The Nile and the delta form the first of four physiographic regions, the others being the Western Desert (Arabic Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Gharbiyyah), the Eastern Desert (Al-Ṣaḥrāʾ al-Sharqiyyah), and the Sinai Peninsula. The Western Desert (a branch of the Libyan Desert) is arid and without wadis (dry beds of seasonal rivers), while the Eastern Desert is extensively dissected by wadis and fringed by rugged mountains in the east.
The desert of central Sinai is open country, broken by isolated hills and scored by wadis.
Tourism has traditionally provided an enormous portion of foreign exchange, but that industry has been subject to fluctuations during times of political and civil unrest in the region.
Power was transferred to an elected government in 2012, and a new constitution was adopted at the end of the year.
Though totally flat apart from an occasional mound projecting through the alluvium, the delta is far from featureless; it is crisscrossed by a maze of canals and drainage channels.
Much of the delta coast is taken up by the brackish lagoons of lakes Maryūṭ, Idkū, Burullus, and Manzilah.
Egypt led the Arab states in a series of wars against Israel but was the first of those states to make peace with the Jewish state, which it did in 1979.
Egypt’s authoritarian political system was long dominated by the president, the ruling party, and the security services.