Egypt: Then & Now By Karla Staley

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Egypt: Then & Now

By Karla Staley

Application Question: How did imperialism affect the Egypt we see today?

So What: Our past effects are present. Did imperialism have a significant impact on Egypt’s development?

NCSS Thematic Strand:

I: Culture

II: Time, Continuity, and Change

III: People, Places, and Environments

Ohio Academic Content Standard:



5. Analyze the perspectives of the colonizers and the colonized concerning:

b. Natural resources

c. Labor

d. Political systems

6. Explain the global impact of imperialism including:

c. Exploitation of African resources

People in Societies:


3. Explain how advances in communication and transportation have impacted:

c. The environment

g. Religion

Grade Level: 9th grade

Class Periods Required: one 50-minute period

Purpose, Background, and Context:

This context of this lesson is a unit looking at Africa and how colonization has or has not affected the development of various countries that had previously been colonized by European powers.

The purpose of this lesson is to investigate how the physical geography of a place can affect the civilizations of the people there.

The background of this lesson is that the unit would have begun with an overview of imperialism and its affects (at the time) on the places in Africa that had been colonized by European powers.

Goals/Objectives/Student Outcomes/Performance Expectations:

  • Student will be able to describe the change from life in ancient Egypt to life in modern Egypt.

  • Students will explain the immediate effects of imperialism (and colonization) on life in Egypt.

  • Students will draw conclusions and justify their answers as the affect imperialism had on how Egypt is today (why or why not).


See attached.


Procedure 1: 5 minutes

Hook: Free write on how you would feel if all of a sudden people you had never met before from a far away land took over your community/country? They may have brought more advanced technology, a different view of religion, and they may expect you to do work for them with very little or no reimbursement. How would you feel? What would you do?

Procedure 2: 15 minutes

Have the students read through all of the material while keeping the questions on the Egypt: Then & Now sheet mind.

Procedure 3: 15 minutes

Have the students get in groups of 4 to work through questions together. Be sure that they use evidence to support their claims.

Procedure 4: 10 minutes

Have 2 people from each group switch and work with 2 people from another group to discuss and defend their answers.

Procedure 5: 5 minutes

Have a class discussion of the questions from the Egypt: Then & Now sheet.

Assessment of Outcomes:

  • Egypt: Then & Now sheet

  • Group work

  • Class discussion

Extensions and Adaptations:

Use this format of lesson for other countries in Africa and the Americas affected by imperialism and colonization.

ESOL Adaptations:

Pair these students with students that are proficient English readers. Let the students have these materials the day before so that can look at them the night before the class to read through them.


Hanes III, William Travis. World History Continuity & Change. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1999, pg. 571-573.


Egypt: Then & Now

Ancient Egypt:

Egyptian Life

Daily life in ancient Egypt revolved around the Nile and the fertile land along its banks. The yearly flooding of the Nile enriched the soil and brought good harvests and wealth to the land.

The people of ancient Egypt built mudbrick homes in villages and in the country. They grew some of their own food and traded in the villages for the food and goods they could not produce.
making mudbrickscows grazing on the banks of the nile

Most ancient Egyptians worked as field hands, farmers, craftsmen and scribes. A small group of people were nobles. Together, these different groups of people made up the population of ancient Egypt.


The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the 'black land' and the 'red land'.

The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was deposited there every year after the Nile flooded. desertriver nile

The 'red land' was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighbouring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.

The Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians believed in many different gods and goddesses. Each one with their own role to play in maintaining peace and harmony across the land.

Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some brought the flood every year, some offered protection, and some took care of people after they died. Others were either local gods who represented towns, or minor gods who represented plants or animals.

The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to recognize and worship these gods and goddesses so that life continued smoothly.

Modern Egypt:

Egypt Today

Since the end of the nineteenth century, Egypt has been evolving at a very high speed. Its political, economical and cultural life has undergone striking changes. From the inscription of the first hieroglyph to the construction of the new hi-tech Smart Village, Egypt has always been a pioneer on the frontier for emerging information technologies in the Arab world. cairo, view from cairo tower

As well as virtual highways, Egypt's roads, railways and waterways form a 21,000 mile network from Alexandria to Aswan. They include the world famous Suez Canal and 1,000 miles of subsidiary canals branching between the Nile and the sea.

Geography & Climate

Located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe, Egypt is built around the Nile Valley, a very fertile land bordering the river and bounded by 2 seas : the Mediterranean Sea (to the north) and the Red Sea (to the east). The thin area on either side of the Nile was historically where 90% of the population settled.

To the east of the valley is the Arabian Desert, bounded by a high ridge of mountains. To the west is the Libyan Desert which stretches across the top of North Africa.

The demarcation line in Cairo, the capital city, separates Lower Egypt (everything north of Cairo) from Upper Egypt (everything to the south). To the east, across the Suez Canal is the triangular wedge of Sinai with Mt Sinai and Mt Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt (2642m).

During the summer, from March to November, the climate is hot and dry in most of the country. December to February can be quite cold in the north. The sky is usually blue and cloudless. The temperature varies considerably in Egypt. It can be extremely hot during the day and very cold at night, especially in the desert.upper egypt, luxor, nile

It rains more often in Alexandria than in Aswan and Cairo. During the early days of the spring season, a hot wind called "Khamasin" blows in from the western desert at up to 150 km/h.


With 72,000,000 inhabitants, Egypt represents one quarter of the population of the Arab world. The city of Cairo itself counts about 16,000,000 people.egyptian from rosetta, mediterranean coast

The Egyptian population is composed of people from various origins. Most Egyptians originate from Ancient Egypt and the Nile Valley. Others come from the Arabic and Levantine descents and the Nubians of Upper Egypt.


Arabic is the official language spoken by all Egyptians. When Arabic is spoken in the streets, it's like a dialect and differs a great deal from classical Arabic.

Although English is very widespread, people will appreciate you taking time to learn a few words and phrases. In holiday resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada, many other European languages are spoken such as French, German, Italian and Russian.abu simbel, hieroglyphs

Religionrosetta, muallaq mosque

Though the majority of Egyptians are Muslims, there are over 12 million Christians living in Egypt today. The two communities enjoy an easy coexistence.

During Ramadan, all Muslims fast during the day. But the evening meal called "Iftar" is a real celebration and it's followed by street entertainment until sunrise.

The Copts play an important part in Egyptian society, especially in

artistic, economical and cultural domains




Egypt: Then & Now

Name: Period:

Read each question carefully & keep them in mind while doing the reading. Be sure to use evidence to support your answers.

  1. Why was life around the Nile River so prosperous?

  1. Was religion important to the Egyptians? Why or why not?

    1. How did this affect their system of government?

  1. What prompted the Egyptians to build an empire?

  1. How did the Europeans influence Egypt’s development?

  1. What European influences can we see in Egypt today?

    1. Are these positive or negative? Why or why not?

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