Government and Politics


What was the first national government?

It is believed to have been that of the first Egyptian king, Menes, who united Upper and Lower Egypt in 3110 B.C. and founded a central government at Memphis (near present-day Cairo). Ruling for 62 years, Menes established the first of what would eventually number 30 dynasties that ruled ancient Egypt for nearly 3,000 years—until 332 B.C.

By the time the Third Dynasty began around 2700 B.C., the central government was well established and strong—subjects believed their kings and queens to be halfhuman and half-god. The pharaohs lived in magnificent luxury: Palaces and temples were built for them and were filled with exotic goods from other lands. These treasures were even buried with the pharaohs in order to be enjoyed in the afterworld. It was during the Third Dynasty that the 500-year period known as the Old Kingdom or the Pyramid Age began; it would become the period that saw the building of gigantic pyramids for Egypt’s kings.


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