TEXT SUMMARYEgypt’s location in northeast Africa and its large size and population make it an important country. It is a land of deserts, except near the Nile River. The Nile is the longest river in the world.About 99 percent of Egypt’s people live near the Nile, where land is fertile. In rural villages, the way of life has changed slow- ly. Life in the fast-growing cities has changed quickly. Many people who move to the cities cannot find jobs or housing.
Egypt is more than 5,000 years old. Ancient Egyptians were among the first people in the world to set up an organized government and religion and to invent a written language. The famous pyramids of ancient Egypt were built as tombs for its pharaohs, or rulers. Arabs conquered Egypt in A.D. 642, bringing Islam and the Arabic language. The Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean and Red seas, was built in 1869. Britain controlled Egypt for many years until 1952 when the Egyptian army over- threw the government. Egypt joined other Arab countries in wars against Israel. In 1979 Egypt became the first Arab country to make peace with Israel. Until recently, the Nile flooded every year, providing Egyptians with water and fertile soil. Egypt built the Aswan High Dam to store water in a reservoir, or artificial lake. The dam and reservoir ended the flooding and now provide water and hydroelectric power throughout the year.


1 - Why do most Egyptians live near the Nile River?
2 - Graph Skills What is Egypt’s major import?


Libya and the Maghreb countries— Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—are west of Egypt. The word Maghreb comes from the Arabic term meaning “land farthest west.” Most people in this region are Muslims who speak Arabic. They live mainly along the Mediterranean coast. Inland from this narrow coast is the Sahara. The Romans brought camels from central Asia. These ani- mals, which can travel for days without water, allowed North Africans to trade with people south of the Sahara. Traders crossed the desert in caravans, large groups of merchants that traveled together for safety.
Arab armies invaded during the mid-600s. The region soon became a center of trade between Europe, Africa, and Asia. In the 1800s and early 1900s, France ruled Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco and Italy conquered Libya.
Most farmers live in rural villages and have kept traditional ways of life. The cities are growing rapidly. People migrat- ing from rural villages have trouble find- ing jobs and houses.Oil was found in Libya in 1961 and soon became its main export. Oil money was used to modernize the country. Algeria’s main export is also oil. But the government wants rural Algerians to continue farming to reduce the need to buy food from other countries.
Tunisia and Morocco do not have much oil. Both countries spend a lot on schools and on developing their manufacturing.


3 - In which two countries is oil the major export?
4 - Map Skills Which countries border Tunisia?