A cereal is any grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain, composed of the endosperm and bran. The term may refer to the resulting grain itself. Cereal grain crops are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of crop and are therefore staple crops. Edible grains from other plant families, such as buckwheat and chia, are referred to as pseudocereals. In their natural, whole grain form, cereals are a rich source of vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and protein; when processed by the removal of the bran, germ, the remaining endosperm is carbohydrate. In some developing countries, grain in the form of rice, millet, or maize constitutes a majority of daily sustenance. In developed countries, cereal consumption is still substantial; the word cereal is derived from the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture. Agriculture allowed for the support of an increased population, leading to larger societies and the development of cities, it created the need for greater organization of political power, as decisions had to be made regarding labor and harvest allocation and access rights to water and land.
Agriculture bred immobility, as populations settled down for long periods of time, which led to the accumulation of material goods. Early Neolithic villages show evidence of the development of processing grain; the Levant is the ancient home of the ancestors of wheat and peas, in which many of these villages were based. There is evidence of the cultivation of figs in the Jordan Valley as long as 11,300 years ago, cereal production in Syria 9,000 years ago. During the same period, farmers in China began to farm rice and millet, using man-made floods and fires as part of their cultivation regimen. Fiber crops were domesticated as early as food crops, with China domesticating hemp, cotton being developed independently in Africa and South America, Western Asia domesticating flax; the use of soil amendments, including manure, fish and ashes, appears to have begun early, developed independently in several areas of the world, including Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and Eastern Asia. The first cereal grains were domesticated by early primitive humans.
About 8,000 years ago, they were domesticated by ancient farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region. Emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley were three of the so-called Neolithic founder crops in the development of agriculture. Around the same time and rices were starting to become domesticated in East Asia. Sorghum and millets were being domesticated in sub-Saharan West Africa. During the second half of the 20th century there was a significant increase in the production of high-yield cereal crops worldwide wheat and rice, due to an initiative known as the Green Revolution; the strategies developed by the Green Revolution focused on fending off starvation and were successful in raising overall yields of cereal grains, but did not give sufficient relevance to nutritional quality. These modern high yield-cereal crops have low quality proteins, with essential amino acid deficiencies, are high in carbohydrates, lack balanced essential fatty acids, vitamins and other quality factors. While each individual species has its own peculiarities, the cultivation of all cereal crops is similar.
Most are annual plants. Wheat, triticale, oats and spelt are the "cool-season" cereals; these are hardy plants that cease to grow in hot weather. The "warm-season" cereals are prefer hot weather. Barley and rye are the hardiest cereals, able to overwinter in Siberia. Many cool-season cereals are grown in the tropics. However, some are only grown in cooler highlands, where it may be possible to grow multiple crops per year. For the past few decades, there has been increasing interest in perennial grain plants; this interest developed due to advantages in erosion control, reduced need for fertiliser, potential lowered costs to the farmer. Though research is still in early stages, The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas has been able to create a few cultivars that produce a good crop yield; the warm-season cereals are grown in tropical lowlands year-round and in temperate climates during the frost-free season. Rice is grown in flooded fields, though some strains are grown on dry land. Other warm climate cereals, such as sorghum, are adapted to arid conditions.
Cool-season cereals are well-adapted to temperate climates. Most varieties of a particular species are either spring types. Winter varieties are sown in the autumn and grow vegetatively become dormant during winter, they mature in late spring or early summer. This cultivation system makes optimal use of water and frees the land for another crop early in the growing season. Winter varieties do not flower until springtime because they require vernalization: exposure to low temperatures for a genetically determined length of time. Where winters are too warm for vernalization or exceed the hardiness of the crop, farmers grow spring varieties. Spring cereals are planted in early springtime and mature that same summer, without vernalization. Spring cereals require more irrigation and yield less than winter cereals. Once the cereal plants have grown their seeds, they have completed their life cycle; the plants di
Armenians are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the de facto independent Artsakh. There is a wide-ranging diaspora of around 5 million people of full or partial Armenian ancestry living outside modern Armenia; the largest Armenian populations today exist in Russia, the United States, Georgia, Germany, Lebanon and Syria. With the exceptions of Iran and the former Soviet states, the present-day Armenian diaspora was formed as a result of the Armenian Genocide. Most Armenians adhere to the Armenian Apostolic Church, a non-Chalcedonian church, the world's oldest national church. Christianity began to spread in Armenia soon after Jesus' death, due to the efforts of two of his apostles, St. Thaddeus and St. Bartholomew. In the early 4th century, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first state to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Armenian is an Indo-European language, it has two mutually intelligible and written forms: Eastern Armenian, today spoken in Armenia, Artsakh and the former Soviet republics.
The unique Armenian alphabet was invented in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots. The name Armenian has come to internationally designate this group of people, it was first used by neighbouring countries of ancient Armenia. The earliest attestations of the exonym Armenia date around the 6th century BC. In his trilingual Behistun Inscription dated to 517 BC, Darius I the Great of Persia refers to Urashtu as Armina (in Old Persian. In Greek, Αρμένιοι "Armenians" is attested from about the same time the earliest reference being a fragment attributed to Hecataeus of Miletus. Xenophon, a Greek general serving in some of the Persian expeditions, describes many aspects of Armenian village life and hospitality in around 401 BC, he relates that the people spoke a language that to his ear sounded like the language of the Persians. Armenians call themselves Hay; the name has traditionally been derived from Hayk, the legendary patriarch of the Armenians and a great-great-grandson of Noah, according to Moses of Chorene, defeated the Babylonian king Bel in 2492 BC and established his nation in the Ararat region.
It is further postulated that the name Hay comes from one of the two confederated, Hittite vassal states—the Ḫayaša-Azzi. Movses Khorenatsi, the important early medieval Armenian historian, wrote that the word Armenian originated from the name Armenak or Aram; the Armenian Highland is the area surrounding the highest peak of the region. A controversial hypothesis put forward by some scholars, such as T. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov, has proposed that the Indo-European homeland was around the Armenian Highland; the modern Armenian language is grouped with Greek and Ancient Macedonian in the Pontic Indo-European subgroup of Indo-European languages by Eric P. Hamp in his 2012 Indo-European family tree, groups. There are two possible explanations, not mutually exclusive, for a common origin of the Armenian and Greek languages. Ancient Greek scholars, such as Herodotus, suggest that the Phrygians of western Anatolia, who spoke an Indo-European language, had made a contribution to the ethnogenesis of the Armenians: "the Armenians were equipped like Phrygians, being Phrygian colonists".
This appears to imply that some Phrygians migrated eastward to Armenia following the destruction of Phrygia by a Cimmerian invasion in the late 7th century BC. Greek scholars believed that the Phrygians had originated in the Balkans, in an area adjoining Macedonia, from where they had emigrated to Anatolia many centuries earlier. In Hamp's view the homeland of the proposed Greco-Armenian subgroup is the northeast coast of the Black Sea and its hinterlands, he assumes that they migrated from there southeast through the Caucasus with the Armenians remaining after Batumi while the pre-Greeks proceeded westwards along the southern coast of the Black Sea. Some genetics studies explain Armenian diversity by several mixtures of Eurasian populations that occurred between ~3,000 and ~2,000 BC, but genetic signals of population mixture cease after ~1,200 BC when Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean world and violently collapsed. Armenians have since remained isolated and genetic structure within the population developed ~500 years ago when Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Safavid Empire in Iran.
In the Bronze Age, several states flourished in the area of Greater Armenia, including the Hittite Empire and Hayasa-Azzi. Soon after Hayasa-Azzi came Arme-Shupria, the Nairi and the Kingdom of Urartu, who successively established their sovereignty over the Armenian Highland; each of the aforementioned nations and tribes participated in the ethnogenesis of the Armenian people. Under Ashurbanipal, the Assyrian empire reached the Caucasus Mountains. Yerevan, the modern capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 BC by king Argishti I; the first geographical entity, called Armenia by neighboring peoples was established in the late 6th century BC u
Palestine is a geographic region in Western Asia considered to include Israel, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, in some definitions, some parts of western Jordan. The name was used by ancient Greek writers, it was used for the Roman province Syria Palaestina, the Byzantine Palaestina Prima, the Islamic provincial district of Jund Filastin; the region comprises most of the territory claimed for the biblical regions known as the Land of Israel, the Holy Land or Promised Land. It has been known as the southern portion of wider regional designations such as Canaan, ash-Sham, the Levant. Situated at a strategic location between Egypt and Arabia, the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture and politics; the region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites and Judeans, Babylonians, ancient Greeks, the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom, Parthians, Byzantines, the Arab Rashidun, Umayyad and Fatimid caliphates, Ayyubids, Mongols, the British, modern Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians.
The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history. Today, the region comprises the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories in which the State of Palestine was declared. Modern archaeology has identified 12 ancient inscriptions from Egyptian and Assyrian records recording cognates of Hebrew Pelesheth; the term "Peleset" is found in five inscriptions referring to a neighboring people or land starting from c. 1150 BCE during the Twentieth dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with Egypt in Ramesses III's reign, the last known is 300 years on Padiiset's Statue. Seven known Assyrian inscriptions refer to the region of "Palashtu" or "Pilistu", beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BCE through to a treaty made by Esarhaddon more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term; the first clear use of the term Palestine to refer to the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt was in 5th century BCE Ancient Greece, when Herodotus wrote of a "district of Syria, called Palaistinê" in The Histories, which included the Judean mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley.
A century Aristotle used a similar definition for the region in Meteorology, in which he included the Dead Sea. Greek writers such as Polemon and Pausanias used the term to refer to the same region, followed by Roman writers such as Ovid, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch as well as Roman Judean writers Philo of Alexandria and Josephus; the term was first used to denote an official province in c. 135 CE, when the Roman authorities, following the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, combined Iudaea Province with Galilee and the Paralia to form "Syria Palaestina". There is circumstantial evidence linking Hadrian with the name change, but the precise date is not certain and the assertion of some scholars that the name change was intended "to complete the dissociation with Judaea" is disputed; the term is accepted to be a translation of the Biblical name Peleshet. The term and its derivates are used more than 250 times in Masoretic-derived versions of the Hebrew Bible, of which 10 uses are in the Torah, with undefined boundaries, 200 of the remaining references are in the Book of Judges and the Books of Samuel.
The term is used in the Septuagint, which used a transliteration Land of Phylistieim different from the contemporary Greek place name Palaistínē. The Septuagint instead used the term "allophuloi" throughout the Books of Judges and Samuel, such that the term "Philistines" has been interpreted to mean "non-Israelites of the Promised Land" when used in the context of Samson and David, Rabbinic sources explain that these peoples were different from the Philistines of the Book of Genesis. During the Byzantine period, the region of Palestine within Syria Palaestina was subdivided into Palaestina Prima and Secunda, an area of land including the Negev and Sinai became Palaestina Salutaris. Following the Muslim conquest, place names that were in use by the Byzantine administration continued to be used in Arabic; the use of the name "Palestine" became common in Early Modern English, was used in English and Arabic during the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem and was revived as an official place name with the British Mandate for Palestine.
Some other terms that have been used to refer to all or part of this land include Canaan, Land of Israel, the Promised Land, Greater Syria, the Holy Land, Iudaea Province, Coele-Syria, "Israel HaShlema", Kingdom of Israel, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Retenu, Southern Syria, Southern Levant and Syria Palaestina. Situated at a strategic location between Egypt and Arabia, the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the region has a long and tumultuous history as a crossroads for religion, culture and politics; the region has been controlled by numerous peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Israelites, Babylonians, Ancient Greeks, Parthians, Sasa
A fillet or filet is a cut or slice of boneless meat or fish. The fillet is a prime ingredient in many cuisines, many dishes call for a specific type of fillet as one of the ingredients. In the case of beef, the term most refers to beef tenderloin in the United States filet mignon. Chicken fillets, sometimes called inner fillets, are a specific cut of meat from the chicken. There are two fillets in a chicken, they are each a few inches long and about 1 inch or less wide, they lie under the main portion of the breast just above the ribcage around the center of the sternum. They are separated from the main breast by filament. Chicken fillets are popular in supermarkets in many countries, they can come attached to the main breast itself or separated from the breast in packages of four or more fillets. In preparation for filleting, the scales on the fish should be removed; the contents of the abdominal cavity need careful detaching from the fillet. Fish fillets are obtained by slicing parallel to the spine, rather than perpendicular to the spine.
Cuts of fish performed perpendicular to the spine are known as steaks or cutlets, include bone. The remaining bones with the attached flesh is called the "frame", is used to make fish stock; as opposed to whole fish or fish steaks, fillets do not contain the fish's backbone. Special cut fillets are taken from solid large blocks. Fillets may have skin on. A fletch is a large boneless fillet of swordfish or tuna. There are several ways to cut a fish fillet: Cutlet This fillet is obtained by slicing from behind the head of the fish, round the belly and tapering towards the tail; the fish is turned and the process repeated on the other side to produce a double fillet Single This fillet is more complex than the cutlet and produces two separate fillets, one from each side of the fish. "J" Cut This fillet is produced in the same way as a single fillet but the pin bones are removed by cutting a "J" shape from the fillet Fish fillet processor
Armenian cuisine includes the foods and cooking techniques of the Armenian people and traditional Armenian foods and dishes. The cuisine reflects the history and geography where Armenians have lived as well as sharing outside influences from European and Levantine cuisines; the cuisine reflects the traditional crops and animals grown and raised in Armenian populated areas. The preparation of meat and vegetable dishes in an Armenian kitchen requires stuffing and puréeing. Lamb and bread are basic features of Armenian cuisine. Armenians traditionally preferred cracked wheat to rice; the flavor of the food relies on the quality and freshness of the ingredients rather than on excessive use of spices. Fresh herbs are used extensively, both as accompaniments. Dried herbs are used in the winter. Wheat is the primary grain and is found in a variety of forms, such as: whole wheat, shelled wheat, semolina and flour. Rice was used in the cities and in certain rice-growing areas. Legumes are used liberally chick peas, white beans, kidney beans.
Nuts are used both for texture. Of primary usage are walnuts, pine nuts, but hazelnuts and nuts from regional trees. Fresh and dried fruit are used both as sour agents; as main ingredients, the following fruit are used: apricots, quince and others. As sour agents, the following fruits are used: sumac berries, sour grapes, pomegranate, apricots and lemons. In addition to grape leaves, cabbage leaves, beet leaves, radish leaves, strawberry leaves, others are stuffed. A typical meal in an Armenian household might consist of bread, sour milk, cheese and picked vegetables, radishes. Lunch might include a meatball soup with sour milk. Lamb, yogurt and bread are basic features of the cuisine of the Caucasus, in this regard, Armenian cuisine is no different, but there are some regional differences. Armenian dishes make heavy use of bulgur in their pilavs, while Georgian variations use maize, Azeri cuisine favors rice. Armenian cuisine makes use of mixed flours made from wheat and maize, which produces flavors that are difficult to replicate.
Armenians call tail fat kyurdyuk. Archaeologists have found traces of barley, lentils, plums and wheat during excavations of the Erebuni Fortress in Yerevan. Herbs are used copiously in Armenian cuisine, Armenian desserts are flavored with rose water, orange flower water and honey. Salads are a staple of the Armenian diet, along with various yogurt soups and lamb stews, which sometimes include apricots. Pomegranate juice is a popular beverage. Murat Belge has written that both Armenian and Iranian cuisines have meat and fruit dishes, where meat is cooked together with fruits like quince and plums, which are uncommon in Ottoman cuisine. Mezes made with chickpeas, lentils and eggplants play a role in Armenian cuisine served with traditional lavash bread. Lavash may be used as tortilla-style wrap for various combinations of fried meat, vegetables and herbs. Cold cucumber soup is a common dish. Bozbash is a soup of fatty lamb meat that may include various fruits and vegetables such as quince and apples.
Armenian cuisine features filled pastry pies called boereg, various types of sausages, toasted pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and dolma. Cinnamon is a commonly used spice in Armenian cuisine. Salads are served with a lemon-cinnamon dressing alongside as an accompaniment to meat kebabs. In a survey of Armenian-American cuisine, ginger was rated an important spice. There are many Turkish loanwords used in Armenian for various foodstuffs: tel paynir, su byorek, fasulya and kadaif are examples. In her 1989 book Russian Food Jean Redwood wrote the following about Armenian cuisine: A long unbroken religious cohesion and a strong national consciousness over the centuries, despite decimation and dispersion of their numbers over the globe, has kept their culture intact; because of this they have tended to influence rather than be influenced in their manner of cooking. They travelled around the Caucasus more than the other nationalities and were the main commercial traders. Other writers have expressed their doubts noting that "the culinary dishes which Armenians sometimes characterize as'authentically Armenian' are on the one hand common features of the non-Armenian cuisine in many Arabic countries as well as in Cyprus and Greece and, on the other hand, popular throughout Iran".
Rose Baboian was an Armenian-American cookbook author who made Turkish Armenian recipes accessible for younger generations of Armenians who spoke only English. Born in Aintab, she survived the Armenian genocide when her school was moved to Syria relocating to the United States. Mark Zanger, a Boston-based food reporter, wrote that Baboian's book "stands out as a model of American ethnic food because she recorded so many traditions", she is considered to have anticipated Armenian American fusion cooking with recipes like "chocolate yogurt". Ardashes H. Keoleian authored the Oriental Cookbook is a collection of recipes from the Middle East "adapted to American tastes and methods of preparation" is a mixed collection of recipes that includes some recipes from the Armenian cuisine. Grains us
Kayseri is a large industrialised city in Central Anatolia, Turkey. It is the seat of Kayseri Province; the city of Kayseri, as defined by the boundaries of Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality, is structurally composed of five metropolitan districts, the two core districts of Kocasinan and Melikgazi, since 2004 Hacılar, İncesu and Talas. Kayseri is located at the foot of the extinct volcano Mount Erciyes that towers 3,916 metres over the city; the city is cited in the first ranks among Turkey's cities that fit the definition of Anatolian Tigers. The city retains a number including several from the Seljuk period. While it is visited en route to the international tourist attractions of Cappadocia, Kayseri has many attractions in its own right: Seljuk and Ottoman era monuments in and around the city centre, Mount Erciyes as a trekking and alpinism centre, Zamantı River as a rafting centre, the historic sites of Kültepe, Ağırnas and Develi. Kayseri is home to Erciyes University. According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, as of 2011 the city of Kayseri had a population of 844,656.
Kayseri was called Mazaka or Mazaca by the Hattians and was known as such to Strabo, during whose time it was the capital of the Roman province of Cilicia, known as Eusebia at the Argaeus, after Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia. The name was changed again by Archelaus, last King of Cappadocia and a Roman vassal, to "Caesarea in Cappadocia" in honour of Caesar Augustus, upon his death in 14 AD; when the Muslim Arabs arrived, they adapted the pronunciation to their writing resulting in Kaisariyah, this became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control of the city in circa 1080, remaining as such since. The city has been continuously inhabited since c. 3000 BC with the establishment of the ancient trading colony at Kültepe, associated with the Hittites. The city has always been a vital trade centre as it is located on major trade routes along what was called the Great Silk Road. Kültepe, one of the oldest cities in Asia Minor, lies 20 km away; as Mazaca, the city served as the residence of the kings of Cappadocia.
In ancient times, it was on the crossroads of the trade routes from Sinope to the Euphrates and from the Persian Royal Road that extended from Sardis to Susa during the over 200 years of Achaemenid Persian rule. In Roman times, a similar route from Ephesus to the East crossed the city; the city stood on a low spur on the north side of Mount Erciyes. Only a few traces of the ancient site survive in the old town; the city was the centre of a satrapy under Persian rule until it was conquered by Perdikkas, one of the generals of Alexander the Great when it became the seat of a transient satrapy by another of Alexander's former generals, Eumenes of Cardia. The city was subsequently passed to the Seleucid empire after the battle of Ipsus but became once again the centre of an autonomous Greater Cappadocian kingdom under Ariarathes III of Cappadocia in around 250 BC. In the ensuing period, the city came under the sway of Hellenistic influence, was given the Greek name of Eusebia in honor of the Cappadocian king Ariarathes V Eusebes Philopator of Cappadocia.
The new name of Caesarea, by which it has since been known, was given to it by the last Cappadocian King Archelaus or by Tiberius. The city passed under formal Roman rule in 17 AD. Caesarea was destroyed by the Sassanid king Shapur I after his victory over the Emperor Valerian I in AD 260. At the time it was recorded to have around 400,000 inhabitants; the city recovered, became home to several early Christian saints: saints Dorothea and Theophilus the martyrs, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil of Caesarea. In the 4th century, bishop Basil established an ecclesiastic centre on the plain, about one mile to the northeast, which supplanted the old town, it included a system of almshouses, an orphanage, old peoples' homes, a leprosarium. The city's bishop, attended the Second Council of Ephesus and was suspended from the Council of Chalcedon A Notitia Episcopatuum composed during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius in about 640 lists 5 suffragan dioceses of the metropolitan see of Caesarea.
A 10th-century list gives it 15 suffragans. In all the Notitiae Caesarea is given the second place among the metropolitan sees of the patriarchate of Constantinople, preceded only by Constantinople itself, its archbishops were given the title of protothronos, meaning "of the first see". More than 50 first-millennium archbishops of the see are known by name, the see itself continued to be a residential see of the Eastern Orthodox Church until 1923, when by order of the Treaty of Lausanne all members of that Churchwere deported from what is now Turkey. Caesarea was the seat of an Armenian diocese. No longer a residential bishopric, Caesarea in Cappadocia is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see of the Armenian Catholic Church and the Melkite Catholic Church. A portion of Basil's new city was surrounded with strong walls, it was turned into a fortress by Justinian. Caesarea in the 9th century became a Byzantine administrative centre as the capital of the Byzantine Theme of Charsianon.
The 1500-year-old Kayseri Castle, built init
Egypt the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, across the Mediterranean lie Greece and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt's long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman Turkish, Nubian.
Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority. From the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century, Egypt was ruled by foreign imperial powers: The Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. Modern Egypt dates back to 1922, when it gained nominal independence from the British Empire as a monarchy. However, British military occupation of Egypt continued, many Egyptians believed that the monarchy was an instrument of British colonialism. Following the 1952 revolution, Egypt expelled British soldiers and bureaucrats and ended British occupation, nationalized the British-held Suez Canal, exiled King Farouk and his family, declared itself a republic. In 1958 it merged with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which dissolved in 1961. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Egypt endured social and religious strife and political instability, fighting several armed conflicts with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967.
In 1978, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and recognising Israel. The country continues to face challenges, from political unrest, including the recent 2011 revolution and its aftermath, to terrorism and economic underdevelopment. Egypt's current government is a presidential republic headed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, described by a number of watchdogs as authoritarian. Islam is the official religion of Egypt and Arabic is its official language. With over 95 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa, the Middle East, the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa, the fifteenth-most populous in the world; the great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres, where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
The sovereign state of Egypt is a transcontinental country considered to be a regional power in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world, a middle power worldwide. Egypt's economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, is projected to become one of the largest in the world in the 21st century. In 2016, Egypt became Africa's second largest economy. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. "Miṣr" is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while "Maṣr" is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew "מִצְרַיִם"; the oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the Akkadian "mi-iṣ-ru" related to miṣru/miṣirru/miṣaru, meaning "border" or "frontier". There is evidence of rock carvings in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BCE, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture.
Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BCE began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society. By about 6000 BCE, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt; the Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade; the earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BCE. A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BCE