheira262,50510FaiyumFaiyum475,13920MinyaMinya245,478CultureMain article: Culture of EgyptEgypt is a recognised cultural trend-setter of the Arabic-speaking world. Contemporary Arabic and Middle-Eastern culture is heavily influenced by Egyptian literature, music, film and television. Egypt gained a regional leadership role during the 1950s and 1960s, giving a further enduring boost to the standing of Egyptian culture in the Arabic-speaking world.[276]Al-Azhar Park is listed as one of the world's sixty great public spaces by the Project for Public Spaces.Egyptian identity evolved in the span of a long period of occupation to accommodate Islam, Christianity and Judaism; and a new language, Arabic, and its spoken descendant, Egyptian Arabic which is also based on many Ancient Egyptian words.[277]
The work of early 19th century scholar Rifa'a al-Tahtawi renewed interest in Egyptian antiquity and exposed Egyptian society to Enlightenment principles. Tahtawi co-founded with education reformer Ali Mubarak a native Egyptology school that looked for inspiration to medieval Egyptian scholars, such as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who themselves studied the history, language and antiquities of Egypt.[278]
Egypt's renaissance peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the work of people like Muhammad Abduh, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Muhammad Loutfi Goumah, Tawfiq el-Hakim, Louis Awad, Qasim Amin, Salama Moussa, Taha Hussein and Mahmoud Mokhtar. They forged a liberal path for Egypt expressed as a commitment to personal freedom, secularism and faith in science to bring progress.[279]
The "weighing of the heart" scene from the Book of the DeadThe Egyptians were one of the first major civilisations to codify design elements in art and architecture. Egyptian blue, also known as calcium copper silicate is a pigment used by Egyptians for thousands of years. It is considered to be the first synthetic pigment. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaohs followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Egyptian civilisation is renowned for its colossal pyramids, temples and monumental tombs.
Well-known examples are the Pyramid of Djoser designed by ancient architect and engineer Imhotep, the Sphinx, and the temple of Abu Simbel. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene, from the vernacular architecture of Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef, to Mahmoud Mokhtar's sculptures, to the distinctive Coptic iconography of Isaac Fanous. The Cairo Opera House serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital.
LiteratureMain article: Egyptian literature
Naguib Mahfouz, the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in LiteratureEgyptian literature traces its beginnings to ancient Egypt and is some of the earliest known literature. Indeed, the Egyptians were the first culture to develop literature as we know it today, that is, the book.[280] It is an important cultural element in the life of Egypt. Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated throughout the Arab world.[281] The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab by Muhammad Husayn Haykal was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular.[282] Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Egyptian women writers include Nawal El Saadawi, well known for her feminist activism, and Alifa Rifaat who also writes about women and tradition.
Vernacular poetry is perhaps the most popular literary genre among Egyptians, represented by the works of Ahmed Fouad Negm (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi.[283]
MediaMain article: Media of EgyptEgyptian media are highly influential throughout the Arab World, attributed to large audiences and increasing freedom from government control.[284][285] Freedom of the media is guaranteed in the constitution; however, many laws still restrict this right.[284][286]
CinemaMain article: Cinema of Egypt
Salah Zulfikar, film star
Soad Hosny, film starEgyptian cinema became a regional force with the coming of sound. In 1936, Studio Misr, financed by industrialist Talaat Harb, emerged as the leading Egyptian studio, a role the company retained for three decades.[287] For over 100 years, more than 4000 films have been produced in Egypt, three quarters of the total Arab production.[288][289] Egypt is considered the leading country in the field of cinema in the Arab world.[290] Actors from all over the Arab world seek to appear in the Egyptian cinema for the sake of fame. The Cairo International Film Festival has been rated as one of 11 festivals with a top class rating worldwide by the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations.[291]
The number of cinemas increased with the emergence of talking films, and reached 395 in 1958. This number began to decline after the establishment of television in 1960 and the establishment of the public sector in cinemas in 1962, and reached 297 in 1965, then to 141 in 1995 due to the circulation of films through video equipment though the boom of the film industry in this period. Due to laws and procedures that encouraged investment in the establishment of private cinemas, they increased again, especially in commercial centers, until their number reached 200 in 2001 and 400 in 2009. Over a period of more than a hundred years, Egyptian cinema has presented more than four thousand films.[292][293]
MusicMain article: Music of EgyptEgyptian music is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. It has been an integral part of Egyptian culture since antiquity. The ancient Egyptians credited one of their gods Hathor with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilise the world. Egyptians used music instruments since then.[294]
Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of people such as Abdu al-Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmoud Osman, who influenced the later work of Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez whose age is considered the golden age of music in Egypt and the whole Arab world. Prominent contemporary Egyptian pop singers include Amr Diab and Mohamed Mounir.
Tanoura dancers performing in Wekalet El Ghoury, CairoToday, Egypt is often considered the home of belly dance. Egyptian belly dance has two main styles – raqs baladi and raqs sharqi. There are also numerous folkloric and character dances that may be part of an Egyptian-style belly dancer's repertoire, as well as the modern shaabi street dance which shares some elements with raqs baladi.
MuseumsMain article: List of museums in Egypt
The Egyptian Museum of CairoEgypt has one of the oldest civilisations in the world. It has been in contact with many other civilisations and nations and has been through so many eras, starting from prehistoric age to the modern age, passing through so many ages such as; Pharonic, Roman, Greek, Islamic and many other ages. Because of this wide variation of ages, the continuous contact with other nations and the big number of conflicts Egypt had been through, at least 60 museums may be found in Egypt, mainly covering a wide area of these ages and conflicts.Tutankhamun's burial mask is one of the major attractions of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo.The three main museums in Egypt are The Egyptian Museum which has more than 120,000 items, the Egyptian National Military Museum and the 6th of October Panorama.
The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), also known as the Giza Museum, is an under construction museum that will house the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world, it has been described as the world's largest archaeological museum.[295] The museum was scheduled to open in 2015 and will be sited on 50 hectares (120 acres) of land approximately two kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Giza Necropolis and is part of a new master plan for the plateau. The Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damaty announced in May 2015 that the museum will be partially opened in May 2018.[296]
FestivalsEgypt celebrates many festivals and religious carnivals, also known as mulid. They are usually associated with a particular Coptic or Sufi saint, but are often celebrated by Egyptians irrespective of creed or religion. Ramadan has a special flavour in Egypt, celebrated with sounds, lights (local lanterns known as fawanees) and much flare that many Muslim tourists from the region flock to Egypt to witness during Ramadan.
The ancient spring festival of Sham en Nisim (Coptic: Ϭⲱⲙ‘ⲛⲛⲓⲥⲓⲙ shom en nisim) has been celebrated by Egyptians for thousands of years, typically between the Egyptian months of Paremoude (April) and Pashons (May), following Easter Sunday.
CuisineMain article: Egyptian cuisine
Kushari, one of Egypt's national dishesEgyptian cuisine is notably conducive to vegetarian diets, as it relies heavily on legume and vegetable dishes. Although food in Alexandria and the coast of Egypt tends to use a great deal of fish and other seafood, for the most part Egyptian cuisine is based on foods that grow out of the ground. Meat has been very expensive for most Egyptians throughout history, so a great number of vegetarian dishes have been developed.
Some consider kushari (a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni) to be the national dish. Fried onions can be also added to kushari. In addition, ful medames (mashed fava beans) is one of the most popular dishes. Fava bean is also used in making falafel (also known as "ta'miya"), which may have originated in Egypt and spread to other parts of the Middle East. Garlic fried with coriander is added to molokhiya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or rabbit.
A crowd at Cairo Stadium watching the Egypt national football teamFootball is the most popular national sport of Egypt. The Cairo Derby is one of the fiercest derbies in Africa, and the BBC picked it as one of the 7 toughest derbies in the world.[297] Al Ahly is the most successful club of the 20th century in the African continent according to CAF, closely followed by their rivals Zamalek SC. They're known as the "African Club of the Century". With twenty titles, Al Ahly is currently the world's most successful club in terms of international trophies, surpassing Italy's A.C. Milan and Argentina's Boca Juniors, both having eighteen.[298]
The Egyptian national football team, known as the Pharaohs, won the African Cup of Nations seven times, including three times in a row in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Considered the most successful African national team and one which has reached the top 10 of the FIFA world rankings, Egypt has qualified for the FIFA World Cup three times. Two goals from star player Mohamed Salah in their last qualifying game took Egypt through to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[299] The Egyptian Youth National team Young Pharaohs won the Bronze Medal of the 2001 FIFA youth world cup in Argentina. Egypt was 4th place in the football tournament in the 1928 and the 1964 Olympics.
Squash and tennis are other popular sports in Egypt. The Egyptian squash team has been competitive in international championships since the 1930s. Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour are Egypt's best players and both were ranked the world's number one squash player. Egypt has won the Squash World Championships four times, with the last title being in 2017.
In 1999, Egypt hosted the IHF World Men's Handball Championship, and hosted it again in 2021. In 2001, the national handball team achieved its best result in the tournament by reaching fourth place. Egypt has won in the African Men's Handball Championship five times, being the best team in Africa. In addition to that, it also championed the Mediterranean Games in 2013, the Beach Handball World Championships in 2004 and the Summer Youth Olympics in 2010. Among all African nations, the Egypt national basketball team holds the record for best performance at the Basketball World Cup and at the Summer Olympics.[300][301] Further, the team has won a record number of 16 medals at the African Championship.
Egypt has taken part in the Summer Olympic Games since 1912 and has hosted several other international competitions including the first Mediterranean Games in 1951, the 1991 All-Africa Games, the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 1953, 1965 and 2007 editions of the Pan Arab Games.
Egypt featured a national team in beach volleyball that competed at the 2018–2020 CAVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in both the women's and the men's section.[302]
See alsoflagEgypt portalIndex of Egypt-related articlesOutline of ancient EgyptOutline of EgyptNotesThe population of Egypt is estimated as being 90% Muslim, 9% Coptic Christian and 1% other Christian, though estimates vary.[239][240][241] Microsoft Encarta Online similarly estimates the Sunni population at 90% of the total.[242] The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life gave a higher estimate of the Muslim population, at 94.6%.[243] In 2017, the government-owned newspaper Al Ahram estimated the percentage of Christians at 10 to 15%.[244]Egypt1s Land and PeopleEgypt has an area of about four hundred thousandsquare miles, most of it arid desert. Of the total areaonly 5 percent is inhabited. This area consists of a narrowstrip of land along the Nile River and its delta. Man haslived on that strip of land for centuries, making it one ofthe most heavily populated regions of the world. The oceansof sand surrounding the narrow land strip make the Nile themost outstanding topographical feature of Egypt. The annualfloods of the Nile provide the water necessary for agriculture, the main contributor to the Egyptian national incomeand the principal economic support for over 65 percent ofthe population. The same floods also destroy a good partof the Egyptian crops during some years.In years of sufficient water supply, national incomerose and the farmer bettered his economic situation; inyears of insufficient water supply, the national economyand the farmer suffered. During those years characterizedby flood-damaged crops and other property, the farmer andthe country as a whole again suffered a great loss in income. Thus, the economic well-being of Egypt and her peopleis directly related to the annual water supply of the Nile.2Rain in Egypt is very scarce, and temperatures runas high as 100-120° F. during the summer months. Hot,sandy winds—yet another source of damage to crops—arefrequent, particularly during the spring months. A denseand rapidly growing population is pressing hard on thelimited agricultural resources. All these factors havecontributed to Egypt's poverty, its high rate of unemployment, and its unequal distribution of wealth. As a resultof these combined precarious economic conditions, thefellah^ has been kept backward and isolated.Agricultural production has not kept pace with therapid increase in population, and the industrial sector hasbeen the least developed in the Egyptian economy. Industrial production in 1952 was less than 9 percent of thenational income, and investment in industry was less than$5 million. Foreigners owned or controlled most of theindustrial firms, leaving almost nothing to the great majority of the population. The people's state of povertyand ignorance was further heightened, since a significantnumber of these Egyptians were often prey to the ravagesof sickness and disease and subject to the crippling effects of exploitation. Thus, while most Egyptians passeda life of pain, certain foreigners and the members of theEgyptian royal family accrued fortunes by owning largeestates and monopolizing the country's import-exportactivities.3The Central Government's Program for Economic DevelopmentTo confront these numerous problems obstructingeconomic development, the leaders of the Revolutionary2Government of Egypt almost immediately after their ascension to power became preoccupied with finding the meansto utilize as efficiently as possible all of the nation'savailable natural resources in an effort to raise thepeople's standard of living. With its political structurerevamped, the government guaranteed equal opportunitiesfor all of its citizens. And, for the first time in thecountry's history, the doors of the Egyptian Parliamentwere opened to the fellaheen and workers. In 1962 theEgyptian National Charter gave representatives from thesegroups 50 percent of the seats in Parliament.In addition to these far-reaching changes in thepolitical system of the country, equally significant adjustments occurred in the nation's economic structure.The growing influence of the combined political and economic factors allowed for more equality in the distributionof the country's wealth. It also provided for the emergence of a large public sector capable of leading Egypt'smarch to industrialization. Other programs were implementedto improve health conditions and nutrition, some to buildmore schools and factories, and yet others to improveworking conditions and to create more sources of employment.To meet the growing needs of the population and tosustain the economy in a manner that was continuous, the4leaders of Egypt's government gave priority to the development and control of its water resources. Very early, then,the waters of the Nile were an attractive target for investment, owing to their tremendous potential for generating hydroelectric power. By means of this additionalpower source, representatives of Egypt's government hopeto expand their country's capital base. By supportingthese techniques for capital expansion, these leaderswish to endow their country with a capability for attaining two very general, but major, goals of similar economicdevelopment schemes operating in the majority of the underdeveloped nations of the world. These goals are an increasein the rate of industrialization and an increase in thetotal gains for agricultural yields.Not too long after Egypt's new government came topower, its leaders made one of their stronger commitmentsthe construction of the Aswan High Dam. They reasonedthat the completion of the Dam would help their countryand its citizens in two ways: first, as a basic step towards a solution for the economic problems discussedearlier; and secondly, with the gradual disappearance ofthose obstacles, as a necessary move towards the creationof a balanced, stable economy—one characterized by sustained growth.The Dam, when fully operational, will provide thefarmers with a means to control the flood waters, enablingthe country to use it for expanding agriculture both5horizontally and vertically. The resulting higher yieldsin the agricultural sector will provide yet an additionalstimulus for even more growth and diversification in theeconomy's industrial sector. The growth of this industrial sector will be a direct result of the great amountof readily available hydroelectric power—an amount sufficient to run the largest power station in the world andone to provide ten times as much power as the country produced in 1952. By 1972 the country will be enjoying10,000 million kwh of electric power as the annual production of the Dam's power station.Without doubt, the Aswan High Dam is a great economic and technological achievement. For example, the Damcreated one of the largest artificial lakes in the world—a lake which has a storage capacity of 165 billion cubicmetres. This lake will enable Egypt to bring under permanent cultivation two million additional feddans,^ anincrease amounting to as much as one third of the totalarea cultivated in 1960. By ending the threat of flooddamage and providing the means to obtain the appropriateamount of water needed for the fields at the time it isneeded, the Dam enabled the farmer to control the totalyield of his crops with a fairly high degree of accuracy.The greater capability to control the amount of agricultural production according to each year's differing needs,it is argued, will be aided significantly by instituting agovernment-financed and controlled schedule of estimatedrequirements for a particular crop. These estimations areto be determined to a great extent by keeping track of therelated factors which bear on changing needs for consump6tion and by attempting to assess the net effect of theirjoint impact. An example of one such related factor wouldbe the actual rate of net increase or decrease in population. In short, during the present-day electronic age,when most residents of the underdeveloped areas of theworld are witnesses to explosive growth in the sheer numbers of their populations, Egypt as a nation and hercitizens as individuals strongly desire to cast off thoselife-styles they view as remnants of the eighteenth andnineteenth centuries and to take on in their place lifestyles deemed as valuable and suitable for the presentcentury with its spectacular advances in technology.As with most examples of economic development programs, this study has to take into account the accompanyingchanges in the relations of other factors to the economy—such as historical, ecological, and cultural factors—inaddition to purely technological ones. Old urban centerswill grow in size, and new ones are being established. Aredistribution of the labor force will possibly occur asa result of the ever greater numbers of people needed bythe expanding service and manufacturing industries. Withthe growth of urban centers of population, pressure onland is expected to diminish. The resulting land-to-manratio surely will eventually lead to the disappearance of7disguised unemployment and even to more and greater productivity for agriculture.Statement of the ProblemThe idea of building the Aswan High Dam originallycame from an agricultural engineer who thought of the Damas a purely agricultural project to help the Egyptianagriculture keep pace with the rapid increase in population. It was argued, therefore, that the Dam would eliminate, or at least limit, the population pressure on land.But when the Aswan High Dam project was under consideration,some Egyptian officials correctly argued that the Dam wouldnot solve Egypt's agricultural problem, since Egypt's population has been growing at a high rate, and by the timethe Dam would be completed, which might take ten to fifteenyears, the increase in population would probably match theincrease in the cultivated area. Thus it was contendedthat the Dam would merely keep the land-to-man ratio constant for a period of time, postponing Egypt's agriculturalproblem for about fifteen or twenty years rather thaneliminating it completely.To solve the problem, some Egyptian sociologistsargued, efforts should be concentrated to check the population growth by using birth control methods, allowingand encouraging people to emigrate to other countries, andraising the level of education. In spite of the positiveadvantages of checking the population growth through the8above-mentioned methods, their application at that timewas unlikely to bring about the desired ends. Using birthcontrol methods would be met with resentment and would runagainst the fellah's belief that man's control of naturalbirth rates is wrong. Migration from one country to anotherhas never been a practical solution to any country's population problems. Raising the level of education so thatthe fellah could increase his awareness to the degree thathe would cast off his cultural handicaps and start thinkingin terms of the economic advantages of population controlwould take a long period of time and would require largeexpenditures which the country could not afford. It wouldalso raise the level of expectations of the people beyondwhat the country could provide, creating a situation whichcould lead to political instability and social disorder.Some economists, on the other hand, argued that theAswan High Dam project was too large for the Egyptian economy to carry out:In 1956 Premier Nasser's attempt to financethe construction of the High Dam at Aswan by hisseizure of the Suez Canal was the desperate actof a frustrated man whose overly ambitious planwas doomed to failure even if the United Statesand the Soviet Union had together undertaken tocarry it through.^The United States' official rejection of the ideaof sharing the financing of the Dam project was based onsuch arguments, of which Kindleberger says:This project was first supported then rejectedon political grounds, although the excuse given9for rejection—that the project was too largeand involved too long a commitment of too muchEgyptian savings before any increment in outputwould be realized—should have been the basisfor an initial refusal to give support.5The Revolutionary Government of Egypt decided tobuild the Aswan High Dam because of its advantages in increasing the area cultivated and in producing a tremendousamount of hydroelectric power to be used by industry. Itwas part of the plan that the time taken to build the Damwould be used to build and expand the industrial sectorand that the increase in the agricultural income wouldstimulate industry to further expansion.The Aswan High Dam has been completed, and partialutilization of its waters and its generated electric powerstarted in 1964 and 1968, respectively. This study willtry to investigate the potential impact of the Dam on theEgyptian economy. Since I believe that the Dam will bringabout basic changes in the Egyptian economy, I will try toanswer the following question: In what way would theeconomy of Egypt be affected by the construction and utilization of the Aswan High Dam?HypothesisEgypt by the 1950's was already in its agriculturalrevolution, but in spite of this fact, the per capita income was low, and therefore the agricultural surplus wasinadequate to expand and strengthen the country's socialoverhead. It was evident, then, that Egypt could not rely10on its agriculture to provide the savings deemed adequateto stimulate industry. Other problems also existed atthat time to prohibit or hinder the country's social andeconomic development: The rate of population growth wastoo high for the expansion in agriculture to keep pace withit; the country had virtually no industry or even a middleclass as a potential prospect for carrying out industrialization; and the Egyptian Royal Family shared with theforeigners the exploitation of the economy. The traditional Egyptian elite played politics with each other andwith the Royal Palace, while corruption in civic servicewas evident; the technological gap between Egypt and theadvanced countries was widening, while Egypt's known resources to close that gap were very much limited; and thecountry appeared doomed to social and political instability.It is my belief that the Aswan High Dam will materially accelerate the economic growth and development ofthe United Arab Republic. The basic changes in the Egyptianeconomy which the Dam is expected to effect are likely tohelp create a new environment which is more desirable andsuitable for industrialization. In short, the Aswan HighDam is most likely to bring Egypt very close to its industrial revolution.11Method of InvestigationThe examination of the Dam’s impact on the Egyptianeconomy will center around the Dam's contribution to thedevelopment of agriculture and industry. Agricultural development will be examined in terms of the cultivated area,the crop area, and the increase in the income of agriculture. The development of industry will be examined interms of the increase in the annual production of electricpower and the potential expansion in Egypt's industrialsector which will be made possible by the completion ofthe Dam's power station in 1970.The Dam has already had its impact on some otheraspects of the Egyptian economy. One example is the construction industry, which had to expand in order to meetthe increasing demand originated mainly from the buildingof the Dam. In an effort to evaluate the Dam's overallcontribution to more general and broader trends of sociocultural change, other factors, such as employment and thecchange in its structure, the creation of the New Nubia,and the social aspects of the flood control, will beconsidered.I should like to mention at this time that a thorough study of the socio-cultural impact of the Aswan HighDam on the Egyptian society is beyond the scope of thisstudy. However, since the cultural values and the socialattitudes produced by the Dam proved to be important tothe process of industrialization, I have given some consideration to these socio-cultural factors.12LimitationsThe work on the Dam started in 1960 and was to becompleted in two stages by 1970. The first stage was completed in 1964 on schedule, and work on the second stageended in 1969, one year ahead of schedule. The Dam'spotential for irrigation is expected to be fully utilizedbetween 1975 and 1980, though it became available in 1969.The Dam's full generating power, which was scheduled for1972, is now due in 1970, but the full utilization of thispower is not expected before 1975 at best.Land reclamation projects are behind schedule, andthe political situation in the Middle East, i.e., activewar with Israel, is very lilely to cause further delay.The majority of the Nubians are still waiting for theirreclaimed land to compensate them for the loss of theirown land, which was buried under the waters of Lake Nasserstarting in 1964.When visiting Egypt in 1969 for the purpose of collecting whatever data was available pertaining to thisstudy, I found that the printed material on the Aswan Damwas limited. I found what might be called a recorded history of the engineering aspects of constructing the Dam,but little information was available dealing with the Dam'scontribution to the Egyptian economy, and most of the13material was written in the late 1950's or early 1960's.Therefore, intensive interviews were conducted with keypersons in both the Ministry of National Planning and inthe Ministry of High Dam.There is delay in implementing both agriculturaland industrial projects to benefit from the Dam's potential. When asked about the reasons for the delay andwhat appeared to be a lack in planning, a high-rankingofficial in the Egyptian Ministry of National Planningsaid, "It seems that we did not trust the Russians andtherefore wanted to have them first complete the Dam before other things happen which might make them change theirminds." Due to all these circumstances, lack of precisionin drawing some conclusions might be understandable andexpected.FOOTNOTES1Fellah is the Arab word for peasant. In Egypt thefellah1s holdings of land are very small; his family providesthe necessary labor for cultivation and is the chief consumer of the annual harvest. The fellah lives in smallvillages with few contacts with the other parts of thecountry. To the great majority of Egypt's fellaheen (pluralof fellah), agriculture is subsistance.2On the twenty-third of July, 1952, a group of theEgyptian army officers overthrew the government of Egypt,expelled King Faruk, and later on declared Egypt a republic,thus ending the era of monarchy in the country,•iFeddan = 1.04 acres.14^Charles Poor Kindleberger, Economic Development(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958), p. 2345Kindleberger, op. cit. (2d ed., 1965), p. 3766About fifty thousand Nubians were transferred tonewly built homes, villages, and towns as a result of thecomplete submersion of their ancient Nubia under the watersof Lake Nasser, which is the permanent reservoir of theAswan High Dam.Chapter 1UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC - BACKGROUNDHistorical-CulturalThe national character and cultural background ofa people are formed by their history as well as theirenvironment. Egyptian history shows a remarkable seriesof constant features from the time of the Pharaohs up tothe present. One of these is the unity of the country,which has been directly influenced by its geography.Of Egypt's total area, 96 percent is desert. Inorder to have life-supporting water for themselves andtheir crops, the early societies were established alongthe narrow valley of the Nile river. Both as a source ofwater and as a means of transportation, the Nile has represented a unifying force in Egyptian life. The developmentof trade along the Nile led to the emergence and growthof towns. With the expansion of the people's economicactivities and their concentration in population centers,it became possible and profitable for trade to evolvearound well-established routes and for rulers to collecttaxes. Thus, in trading among themselves and with neighboring societies, the Egyptians did not live in isolation.They interacted beneficially with their neighbors on bothcultural and economic levels.15Political interaction, however, was one-sided.The flat, desert terrain made successful resistance to16invasion extremely difficult. Crusaders in 1113 and 1249were beaten off near Cairo and later at Mansura. TheTurks, who reached the Suez Canal in 1915, and the Germans, who were stopped at El-Alamein in 1942, were quitesuccessful in breaking through the Egyptians' desertdefenses. These invasions, as well as other foreign occupations, played a large role in Egypt's history andgreatly influenced her cultural background.Between the years 30 B.C. and 640 A.D., Egypt wasa part of the Roman Empire. It served during that time asa field for growing grain, supplying the empire with itsneeds.The Islamic conquest of Egypt placed the countryin a new context of spiritual thought and feelings. Arabscame to Egypt with their religion and civilization andplanted the seeds of science and justice. Guided by themessage of Mohammed, they assumed the main role in defenseof civilization by stemming the first wave of colonialism.Islam, the religion of over 85 percent of the Arabs, seesno difference at all between different races. Therefore,it was easy for Moslems and non-Arabs to reach high positions and to seize power in various parts of the IslamicEmpire.As the Islamic Empire declined, the Turks conqueredthe Empire, and under their domain, the Arabs experienced17the worst era in their history. The Turks tried to destroythe cultural heritage of the Arabs. Egypt, being a partof the Arab world, fell under the Turks' domain and becamea part of their weak and decentralized empire until theBritish took over.Mamelukes were brought by the Caliphate from Central Asia and Georgia to be his own guards. They were amilitary class enjoying property rights, inheritance rights,and free wives and children. As the Caliphate's positionwas weakening, the Mamelukes forced themselves into powerand ruled with brutality, putting an end to every creativeaction. After the Turkish conquest in 1516, they maintainedtheir rule, paying a perfunctory allegiance to the nominalauthority of the Sultan and his representative, the Pasha.Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries,Egypt stagnated. It was transformed into a militarized,feudal state and settled into a long period of isolationand economic and cultural stagnation. Knowledge was considered as given, and the process of learning an accumulation of the known rather than the process of discoveringthe unknown. In spite of this, the Islamic society succeeded in preserving itself by paying an exorbitant price.Al-Azhar, one of the oldest universities in the world, wasa stronghold of resistance against the colonialist andreactionary factors of weakness and disintegration imposedby the Ottoman Caliphate in the name of religion.18Arab Nationalism was born during this period andcontinued to grow to win its first battles against theTurks during the first World War. Victory did not last,however, since the promised independence by the Alliesnever materialized.Thus, for three centuries after the Ottoman conquest, Egypt went into its own medieval slumber, "...unaware of the vast revolutions that were taking place acrossthe Mediterranean and in the New World and completely bypassed by the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution,"1from which only the aftermath of the campaign of Napoleonawoke it.The French expedition of 1798 is regarded by somehistorians as the beginning of the renaissance in Egypt’shistory.When the French campaign came to Egypt, it foundAl-Azhar, simmering with new trends which had theirimpact on the life throughout Egypt. The Frenchcampaign also found the Egyptian people resentingOttoman colonialism disguised in the form of theCaliphate, which imposed on the Egyptian people afalse conflict between genuine religious faith andthe will to live which rejects tyranny.Bonaparte found Egypt a poor, isolated, and self-containedcountry with a localized economy and a low standard ofliving. His very short stay in Egypt contributed much tothe cultural progress. It brought with it modern sciencedeveloped by Europe and outstanding professors who studiedthe affairs of Egypt and revealed the secrets of her ancient history.19The Egyptian people who were resisting the rule ofthe Mamelukes and their attempts to oppress them werebrought a new revolutionary energy which inspired selfconfidence and opened up new horizons for them:This popular awakening was the driving forcebehind the reign of Mohammed Ali. It is almostunanimously assumed that Mohammed Ali laid thefoundation of modern Egypt. Yet the tragedy ofthat age was that Mohammed Ali believed in thepopular movement that paved the way for him togovern Egypt only as a springboard for him toreach his ambitions. Thus Mohammed Ali droveEgypt to futile adventures which sought individual interest and ignored the interest of thepeople.The Caliphate sent Mohammed Ali, a Turkish soldierfrom Albania, to Egypt to end the Mamelukes* disobedience.Pretending that he was attempting to forget the past andto start working together for a unified country, Mohammedcalled a conference for all the Mamelukes. After the conference began, armed men appeared from boxes which had beenput there as chairs and killed the Mamelukes, leaving nobody to protest or even to ask Mohammed Ali what he wasdoing. The Kalaa, or palace where the slayings took place,still stands on the highest hill in Cairo as a reminder ofthe cruelty of the soldiers and their use of power to putan end to disorder and to unify the country.Mohammed Ali, who worked for himself, tried tocreate an industrialized, closed, state-controlled economy.His successors went on working for themselves, strengthening their positions by establishing order and security.They created a feudal-capitalist class to support them20and shared the output of the poor, starving peasant. Efforts were concentrated to emulate particular aspects ofWestern civilization by imposing and introducing changeswhich the peasant did not accept and the country could notafford.The rulers gave their attention to the superficialaspects of the European civilization, borrowing money tobuild fancy palaces and to enjoy luxury in a poor country.As a result, Egypt was led to a financial indebtednesswhich cost her her independence when the country failedto pay back what the rulers got for their own selfindulgence. Individual adventures, therefore, impeded themovement of the Egyptian awakening and opened the gatesto domination by world powers.Resistance against the Egyptian royal family andforeign occupation continued and exploded in 1882, whenOrabi, an officer in the Egyptian army, revolted againstthe corrupted Ismail, foreign occupation, and Turkishdominance. He was backed by the army and the masses,especially small landowners with social, as well as political aims. Orabi failed, however, because of British andFrench intervention on the part of Ismail.The British then occupied Egypt, claiming theywould help Egyptian economy and would leave as soon aspossible. On the contrary, they further disrupted theeconomy by lending the Egyptian rulers the money theywanted for their own benefit, and they did not leave until21they were forced to do so in 1956.The Arabs* experience with the West has not beenone of cooperation and friendship. In the Middle AgesArabs knew the West as Crusaders who came to kill, todestroy, and to occupy the Arab homeland. In 1882 Arabssaw the West in the guns of British warships in Alexandriawhich shelled into suppressed submission the first majorEgyptian attempt to redress internal misrule. In 1918Arabs felt betrayed by their allies, the West, who promisedthem their independence during the first World War whenthey revolted against the Turks. In 1942 British tankscrushed the gates of the King's Palace in Cairo, forcinga new government agreeable to the allies. In 1947 theBritish army left Palestine in the hands of the Zionists.In 1956 British occupation forces were forced to leaveEgypt, but they returned later in the year, bombing, destroying, and reoccupying parts of the Suez Canal Zone.International financial monopolies started toplay their grave role in Egypt. They channeledtheir activities to two distinct directions,namely the digging of the Suez Canal, and thetransformation of Egypt's land into a vast fieldfor cotton growing. The aim was to provide British industry with the cotton which America thenrarely exported to Britain, following the end ofthe British domination of America. Later on,American cotton was withheld from Britain as aresult of the American Civil War.The British military occupation of Egypt in1882 was an expression of the determination ofcolonialism to insure the continuity of the setback and to maintain the suppression and exploitation of the people of Egypt to guarantee theinterests of foreign financial monopolies.^22Even though the potential of the national wealthwas exhausted to serve the interests of foreign powers anda number of foreign adventurers, the spirits of the Egyptianpeople were never broken. The educated people who camefrom Europe, the revolutionary cries after Orabi, and thechange in the international situation due to the emergenceof new power and the first World War brought some progress.Communication and security of life and property were developed. Population was growing with no social reform tobe undertaken—only exploitation. Education lagged,...for it must be said that public educationexpanded extremely slowly under the British andcontinued to be purposely geared, for most of theperiod under review, toward producing governmentofficials. Its development was deliberately limited to the administration's capacity to absorbits graduates.By the beginning of the twentieth century, MohammedAbdu's call for religious reform contributed to the development of the press in Egypt. At the same time LutfiEl Sayed stressed that Egypt should belong to the Egyptians.Qasin Amin called for the emancipation of women. A newrevolutionary wave which manifested itself in the popularrevolution of 1919 was spreading. That revolution failedbecause of the failure of its leadership to see the needfor social change, to learn from history by not isolatingEgypt from other Arab countries, and to adopt the methodsneeded to fight the enemy.The successive governments in Egypt tried to reconcile the old tradition with the new reality, but an23ever-widening gap developed between reality and the ideology which undermined the existing political community. Astate of instability and tension developed. The gap couldbe closed only by a readjustment of the traditional systemor the formulation of a new system capable of guiding thepeople and representing their aspirations. The government's failure to earn for itself any claim to the people'sallegiance and the aftermath of the humiliation of theEgyptian army in 1947 in Palestine brought about a collapsefrom which a new political system emerged."The twenty-third of July, 1952, marked the beginning of a new and glorious phase in the history of theconstant struggle of the Arab people of Egypt.'* The revolution of the Arab people in Egypt was against politicalcorruption, capitalism, and feudalism. The situation inthe country at the time of revolution was summarized inthe National Charter as follows:The foreign invaders occupied the land; closeby were the military bases fully armed to terrifythe Egyptian motherland and destroy its resistance...The alien royal family ruled according to itsown interests and whims and imposed humility andsubmission.The feudalists owned the estates which theymonopolized, leaving nothing to the toiling farmersexcept the remaining straw following the harvest.Capitalists exploited Egyptian wealth in several ways after they succeeded in dominating thegovernment and made it serve their own interests.24Facing such circumstances, the Egyptian Revolutionary Command declared its famous six principles tomeet the demands and needs of the people:1) Destruction of imperialism and traitorsamong Egyptian people.2) Ending of feudalism.3) Ending monopoly and the domination of capitalover the government.4) Establishment of social justice.5) Building a strong national army.6) Establishment of a sound democratic system.By 1952, and for the first time since the Pharaohs, Egyptbegan to be ruled by Egyptians....for over twenty-five centuries, then,Egypt was never ruled by Egyptians.... But therulers, the army and higher ranks of the bureaucracy were almost without exception foreignerswhose one thought was to squeeze the utmost outof the fellaheen from whom they generally keptaloof.8Social-EconomicalIn addition to political oppression, Egypt has always suffered from intensive economic exploitation. Someidea of the extent of this exploitation may be obtainedby recognizing the amount of human labor which went tothe erection of the Pyramids of Giza and the building ofthe Suez Canal. But these two great achievements in thehistory of Egypt are now something to be proud of. Theyencourage the people and give them the motive to build25more miracles, one of which has just been completed—theAswan High Dam.The basic fact about Egypt is that the countryis at once extremely fertile and desperately poor.The paradox is deepened when one learns that Egyptnow has the most productive agriculture in theworld (in terms of output per unit area) and themost wretched peasantry of any Middle Easterncountry. Put together, these two factors aresufficient to account for the atmosphere of unreality which envelops so many phenomena in modernEgypt.”Egypt is a ribbon of highly fertile land on thebank of the Nile river. Cultivation of this area keeps amass of peasants alive at a standard of living not muchhigher than subsistance. It also supplies foodstuffs forthe towns and enables the country to export the cotton andthe few other products on which its income of foreign exchange mainly depends.Until the eighteenth century, Egypt was dividedinto two parts—the city, which enjoyed a relatively highstandard of living due to its commercial, industrial, andpolitical activities; and the country, which tried toharvest as much as possible from the land, using veryprimitive tools and methods of exploitation. The citydid not take care of the country, and the country, toopoor and too weak to ask, lived in poverty. The few timeswhen the country dweller tried to raise his voice to askfor a bigger share of his own production, his cry was silenced with power.26The economic activities of Egypt in the early ageswere agricultural, with the possible exception of somecommerce. Agriculture was primitive, but highly productive. Its high productivity, compared with other partsof the world, depended on the highly skilled Egyptianpeasant and on the advanced system of irrigation, whichwas totally dependent on the Nile. "When there was acivil war or a failure of the Nile, the most terriblefamines were experienced as in A.D. 42, 928, 967, 1064-72,1201, 1202, 1294."10Under the Mamelukes, the system of land tenure wasfeudal in structure. The country was divided into groupsof villages under the control of the leading Mamelukes,who collected taxes and sent the revenue to the centralgovernment. The holdings of the Mamelukes were tax-free.The Egyptian peasants were not bound to a master like theirEuropean counterparts, but were free, and their childrencould inherit property.Unlike most countries, feudal systems did notnot exist in Egypt as a feudal aristocracy andwith traditions of local authority. For, in thefirst place, the central government never brokedown as completely as it did in Europe duringthe dark and early Middle Ages. Secondly, theupper classes devoted their attention either totrade or to war, and never to agriculture, anddwelt exclusively in the cities.^lIn the Middle Ages little industry existed inEgypt. The Egyptians had the skills to make their owntools for agriculture and irrigation. These skills hadbeen handed down through history since the time of the27Pharaohs. The most famous and advanced of the Egyptianindustries during the Middle Ages was the glass industry.By the middle of the seventh century, Egypt became a part of the Islamic Empire and an important partof the Arab world. The Arab conquest was inspired by thehumanitarian teachings and beliefs of Islam, which wereto strive to put an end to disorder and injustice, to rescue mankind, and to establish equality and justice onearth.No close series of historical events in theMiddle East has ever produced results so immediate, yet so profound and lasting, as those whichfollowed the unbelievable, rapid, unexpected,and complete conquest by the earliest Moslimsunder the first successors (or Caliphs) of theprophet, of practically all the territories ofWestern Asia and of North Africa. These conquests, dating from the fourth decade of theseventh century of the Christian era representedin one, but a quite incomplete sense, another greatoutpouring from the human reservoir of Arabia; theyproved final and irreversible, yet were orderly,unmarked by ruin or massacre, and were preliminary,not too violent, but rather a peaceful revolution,visible and invisible, in society and in politicsand men’s minds throughout the region and farbeyond it. 2Egypt, therefore, preserved her culture for centuries andenjoyed great economic development between the eleventhand the sixteenth centuries.By the eleventh century, as the growing prosperityof Europe revived the demand for oriental products, Egyptbegan to regain her former importance. The Fatimite periodmarks one of the peaks of Islamic civilization. Cairo wasbuilt in that period; science and art flourished greatly28under royal patronage, and Al-Azhar, the oldest universityin the world, was founded to preserve the Arabic cultureand spread its Islamic teachings.Economic activity increased with the increase ofknowledge, particularly in industry.New industries were established such as papermaking, porcelain, sugar refining, and the distillation of gasoline; and old ones like linenand woolen textiles, leather-work and metal-workwere perfected. Many of the processes workedout by the Arabs were transmitted to Europe, butas late as the thirteenth century the Arabs werestill sufficiently creative to learn as well asto teach. Thus, the distillation of alcohol andthe use of the compass were taken over from Italyin the thirteenth century, and the early Europeanchurch-tower clocks were adopted and perfected. 3Commerce revived, and means of trade advanced because theIslamic economy depended mainly on exchange of goods. Theorigin of the so-called Indo-Mediterranean or Indo-Europeantrade can be traced back to the opening of the Mediterraneanby the Phoenicians and to the growing affluence of theGreeks. As trade began to flow from the Indian Ocean tothe Mediterranean along established routes, the Red SeaNile Valley route to Alexandria became important and active.Rulers of Egypt tried to secure control over theIndo-Mediterranean trade routes and constantly attemptedto attract as large a share as possible of the IndoEuropean trade for their country. Although the prosperityof the country was primarily dependent upon agriculture,income from trade, as profits and tolls levied on transit,formed an important source of revenue.29The Arabs1 conquest eliminated the frontier between Persia and the Roman Empire. It united the IndianOcean and the Mediterranean Sea politically and economically. Arab merchants, moreover, pushed vigorously to14 India and Malaya.After Tartar ravages in Iraq in the thirteenthcentury, Egypt became increasingly important as a channelfor transit goods, and her Mameluke rulers reaped enormouswealth from that trade.The rounding of the Cape of Good Hope was a deadlyblow to Egyptian trade. The Mamelukes quickly realizedits significance and with the help of the Venetians andthe Arabs in other Arab countries, attempted to destroythe Portuguese fleets in the Indian Ocean. But afterfierce battles, the Portuguese succeeded in controllingthe Indian Ocean and henceforth Indian goods started tocome to Europe by way of Lisbon. "The discovery of theCape route diverted transit trade from its territory(Egypt) and reduced it to a backwater province of theOttoman empire, deprived even of those few contacts withthe West that took place at its periphery.This impact was not immediate, however, as a large portion ofthe Far East trade continued to use the old route evenduring the seventeenth century.As mentioned earlier, the early medieval ageswere promising for Egypt’s development, but the socialand economic development which accompanied the introduction30of Islam in Egypt was stifled in the thirteenth andfourteenth centuries by the following:1. The warlike Crusaders, who went to the HolyLand, destroying cities and turning them into ruins;2. The Tartars, who came later to the MiddleEast, destroying Baghdad and wrecking and burning Damascus,the greatest centers of civilization at that time;3. The Mamelukes, a military class with an inferiority complex, who ruled with brutality and made noeffort to develop or even to protect what the Arabs hadfounded;4. The Ottomans, who tried unsuccessfully to rulethe Arab World from Constantinople and pushed Egypt deepinto the Dark Ages by the deportation of thousands ofartisans from Egypt to Constantinople;5. The repeated famines, 1201, 1202, 1294, 1398,and 1404, which added a disturbing factor to the economyand were one source of economic insecurity;6. The discovery of the Cape of Good Hope route,which diverted some of the transit trade from the Mediterranean and weakened Egypt's contacts with the West,thus eliminating a main source of income.Thus, the aftermath of all the above-mentionedfactors sent Egypt into a decline from which she did notrecover until the advent of foreign troops coming to occupyand colonize in the late eighteenth century.31By 1798 the population of Egypt, which hadnumbered about six to seven million in Romanand early Arab times, had shrunk to some 2.5million, of whom perhaps 250,000 lived in Cairoand 8,000 in the ruins of Alexandria.16The reaction to the French campaign and its aftermath had positive effects on almost all aspects of lifein Egypt. The masses reacted unfavorably to foreign occupation, which led to the strengthening and growth ofnationalism within and beyond the Egyptian frontiers.Science and knowledge brought by Napoleon nurtured theseeds of hope for change and planted new seeds of revolutionary energy and aspirations.Mohammed Ali came at a time when the popular awakening was growing and becoming deeply rooted. He led thatawakening and turned it into the driving force behind hisreign. Between the French campaign in 1798 and the Britishoccupation in 1882, Egypt was transformed from feudalismto capitalism:Under Mohammed Ali, the land system was considerably modified. On the one hand, large tractsof uncultivated land were granted to the Viceroy’srelatives and followers. On the other, plots ofthree to five feddans were allotted to peasantswho, though not enjoying legal ownership of theland, could freely dispose of the produce. Acadaster was made and the collective villageresponsibility for taxation abolished in favorof individual responsibility. In 1846 transfersand mortgages of property were authorized. UnderSaid, the rights of male and subsequently femaleheirs were recognized. In 1871 Ismail’s financialembarrassments led him to offer absolute propertyrights to all those paying six years' taxes inadvance (Mukabah law). In 1858, foreigners wereauthorized to purchase land. *32Thus Mohammed Ali and his followers moved Egyptian agriculture from communal to small-scale individual ownership.They also extended the area cultivated from about threemillion feddans in 1813 to about 4.7 million feddans in1877. Cotton was expanding, but at the expense of wheatcultivation. Mohammed Ali introduced new varieties ofcotton and monopolized its export. The profitable cottoncultivation was one of the main incentives behind the expansion of irrigation, railroads, and trade:Cotton, moreover, requires adequate transport.Mohammed Ali connected Alexandria with the Nileby means of Mahmoudia Canal, and re-created thecity. Egypt was also becoming an important linkin the overland route to India and in 1851 a railway was laid down between Cairo and Alexandria.By 1880, Egypt had over 1300 kilometers of railand 5,200 kilometers of telegraphs. Three Egyptianand sixteen foreign steamship lines touched Egyptianports and the Suez Canal had been opened to international trade. The necessary financial machinerywas also set up. The reform of 1835 gave Egyptiansa bimetallic currency and stabilized the rate ofexchange with sterling and the franc until 1914.After 1864 there was a spectacular growth of commercial and mortgage banks.18Under Mohammed Ali industry revived. His main objective was to supply his army and navy with their needs,thereby reducing his dependence on foreign sources. Arms,machine tools, and even steam engines were produced. Sugar,glass, paper, oil, and cloth industries revived. But theseaccomplishments broke down rapidly as the English influencespread in the Ottoman Empire. The Anglo-Turkish CommercialConvention of 1838 permitted British traders to buy andsell anywhere within the Ottoman dominions. Thus, protectingEgyptian industry could not be continued, and in 1841Mohammed Ali was forced to reduce his army.33By the mid nineteenth century Egypt was progressing. Industry was expanding again due to the establishmentof new industries and the revival of old ones. Followingthe construction of roads, railways, and canals, especiallythe Suez Canal, commercial activities, national and international, increased rapidly. Agriculture expanded, andproductivity rose because of the new system of land tenure,the many new canals and bridges on the Nile, and the expansion of cotton cultivation. National income and employment was rising; even labor was becoming scarce, in spiteof the increase in population.By the year 1882 the movement of the popular awakening was impeded and was followed by a setback in Egypt'sprogress and development of her economy. Egypt had towait for the changing of national and international situations at the end of the second World War to start rebuilding. The setback can be explained by the following:1. The royal family in Egypt, being foreign,worked for itself. It created a two-class system—a smallminority to back them and share the exploitation of thepeasant, and the large majority of peasants who had nothingmore than a subsistance standard of living.2. The Suez Canal, which rendered an immenseservice to the world, made foreign intervention in Egypt'saffairs inevitable. The tens of thousands of suffering34Egyptians who built the canal were badly exploited byforeigners who owned the shares, pocketed the profits,and reinvested them in London and Paris. Economic exploitation, followed by political intervention, led tothe military occupation of Egypt by England.3. The setback was taking place at a time whencolonialism was changing from mere competitive occupationof colonies by colonial powers to a stage of economicexploitation by international financial monopolies.4. Industry, unable to develop freedom of competition, died or declined tremendously after rights weregiven to the British traders to move more freely withinthe Ottoman Empire, of which Egypt was a part.5. Agriculture was moving back to the feudal system. Large estates were granted to members of the royalfamily and to their followers. The area in the hands ofthe peasants either remained constant or declined, thuslowering productivity through the continuous process offragmentation from inheritance.6. Income was unevenly distriAswan DamAswan Dam - LocationThe Aswan Dam is built on the River Nile, just south of the city of Aswan in Egypt.There are actually two dams at Aswan. The Aswan Low Dam that was completed in1902 and the Aswan High Dam that was completed in 1970. The Low Dam is nearerto Aswan than the High Dam. When people talk about the Aswan Dam, they areusually referring to the newer and bigger Aswan High Dam.Aswan Dam - BackgroundThe High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1970. Its aim was to increasethe amount of hydroelectric power, regulate the flooding of the Nile and increaseagricultural production.The Aswan High Dam is 3,830 metres long, 980 metres wide at the base, 40 metreswide at the crest (the top) and 111 metres tall. It contains 43 million cubic metres ofmaterial. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres per second of water can pass throughthe dam. The reservoir, named Lake Nasser (named after Egypt's president at thetime), is 550 km long and 35 km at its widest with a surface area of 5,250 squarekilometres. It holds 111 cubic kilometres of water.ADVANTAGES OF ASWAN DAM DISADVANTAGES OF ASWAN DAM The building of the dam has allowed farming to continue, even duringdrought years e.g. 1972 and 1973. This reduces the dependency onfood imports. Up to 3.4 million hectares have been irrigated by the Nile, increasingthe agriculture output of Egypt. The hydroelectric power accounts for 45% of Egypt's energy needs.This figure will obviously reduce as the Egyptian economy developsand the size of the Egyptian population increases. The dam has improved navigation upstream and downstream, LakeNasser is now easily navigated and there are less seasonalvariations downstream as the amount of water released is regulated. The improvement in navigation has increased tourism on the RiverNile. The dam itself has become an important tourist attraction alongwith the temples that line the river. The amount of fishing behind the dam in Lake Nasser has increasedsupporting the local fishing industry. The flood control of the dam saved lives in 1965, 1965, 1975 and1987. Also less flooding means that there are no flood repair costsand insurance premiums are also cheaper. The building and maintenance of the dam has created many jobsand taught local workers new skills. Up to 100,000 Nubian (indigenous Egyptians) were forced to move from their ancestral homes. Evaporation of water has increased with the construction of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser. It isestimated that about 10% of the water is lost through evaporation. Deposition of sediment within Lake Nasser is estimated at 100 million tonnes each year. Theincreased sedimentation may put stress on the dam, reduce the depth of the lake and therefore theamount it can store and also prevent the nutrients from reaching farmland downstream. There has been some increase in clear water erosion below the dam i.e. erosion is still taking placebut there is no deposition to replace the eroded material. The Nile delta is eroding at 25mm a year (no sediment to be deposited). This might sound a smallamount, but the erosion maybe further compounded by rising sea levels. It is estimated that $100 million worth of artificial fertilisers have to be used every year to replace thenutrients (alluvium) trapped behind the dam. This obviously has an economic cost, but there is also theenvironmental cost of using chemicals and possibly the social cost of people consuming thechemicals. The changing ecosystems have reduced the amount of fish (overfishing and rising population also playa part) being caught. Sardine yields are down by 95% causing 3,000 jobs to be lost. The increase in the amount of standing water has increased the amount of mosquitoes and thediseases that they carry e.g. malaria and dengue. Fertile agricultural land in Sudan was lost that Egypt had to pay compensation for. Poor management has increased the salinity of the water and soil. This has reduced crop yields by upto one third in some areas. Fertilisers, chemicals and waste is no longer flushed away by the Nile's annual floods. Archeological sites were either lost or had to be moved with the flooding of Lake Nasser e.g. AbuSimbel Temple. The total cost of building the dam was estimated at about $1 billion. Currently Egypt and Sudan get 90% of the Nile's water. Other countries that the Nile floes through areunhappy and have asked for more. This could lead to conflict or the amount of water Egypt receives,reducing. East Africa Countries Seek More Nile Water from Egypt - BBC article The weight of the dam and the reservoir has increased the amount of seismic stress in the area.Egypt's earthquake in November 1981 was actually blamed on the damCHANGES TO HYDROLOGY UPSTREAM OF DAMS CHANGES TO HYDROLOGY DOWNSTREAM OF DAMS Increased evaporation rates because reservoirs have a larger surfacearea than rivers. An increase in the amount of surface store (reservoirs are an artificialstore). A reduction in the velocity of the river upstream. The river waseffectively flowing into a stationary store of water. Increased sedimentation can lower the depth of the river and thereservoir. Again this will reduce velocity and may also reduce storagecapacity. River discharge will decrease because water is being held behind thedam. A rivers' discharge may become more regular (less extremes) becausethe flow of water is regulated. Clear water erosion may cause the bed of the river to lower. There is nosediment (load) to be deposited to replace erosion. The amount of load transported by the river will reduce because lesssediment is reaching downstream. The salinity of the water and the ground may increase. The temperature of the water may reduce, as water released fromreservoirs is often colder (reservoir deeper than river). The water may also be less oxygenated than natural free flowing water. With smaller discharge the velocity of the river may decrease, becausethe level of the river is further below bankfull discharge so the hydraulicradius is smaller. The amount of depositional landforms may reduce e.g. alluvial fans,levees, deltas and slip off slopes.From Greenfield Geography
Aswan&DamThe Aswan&Dam may$refer$to$either$of$two dams$situated$across$the Nile River$in Aswan, Old&Aswan&Dam,$or the$ High$ Dam$ was$ constructed$ between$ 1960$ and$ 1970.$ Both$ projects$ aimed$ to$increase$economic$ production$ by$ regulating$ the$annual$ riverflooding and$ providing$ storage$ of$water$ for agriculture,$ and$later,$ to$ generate hydroelectricity.$ Both$ have$ had$ significant$impact$on$ theeconomy and culture$ of$ Egypt.$ The$ Old$ Aswan$ Dam$ was$ built$ at$ the$ former first$cataract the$ dams$ were$ built,$ the$ River$ Nile flooded each$ year$ during$ late$ summer,$ as$ water$flowed$ down$ the$ valley$ from$ its East$ Africandrainage$ basin.$ These$ floods$ brought$ high$ water$and$ natural nutrients and minerals that$ annually$ enriched$ the$ fertile soil along$thefloodplain and drought and famine occasionally$ occurred.$ As Egypt's$ population grew$ and$conditions$ changed,$ both$ a$ desire$ and$ ability$ developed$ to$ control$ the$ floods,$ and$ thus$ both$protect$ and$ support farmland and$ the$ economically$ important cotton crop.$ With$the reservoir earliest$ recorded$ attempt$ to$ build$ a$ dam$ near$ Aswan$ was$ in$ the$ 11th$ century,$ when$the Iraqi polymath$and$engineer Ibn$alPHaytham(known$as Alhazen Fatimid$Caliph, AlPHakim$biPAmr$Allah,$to$regulate$the flooding$of$the$Nile,$a$task$requiring$ an$ early$ attempt$ at$ an$ Aswan$ Dam. After$ his field$ work convinced$ him$ of$ the$impracticality$of$ this$scheme, and$ fearing$ the$Caliph's$anger,$he feigned$madness.$He$was$kept$under house$arrest time$he$wrote$his$influential their$ 1882 invasion$ and$ occupation$ of$ Egypt,$ the$ British$ began$ construction$ of$ the$first$ dam$ across$ the$ Nile$ in$ 1898.$ Construction$ lasted$ until$ 1902,$ and$ it$ was$ opened$ on$ 10$December$ 1902,$ by$HRH$ the Duke$ of$ Connaught$and$Strathearn.$The$ project$was$ designed$ by$Sir William$ Willcocks and$ involved$ several$ eminent$ engineers$ of$ the$ time,$ including$Sir Benjamin$Baker and$Sir John$Aird,$whose$firm, Old$ Aswan$ Dam$ was$ designed$ as$ a gravityPbuttress dam;$ the$ buttress$ sections$accommodate$numerous but$ without$ retaining$ any$ yearly$ storage.$ The$ dam$ was$ constructed$ of$ rubblemasonry and$ faced$ with$ red ashlar granite.$ When$ constructed,$ the$ Old$ Aswan$ Dam$ was$ the$largest$ masonry$ dam$ in$ the$ world. The$ design$ also$ included$ a navigation$ lock of$ portage and$ the$ height$ of$ the$ dam$ was$ raised$in$ two$ phases,$ 1907–1912$ and$ 1929–1933,$ final$raising,$ level$ 36$ m$ above$ the$ original$ riverbed;[5] the$ dam$ provides$ the$ main$ route$ for$ traffic$between$ the$ city$ and$ the$ airport.$ With the$ construction$ of$ the$ High$ Dam$ upstream,$ the$ Old$Dam's$ability$ to$pass$ the$ flood's$sediments$was$lost,$as$was$ the$serviceability$provided$by$ the$locks.$ The$ previous$ Old$ Dam$ reservoir$ level$ was$ also$ lowered$ and$ now$ provides$ control$of tailwater the$ Low$ Dam$ was$ almost$ overPtopped$ in$ 1946,$ the$ British$ administration$ decided$ that$rather$ than$ raise$ the$dam$a$ third$ the AngloPEgyptian$ Treaty$ of$ 1936,$ and$ the overthrow$ of$ the$ monarchy,$ led$ by$ the Gamal$Abdel$Nasser.Planning$ for$ the$ "High$ Dam"$ proper$ began$ in$ 1954,$ following$ the$ revolution,$ and$ changed$development$priorities.$ Initially,$both$ the$US$and$USSR$were$interested$in$ Cold$War happenings,$as$well$as$growing Iraq$following$its$signing$of$the$1955 Baghdad$Pact.$ At$ that$ time$ the$ US$ feared$ that$ communism$ would$ spread$ to$ the$ Middle$ East,$ and$ construction$ of$ the$ high$ dam with$ a$ loan$ of$ US$270$ million$ in$ return$ for$ Nasser's$leadership$ in$ resolving$ the$ ArabPIsraeli$ conflict.$ While$ opposed$ both$ to$ communism$ a particularly$ criticized raid$ by$ Israel$ against$ Egyptian$ forces$ in$ Gaza$ in$ 1955,$ Nasser$realised$ the$leader$of panPArab of$State John$ Foster$Dulles and$US$President Dwight$Eisenhower told$Nasser$ that$the$ US$ would$ supply$ him$ with$ weapons$ only$ if$ they$ were$ used for$ defensive$ purposes$ Egyptian$ grain$ and$ cotton.$ On$ 27$ September$ 1955,$ Nasser$ announced$ an$ arms$ deal,$ with$Czechoslovakia$ acting$ as$ a$ middleman$ for$ the$ Soviet$ support. Instead$ of$ retaliating$ recognition$ of$ communist$ China,$ which$ was$ in direct$ conflict$ with$ Dulles'$ policy$of containment. There$ are$ several$ other$ reasons$ why$ the$ US$ decided$ to$ withdraw$ the$ offer$ of$funding.$ Dulles$ believed$ that$ the$ Soviet$ Union$ would$ not$ fulfill$ its$ commitment$ to$ help$ the$Egyptians.$He$was$ also$irritated$ by$Nasser’s$ neutrality$ and$ attempts$ to$ play$ both$ sides$ of$ June$1956$ the$Soviets$offered$Nasser$ $1,120,000,000$at$2%$interest$ for$ the$construction$of$the$ dam.$ On$ 19$ July$ the$ US$ State$ Department$ announced$ that$ it$ deemed$ American$ financial$assistance$for the$nationalization$of$the$Suez$Canal as$ well$ as$ fair$ compensation$ for$ the former$ owners.$ Nasser$ planned$ on$ the$ fund$construction$of$the$High$Dam.$The Suez$War broke$out,$The$ United$ Kingdom,$ France,$ and$ Israel$ were$ mainly$ successful$ in$ attaining$ their$ United$Nations Soviet$Union the$ 1950s$ archaeologists$ began$ raising$ concerns$ that$ several$ major$ historical$ sites$ UNESCO.$The Great$Temple$of$Abu$ Simbel was$ preserved$ by$ relocating$ 22$ monuments$ and$ architectural$ complexes$ to$ the$shores$of$Lake$Nasser$under$ the UNESCO to$countries$ that$ helped$ with$ the$ works$ (such$ as$ the Debod$ temple in$ Madrid,$ the Temple$ of$Taffeh in$ Leiden$ and$ the Temple$ of$ Dendur in$ New$ York).$ The$ remaining$ archeological$ Buhen rock and$clay$dam$was$ designed$ by$ the$ Soviet Hydroproject$ Institute along$ with$ some$ Egyptian$ engineers.$ 25$thousand$ Egyptian$engineers$and$workers$ formed$ the$ backbone$ of$ the$workforce$ required$ the$ Egyptian$ side,$ the$ project$ was$ led$ by Osman$ Ahmed$ Osman's Arab$ Contractors.$ metres$ per$ second$ of$ water$ can$ pass$ through$ the$ dam.$ There$ are$ further$ Toshka Canal$links$the$reservoir$to$the$ Toshka$ Depression.$ The$ reservoir,$ named Lake$ Nasser,$ is$ 550$ km$ long$ and$ 35$ km$ at$ on$ the$ population$ in$ the$ Nile$ Delta.$ The$ dam$ mitigated$ the$ effects$ of$ these$ dam$ powers$ twelve$ generators$ each$ rated$ at$ 175$ megawatts,$ producing$ a$ hydroelectric$output$ of$ 2.1$ gigawatts.$ Power$ generation$ began$ in$ 1967.$ When$ the$ dam$ first$ reached$ High DamThe Aswan High Dam as seen from spaceOfficial name Aswan High DamLocale EgyptCoordinates 23°5814N32°5240ECoordinates:23°5814N 32°5240EConstruction began 1960Opening date 1970DamLength 3830 mHeight 111 mBase width 980 mImpounds River NileDischarge capacityof spillway11,000 m³/sReservoirCreates Lake NasserCapacity 111 km³Surface area 5,250 km²Installed capacity 2,100 MegawattPower stationTurAswan Low DamAswan Low DamOfficial name Aswan Low DamLocale EgyptCoordinates 24°0202N 32°5157ECoordinates:24°0202N 32°5157EConstruction began 1898Opening date 1902Owner(s) EgyptDamType of dam gravity buttressLength 1,950 mHeight 36 mImpounds River NileType of spillway floodgatesReservoirCreates tailwater of LakBefore dwelling on the subject of Egypt's High A swan Dam, a briefc onsidera tion of some related aspects of Egypt's economy is included hereas a background material:I. Egypt 's economy has been and will continue to be predominantlyagrarian. Recent discoveries of industrial minerals (iron ore, manganeseand petrole um) and plans for the development of hydro-electric powe r givepromise of sizable industrial growth, but there is little doubt that Egypt willalways be an a g ricultural economy. The role of agriculture in the country'seconomy may be seen from the following figures:Yeari93819521957Yeari 950195319 56*(a) Agricultural products make up to 90% of the country's totalexports; furthermore, one product, namely cotton, constitutesthe main bulk as is shown in the following table: *Total Exp or ts(Millions of Egyptianpounds; Exports ofL. 'E. I l= ~2. 87) Raw Cotton % of Total28.6 21.2 74.1142.6 126.4 88.5170.3 124.2 7 2. 9(b) The contribution of agriculture to the total Net National Incomeis more than a third: *Net National Income Income from Agriculture(millions of Egyptian p;unds)800 . 6788.0918.2353.027 2. 8299.0%44.034.632. 6Data is taken from ECONOMIC SURVEY OF AFRICA, U.N.,N.Y., 1959.Year19471957-2-(c ) T h e rur a l p opulation constitute s about 70% of th e tota lp opulation of E gypt: *Total Population19. l million24.0 II% R ural70.067. l% U rban3 0.032.9II. E g ypt is practically a rainl e s s countr y . The northern part, that i sthe Medite rranean coast, receives 8 i nches o f rainfall per year (en tir ely inthe winte r s eason). The average rainfall in the country as a whole i s l e s sthan l i nch per year (see maps on the next two pages). Irrigation is t h e refore completely dependent on the Nile , the only waterway in the countr y.The p roductive land of Egypt is concentrated in the Nile valley and the delta.This p roductive land amounts to about 13, 500 square miles or 3. 5% of thetotal 386, 000 square miles of Egypt.III. T he rate of population increase in Egypt is one of the f astest i n theworl d; during the period from 1937 to 1947 the population was incre asingat the annual rate of 20 per sons per 1, 000. The health programs which weree xpanded during the last decade will certainly increase the rate of populationgrowth a nd result in higher man-land ratio. Cultivated area per inhabitantis now on e of the lowest in the world: O. l hectar per person. The scarcityoi cultivable l and is partly offset by the high gross returns per unit o f landwhich exc eed s by far those of mode r n agricultur e in other parts of A fricaand are among the highest in t h e worl d. * Such results are due pri marily tothe basic fe rtility of the soil of the Nile valley and delta and its responsiveness to intensive cultivation and commercial fertilizers. Fertilizer,,i40•h-- ' II ) IEconomic survey of ,\[rica since 19501 I11' o• l_ _ --- - - - -------- - - - - - -.,.. - - ... - - 1 • Ir lj I ~ Il\I250·500INCHESUNDER 1010·2020-40c,o· I~~~~· ==~0·==~~20· ~~~~ AFRICA 1;, . ..:.? ~:v . ~26 ~~?.NOV EM BER 1959AV~RAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL 00ui\lT:::O igure lI 'IiIII J ...\ \ ~ I'. i! I i Il I I ': Ii :' I { i'. ' ' I I ,i ! • ! ~ ..:l :: I• I. I I ' . I I •. 'Ii I1 }~ i i I! I i ;! i~ I~ I ' Ii II IChaptc1· 1 . Stn1clur a l aspectsA'O'S -uRr: I~ REGIONSJV\ ·-=----· -----Moistureindex- ·-- . Perhumld A~· ~ 100 mid~ ~ <(::"~ 0 Hu Cao '° ~ 2 Moist subhumld;-.,:~ W~ 0 Id C,aOry subhum: ~ -20 Semiarid~ ETI _40c~ u~~ Arid0ESubiec . t to Revision--,., ,?NO. - . 8 26 X REP.'"" ~ 1959UNITED NATIONSNOVEMBc.R9Figure 2-5-cons umption per unit land in Egypt is one of the highest in the world. * Percnnia l irrigation, practiced on a large sea.le in Egypt, makes possible thegrowing of three crops each year and thus results in considerable gain ingross revenue.With the above facts in mind, let us now examine the High AswanDam project and its projected influence on the economy of the country.*U. N., ECONOMIC SURVEY OF AFRICA, N. Y., 1959, Chapter 1.-6-T I-l .t: HI G~-i A SWAN DAM (SAD D EL-AA LI)The need fo r the p roject:Water, rather than land, is the limiting factor of agricult ura l p r o -d uction in Egypt. The flow of the Nile is fickle and unsteady. During a hi ghflood, the flow of the Nile which escapes to waste into the sea may b e s oabu ndant as to expose the country to destr uctive inundations with loss of lifea nd pr ope rty. The discharge at Aswan may be as large as 450, 0 0 0 cubicfeet per second. In a low year, the rive r flow may fall short of cultivat ionrequirements. In order to avoid these extreme fluctuations and in orde r toobtain maximum b e nefits from the availabl e water supply, it was foµnd nec -essar y to devise measures to regulate the river ' s flow. The now e xistingAswa.n Dam is not adequate enough to control the N ile's flow. In som e lowyears th e Aswan reservoir canno t be filled with the result that the irrig ationrequirements cannot be guaranteed and any further expansion and d e v e lopment of irrigation pTograms would run the risk of disaster in low yea rs.Henc e emerged the idea of constructing a HIGH DAM at Aswan, 4 miles u p -stream of the existing dam, for the storag e of all surplus wate r f or u se i nexpansion of cultivat ed land and for stabilization of the river's flow. Mor e -over , th e generation of enormous electric powe r will be of great significa ncein f urther ing the economic development of the country ..The project is the r e fore a P RODU CTIVE and PROTECTIVE wor k .The obj e ctives ar e to control the wa te r resour ces of the Nile, to expandcul tivation and to produce cheap hydro- e lectric power necessary fori n dustrialization and development.-7-TEE PROJECTThe High Dam project calls for the construction oi one of the hig hestdams in the world. The High Darn will be a rockfill dam 365 ft. i.n h eightfrom the river bed to the roadway that will cross the top of the darn. Thewater to be impounded behind the dam will create the second largest manmade lake in the world. The lake will extend 315 miles upstream with anaverage width of 6. 5 mile s and a total gross capacity of mol"e than 104 m illion acre-ft. (about 3-1 I 2 times the capacity of the Hoover Darn and a littleless than that of the new Kariba Dam in Rhodesia).After the cons true ti on of the dam, the guaranteed net annual draftfrom the reservoir is estimated to be 60 million acre-ft., about 40% inexcess of the present irrigation requirements of Egypt and the Republic ofSudan.The design of the High Darn faces many difficulties. It has to becon structed in the lake of the now existing dam where the depth of waterexceeds 115 ft. The selection of the rockfill type of constrllction rather t.'1anan earth or concrete dam was dictated by the natural features of the site andthe availability of suitable rock in the vicinity.The Nile river at the site of the High Dam is about 1900 ft. wide.The crest of the da.m will be about Z-1/ Z miles. The dam will be 3300 ft. atthe base and JOO ft. at crest level. The dam will consist of three mainstr uctures shown in the diagram of the dam's cross section. These are:the upstream cofferdam, the downstream c offerdam, and the main dam.The upstream cofferdam will serve the purpose of diverting the Nilewater during the construction of the main dam.. The upstream dam will beCross section Gf /h, dom" I -~ -0. ~.r...._, __ ,., t---------------,,.E--'--_· _._"_" _J·-~------~=== --------- --·-/----=-=J' ~--=-.-MU ----- _.., __ ,..~ · .~ .-::-:-.-----=-~.:.,_=--:-..J.;c .:=...-:--=--~,..-, ,,.,, ou.~~ .::-~t=-HZA-- l~:lt . •:·-1 1 °' !;. 3 .,:'.''•-- ""'" -' ~"\ r -- ~ .. .._ n,_ ,,.__.,.,,_.u .,_ ~~- ~~- r .. - -rr·· ·- r4 '15' -·~ - '----,: _ ,f ·---; ~LJ:,..'- "' C l 1 .Jl..t."l - ' - (/} \ I ...,-;_M __t:_~~ .. t /J'Jl"'1~l r- ~ Jltl c:..,.._.. I • l"'f I ~ .. '!,: r,.1 i " ·~~- e) ~ L ,. 0 6 ' ~ I .-;;•/ - ... •·It· _/ / . I I'l l 'r ..... ~~"!'· ·--- , n J ~~~~°''°=t~c7.T-;~..,[T ~-~" ~ JS> .·""'-' ' -e -t.> ~·· /:_ .. . .=___::_~...;:.:::::::o=::;- -s..,,t ' · _t:.,..-r-)M::~~ ~~ 111, 11 1111, I ~~· ! ~~~·· - ----• - ---~ .... ..., 1r:~:1mr 1~r-"~' .-J - :~~~~-~~~-~~;-~=~- ---~ .rr.KJl'~fl' ;::: 11;1:: i r;~-' .. - - ---,,- ---------------__ :::- -:: ::::::-_=~~~~~ :::~=~~~~-~-=~~=~~-~~.;=~*~D~!f :· -~~;~~;~~;-~ ~~~ ~~~ l0~~~~~~~ ~~ ~_-: = = :_-_ ~~--~~=----- · ----- --- ._,.,__..,~~.,,.._..JLy-, b f 1 !1 1 ::? • I__ __ -_-_-:.: ___ _ _:_-_:-_-..-_-_-_-:_·:_-_-_-_-_:: :-_-_-_-:. -_-:_-.:-.::.:-_-__-_-:_-_ -_-::::.:_ p::: ::_-..:_- _-:: :~-=-=-~=-_-:.r:.! :.:-_~ =:y:_ -_ ~ -_:_-_-~::: _-_-_-.:_-.: _-_-: :::: :-: Ii 1'-,.../,.4A./ ,I ,,_-<.::t A ""'1-- .- IJ~- ... ......._....._.. ..... .......,..__..,~ ... ---...... ............... ~._...... .... ,........,.....,...-..... ~CROSS SECTIONrated in finalbe built unders..~•• , - - ,..i.,, 6Tf+i 1 ::J - ' , • E - I - F ., ;rahow cofferdams up and downstream will be i nco:rporconsiderabl e partt:i of both co ff erds;:.s will toOF THE DAM showsstructure. Awatero- 9-rnade of rockfiil and will be progressiveiy sluiced with sand to fill the voids.The trapezoidal-shaped rockiill of this upstream cofferdam will have a basewidth of about 80 ft. It will be 150 ft. high and will extend for 1600 ft. acrossthe rive r.The downstream coffer dam , 125 ft. high, will be similar but smallerthan the upstream cofferdam. Together with the upstream dam it will allowfor the construction of the main dam in still water. The construction of themain dam will follow the completion of the cofferdams which constitute anintegral part of the whole structure. The dam will be protected againstseepage by two lines of defense: a horizontal impervious blanket in the upstream part and a vertical grout curtain descending the pervious bed of theriver to a depth of about 700 ft. until it strikes the natural rock (see crosssection of the dam).In the early stages of the project, it was proposed to pass the waterfrom the reservoir to the downstream of the dam through seven diversiontunne l s . Further studies proved that it will be preferable to dig an ope ncanal instead of these tunnels. The idea of the open canal has been adoptedas a substitute to the tunnels because it will reduce the fall in the water l evela t the upstream cofferdam thus solving the problem of gates. The diversioncanal is shown in the general layout of the project shown on the next page.The canal will be cut through the solid granite rock on the east bankof the Nil e . Six tunnels, shown in the general layout, will b e provided tocontrol the flow. The tunnels will have iron gates. The total canal l engthincluding the control tunnels will be about 6, 000 ft. and its bed width about200 f t. At the downstream end of the control tunnels the power plant will beOl..c...,.....0l o.-1-.1;-constructed. It will be one of th e bigge st hydro-electric power plants in theworld . It is designed for an ultimate capacity of 2, 100, 000 kilowatts andwill gene rate about 10 billion kilowatt-ho urs per year.It is evide nt from the above considerations that the High Dam i s oneof tne large s t and most ambitious e ngineering projects e v e r proposed. Following i s an estimate of the total expenditure for the construction of the damand a uxiliary works: *PUBLIC INVESTMENT:1. Cost of construction of the dam including cost of civil worksfor the power station and indemnities for Nubia and Wadi Half a2 . Cost of twelve turbine units and a transmission line toCairo with its branches3. Cost of irri ga tion and drainage projects necessary for theconversion of basins and the reclamation of one million acres4. Cost of constructing roads and other public utilities inthe reclaimed areaTOTAL PUBLIC INVESTMENTPRiVA TE INVESTMENT:5 . Cost of preparing lands for p e rennial irrigation6. Cost of reclaiming one million acres7 . House s for the new reclaimed areasTOTAL PRIVATE INVESTMENTMillion .c;,350.0258.0245.057.0910.021. 0210.060 . 0291. 0TOTAL COST OF THE PROJECT: $1,201,000,000(The total cost does not include interest of capital during the period ofconstruction of the project.)Of the above total cost of $1, 201 million , the project called for an expenditure of abo u t $ 500 million in Egyptian currency by the government of Egypt;1'300 million by private investors and $400 million in foreign currency.·~Data included here are taken from the U.A.R., 1961 Year Book.The conversion factor L. E+ 1 = .$2. 87 is used.-lZIn December 1955, the United States, the United Kingdom and thelnte.l·national Bank for Reconstruction and Development offered to mo.keava ilable $270 million of the total foreign currency needs. (;656 million fromthe U.S., $14 million from the U.K., and a ten year loan of $200 millionfr om the Bank.) On July 19, 1956, the United States withdrew its offer. TheUnited Kingdom and the Bank immediately followed suit.In an investigation by the Public Affiars Institute * following the with~drawal of the U. S. offer to help financing the High Dam project, the following conclusions are drawn:( 1) "Of questionable economic soundness, the project has strongp ohtical overtones. 11 The U. S. offered its financial aid primarily for thepurpose of inducing Egypt to curtail her dealings with the communistcountries.(2) The High Dam would not increase the standard of living in Egypt.P opulation increase would outstrip any benefits the project might ·produce"in terms of individual economic well-being."(3) 11The waters of the Nile can probably be harnessed less expensive -ly and more effectively."These conclusions g according to the report of the Public AffairsInstitute, challenge the validity of the High Aswan project and point out "then e cessity .for a new look at the development problems of East Africa a nd theMiddle East. 1 1The judgment of the Int ernat ional Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment may b e gathered from two documents: The Economic Develop -m e nt of E gypt, (Aug. 19 55), and A Preliminary Technical R e port, (F' e b.*Morris L. Cooke, NASSER'S HIGH ASWAN DAM, Public Affairs Institute,.'.'::. s hinl!ton , D. C., 1956.-13-1955) . The project, according to these documents, is economically andtechnically feasibl e . However , the Bank 1 s documents emphasize the factthat the construction of the project would impose upon E gypt a p e riod of rigidausterity. The project, when completed, will not increas e the living standards b ut it will "at l east pr event a disastrous deterioration ••• and give thecountry a breathing spell which will provide an opportunity for broadeningthe industrial base of the country."T he withdrawal of the Western offer to finance the Dam project wasthe precipitating factor for the Egyptian nationalization of the Suez Canal andthe subs e quent strengthening of economic relations with the Eastern countries. A n agreement was reached in December 1958 with the Soviet Unionfor a loa n of 400 million Rubles (about $100 million) to meet the foreign exchange requirements of :the first stage , that is, construction of the cofferdams, the diversion canal, and the six tunnels. This loan will cover allexpenses connected with technical assistance and delivery from the SovietUnion of all equipment and materials. The loan bears an interest o f 2. 5%a nd is repayable in 12 years as from 1964. On the 8th of January 1960 it wasofficially announced that the Soviet Union would participate in the financingand execution of the second stage or the project on the· same basis. Anagreem ent was reached in August 1960 for a loan of 900 million Ruble s(.'t225 million) to meet the foreign exchange requirement of the second stage.This includes the construction of the project to its final stage, together wi t hthe power station and transmissi on networks to Cairoo This arrangementwill enable the m e rging of the two stages with the result that expenditure w illbe cut d own and the time required for completion shortened.-14-1:3EI\.2I·~ITS OF J:'HE PROJECTAccording to reports publis hed by the U. A . R. Ministry of the HighDam , the prcject will bring substantial gains to the national economy of thecountry. The following are some of the special benefits and advanta geswhich the entel-pri se w ill guarantee to Egypt: *1. Exp<:.&1sion of cultivation by about l. 8 million acres includingthe conversion ot: nearly 700, 000 acr es in the south of Egypt_ to the per e nnialirrigation sy ste:_n. The increase in cultivable area will be about 30% of itsp r esent size.2 . Guarantee of requireme nts even in years of low supply.This will increase the yield of the existing and the newly irrigated ar eas.3. Improving drainage conditions in cultivated lands thus increasingtheir output.4. The cultivation of 700, 000 acres of rice every year.5. Complete protection against high floods, thus eliminating damagecaused to many cultivation.6 . Improving navigation conditions in the Nile.7. Increasing the pow er capacity of the existing Aswan Dam.8. Producing hydro-electric power potential of about 10 billionkilowatt hours per year. This is about five times the energy now beingconsumed from the hydro-electric power of the existing dam.9. I mproving the balance of Egypt's i nternational payment a s theproject will result in saving in annual imports and in an increase in exportearnings.>l< U . A .R. Ministry of Sadd El-Aali, SADD EL-AALI PROJECT, J a n. 1962.-15-10. Employment of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in the reclamation of land and in the new industries.Expressing these advantages in figures, the estimate of the High D a mMinistry of Egypt is as follows:*A . INCREASE IN NATIONAL INCOME1. Increase in national income from expansion ofcultivated land by about one million acres andconversion of basins in the south of Egypt toperennial irrigation2. Guarantee of water requirements, improvingdrainage conditions and the cultivation of 700, 000acres of rice every year3. Protection against high floods, prevention ofseepage to lands alongside the river embankments,and protection of islands and river banks frominundation4.5.Improving navigation conditions due to full controlof the Nile's flow downstream of the damProduction of hydro-electric power and improvingthe ting plantTOTALB . INCREASE IN GOVERNMENT INCOME1. Increase from taxa tion on new cultivated areasa nd from extra taxation on existing areas due tothe improvement of their output2. Increase of Government income as a result ofimproving navigation conditions and from savingexpenditure on flood protection measures3. Increase of Government income from the hydroelectric power plant at the High Dam.'f, millions190. INCREASE IN GOVERNMENT INCOME :62. 0* U.A.R., Ministry of Sadd El-Aali, SADD EL-AALI PROJECT, Jan. 1962.-16-The annual increase in Government income is about 7% of the total$91 0 million public investment which the project calls for . In other words,the cost of the project to the Government will be covered in a period ofabout 15 years. Considering the total increase in national income as aresult of the project ($747 million), it is revealed that the project will coverits whole cost in about two years.BIBLIOGRAPHYW. G. Bowman, "Construction Begins on Aswan Dam - Russian Style,"Engineering News -Record, Feb. 23, 1961, PP• 32-38.M . L. Cooke, Na sser ' -; High Aswan Dam, Panacea or Politics,Public Affairs Institute, Washington 3, D. C.H . A . Dawood, "Agrarian Reform in Egypt," Current History, Vol. 30,June 1956, pp. 331-338.Engineering News -Record, " Egypt's High Dam," Nov . 24, 1955, pp. 67-70.M . A . Selim, "A Basic Step Towards Full Utilization of the Nile River, 11Civil Engineering, Aug. 1958, pp. 591-595.N. V. Sovani, Economics of a Multipurpo se River Dam, Asia PublishingHouse, Bombay, 1960.U. A . R ., Ministry of Sadd El-Aali, Sadd El-Aali Pro ject, Jan. 1962.U. A. R ., 1961 Year Book , Information Department, Cairo (in Arabic).U.N., Economic Survey of Africa Since 1950, U.N. Dept. of Economicand Social Affairs, N. Y., 1959.H . Zaki, The Aswan High Dam, U.A.R., Information Dept. , Cairo, 1961.
Assessing the Impact of the Aswan High Dam on Archaeological Monuments in EgyptB y M i s s K e l l y A . N e h e r ( D r . S t e v e n D e r f l e r , f a c u l t y s p o n s o r ) , D e p a r t m e n t o f A r t , U n i v e r s i t y o f W i s c o n s i n - R i v e r F a l l s , 4 1 0 S o u t h T h i r d S t r e e t , R i v e r F a l l s , W I 5 4 0 2 2During the 1950ʼs, the Egyptian government faced a period of rapid population increase and economic instability. While under intensepolitical pressure, President Nasser began searching for a means to independently increase production of national agriculture, energy,and associated manufacturing. In the 1960ʼs, the Soviet Union aided the country in constructing the Aswan High Dam along the NileRiver to regulate agricultural irrigation systems and produce hydroelectric power. What effect has this had on Egypt and its expanse ofarchaeological treasures? This study witnesses the obliteration of countless artifacts and monuments, the destructive effects of increasingsalinity on remaining sites, as well as other social, ecological, and agricultural consequences. Today, preservation funding has taken a backseat to current issues, while this impoverished countryʼs resources are best spent on its current population. The conservation of our ancientpast depends on the cooperation of other countries and individuals who understand the value of these antiquities and who are willing tomake an effort to protect them for future generations.Research AbstractIn the center of Africa, the nurturing veins of the Nile River creep across the mountains and plateaus, gently traversing the 4,200 milejourney to the Mediterranean Sea. The river stretches through Egypt, dispersing from the mouth of the Nile Delta, and was responsible inantiquity for the creation of the Egyptian Empire. Throughout the course of time, great civilizations in history have grown and evolvedalong the edges of our worldʼs magnifi cent rivers. Water, one of earthʼs most plentiful resources, is the lifeblood of human existence, andhas therefore played a crucial role in the support and expansion of our speciesʼ development. By providing the means to cultivate food,replenish fl uids, and facilitate travel and construction, the river acted as a nourishing mother to early Egyptians.The survival and religious beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians revolved around the inundation, or fl ooding, of the Nile. Each year, the pharaohʼs high priests would await the appearance of the star Sirius to announce the coming fl ood season. They believed that the sacred eventof the annual inundation was caused by the tears of the mother goddess Isis crying for her murdered husband, the god Osiris. Known as thesepdet, this fl ooding from August to October would restart the Egyptian calendar and bring either abundance or scarcity to the pharaohʼspeople. A yearʼs worth of crops could be eradicated with a high fl ood, while drought and famine would plague the years of a low fl ood.These effects were devastating and weighed highly upon the pharaoh; therefore, many religious rituals were aimed towards appeasing Hapy,the deity of the Nile fl ood.Nevertheless, the river was a fair mother and a provider to the full length of the river valley. Each year she would deposit close to four million tons of silt and sediment on her shores, infusing the soil with rich nutrients. As a result, the fertility of the Nile Valley was unsurpassedand its abundance of luscious crops allowed the Ancient Egyptian civilization to grow and fl ourish. Isolated from the infl uences of othersocieties, their religious beliefs and way of life went undisturbed for close to one thousand years. During this time, the Egyptians createdawe-inspiring temples, tombs, and monuments that would amaze travelers for thousands of years.Nile River: Mother of EgyptOver many hundreds of years from the past to the near present, Egypt would be occupied by foreign forces from throughout the surrounding continents, including the Roman-Byzantine Empire, Turkey, and most recently, Great Britain. At the end of the nineteenth century, afterpillaging the remnants of Egyptʼs great ancient society, the British discovered one of the countryʼs other treasures: cotton. The occupation atthis time was forced to face the demands of an exploding population and economy while further supporting the lucrative cotton trade whichthey had established. The proposed solution of building a dam along the Nile River would, in effect, reduce the variance in the annual Nileinundation and improve irrigation to cotton fi elds throughout the valley. These factors would increase production, and therefore wouldincrease profi ts. Aswan in southern Egypt was chosen as an ideal location because the fi rst cataract of the Nile provided close parallelshorelines, as well as a natural barrier for the dam.From 1899 to 1902, the British constructed the Aswan Dam under the supervision of William Wilcox. The dam was one of the largest of itskind in the early twentieth century, yet its impressive size would prove to be inadequate; its height would need to be increased twice withinthe following thirty years. The dam had slightly reduced the annual fl ood, effectively enhanced agricultural irrigation, and added aroundone million additional acres of cropland.By 1946, the accumulation of water behind the dam had reached threatening levels. The Egyptian authorities decided that another damwas necessary in order to keep this one from overfl owing. Planning was suspended for several years while the Egyptians attempted to gainindependence from foreign rule. In 1952, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser would ascend to power, becoming the fi rst contemporary Egyptianto rule Egypt, and he would lay plans to construct a mighty dam to relieve his country of its suffering.Historical SettingJust after the Nasser Revolution, the United States announced its plans to lend Egypt close to $270 million for the construction of a HighDam four miles south of Aswan. The World Bank was also going to provide a tremendous share, offering fi nancing totalling close to $1billion. With planning just underway, the United States, United Kingdom, and World Bank suddenly withdrew their aid offers in 1956 forno apparent reason. Nasser was forced to look elsewhere for funding, so he ordered the nationalization of the Suez Canal, intending to usethe revenues to fi nance his dam. As the cold war intensifi ed, the Soviet Union began to look towards Egypt as a foothold for expanding itssphere of infl uence into Africa and as a gateway into the Mediterranean. In 1958, the Soviets announced their plan to pay one third of thedamʼs costs as a gift, as well as to help fi nance the remainder and provide the necessary equipment, labor, and knowledge. Military advisors, technicians, and engineers were sent along with the architectural designs of the Russian Zuk Hydro-project Institute.Construction of the Aswan High Dam began in 1960 after the signing of the Nile Water Agreement between Egypt and its southern neighborSudan. With close to 35,000 workers involved, the assembly of the High Dam created one of the greatest public work projects since thepyramids. Built of earth and granite surrounding a clay and concrete inner core, the massive dam appears as a thick scar across the beautifulterrain of Aswan. The structure is unique though, and far surpasses most others in size and ability.The fi rst stage in the damʼs erection was completed in 1964 when the reservoir behind the dam began to fi ll. The water, at capacity, wouldeventually span a distance of close to fi ve hundred miles, forming what is now known as Lake Nasser. The body of water is one of thelargest artifi cial lakes in the world, holding almost 165 cubic kilometers of water. As the completion of the dam neared, work began on amassive monument to celebrate cooperation and friendship between Egypt and the Soviet Union. The trophy-like offering was dedicatedwith the completion of the second stage in 1971. Today, the structure pierces into the sky like fi ve daggers symbolizing the tragic loss ofpart of our worldʼs precious history.Aswan High Dam: Scar of EgyptIn January of 2005, I stood on the edge of the great dam at Aswan and peered outover the serene blue waters of Lake Nasser. Instead of feeling a sense of wonderand amazement, I felt deep sorrow. The lake, so calm, possessed such a deceivingfacade. A sign near the water’s edge states, “The construction of the High Dam is achallenge to silent nature.” The dam, and consequential creation of Lake Nasser,provided a challenge that nature and humankind can not afford to lose.1879 High fl oods cause signifi cant damage1902 British complete Aswan Dam1912 Dam raised to avoid overfl ow1914 Major drought causes signifi cant damage1933 Dam raised again to avoid overfl ow1946 Dam almost overfl owsEgypt realizes need for second dam1952 Gamal Abdel Nasser comes into powerPlanning begins for Aswan High Dam1956 Nasser offi cially becomes presidentUS, UK, and World Bank withdraw aidoffers for constructionNasser orders nationalization of Suez Canal1958 Soviet Union offers to fi nance dam1959 Nile Water Agreement between Sudan andEgypt signals beginning of work1960 Construction begins on High DamHydroelectric power station added to LowDamUNESCO begins Nubian Rescue Campaign1963 Work begins to disassemble and reassemblethe Abu Simbel temples in higherlocation1964 Stage One complete: Reservoir behind HighDam begins to fi ll1967 Hydroelectric power generation begins atHigh Dam1970 Stage Two complete: High Dam fi nished1971 High Dam dedicated with Soviet UnionFriendship Monument1974 Work begins to disassemble and reassemblePhilae Island temples in higher locationTragic Losses for the History of HumanityThe Nile Valley is home to the cradle of civilization, the beginnings of humanity as we know it. Here we fi nd the end of a hunter-gatherer society and the transition to anagriculturally sustained community, the development of metallurgy, and the start of monotheistic religion. Nearly half of the worldʼs ancient antiquities have been foundin Egypt, outlining thousands of years worth of human evolution. Through the study of these artifacts, archaeologists and anthropologists painstakingly piece together theanswers to historyʼs questions: where did we come from, where are we going, and why are we here? The Aswan High Dam has threatened the pursuit of these questions.When Nasser planned the construction of his dam, he ignored the fact that countless known archaeological treasures lay buried beneath the sands that Lake Nasser wouldsoon occupy. When the Soviet Union began building the dam, there was a world-wide outcry to save the ancient monuments and artifacts. Vittorino Veronese, theDirector General of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientifi c, and Cultural Organization), issued a desperate plea to the international community to rescue theAncient Egyptian remnants. In 1960, over sixty individual expeditions joined the UNESCO “Nubian Rescue Campaign” to save as many monuments as possible. Theteams surveyed hundreds of sites, during which excavations were conducted and substantial amounts of records were collected. They recovered thousands of artifacts andattempted to salvage whatever possible.The campaign successfully relocated twenty four monuments to safer areas; twenty from Egypt and four from Sudan. The temples of Kalabasha, Abu Simbel, and Philaewere among those transported to landscapes above the fl oodwaters; the Debod Temple was reassembled in Madrid, Spain, while the Roman temple of Dendur now rests in theMetropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Unfortunately, not all could be saved. At least twelve more temples remain in the cold dark depths of Lake Nasser.The effects of the dam continue to threaten these monuments today. Most of the temples and tombs in Ancient Egypt were constructed out of limestone or sandstone, twosedimentary rocks that would have formed in the salty waters of ancient seas. Within the blocks of stone, high inactive salt compounds sat dormant for thousands of years.The water table in Egypt is rising due to Lake Nasser, and as farmers continue to use the dam to keep their irrigation channels fi lled year round, the water accelerates towardsthe surface. Upon reaching the blocks of stone that support the ancient temples, the liquid activates the salt and forces it to the outer surface. The water then evaporates,leaving behind a coating of salt that will eventually fl ake off, taking any paint or hieroglyphic inscriptions with it. In addition, the salinity within the blocks is expanding andweakening the chemical bonds that are holding the sediment together. As these bonds crumble, so do the monuments. The salt crystals even have the ability to form inside ofnatural faults or cracks; when the crystals expand, the fault is snapped and the stone crashes down.Many monuments and artifacts were saved from the smothering waters ofLake Nasser, yet countless more remain underneath the glistening surface.Numbered markers, like these on Philae Island, were used to disassemble and reassemble the temples. The monuments were moved piece bypiece to higher ground as a result of the Nubian Rescue Campaign.The top of the coffer dam that was built around the Philae Island temples tohold back the rising waters of Lake Nasser still remains today. From 1974to 1979, the temples were moved to nearby Agilkia Island, which had beenresurfaced to mirror the topography of the original Philae Island.The temples of Ramses II and Nefertari at Abu Simbel were also moved block by blockto higher ground. The project took fi ve years to complete and cost over $40 million.Salt deposits in and on temple walls are causing paint and hieroglyphicinscriptions to fl ake off, while the expansion of salt crystals withintemple blocks are making the monuments crumble. The High Damis forcing Egyptʼs water table to rise and this increased salinity is oneconsequence.“Through the restoration of the past, we have helped to build the future of mankind” - on a sign near the temples at Abu SimbelAdditional Consequences ConclusionAt least 90,000 Nubian villagers were displaced from their homes, which had been occupied for many generations,when Lake Nasser fl ooded Lower NubiaThe nutrient-rich silt that contributed to the fertility of the Nile Valley and Delta is now stuck behind the High Damlike wasted wealth, contributing to the growing lack of soil nutrients downstreamThe Egyptian government has spent close to $5 billion in building artifi cial fertilizer plants and Egyptian farmers nowspend millions each year on chemical fertilizers (which contribute to rapidly growing pollution rates)Evelina Rioukhina of UNECE reports that the dam has nurtured the growth of phytoplankton, small green fl oatingfoliage that has created the need for increased chlorine in drinking waterThe Mediterranean coastline, as well as the farmland in the Nile Delta, has begun to erode away due to the lack ofnew sediment depositsThe stagnant waters of Lake Nasser provide a protected breeding ground for snails carrying horrendousSchistosomisis bacteria, otherwise known as Bilharzia, this disease causes severe infection of the bowel andbladderThe economy of Mediterranean fi sheries depends on the plentiful fl ow of silicates and phosphates to the sea,researchers Sayed El-Sayed and Gert L. van Dijken reported that the average fi sh catch declined by 75% after theconstruction of the High DamThe pressure of the extra water behind the High Dam has caused seepage to the surrounding land and has increasedthe potential for seismic activity according to Evelina RioukhinaThe reduced fl ow of the Nile River has allowed sea water from the Mediterranean to creep inland, thus increasing thesalinity in nearby farmlandSo what can, or must, be done? The answer depends on the values of the Egyptian people and the pocketbooks of theinternational community. When the ancient temples have fi nally crumbled into oblivion, Egypt will fi nd little support for the parasitic-like settlements that have begun to feed off the tourists that visit these treasures. As one of thecountryʼs largest sources of income, the tourism industry exists in Egypt solely because of its rich cultural heritage.Yet, the temples are exploited and abused.Why? Because the Egyptians have nothing else. Children who were no older than three were coming up to me inthe streets, begging for money, pens, tissues, or whatever else I was willing to give. Their faces were dirty, clotheswere tattered, and feet were exposed. This is the only life they will ever know. Egypt does not have the extra incomeneeded to preserve the past, and it makes sense that a government would chose to provide free health care to its entirepopulation long before choosing to save a bunch of structures that have been sitting around collecting dust for a fewmillennia. Yet there are people like myself who care about this tragedy and want to see something done about it.During the construction of the Coa Dam in Portugal, an ancient site was unearthed. According to the World Commission on Dams, the country abandoned the construction project, despite losing close to $150 million that had alreadybeen invested. It is measures like this that must be taken in future situations. The Egyptian government has taken astep in the right direction by allowing research teams from other countries to help excavate the ancient ruins.With the help of the International Association of Egyptologists, Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SupremeCouncil of Antiquities, has taken considerable steps to preserve the past. In his keynote speech at the 9th International Congress of Egyptologists he outlined several specifi c goals that they are working towards:The Association shall openly discuss problems affecting Egyptological studies, and shall encourage and promote thestudy of Egyptology in all its aspects on an international basis.The Association shall prepare the Annual Egyptological Bibliography, and shall sponsor such international projectspertaining to documentation, dictionaries, and so on as are of importance to the scientifi c development ofEgyptologyThe Association shall collect and distribute information concerning new discoveries, scientifi c work in progress andwork completedThe Association shall encourage collaboration between scholars and existing associations as well as the creation ofFellowships, Scholarships, etc. in EgyptologyThe Association shall promote a wider understanding and appreciation of Egyptology on the part of the general publicby encouraging and supporting exhibitions, etc.The Association shall encourage the preservation of the cultural and historic heritage of the ancient inhabitants of theNile Valley.I believe that through the pursuit of these goals, many monuments and artifacts will be saved that would otherwise belost. Egyptologists can focus on the studying the breadth of knowledge that is already available as well, so that theymay collect information that might be lost if the temples do not survive. The most important step though is to informothers and gather support, which is the main purpose of this presentation.University of WisconsinR I V E R F A L L S

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