Egypt in its modern incarnation as an Arab state had its roots in the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD.
Let’s look at what happened before this time:
Memphis was destroyed during a siege of invading Assyrians around 680 BC, during what historians call the Late Period.
Assyria collapsed sixty-eight years later, in 612 BC, leaving Egypt independent–but only briefly.
In 525 BC, the Persians took Memphis, putting Egypt under Persian rule for more than a hundred years. When Alexander the Great marched into Egypt with his army composed of Macedonians and Greeks in 332 BC, the Egyptians were on the verge of overthrowing the Persians and welcomed Alexander as a liberator. He took Egypt without a fight and used Memphis as his headquarters. A sizeable Greek population began to call Memphis home.
After Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Egypt came under the reign of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled the country for three centuries. They didn’t use Memphis as their base, however. Instead, they ruled from the capital city of Alexandria, the port city founded and designed (and named) by the Macedonian conqueror.
The last Ptolemaic ruler was Cleopatra. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar’s teenage son, Caesarion, nominally succeeded his mother to the throne as Ptolemy XV Caesar, but he was executed by Octavian after 11 days. With him died the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
Octavian became Emperor Augustus (“revered”), and Egypt fell under the rule of the Roman Empire. Egypt remained under Roman and Byzantine control for six centuries. The Romans built a city-fortress they called Babylon on the east bank of the Nile River, the site of present-day Cairo.
Muslim forces began venturing out of the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century, bringing down the Sassanid Empire of Persia and capturing Byzantine territory. Babylon fell in December 640. Alexandria was captured in 641, and the whole of Egypt fell under the rule of the Caliphate in 646.
Cairo (from Al-Qāhirah, “The Victorious) was established in 973 by the Fatimid Caliphate originating from what is now Algeria, to serve as the enclave of the Fatimid Caliph.
Egypt reached economic, political, and cultural heights under the Mamluk rulers (1250-1517), and was used as a base of expansion by the Ottomans (1517-1798).
Egypt subsequently fell under French and British occupation, until its independence in 1922. From a constitutional monarchy, it transitioned to a republic in 1952 after decades of unrest.