The name of Egypt, with which the Greeks and Romans already designated the region of the Lower Nile, and which has become the common denomination of the country, is taken from that of the ancient city of Memphis, rendered in Babylonian with Ḫ ikuptah, which has become Greek Αἴγυπτος (lat. Aegyptus). The Arabs called it Mi ṣ r (now dialectically Ma ṣ r) from an ancient Semitic denomination. It indicated all that part of Mediterranean Africa between Marmarica to the east of Cyrenaica and the Isthmus of Suez and historically including the lower valley of the Nile up to the first cataract. Politically, Egypt today extends further south, until it reaches the second cataract at the 22nd parallel, plus the Sinai peninsula.
Delimitation and extension. – The political borders of the Kingdom of Egypt have been defined by regular international treaties. The one to the west, established with the Italo-Egyptian agreement of 6 December 1925, starts from a point on the Mediterranean coast 10 km away. north of Sollum (es-Sallūm), and following a rather tortuous course that has the 25th meridian as its axis, it passes through the oasis of Melfa to the east of Giaghbúb (which remains in Cyrenaica); then, having reached the 25th meridian, it follows it up to the 22nd parallel. To the south, the Anglo-Egyptian border is marked by the aforementioned 22nd parallel up to the meeting of the 33rd meridian, making only a recess of 25 km. north of the point where the 22nd parallel cuts the Nile valley. Then from the 33rd meridian a conventional broken line, passing through well-defined points, reaches the Red Sea at 30 km. south of the tropic. To the east, the physical boundary marked by the Red Sea and the Suez Canal is moved eastwards up to an almost straight path established with the agreement of 1 October 1906, which from the bottom of the Gulf of el-‛Aqabah reaches the Mediterranean at Rafaḥ at 30 km. south of Ghazzah, thus leaving the Sinai peninsula politically attached to Egypt. Including this peninsula, the total area of the kingdom would extend over 994,300 sq km, of which about 65,000 for the Sinai peninsula. This extension largely includes the desert regions on both sides of the Nile valley: the Arabian Desert to the east, the Libyan to the west; the statistics, indicating the total area, are followed by that of the cultivated area, which is expanding with the extension of irrigation.
Religion. – The Christian communities of Egypt can be divided into Eastern and Western. The Orientals can still be divided into dissidents or united with Rome. Westerners are Catholicism and Protestantism.
Among the dissidents, the Coptic Church occupies the first place, made up mostly of indigenous people and subject to a patriarch assisted by eleven metropolitans and two bishops. The faithful ascend to 950,000. Second in historical importance is the Melkite Orthodox Church, made up mostly of people originally from Greece and Syria. Until 1846 their patriarch was nominated by Constantinople; now he is elected by the Orthodox of Egypt themselves, who are distributed in eight eparchies. The monastery of Mount Sinai, despite being in the constituency of the Alexandrian Orthodox patriarchate, is autocephalous and has 100 faithful. There are also small communities of Armenogregorians (about 1500) and Syrogiacobites (about 300).
Among the Eastern communities united with Rome comes in the first place that of the Coptic Catholics (about 20,000) for whom the patriarchate of Alexandria was created in 1895 with the two bishops of el-Minyā and Ṭahṭā. We must also remember the religious community of the Grecomelchites, administered by a vicar bishop of the patriarch of Antioch, and the communities of the Maronites, the Syrians and the Armenians, which number a few thousand faithful.
Protestants who, as elsewhere, are also in Egypt divided into many confessions, exercise their propaganda mainly among the Copts. On the strength of English prestige, the Anglican Church is the largest of the various confessions. Latin Catholics largely belong to the foreign element and are of Italian, French, Austrian, Hungarian and Irish nationality. They are organized into three apostolic vicariates: that of Egypt, that of the Suez Canal and that of the Delta. The latter is entrusted to the fathers of the African missions of Lyon; the first to the Franciscan fathers of the Holy Land to whom the large parishes of Alexandria and Cairo are also entrusted; that of the Canal to the French Franciscans. Alexandria then from 1839 to 1928 was also the residence of the apostolic delegate of Egypt and Arabia. For Egypt religion, please check thereligionfaqs.com.
Finance. – From a state of complete bankruptcy, which led the great European powers to take control of the budget and the Egyptian public debt (liquidation law of 1880 and London convention of 1885), Egypt gradually passed to financial autonomy (Franco-English agreement of 1904) and to prosperity both for the emancipation from the disastrous Turkish administration, and for the continuous economic progress due to the production and trade of cotton. And despite numerous swings in cotton prices during the war and post-war years, the general situation in the country is overall good and the state budget significantly in surplus.
The main income is provided by customs, tobacconists, direct taxes, especially land tax and railways. The main expenditure items are those for administration and, at a distance, for railways and public debt service.
The monetary unit is, from November 14, 1885, the Egyptian gold lira, divided into 100 plates and equivalent to 1 pound and 6 1 / 4 pence; for some years, however, there were no actual issues of Egyptian gold coins and the golden circulation in Egypt and in the Sūdān, until the world war (1914-1918) which made it practically disappear, was almost exclusively composed of pounds sterling that ran registered at the rate of 97 1 / 2 plates.
The notes issued by the National Bank have, since the war, legal tender and are unconvertible. The notes in circulation at the end of 1929 amounted to 26.7 million Egyptian pounds and the reserves, at the same date, consisted of 3.8 million in gold and 28.1 million in foreign exchange.
The total amount of the external public debt of Egypt in April 1930 was 89,878 million Egyptian pounds (of which 3994 of 3% guaranteed debt, 30,634 of 3 1 / 2 % privileged debt and 55,250 of 4% unified debt).
Education. – Indigenous public education is given in 337 optional elementary schools and 1233 compulsory schools. There are also 10 complementary schools for girls, 60 primary schools (of which 14 for girls), 19 secondary schools (of which 2 for girls), 42 recruiting schools for primary and secondary teachers, some high schools for technical subjects and the Egyptian University of Cairo. definitively established by decree-law of 11 March 1925.
Particularly flourishing are the schools of the Italian, French and English European colonies.