Middle Kingdom (ok. 2133-1786 p.n.e.) and the Second Interim Period (ok. 1786-1567 p.n.e.) During the reign of Mentuhotep II (XI dynasty) trade began to develop, Stone and copper mines were also exploited. Pharaoh's army moved south, west and east, to enlarge the territory of the state. At the end of the 11th Dynasty, expeditions to the land of Punt resumed. Then the vizier Amenemhat ascended the throne, founder of the XII Dynasty, which produced many great and economical rulers, focusing on the development of the economy – They watered the Fayoum oasis and made it a garden of Egypt. Memphis was the capital, but the pharaohs preferred to reside in Ich-Tawi in an oasis. In places like Dahshur, al-Lahun, al-Liszt and Hawara built their pyramids. How rich was the province, testify to the tombs at Bani Hasan. Crafts flourished, and the goldsmiths made the finest and most intricate jewels in the history of Egypt. At the end of the 12th Dynasty, times were once again hard, to which the floods contributed. The power of the XIII dynasty pharaohs was so weak, that they could not oppose the invaders from the east, Hyksosom, who occupied northern and central Egypt, establishing their own dynasties (XV-XVI; dynasty "big" and "small"), controlling and collecting tribute also from Upper Egypt. Hyksosi, having a technological advantage over the Egyptians and using horses harnessed to war chariots, they founded their capital at Awaris, where they sent their troops from. They took over the culture very quickly, the language and religion of their subjects, although they have retained much of their Mediterranean heritage. Set became the god of the state, who towered over Amon, Horusem and Re. At first, the princes of the South submitted to the invaders, seeing no chance of victory in the fight against a powerful enemy, however, the Theban rulers finally decided to free themselves from uninvited guests and proclaimed themselves lords of all Egypt (XVII dynastia). About 1650 r. p.n.e. they took up an armed struggle: Sekenenre was killed on the battlefield, his son Kamose reached Awaris, but he did not take the city, only Jahmes, father of Amenhotep I., founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty, banished the Hyksos from the country (ok. 1567 r.).
New State (ok. 1567-1085 p.n.e.).
The kings of the eighteenth dynasty began an imperial epoch in Egyptian history, times of the so-called. New State, when the borders extended to Nubia in the south, and the Euphrates to the east. The armies of the pharaohs conquered Syria and Palestine, they also kept the militant Libyans in check.
Teby, Cult center of Amun, it was then the largest city in the world.
The rulers of this dynasty are interesting and colorful individuals. At the head of his armies, Thotmes I crossed the Euphrates and conquered the ancient kingdom of Mitanni. Queen Hatshepsut, who from regent became true pharaoh, she did not wage wars, but she sent expeditions to the land of Punt, founded mines in Sinai, she built magnificent temples and erected obelisks (Karnak).
Thotmes III, once he became ruler, turned out to be the greatest conqueror, a real Egyptian Napoleon, being an artist at the same time, a poet and a great builder (temple in Deir el-Ba-hari, Jubilee Hall in Karnak). Amenhotep II, his son, obsessed with a mania for physical fitness and strength, aroused fear. His state was based on the Euphrates and Gebel Barkal in Sudan. Amenhotep III was the pharaoh of wealthy Egypt, refinement and serenity. Art has reached great heights: magnificent temples and palaces were built (in Luxor, Karnaku, Western Thebes). Younger son of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV, he rejected the existing gods, choosing one – Atona. He also left the glorious Thebes and went north to the brand new city of Achetaton. He and his wife Nefertiti tried to change the traditions and beliefs of the Egyptians. The period of the Amarna heresy (ok. 1379-1362 p.n.e.) it is a peculiar time both religiously and culturally, and social. It is assessed ambiguously: once like the victory of a monotheistic religion, once as a period of totalitarian power, as well as a time of revolution in art and tradition. One of the most famous pharaohs, Tutankhamun, comes from the Amenhotep family. After him, people ascended the throne, who blotted out the period of his father's reign from history. Then it was time for another dynasty – XIX, where three great rulers stood out. Seti I was born the son of a chief. He lived too short, but he restored the glory of the empire, and the buildings of his time are among the most magnificent (Abydos, Karnak). His son Ramses II is a great epoch in the history of Egypt: in his youth, a soldier and a conqueror, a little bragging, builder and usurper of the works of earlier rulers (Luxor, Karnak, Ramesseum, Abu Simbel, Pi-Ramesses). During his reign, Egypt was an undisputed power, and the militant Hittites turned from enemies to allies. When Ramses died, epoch of peace, peace and well-being is a thing of the past. Hard times began. To begin with, he had to deal with them 13. syn – Merenptah, who was forced to fight the Libyans and their allied Sea Peoples, rolling like a fiery roller through the countries of the Mediterranean. Not even a quarter of a century passed from the end of Merenptah's reign to the fall of the dynasty. The rulers of the 20th Dynasty sat on the throne, whose representative was Ramesses III, his gaze on Ramesses II. With the successive Ramessids, the state was declining, the economy was lame, Egypt's position was smaller year by year, borders were shrinking, territories were lost, and chaos and disorder grew in the country. In addition, there were natural disasters, invasions of ever more powerful neighbors and internal disputes. The local nobles grew stronger and with ever bolder eyes they looked at the throne of the pharaoh. Last, Ramesses XI, he resided only in the palace in the Delta. In Upper Egypt, the mighty high priest of Amun Herhor seized power, and in Lower Egypt the all-powerful vizier Smendes ruled. The country was falling apart.