History   Valley of the Kings   Manetho
  2nd Intermediate Period        
  New Kingdom        
  Late Dynastic Period        
           
           


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The expulsion of the Hyksos, began during the late 17th Dynasty by Seqenenre or by Kamose and completed by 18th Dynasty monarch Ahmose in 1522, was the start of a series of conquests that would bring Egypt peace and prosperity. The age of conquest had begun!

Even though Ahmose was the brother or nephew of his predecessor, Kamose, Manetho has placed him at the head of a new royal house: the 18th Dynasty.

In an effort to secure Egyptian borders against future invasions, Ahmose conquered a territory stretching from Syria-Palestine in the North, to the 2nd cataract in Nubia in the South. Within a few decennia, Egypt became the most powerful nation in the Ancient Near East.

Ahmose's aggresive policy against Asia and Nubia was followed by his successors, especially by Thutmosis I and Thutmosis III, who expanded the boundaries of the new empire as far as the 4th cataract to the south and as far as the Euphrates river near the modern-day Turkish border in the north.

The spoils brought home from the many successful military campaigns and the tributes owed by the many conquered states increased Egypt’s wealth and prosperity, which was translated in a tremendous building activity: new temples were built, older ones were restored or enlarged. Especially favoured were the god Amun and his great temple at Karnak, in the capital Thebes.

Egypt’s stability was briefly ruptured when the late 18th Dynasty king Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, changed the Egyptian religion and had most temples closed, favouring one new god, the solar-deity Aton. During this period of turmoil and upheaval, the so-called Amarna-revolution, Egypt lost a lot of it’s former influence in Asia and Nubia. 

The first kings of the 19th Dynasty, Seti I and Ramesses II, set out to restore Egypt’s lost glory, reclaiming the lost territories abroad and continuing the formidable building activity started in the 18th Dynasty. Again, large parts of Asia were conquered, but the international situation had changed and the Egyptians found themselves facing a new and powerful enemy: the Hittites. The enmities between Egypt and the Hittites came to an end in the 21st year of Ramesses II’s year with a peace treaty between the two countries. The remainder of the 67-year long reign of Ramesses II would be peaceful and prosperous.
 

 

Thutmosis III

Thutmosis III was the greatest conqueror of the New Kingdom.

Ramesses II
 

Ramesses II reclaimed Egypt's lost glory through war and peace treaties.

Ramesses II’s successors, however, were unable to follow in his footsteps. The 19th Dynasty gradually slipped away in dynastic disputes and chaos. 

With the 20th Dynasty, Egypt’s half millennium of prosperity and relative stability would slowly draw to an end. Although Ramesses III was clearly a very capable ruler who had successfully repelled several foreign invasions and was able to restore the Egyptian influence in Syria-Palestine, his reign was also marked by corruption, social turmoil and a conspiracy against his life!

During the years following his death, Egypt’s unity and stability started falling apart: the Theban priests of Amun were becoming more and more the de facto rulers of Upper-Egypt, while Lower-Egypt was in the hands of the administration of the Pharaoh. Another powerful group in the Egyptian society were the military, especially the military who descended from former Libyan prisoners of war. They too claimed their part in the government and in Egyptian territory. 

By the end of the 20th Dynasty, Egypt was again divided into many fractions and the New Kingdom came to an end.

The table below lists the dynasties that were part of the New Kingdom:

Dynasty Dates (*)
18th Dynasty 1540 - 1307 BC
19th Dynasty 1307 - 1196 BC
20th Dynasty 1196 - 1070 BC
(*) Note that the provided dates are approximations only.