Many of the pharaohs during the Middle Kingdom seemed to care about the common people’s lives. To help farmers irrigate their crops, pharaohs ordered that dams be built. They also organized workers to drain swamps to be used as farmland. More farmland meant more food for the people.
After about 400 years, local leaders once again began to test the power of the pharaoh. Soon the people were fighting among themselves. Again Egypt was divided and weak. It was then that Egypt was conquered for the first time.
Around 1700 B.C., the Hyksos (hik'sos) easily defeated the Egyptians. The Hyk¬sos were warriors from central Asia. They
used equipment and weapons unknown! to the Egyptians. These included metal armor, bows, daggers, and horse-drawn chariots.
For over 100 years, the Hyksos ruled Egypt and taught the Egyptians many of their military secrets. The Egyptians learned those secrets so well that by 1570 B.C., they were able to turn against the invaders and drive them out. This victory marked the beginning of the third and last period in ancient Egypt’s history-the New Kingdom.
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