Egyption History & Travel - 2010

as well as British invasions and occupations. Morocco and Tunisia also underwent periods of heavy influence by the Spaniards and Portuguese.

World War II brought the people of these countries into the swirling conflicts of colonization and then the end of colonial influences with many disruptions. Both France and Britain, though they had “won” that War, emerged greatly weakened and were forced to give up most of their colonies in all of Africa. Those departures left their former colonies vulnerable to civil conflicts as different men rose up to claim the right to govern them. Interestingly, all three have emerged in modern times as kingdoms ruled by dynasties, even if they are not so labeled. T OPOGRAPHY AND W EATHER Physically, all three countries should look much alike since all of them contain wide swaths of the Sahara Desert and their climates and geography are ruled to a great extent by the desert conditions in each. However, both Tunisia and Morocco have mountain ranges which give their topographies a more varied appearance. Egypt on the other hand is pretty much as flat as the famous Sun Disk which is the symbol of their god, Ra. There are three exceptions - all found on the Sinai Peninsula: Mt. Sinai, Mt. Catherine, and Mt. Serbal. But there are no mountain ranges. The Sahara itself is more beautiful in Tunisia and Morocco because of the high, rolling, red orange sand dunes. There are places in both countries where the desert is stonier, sharper and more desolate and those parts are what all of Egypt looks like. Light tan sand peppered with salt flats, dark sharp rocks and boulders, and endless wastes to the horizon. The Sahara in Tunisia and Morocco looks as if it could support life of various kinds, but the Egyptian desert is inhospitable and even hostile. Where oases spring up in the first two countries allowing plants and animals to survive, in Egypt the only life-sustaining land is the thin thread of greenery lining either side of the Nile to a width of about 5 miles each direction. We were surprised to hear the Egyptians speak of their importance to Rome as its “breadbasket” whereas in Tunisia, those people believed that their land bore that epithet! To our eyes, Romans would have been pretty hungry depending on the small amount of


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