American Stories

Timeline of Egyptian History

About This Resource

The timeline of Egyptian history provides background to G. Willow Wilson’s memoir The Butterfly Mosque. The photograph shows Cairo spread out around the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest and largest mosque in Egypt, completed in 879 C.E. by the founder of the Tulunid dynasty, Ahmad Ibn Tulun.



Egypt incorporated into the Turkish Ottoman Empire.


Napoleon Bonaparte's forces invade Egypt. British and Turkish forces defeat the French in 1801 and restore Ottoman rule of Egypt.


Muhammad Ali, Albanian governor of Egypt, embarks on modernizing effort and establishes a dynasty.


Egyptians build the Suez Canal. Egyptian debt from canal construction contributes to transfer of canal ownership to the British.

1882 – 1922

British place Egypt under nominal rule, establishing a protectorate in 1914. Egypt gains nominal independence with Fuad I as King  in 1922.

1948 - 1949

Egypt participates in the first Arab-Israel war. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is assassinated. Free Officers' Movement forms.

1952 – 1953

Muhammad Najib becomes president after a coup by the Free Officers' Movement, ends the monarchy, and declares Egypt a republic.


British forces leave Egypt in 1954. Free Officers’ leader Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes president, ruling unchallenged until his death in 1970.


Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal to fund Aswan High Dam construction. Britain, France and Israel respond by invading Egypt. President Eisenhower opposes the invasion, and a ceasefire is declared.


Israel defeats Egypt, Jordan and Syria in Six-Day War, occupying Sinai, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

1970 - 1971

Nasser dies and Anwar al-Sadat takes power. The Aswan High Dam is completed, providing irrigation and hydroelectric power.

1973 - 1978

Egypt launches Yom Kippur War against Israel to reclaim land lost in 1967. Suez Canal re-opens in 1975. Egypt and Israel sign Camp David Accords in 1978.


Anwar al-Sadat is assassinated. Hosni Mubarak takes power and declares emergency rule.


Groups demonstrate for national election reform. Mubarak is re-elected for a fifth consecutive term with his National Democratic Party (NDP) in parliamentary majority. Muslim Brotherhood candidates take 20% of seats as independents.

2007 - 2009

Parliamentary elections result in NDP majority. Opposition newspapers protest imprisonment of journalists. US President Obama gives speech in Cairo.


Tunisian street protests inspire demonstrations in Egypt calling for Mubarak to resign. President Mubarak hands power to a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Mubarak and his sons are arrested and charged.


Islamist parties win parliamentary elections, and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi wins the presidency. Military leaders end the emergency law. Courts, executive, military and entrenched elements compete for power.


President Morsi ousted by popular protests and military leaders.


“BBC News - Egypt Profile - Timeline.” Accessed November 22, 2012. Image credit: "For the Love of Graffiti: Cairo's Walls Trace History of Colourful Revolution | Suzeeinthecity.” Accessed November 26, 2012.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #165: Timeline of Egyptian History", May 18, 2024


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