The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC. 3150 BC 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.Egypt's economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, and is projected to become one of the largest in the 21st century.In 2016, Egypt overtook South Africa and became Africa's second largest economy.Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government.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.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, 19, and occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967.In 1980, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords, withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and recognising Israel.
The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited.
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.
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.