Hyksos: Definition, History & People

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  • 0:00 The Hyksos
  • 1:01 New Technology
  • 2:11 Cultural Changes
  • 2:39 The End of the Hyksos
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Deering

Mary has a Master's Degree in History with 18 advanced hours in Government. She has taught college History and Government courses.

Learn about the Hyksos, a nomadic group from Western Asia that migrated into Egypt around 1800 B.C.E. Discover the new technology the Hyksos brought to Egypt and observe how this technology eventually led to their defeat.

The Hyksos

The Hyksos were a group of nomadic people who moved into Ancient Egypt from Western Asia shortly after 1800 B.C.E. The Hyksos were part of a larger migration that involved many people across the Middle East. The people who were already living in settlements along the Nile River called the Hyksos the 'rulers of the uplands.' The nomadic Hyksos settled into the Nile Delta, the fertile valley that followed the Nile River through Northern Egypt.

The Hyksos liked the fertile farm land of the Nile Delta and they became successful farmers in the area. Eventually they established a capital city at Avaris in the Northeastern Nile Delta. Historians and archaeologists belief that the Hyksos became rulers in the northern part of Egypt, but they likely did not exercise any influence in the southern part of the country. In the years before the Hyksos arrived, Egypt had suffered several civil wars. The Egyptian pharaohs still ruled in the southern part of the country, but the Hyksos were unchallenged in the North.

New Technology

When the Hyksos came to Egypt, they brought new methods of making bronze and casting it into tools and weapons. The bronze weapons and tools of the Hyksos became the standard for war and daily life in Egypt. Through their weapons, the Hyksos were able to change the course of Egyptian history and bring Egypt fully into the Bronze Age, a term archaeologists use to describe a period of time in which ancient peoples used new technology to create bronze objects. Bronze tools made farming more efficient because the tools were both more durable and more detailed. Bronze tools in combination with fertile land of the Nile Delta made the Hyksos incredibly successful farmers.

The Hyksos were also very effective warriors. Their bronze weapons gave them an advantage in battle. In addition, the Hyksos were the first people in Egypt to use horse-drawn chariots, enabling them to move swiftly on the battlefield. They also used the composite bow, a bow made from horn, wood, and sinew. The composite bow was able to shoot arrows over longer distances and allowed the Hyksos in their horse drawn chariots to defeat any resistance they encountered while migrating into Egypt. Their tools and weapons helped the Hyksos to gain and maintain control of their territory.

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