Egypt

Egypt

Occupying the northeast corner of Africa, Egypt is divided by the highly fertile Nile Valley. Its essentially pro-Western, military-backed regime is being challenged by Islamic fundamentalists.

Geography: Fertile Nile Valley separates arid Libyan Desert from smaller semiarid eastern desert. Sinai peninsula has mountains in south.

 Climate: Summers are very hot, but winters are cooler. Rainfall is negligible, except on the coast.

 People and Society: Despite a long tradition of ethnic and religious tolerance, the rise of Islam has sparked clashes between Muslims and Copts (Coptic Christianity is one of the church’s earliest branches). Women play a full part in education and the economy, though this is threatened by Islamism. Rapidly growing population is a problem. Poverty is rife around Cairo.

 The Economy: Oil and gas. Cotton. Tolls from the Suez Canal. Successful tourist industry, in spite of terrorist attacks. High birth-rate and rural poverty.

 Insight: In 450 BCE Herodotus visited the already-ancient pyramids

Fact-File:

 Official Name: Arab Republic of Egypt

 Date of Formation: 1936

 Capital: Cairo

 Population: 83 million

 Total Area: 386,660 sq. miles (1,001,450 sq. km)

 Density: 216 people per sq. mile

 Languages: Arabic*, French, English, Berber

 Religions: Muslim (mainly Sunni) 94%, Coptic Christian and other 6%

 Ethnic Mix: Egyptian 99%, other (Nubian, Armenian, Greek, Berber) 1%

 Government: Presidential system

 Currency: Egyptian pound = 100 piastres

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