The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is
the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and
the 11th century BC, covering the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of
Egypt. Radiocarbon dating places the exact beginning of the New
Kingdom between 1570 BC and 1544 BC. The New Kingdom followed the
Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate
Period. It was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of its
The later part of this period, under the 19th and 20th Dynasties
(1292–1069 BC), is also known as the Ramesside period. It is named
after the 11 Pharaohs that took the name Ramesses, after Ramesses I,
the founder of the 19th Dynasty.
Possibly as a result of the foreign rule of the
Hyksos during the
Second Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom saw
Egypt attempt to
create a buffer between the
Egypt proper, and during this
Egypt attained its greatest territorial extent. Similarly, in
response to very successful 17th century attacks during the Second
Intermediate Period by the powerful Kingdom of Kush, the rulers of
the New Kingdom felt compelled to expand far south into
Nubia and to
hold wide territories in the Near East. In the north, Egyptian armies
fought Hittite armies for control of modern-day Syria.
1 18th Dynasty
2 19th Dynasty
3 20th Dynasty
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
Main article: Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt
The 18th Dynasty contained some of Egypt's most famous Pharaohs,
including Ahmose I, Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Akhenaten
and Tutankhamun. Queen
Hatshepsut concentrated on expanding Egypt's
external trade by sending a commercial expedition to the land of Punt.
Thutmose III ("the
Napoleon of Egypt") expanded Egypt's army and
wielded it with great success to consolidate the empire created by his
predecessors. This resulted in a peak in Egypt's power and wealth
during the reign of Amenhotep III. During the reign of Thutmose III
(c. 1479–1425 BC), Pharaoh, originally referring to the king's
palace, became a form of address for the person who was king.
One of the best-known 18th Dynasty pharaohs is Amenhotep IV, who
changed his name to
Akhenaten in honor of the Aten, a representation
of the Egyptian god, Ra. His exclusive worship of the
Aten is often
interpreted as history's first instance of monotheism. Akhenaten's
wife, Nefertiti, contributed a great deal to his new take on the
Egyptian religion. Nefertiti was bold enough to perform rituals to
Aten. Akhenaten's religious fervor is cited as the reason why he and
his wife were subsequently written out of Egyptian history. Under
his reign, in the 14th century BC,
Egyptian art flourished under a
distinctive style. (See
Towards the end of the 18th Dynasty, the situation had changed
radically. Aided by Akhenaten's apparent lack of interest in
international affairs, the
Hittites had gradually extended their
Canaan to become a major power in
international politics — a power that both
Seti I and his son
Ramesses II would need to deal with during the 19th Dynasty.
Main article: Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt
Ramesses II ("the Great") sought to recover territories in the Levant
that had been held by the 18th Dynasty. His campaigns of
reconquest culminated in the Battle of Kadesh, where he led Egyptian
armies against those of the Hittite king Muwatalli II. Ramesses was
caught in history's first recorded military ambush, although he was
able to rally his troops and turn the tide of battle against the
Hittites thanks to the arrival of the Ne'arin (possibly mercenaries in
the employ of Egypt). The outcome of the battle was undecided, with
both sides claiming victory at their home front, and ultimately
resulting in a peace treaty between the two nations.
Egypt was able to
obtain wealth and stability under Ramesses' rule of over half a
century. His immediate successors continued the military campaigns,
although an increasingly troubled court—which at one point put a
usurper (Amenmesse) on the throne—made it increasingly difficult for
a pharaoh to effectively retain control of the territories.
Ramesses II was also famed for the huge number of children he sired by
his various wives and concubines; the tomb he built for his sons, many
of whom he outlived, in the
Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings has proven to be the
largest funerary complex in Egypt.
Egyptian and Hittite Empires, around the time of the Battle of Kadesh.
Main article: Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt
The last "great" pharaoh from the New Kingdom is widely considered to
be Ramesses III, a 20th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned several decades
after Ramesses II.
In the eighth year of his reign the
Sea Peoples invaded
Egypt by land
Ramesses III defeated them in two great land and sea battles
Battle of Djahy
Battle of Djahy and the Battle of the Delta). He incorporated
them as subject peoples and settled them in Southern
there is evidence that they forced their way into Canaan. Their
Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new
states, such as Philistia, in this region after the collapse of the
Egyptian Empire. He was also compelled to fight invading Libyan
tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his sixth
year and eleventh year respectively.
The heavy cost of this warfare slowly drained Egypt's treasury and
contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian
Empire in Asia. The
severity of the difficulties is indicated by the fact that the first
known labor strike in recorded history occurred during the 29th year
of Ramesses III's reign, when the food rations for Egypt's favored and
elite royal tomb-builders and artisans in the village of Deir el
Medina could not be provisioned. Air pollutants prevented much
sunlight from reaching the ground and also arrested global tree growth
for almost two full decades until 1140 BC. One proposed cause is
Hekla 3 eruption
Hekla 3 eruption of the Hekla volcano in Iceland but the dating of
this remains disputed.
Rameses III's death was followed by years of bickering among his
heirs. Three of his sons ascended the throne successively as Ramesses
Rameses VI and Rameses VIII.
Egypt was increasingly beset by
droughts, below-normal flooding of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and
official corruption. The power of the last pharaoh of the dynasty,
Ramesses XI, grew so weak that in the south the High Priests of Amun
at Thebes became the de facto rulers of Upper Egypt, and Smendes
Egypt even before Rameses XI's death. Smendes
eventually founded the 21st Dynasty at Tanis.
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Relief of a Nobleman, c. 1295–1070 B.C.E. Brooklyn Museum
Hatshepsut as a Sphinx. Daughter of Thutmose I, she ruled jointly as
her stepson's (Thutmose III) co-regent. She soon took the throne for
herself, and declared herself pharaoh.
Queen Hatshepsut's Temple at Deir el-Bahari, was called
Djeser-Djeseru, meaning the Holy of Holies, in ancient times.
Thutmosis III, a military man and member of the Thutmosid royal line
is commonly called the
Napoleon of Egypt. His conquests of the Levant
brought Egypt's territories and influence to its greatest extent.
Colossi of Memnon. Representing Amenhotep III, this statue sits
Tiye, born a commoner, became queen through her marriage to Amenhotep
III. In the New Kingdom, women gained influence in court, and Tiye
soon helped run affairs of state for both her husband and son during
Akhenaten, born Amenhotep IV, was the son of Queen Tiye. He rejected
the old Egyptian religion and went about promoting the
Aten as a
Bust of Nefertiti. The wife of Akhenaten, she held position as
co-regent with Akhenaten. She may also have ruled as pharaoh in her
own right as she is one of few candidates for the identity of Pharaoh
Tutankhamun's mask. King Tutankhamun, son of Akhenaten, restored Egypt
to its former religion. Though he died young and was not considered
significant in his own time, the 1922 discovery of his KV62 intact
tomb by Howard Carter, made him relevant as a symbol of ancient Egypt
in the modern world.
Detail Temple of Rameses II
Nefertari's Temple at Abu Simbel
Giant Ramses II
Abu Simbel Temple of Ramesses II
King Tutanhkamun Guardian Statue
History of ancient Egypt
The Stonemason Ostracon
^ Christopher Bronk Ramsey et al., Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for
Dynastic Egypt, Science 18 June 2010: Vol. 328, no. 5985, pp.
^ a b Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt.
Oxford University Press. p. 481. ISBN 0-19-815034-2.
^ Alberge, Dalya. "Tomb reveals Ancient Egypt's humiliating secret".
The Times. London. Retrieved June 14, 2017. (Subscription required
^ Redmount, Carol A. "Bitter Lives:
Israel in and out of Egypt." p.
89-90. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. Michael D. Coogan,
ed. Oxford University Press. 1998.
^ Tyldesley, Joyce (2005-04-28). Nefertiti: Egypt's Sun Queen. Penguin
UK. ISBN 9780141949796.
^ Thomas, Susanna (2003). Rameses II:
Pharaoh of the New Kingdom. The
Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 9780823935970.
^ Eric H. Cline and David O'Connor, eds. Ramesses III: The Life and
Times of Egypt's Last Hero (University of Michigan Press; 2012)
^ Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell Books, 1992.
^ William F. Edgerton, "The Strikes in Ramses III's Twenty-Ninth
Year", JNES 10, no. 3 (July 1951), pp. 137–145.
^ Frank J. Yurco, "End of the Late Bronze Age and Other Crisis
Periods: A Volcanic Cause," in Gold of Praise: Studies on Ancient
Egypt in Honor of Edward F. Wente, ed: Emily Teeter & John Larson,
(SAOC 58) 1999, pp. 456-458.
Library resources about
New Kingdom of Egypt
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Bierbrier, M. L. The Late New Kingdom In Egypt, C. 1300-664 B.C.: A
Genealogical and Chronological Investigation. Warminster, England:
Aris & Phillips, 1975.
Freed, Rita A., Yvonne Markowitz, and Sue H. d’Auria, eds. Pharaohs
of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamun. London: Thames &
Freed, Rita E. Egypt's Golden Age: The Art of Living In the New
Kingdom, 1558-1085 B.C. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1981.
Kemp, Barry J. The City of
Akhenaten and Nefertiti:
Amarna and Its
People. London: Thames & Hudson, 2012.
Morkot, Robert. A Short History of New Kingdom Egypt. London: Tauris,
Radner, Karen. State Correspondence In the Ancient World: From New
Egypt to the Roman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press,
Redford, Donald B.
Canaan In the New Kingdom. Beʾer Sheva:
Ben Gurion University of the Negev Press, 1990.
Sadek, Ashraf I. Popular Religion In
Egypt During the New Kingdom.
Hildesheim: Gerstenberg, 1987.
Spalinger, Anthony John. War In Ancient Egypt: The New Kingdom.
Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2005.
Thomas, Angela P. Akhenaten’s Egypt. Shire
Egyptology 10. Princes
Risborough, UK: Shire, 1988.
Tyldesley, Joyce A. Egypt's Golden Empire: The Age of the New Kingdom.
Book Pub., 2001.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Egyptian New Kingdom.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Egyptian Empire.
Middle East on the Matrix: Egypt, The New Kingdom—Photographs of
many of the historic sites dating from the New Kingdom
New Kingdom of
Egypt - Aldokkan
Glossary of artifacts
Architecture (Egyptian Revival architecture)
Great Royal Wives
Eastern Ganga dynasty
ancient great powers
medieval great powers