Joined with Syria to form United Arab Republic, 1958-1961
A republic in northeast Africa. Egypt was one of the centers of the development of western civilization. The dominant power in the region for 3,500 years, Egypt passed through periods of strength and weakness until 330 B.C., after which it was ruled by foreign states and dynasties until modern times. After 1517, Egypt was under Turkish control. In 1882, Britain occupied Egypt, although a nominal Turkish suzerainty remained until 1914. Egypt was a British protectorate until 1922, after which time it was virtually independent. British troops remained until 1951, when Egypt became completely independent. The corruption and extravagance of the monarchy brought the overthrow of King Farouk in 1952 and the establishment of a republic in 1953. In 1954, Lt. Col. Gamel Abdel Nasser, one of the leaders in the 1952 coup, came to power and ruled until his death in 1970. Nasser pursued a pan-Arab policy and attempted to unite the Arab world under his leadership.
The United Arab Republic joined Egypt and Syria 1958-61, but attempts to maintain the union or to include Iraq and Yemen during this period failed. Nasser's foreign policy, technically neutral, was in most instances aligned with that of the Soviet Union, and by the time of his death, thousands of Soviet advisors were in Egypt. Nasser was succeeded by Anwar Sadat, who expelled Soviet advisers in 1971 and who pursued an increasingly pro-Western policy after 1974. Egypt fought wars with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. In each instance, Israel won. In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a formal peace treaty, establishing formal diplomatic relations, setting a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory occupied since 1967, and providing for the establishment of a Palestinian state. In October 1981, Sadat was assassinated. He was quickly succeeded by his vice president, Hosni Mubarak. Mubarek has resisted the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt during the 1990s.