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Egypt, officially Arab Republic of Egypt, country in northeastern Africa and southwestern Asia. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Israel and the Red Sea, on the south by Sudan, and on the west by Libya. The country has a maximum length from north to south of about 1,085 km (about 675 mi) and a maximum width, near the southern border, of about 1,255 km (about 780 mi). It has a total area of 997,739 sq km (385,229 sq mi). Cairo is the capital and largest city.
Most Egyptians are descended from the indigenous pre-Muslim population (the ancient Egyptians) and the Arabs, who conquered the area in the 7th century AD. Elements of other conquering peoples (Greeks, Romans, Turks) are also present, especially in Lower Egypt. The mixture has given the inhabitants of the Nile Valley physical characteristics that set them apart from the other Mediterranean peoples of the region. The Nubians, an indigenous people, are an important minority group in Egypt. The Nubians lived in villages along the Nile in southern Egypt and northern Sudan for thousands of years. However, the formation of Lake Nasser inundated many of these villages. The proportion of the population living in rural areas is decreasing as people move to the cities seeking employment and a higher standard of living. Some 45 percent of the Egyptian population lives in urban areas. Nomadic and seminomadic herders, mostly Bedouins, continue to live in the desert regions.
The population of Egypt (1998 estimate) is 66,050,004. Almost 99 percent of the population lives within the Nile Valley and delta, which constitutes less than 4 percent of Egypt's total area. While the overall population density for the country is 66 persons per sq km (171 per sq mi), the Nile Valley and delta are among the most densely populated regions in the world, with about 1,900 persons per sq km (about 4,900 per sq mi). Egypt's population is growing rapidly; the annual growth rate in 1998 was 1.9 percent, although projections show the rate decreasing steadily.
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