Ancient Egypt New Kingdom

The New Kingdom started when Ahmose I expelled the Hyksos and returned to Egypt, around 1550 BCE, and it lasted until the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period, around 1069 BCE.

King Ahmose I reformed the government and administration of Egypt. Most importantly, he established a permanent army, which transformed Egypt into a true imperial force.

The most famous Egyptian pharaohs, such as Tutankhamun, Thutmosis III, Akhenaten, and Ramses, belonged to this period – and so did the legendary queens like Hatshepsut and Nefertiti.

The Pharaohs and Dynasties of the New Kingdom

  • The dynasties that ruled Egypt during the New Kingdom were the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth.During that time, Egypt became a great military force and a true empire.
  • Thutmosis III of the eighteenth dynasty is often called the Napoleon of Egypt.For the first twenty years of his reign, he was in the shadow of his wife – who was also his stepmother and his aunt – Queen Hatshepsut.While she governed the political affairs of the country, he was training in the army.When she died, Thutmosis started conquering the nearby lands, such as Syria, and fortifying the empire.
  • King Akhenaten was born as Amenhotep IV, but he changed his name because he worshipped a god called Aten.This pharaoh is most famous for changing the religion of the Egyptians and for being married to legendary Nefertiti.Akhenaten wasn’t interested in going to war, and so the Hittites – later great enemies to the Egyptians – conquered territories in Phoenicia and Canaan.
  • Tutankhamun also belonged to the eighteenth dynasty, but no matter how interesting he is to us because of his magnificent tomb and a golden mask, he left no visible trace on the history of Egypt.He died very young and under mysterious circumstances. His vizier Ay succeeded him.
  • The last pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, Horemheb, made his Vizier Ramesses his heir.Ramesses founded the nineteenth dynasty. He, his son Seti I, and grandson Ramesses II made Egypt more powerful than ever.
  • Ramesses II fought the Hittites to recover territories in the Levant that previously belonged to Egypt.Also, during his time, the empire was wealthy and stable. The pharaohs who ruled after him were less successful and less known.The last pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty was named Twosret, and the founder of the twentieth dynasty was Setnakhte, the father of Ramesses III.
  • Ramesses III was the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom. During his reign, a number of enemy tribes, known as the Sea Peoples, attacked Egypt from nearly all sides, but Ramesses managed to repel them all.However, his military victories – and the colossal monuments that he built – were quite costly, and by the end of his reign, Egypt experienced a shortage of food.Eventually, he was killed in a conspiracy.
  • Ramesses III’s successors – all named Ramesses – were not particularly successful in dealing with natural disasters, drought, and famine that followed.At the same time, the administration was corrupt, and people rebelled against the government.When Ramesses XI died, the dynasty – and the New Kingdom – was over. Then began the Third Intermediate Period.

What did you learn?

Which pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty is known as the Napoleon of Egypt?
It was Thutmosis III.

Which pharaoh in the New Kingdom was more interested in changing the religion of Egypt than in protecting the land and conquering new territories?
It was Akhenaten.

Who was the pharaoh who defended Egypt from the Sea Peoples?
Ramesses III

Which period began after the New Kingdom ended?
Third Intermediate Period