Egypt, a country in North-east Africa, extending from the Mediterranean to the first cataract of the Nile at Assouan, from 31° 36' to 24° 6' N. lat. The name is derived from the Greek Aigyptos, perhaps a transliteration of Hakeptah, 'the city of Ptah' - i.e. Memphis. In Hieroglyphics and Coptic, it was called Kemi (Black Land), from the colour of the soil; the Hebrew Mizraim is still preserved in the Arabic Misr. Egypt is literally, what Herodotus termed it, ' the gift of the Nile;' for it extends only so far as the annual inundation of the river spreads its layer of alluvial sediment, brought down from the washing of the Abyssinian mountains, and turning the barren rock into cultivable soil. Geologically and ethnologically, Egypt is confined to the bed of the flooded Nile, a groove worn by water in the desert; and the bordering deserts and the southern provinces of Nubia and the Soudan towards the equator form no part of the Egypt of nature or of history, though from time to time they have been politically joined to it. Thus limited, Egypt occupies little more than 11,000 sq. m., or about a third of the area of Ireland, and from Wady Haifa to the Mediterranean, with the desert, the area is nearly 400,000 sq. m.
The Nile, after breaking through the rocky barrier at Assouan, pursues a northerly course, varied by only one considerable bend near Thebes, until, a few miles north of Cairo, it divides into two main streams, terminating in the Rosetta and Damietta mouths, through which, after a course of 3300 miles, it pours during ' high Nile' some seven hundred thousand million cubit metres daily into the Mediterranean Sea. The other five mouths which existed in antiquity have silted up; the triangular or A-shaped district enclosed by them, formed the Delta, now called Lower Egypt. The basin of the Nile is bounded by the smooth rounded ranges of the Arabian hills (which are not in the Arabian peninsula, but in Egypt, between the Nile and the Red Sea) on the east, and the Libyan on the west; neither rising as a rule higher than 300 feet above the sea-level, though near Thebes the eastern hills attain an altitude of 1200 feet. One great physical peculiarity of Egypt is the general absence of rain; occasional showers have indeed become more frequent of late years, but the land still depends for irrigation upon the annual overflow of the Nile. The reservoir works at Assouan and Assiout (1902; see Nile) add greatly to the cultivable area. The climate is remarkably mild, especially south of the Delta and in the desert; from Cairo to Alexandria the air contains more moisture, while the Mediterranean coast is subject to rain, and infected by the belt of salt-marshes. From June till February cool northerly winds prevail; then till June comes a period of easterly, or, still worse, hot southerly sand-winds called the Khamasin. The simoom is a rare but violent sand-wind. Earthquakes are occasionally felt. The temperature in winter in the shade averages 50° to 60° F., and in the heat of summer 90° to 100° in Lower Egypt, 10° higher in the upper valley. The most remarkable phenomenon is the regular increase of the Nile, fed by the fall of the tropical rains. In the middle of July the ' red water' appears in Egypt, and the rise may be dated from that time; it attains its maximum (an average rise of 36 feet at Thebes, of 25 at Cairo) at the end of September, and begins to decline visibly in the middle of October, loses half its height by January, and subsides to its minimum in April. By the end of November, the irrigated land, over which the water has been carefully equalised by drains and embankments, has dried and is sown; soon it is covered with green crops, which are reaped in March. Except in the dry air of the valley and desert, Egypt is by no means remarkably healthy.
The signal peculiarity of the vegetation of the Nile Valley is the absence of woods and forests. Even clumps of trees (except palms) are rare. The date and the doom palm, the sycamore, acacia, tamarisk, and willow are the commonest trees. Among fruit-trees, the vine, fig, pomegranate, orange, and lemon abound; apricots, peaches, and plums are of poor flavour; Indian figs (prickly pears) and bananas have been naturalised; and water-melons are at once the meat and drink of the people in the hot days. Of flowers, the lotus, or water-lily, has long been famous. The lack of jungle or cover of any sort accounts for the poverty of the Egyptian fauna. The hypena, jackal, wolf, fox, hare, rabbit, jerboa, lynx, ichneumon, and weasel are common enough; the antelope is the chief quarry; but the wild ass and wild cat are almost extinct; and the crocodile, like the hippopotamus, scared by European rifles, is beating a retreat to the tropics. The ordinary beasts of burden are the ass and camel; and there are buffaloes and short-horned cattle; goats also are common. There are three or four varieties of vulture; eagles, falcons, hawks, and kites are common, as is also the ibis. Of reptiles, besides the vanishing crocodile, lesser saurians - chameleons and lizards - abound. Serpents are numerous, and among these the dreaded cobra and the cerastes. The Nile is full of fish, generally of rather poor flavour. The Sacred Beetle (ScarabAeus sacer) is one of the most remarkable insects. The scorpion's sting is sometimes fatal. Egypt is essentially an agricultural country, and in some parts, by the aid of regu-lated artificial irrigation, the rich alluvial deposit will bear as much as three crops in the year. Wheat is the principal cereal; but barley, maize, durra, beans, lentils, clover, etc. are also largely grown, with very little trouble beyond the management of the water. The extensive culture of papyrus, which anciently supplied material for paper, has in modern times been superseded by that of the sugar-cane, cotton, indigo, and tobacco.
In ancient as in modern times Egypt was always divided into the Upper and the Lower, or the Southern and the Northern, country. For the divisions of the territory outside Egypt proper, annexed in 1876, and abandoned in 1885, extending as far south as the Victoria Nyanza, see Soudan. The population of the country, placed at 7,000,000 under the Pharaohs, in 1844 was 2,500,000; in 1859, 5,125,000; and in 1897, 9,734,405 in Egypt proper. There are about 10,000 schools (seven-eighths elementary), with 17,000 teachers and 228,000 pupils; the government has under its immediate direction 150 schools, including schools for law, medicine, agriculture, and engineering. Of the inhabitants 92.23 per cent. are native Mohammedans; the Copts are 600,000, and the rest include Beda-wis (Bedouins), Negroes, Abyssinians, Turks, Syrians, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, and other Europeans. The dominant population in antiquity appears almost certainly to have been of mixed origin, part Asiatic and part Nigritic; and there seems to have been an aboriginal race of copper colour, with rather thin legs, large feet, high cheek-bones, and large lips. The chief towns of Egypt proper are Cairo (pop. 570,062); Alexandria (319,766); Tantah (57,289); Port Said and Assiout, over 40,000; Zagazig, Mansourah, Damietta, and Fayoum, over 30,000; and Kena, 27,500. There are in Egypt about 113,000 foreigners, including 38,000 Greeks, 24,000 Italians, 20,000 Englishmen, and 14,000 Frenchmen. The Egyptian army is under the command of an English general, and officered partly by Englishmen and partly by Egyptians; its total strength is 18,000, while the English army of occupation, which, since the rebellion of 1882, has remained in Egypt, has a strength of over 5500. The finance of Egypt has improved enormously under British management, irrigation and cotton cultivation greatly helping; the revenues have been increased, the burdens on the people greatly lightened. The revenue in 1903 was £E11,000,000, the expenditure £E10,975,000; in 1904 the revenue was over£E13,000,000, being two millionsin excess of the estimates. The chief sources of revenue are the land-tax, the tobacco monopoly, and customs; the principal items of expenditure are the service of the debt and the internal administration. The total debt of Egypt amounted in 1904 to £E102,186,920, the interest on which was met by a total charge of £E4,384,549 in the year's budget, including the tribute to Turkey (£665,041). The total exports in 1889-1903 (chiefly cotton, cotton-seed, beans, sugar, and grain) increased from £E7,020,000 to £E19,118,487 (of which over one-half went to Britain); the imports (mainly cotton goods and other textiles, machinery, and coal) from £E11,950,000 to £E16,753,190 (about a third from Britain). Some cotton is now exported to the United States. The railway system embraces over 1450 miles, connecting Alexandria and Damietta with Cairo and the Suez Canal, and extending up the Nile Valley as far south as Siout; the telegraphs reach 2562 miles, and there is a telephone between Cairo and Alexandria.
The epoch of Menes, the earliest known point in Egyptian history, is variously calculated at from 5004 B.C. to 3892. Egypt was in the height of its glory under the 19th dynasty, to which Rameses I. and II., and Meneptah (son of the latter, and probably the Pharaoh of Exodus) belonged. The Persians conquered Egypt in 527 b.c, Alexander the Great in 332 b.c, and the Romans after 31 b.c. The Arab and Moslem conquest took place in 641 a.d. Napoleon invaded the country in 1798; and a new epoch in recent Egyptian history began with the able reign of Mohammed Ali (Mehemet Ali) in 1805. Ismail Pasha, his grandson, obtained in 1867 the title of Khedive, and made extensive conquests in the Eastern Soudan, but was deposed by the Sultan in 1879, at the instance of the western powers, and succeeded by his son Tewfik. In 1881 came the revolt by Arabi Pasha, suppressed at Tel-el-Kebir by Britain, whose troops now occupied Egypt, France having withdrawn. The troubles with the Mahdi fall between 1881 and 1885, the year of Gordon's death. Egypt, still nominally a tributary province of the Ottoman empire, became under Ismail practically an autonomous state under an hereditary Khedive. Since the occupation in 1882 British influence is supreme, and the Khedive, who has a native ministry, is not allowed to contravene the advice of the British minister resident (Lord Cromer). Under Abbas II. (from 1892), who at first strove to escape from British control, the prosperity of the country has increased rapidly; and the Anglo-French agreement of 1904 removed the most serious embarrassment to the administration.
For ancient Egypt, see works by Sharpe, Wilkinson, Brugsch, Mariette, Maspero, and others; for modern Egypt, S. L. Poole (1881), Mackenzie Wallace (1883), Eraser Rae (1892), Milner (1892), Steevens (1898), Cameron (1898), Silva White (1899), Worsfold (1900), and Dicey (1902).
Ehrenbreitstein(Ay-ren-brite'stine), a town and fortress of Prussia, is situated on the Rhine's right bank, directly opposite Coblenz, with which it is connected by a bridge of boats and an iron railway-viaduct. Pop. 5299. The fortress (1672) crowns a precipitous rock, 387 feet above the river. The French vainly besieged it in 1688, but captured it in 1799, and in 1801 blew up the works. It was assigned to Prussia in 1815, and in 1816-26 was thoroughly fortified.