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Foreign relations: Nubia in the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (about 2200 - 1550 BC)

In the early Middle Kingdom there are attested struggles against Nubia, which led to the conquest of parts of the country (mainly Lower Nubia - the region from the First to the Second Cataract). Under Senusret I (about 1956-1911/10 BC) fortifications were built (Buhen). Several new fortifications were built under Senusret III (about 1872-1853 BC) to secure a slightly more southerly border at Semna in the Second Cataract; the king headed several campaigns against Nubia. Egypt's immediate interest in Nubia would have been its wealth in raw materials, such as gold and copper. Other materials desired by the Egyptians, such as hard wood and ivory, were traded through the region. Control over Nubia was lost within the Second Intermediate Period. In the Second Intermediate Period Lower Nubia was ruled by the kings of Kerma, and there is good evidence for Nubians living in Egypt.

Nubians living in Egypt


  • Lacovara 1997 (Nubia and Egypt in the Second Intermediate Period)
  • Meurer 1996 (summary on the relations between Nubia and Egypt in the Old and Middle Kingdom)
  • Smith 1995 (the Middle Kingdom in Askut; detailed case study)



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