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Where Black
History Lives!​

The Standing on the Shoulders of Giants "Teach & Learn" Black History Curriculum​​

Specially designed for Parents, Teachers, Homeschool, or Independent Study, grades 5+


Unit 1: Ancient Africa - The Cradle of Civilization
(200,000 B.C. - 476 B.C.)

Unit 1: Class 10: Ancient Kemet (Egypt): The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period (1550 B.C. – 712 B.C.) Part 1

The New Kingdom (1550 – 1070) and Third Intermediate Period (1070 – 712 B.C.E.) cont.

Ramesses II
Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He is often regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor".
Ramesses II was famed for the huge number of children he sired by his various wives and concubines. The tomb he built for his sons, many of whom he outlived, in the Valley of the Kings has proven to be the largest funerary complex in Egypt.

His immediate successors continued military campaigns, though an increasingly troubled court [which at one point put a usurper (Amunmesse) on the throne] made it increasingly difficult for a pharaoh to effectively retain control without incident. 

The last "great" pharaoh from the New Kingdom is widely regarded to be Ramesses III (reign 1186–1155 BC), whose long tenure in the midst of the surrounding political chaos of the Greek Dark Ages, saw Egypt beset by foreign invaders (Lybians out the west and seafaring pirates known as the Sea Peoples), which set the stage for increasing economic difficulties and internal strife that eventually caused the collapse of the Twentieth Dynasty. 

In eighth year of Ramesses III's reign, the Sea Peoples invaded Egypt by land and sea and were defeated in two great land and sea battles. He claimed that he incorporated them as subject peoples and settled them in Southern Canaan, although there is evidence that they forced their way into Canaan. Their presence in Canaan may have contributed to the formation of new states in this region such as Philistia after the collapse of the Egyptian Empire. He also fought invading Libyan tribesmen in two major campaigns in Egypt's Western Delta in his Year 6 and Year 11 respectively.

The cost of these battles gradually exhausted Egypt's treasury and contributed to the gradual decline of the Egyptian Empire in Asia. The first known labor strike in recorded history occurred during Year 29 of Ramesses III's reign, when the food rations for the Egypt's favoured and elite royal tomb-builders and artisans in the village of Deir el Medina could not be provisioned, and famine ensued. 

After Ramesses III's death, endless bickering between his successors Ramesses IV (reign 1155-1149 BC), Ramesses V (reign 1149–1145 BC) and three short-term successors Ramesses VI, Ramesses VII and Ramesses VIII (whose one-year reign ended 1129 BC) enabled the priesthood of Amun to expand its control over the temple lands and state finances at the expense of the Pharaoh. Egypt was also beset by droughts, below-normal flooding levels of the Nile, famine, civil unrest and official corruption. 

The power of the last pharaoh, Ramesses XI, became so weak in the south that the High Priests of Amun at Thebes became the effective defacto rulers of Upper Egypt, while a governor named Smendes I controlled Lower Egypt even before Ramesses XI's death. Smendes eventually founded the Twenty-First Dynasty at Tanis — a very important royal necropolis of the Third Intermediate Period, which contains the only known intact royal Pharaonic burials, all earlier and later tombs, including the tomb of Tutankhamun, having been entered during antiquity.

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The Third Intermediate Period usually refers to the time in Ancient Egypt from the death of Pharaoh Ramesses XI (reign 1107–1078/77 BC) during the Twentieth Dynasty to the foundation of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty by Psamtik I in 664 BC, following the expulsion of the Nubian rulers of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty.

The Third Intermediate Period is characterized by the slow motion fracturing of Egyptian kingship. Even during Ramesses XI's day, the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt was losing its grip on power in the city of Thebes, whose priests were becoming increasingly powerful. After Ramesses XI's death, his successor Smendes I ruled from the city of Tanis, and the High Priests of Amun at Thebes ruled the south of the country during the Twenty-First Dynasty. But this division may have been less significant than it seems to us today, since both priests and pharaohs came from the same family.

Queen Nefertari
Queen Nefertari. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Hatshepsut. She was highly educated and able to both read and write hieroglyphs, a very rare skill at the time. She used these skills in her diplomatic work, corresponding with other prominent royals of the time. Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is one of the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens.




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