Protected from invaders, the villages of Egypt grew. Wealthy farmers became village leaders, and strong leaders gained control over several villages. By 3200 BCE the villages had grown, united together, and formed two separate kingdoms. One kingdom was called Lower Egypt and the other was called Upper Egypt.
Each kingdom had its own capital city where its ruler was based. In Lower Egypt, the king wore a red crown that symbolized his power. The king of Upper Egypt, which was located in the South, wore a white crown.
For centuries Egyptians referred to their country as two separate lands. In 3100 BCE, Menes the king of Upper Egypt united the two countries. He combined the red and white crowns into one. Menes is known as Egypt’s first Pharaoh.
The Old Kingdom was known as the Age of the Pyramids. It was the time that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built by Khufu. Pyramids are huge triangular shaped monuments built over tombs for rich and famous Egyptians. The Great Pyramid of Giza was made from over 2 million stone blocks and took more than twenty years to complete. Egyptians believed the pharaoh was both a king and a god. Building so many pyramids cost a lot of money. The Old Kingdom ended because Pharaohs could not collect enough taxes to afford all of their projects, and wealthy Egyptians became angry. Wars and protests broke out against the pharaoh and all of his taxes. By 2200 BCE the kingdom had no strong central ruler and Egypt sank into decline.
The Middle Kingdom was called the middle because it followed the Old Kingdom and its’ later chaos but came before the New Kingdom. It is also known as the Period of Reunification because it represented the coming together of all Egyptians again. The Middle Kingdom became a time of peace and stability after years of disunity and violence. During this era, Egyptians were able to make many discoveries and accomplished great works in literature, art and architecture. In particular, the Pharaoh Senusret I encouraged Egyptians to pursue their passions in the arts.
The New Kingdom is often called Egypt’s Golden Age During this time Egypt became the greatest empire in the world. During this time Egypt was a place of peace and stability. Many great pyramids and monuments were built. The pharaoh at the time was Ramses II.