History of Egypt - The Middle Kingdom (2050-1786BC)
History of Egypt - The Middle Kingdom (2050-1786BC) Last updated on Thursday 15th April 2010
Mentuhope II reigned over Egypt for fifty years and re-established political and social order which in turn revived the economic and artistic development that characterized the glory of the Pharaohs. Trading was resumed and mines were reopened. Expansionist campaigns were relaunched against Libya, Nubia and the Bedouins of the Sinai.
His successors Mentuhope III and Mentuhope IV continued to rule from Thebes, maintaining the strength of the Eleventh Dynasty, building and expanding their kingdom until Amenemhat, a minister during the Eleventh Dynasty, assumed the throne and founded the Twelfth Dynasty (1991-1786BC).
Amenemhat moved his capital from Thebes back to Memphis. From here he annexed Nubia and extended his kingdom to the land of Sham, as far as Syria and Palestine. Al Fayoum became the capital of the Middle Kingdom during the reign of Amenemhat's son Senusert I. His successors Amenemhat II and Senusert III built the last pyramids in Lahun, Lisht and Hawara.
During this long period provincial governors or nomarchs began to vie for power and threaten the Pharaonic authority and it is said that the power of the nomarchs was gradually eliminated. Over time the central authority weakened, leading to civil disorder and instability and a prolonged period of upheaval.