A republic in northwest africa. Its capital is cairo. It was a very ancient kingdom which, by ca. 3000 b.c., was one of the early civilizations of the ancient world. It was the centre of hellenistic culture 330-323 b.c. And part of the roman empire from 30 b.c. Until the arab conquest in 640 a.d. Egypt was successively administered by the ottoman empire, the british, and the french from 1517 to 1914. It was established as a republic in 1953. The latin name aegyptus and the greek aiguptos are renderings of the egyptian hut-ka-ptah, hut (temple) + ka (soul) + ptah (ptah, the famous god), temple of the soul of ptah. The egyptian name for egypt was kemet, meaning black country, with reference to the dark skin of the ancient egyptians. This in turn is from ham, the second son of noah, whose name is of uncertain origin.

(12 Dec 1998)

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