Egypt, formally the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental republic that spans the northeastern corner of Africa and the southwest corner of Asia via the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered to the northeast by the Gaza Strip and Israel, to the east by the Gulf of Aqaba, to the east and south by the Red Sea, to the south by Sudan, and to the west by Libya. Jordan is across the Gulf of Aqaba, and Saudi Arabia is across the Sinai Peninsula, however Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not have a territorial border with Egypt. It is the only continuous Afrasian nation on the planet.
Egypt has one of the world’s oldest histories, having emerged as one of the world’s first nation states in the ninth millennium BC. Ancient Egypt, considered a birthplace of civilisation, witnessed some of the first advances in writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organized religion, and central government. Iconic structures like the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well as the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, represent this heritage and continue to be a key focus of archaeological study and public fascination across the world.
Egypt’s rich cultural legacy is an important component of its national identity, which has withstood and, at times, incorporated numerous foreign influences such as Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. Egypt, one of the oldest Christian centers, was Islamized in the seventh century and remains a primarily Muslim country, but with a sizable Christian minority.
Egypt is the most populated country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa (after Nigeria and Ethiopia), and the fifteenth-most populous in the world, with a population of over 90 million people. The vast majority of its inhabitants reside around the Nile River’s banks, a region of roughly 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles), where the only fertile land can be found. The vast swaths of the Sahara desert, which cover the majority of Egypt’s land, are sparsely populated. About half of Egypt’s population lives in cities, with the majority concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, and other large Nile Delta cities.
Egypt now is seen as a regional and intermediate power, with substantial cultural, political, and military clout in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Muslim world. Egypt’s economy is one of the most diverse and largest in the Middle East, and it is expected to be one of the greatest in the twenty-first century. Egypt belongs to the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.