OFFICIAL NAME: Arab Republic of Egypt
CAPITAL: Cairo
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 1,001,449 Sq Km (386,559 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 66,706,800


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Egypt is located in the northeastern corner of Africa. It is bound by Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, the Red Sea to the east, the Mediterranean Sea to the north and Israel to the northeast. Topographically, the country can be divided into four regions. (1.) Wagh al-Bahari or lower Egypt which is the broad alluvial Nile Delta. (2.) The Western Desert which is an arid region covered by vast rolling plains of sand, shifting dunes and large depressions. (3.) The Eastern Desert or Arabian Desert which is an elevated plateau broken by deep valleys. (4.) The Sinai Peninsula which is separated from the bulk of Egypt by the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. The Sinai is a desert region with mountains rising in the south. The Nile River is not only the lifeline of Egypt it is also the longest river in Africa. The country's largest lake is the manmade Lake Nasser and others include Menzaleh, Brullos, Idku and Mariut. Major Cities (pop. est.); Cairo 6,849,000, Alexandria 3,382,000, al-Jizah 2,144,000 (1994). Land Use; agricultural-cultivated 3%, urban, wasteland and other 97% (1993).


CLIMATE: The larger part of Egypt has a desert climate which is hot and arid. There are two seasons, the cool winter season from November to April, and the hot summer season from May to October, although temperatures are often tempered strong offshore breezes. The period between March and June is subject to the Khamsin which is a dust laden sandstorm that blows from the Sahara in the south. Precipitation is limited to the coastal area where it averages 200 mm (8 inches) per annum. Average temperature ranges in Cairo are from 8 to 18 degrees Celsius (46 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 21 to 36 degrees Celsius (70 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.


PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Egyptians who account for 99.8% of the population and are of eastern Hamitic origin. The remainder are made up of the following ethnic groups, Bedouin Arabs, Nubians, Greeks, Italians and Maltese.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 55 persons per sq km (142 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 43.9% urban, 56.1% rural (1986). Sex Distribution; 51.1% male, 48.9% female (1989). Life Expectancy at Birth; 59.0 years male, 62.1 years female (1986). Age Breakdown; 42% under 15, 26% 15 to 29, 16% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1986). Birth Rate; 37.5 per 1,000 (1988). Death Rate; 8.6 per 1,000 (1988). Increase Rate; 28.9 per 1,000 (1988). Infant Mortality Rate; 45.1 per 1,000 live births (1989).


RELIGIONS: The official religion is Islam with over 95% of the population Sunni Muslims. The remainder are mainly Coptic Christians.


LANGUAGES: The official language is Arabic which is spoken by the majority of the population, although other important minority languages include Coptic, Nubian and Berber.


EDUCATION: Aged 15 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 70.6%, primary and secondary 25.3%, higher 4.1% (1986). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 15,470,000 or 48.4% (1990).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1947 the UN voted to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. With the establishment of Israel in Palestine in 1948, Egypt and other Arab countries immediately went to war with Israel but were defeated. This resulted in serious rioting in Cairo and the assassination of a number of politicians. In July 1952 a discontented army group known as the Free Officers Movement, seized power and forced the abdication of King Farouk. During the first two years of military rule Gen. Mohammad Naguib shared power with Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and the republic was proclaimed on June 18, 1953. However, the two could not agree politically and Nasser established an unchallenged rule over Egypt. Its relations with Israel had worsened due to Egypt's support of Palestinian Arabs who raided Israel from the Gaza Strip. In Jan. 1956 Nasser proclaimed a new constitution and the following year after elections Egypt became a single party state. In the same year Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company and in response Britain and France encouraged an Israeli invasion of Egypt which took place on Oct. 29 1956. Israel quickly occupied most of the Sinai Peninsula and when Egypt refused to the Anglo-French ultimatum for a ceasefire as well as a withdrawal, both countries began bombing Cairo while Port Said was captured by Anglo-French invasion force. Pressure from both the UN and the strong US opposition resulted in a cease-fire and a UN supervised Anglo-French withdrawal. Nasser strongly believed in the unity of Arab countries and in 1958 Egypt and Syria became the United Arab Republic (UAR). Syria eventually withdrew from the UAR three years later, but Egypt kept UAR as its official name. In 1961 Egypt severed ties with Yemen (Sana) and in 1967 Arab-Israeli tensions erupted in what was known as the Six Day War after Egyptian sponsored Palestinian guerrillas attacked Israel from the Gaza Strip. The war was a territorial and military disaster for the Arab countries with Egypt losing the Gaza Strip as well as the Sinai Peninsula. After Nasser's death in 1970, Anwar Sadat was elected as President. Sadat dismantled Nasser's socialist planning and encouraged private enterprise. In 1971 Egypt was officially named the Arab Republic of Egypt. In Oct. 1973 an unexpected and unsuccessful military assault was launched across the Suez Canal against the Israelis on the Sinai Peninsula. In 1975 an agreement was reached in which Israel removed its troops from part of the Sinai that it had occupied since 1967. During 1976 Egypt returned to a multiparty state. In Nov. 1977 Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel and with US mediation the two sides agreed to a peace agreement known as the Camp David Accord in Oct. 1978. It guaranteed the return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and called for the creation of a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel which was signed in Mar. 1979. As a result, Egypt was removed from the Arab League in 1979. In Oct. 1981 Sadat was assassinated by Muslim fundamentalists and was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak. Throughout the early 1980's there have been waves of unrest in protest to economic hardships which have been repressed resulting in mass arrests and imprisonments. In 1984 Jordan reestablished diplomatic relations with Egypt in the hope to revive the Middle East peace process. In May 1989 Egypt returned to the Arab League and in 1990 the headquarters of the organization were returned to Cairo. In Oct. 1990 the speaker of the People's Assembly, Rifaat al-Mahgoub was assassinated by Islamic militants. In Jan. 1991 military debts of $5.8 billion to the US and $7 billion to the Gulf states were written off as a reward for Egypt's support in the Gulf War. On Oct. 8, 1991 Egypt adopted a single exchange rate for the pound as part of an INF promise for assistance. On Nov. 21, 1991 Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister Boutros Boutros Ghali was elected as secretary-general of the UN Security Council. In 1991 Egypt contributed more than 35,000 troops as well as tanks and heavy artillery to the US-led coalition that resulted in the liberation of Kuwait in Jan. 1991 after Iraq's earlier Aug. 1990 invasion. In late 1991 Egypt gave its support to the US initiative aimed at a regional and comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace conference. On May 8, 1991 Pres. Mubarak announced that all Egyptian troops would be withdrawn from the Gulf within three months in contrast to the signing of the a Gulf peace and security agreement named the "Damascus Declaration" in Mar. 1991. In a May Day address Pres. Mubarak announced that party politics were "inadequate" in terms of popular participation and called for internal change within the political hierarchy. On June 1, 1991 the government renewed the emergency detention laws for another three years. Also in 1991 there were price increases in essential services and sharp increases in spending on social services, pensions and benefits. In 1992 Islamic fundamentalism increased with the banned organization al-Jama'a al-Islamiya calling for the destruction of the Pharaonic monuments as "pagan sites" and orchestrated armed attacks on tourists. The attacks by armed militants were concentrated along a 210 km (130 mi) stretch of road 560 km (350 mi) south of Cairo. In June 1992 Farag Foda a well-known writer and translator of western literature was assassinated by the same organization that claimed responsibility for the Oct. 1990 assassination of the Assembly speaker. In July 1992 police arrested 16 suspects and 6 in Asyut province where clashes with between militants and police occurred almost daily in the preceding three weeks and had resulted in 12 deaths and 24 injured. In Aug. 1992 violence erupted in the usually quite town of Idku after reports that a local man had died as a result of police torture. On Oct. 12 1992 an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale caused widespread damage throughout Cairo while killed 552 people, injured 6,500 and damages in excess of $600 million. On Oct. 21, 1992 a British woman was killed and two men injured after a bus was ambushed by militants near Dayrut, their stronghold. Also in 1992 Egypt responded favorably to the Israeli election of Yitzhak Rabin in June, while Pres. Mubarak was involved in high-level international diplomatic missions throughout the year with visits to Libya, Sudan and further involvement in the Damascus Declaration. In 1993 the continuation of Islamic fundamentalism was a top priority for the government with tourism arrivals severely slumping following some 200 deaths in the preceding 18 months. In March 1993 militant activities resulted in the bloodiest month with 45 people being killed in bomb attacks, raids and shoot outs between extremists and security forces. In April 1993 the interior minister was sacked after sanctioning mediation talks with the militants and was replaced with a former Asyut governor, Hassan Muhammad al-Alfi. On June 8, 1993 a bomb was thrown on a tourist bus in Giza's Pyramid Road that killed one woman and wounded several others while later in the year two Americans and a Frenchman were gunned down as they dined at a Cairo hotel. On Aug. 14, 1993 a civil judge acquitted Islamic fundamentalists thought to be responsible for the assassination of the Assembly speaker in Oct. 1990, as evidence had allegedly been extracted through torture. On Aug. 18, 1993 a bomb was detonated by terrorists as Alfi's motorcade approached the Interior Ministry building that resulted in 5 deaths and 16 wounded including Alfi. On Nov. 25 1993 Prime Minister Sedki escaped injury in a car-bomb attack that claimed the life of a school girl and wounded 21 others. On Dec. 29, 1993 government forces arrested a number of militants thought to be planning a number of assassinations. In 1993 Jordan's King Hussein visited Cairo which put an end to three years of bitter relations following the Gulf War while Egypt also supported the Middle East peace process. Also during the year Pres. Mubarak undertook a tour of the GCC states in an attempt to isolate Iran, which had been accused of backing the Islamic militants and their activities, and Egypt requested the extradition from the US of the spiritual leader of the al-Jama'a al-Islamiya over alleged involvement in violence in 1989.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Pound (EP) divided into 1,000 Milliemes, 100 Piastres and 5 Tallaris.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $36,679,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $36,603,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $10,715,600,000 (1994). Exports; USD $3,064,800,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,332,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; USD $ -7,651,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 16,013,000 or 27.8% of total population (1994). Unemployed; 9.8% (1994).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Japan.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Barley, Beans, Buffaloes, Cattle, Clover, Cotton, Goats, Gypsum, Iron Ore, Lead, Lentils, Limestone, Maize, Manganese, Millet, Oil and Natural Gas, Phosphates, Rice, Sea Salt, Sugar Cane, Sheep, Talc, Wheat, Zinc.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Aluminum, Cement, Chemicals, Fertilizers, Food Processing, Iron and Steel, Military Equipment, Oil Refining, Petrochemicals, Textiles.

MAIN EXPORTS: Crude Oil, Cotton, Fruit and Vegetables, Rice, Textiles.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 5,355 km (3,327 mi) (1986), passenger-km 34,876,000,000 (21,671,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 2,868,335,000 (1,964,523,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 45,500 km (28,272 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 826,915 (1989), trucks and buses 550,649 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 435 (1990), deadweight tonnage 1,824,632 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 5,998,303,000 (3,720,958,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 143,982,000 (98,613,000 short ton-mi) (1990).


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 16 with a total circulation of 2,426,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 16,450,000 (1994). Television; receivers 5,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 2,374,800 (1993).


MILITARY: 436,000 (1993) total active duty personnel with 71.1% army, 3.7% navy and 25.2% air force while military expenditure accounts for 4.3% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).


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