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Definition: Kush from Philip's Encyclopedia

Kingdom and former state in Nubia. Lasting from c.1000 bc to c. ad 350, it conquered Egypt in the 7th-8th centuries bc. It was later defeated by the Assyrians, and moved its capital to Meroë in the Sudan. After Roman and Arab attacks in the N, Meroë was captured by the Axumites around ad 350. The Kushites are thought to have fled W.

Summary Article: CUSH KINGDOM
from Africa and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History

Cush Kingdom was an ancient African kingdom, located in present-day Egypt, that lasted two thousand years. The Kingdom of Cush (Kush, Nubia) lay along the Nile River roughly between the first cataract above Aswan to the sixth cataract near the confluence of the Blue and White Nile Rivers at Khartoum.

The Kingdom of Cush began around four thousand years ago. The first kingdom, dominated by Egypt, was centered near the second cataract. Biblical references to Cush are often to this first kingdom. However, power shifted to Napata, near the fourth cataract, as the capital of the Napatan (Cush) Kingdom. At the height of its power, Cush conquered Egypt. The kings of the period became the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. This period lasted a brief hundred years, ending with the conquest of Egypt by the Assyrians.

When the Cush Dynasty ended, Napatan was abandoned for a new center up the Nile at Meroe, about halfway between the confluence of the Atbara River and the Nile and the sixth cataract. There an iron forging and trading center with connections to the Red Sea was developed.

The Meroite Kingdom of Cush went into permanent decline after it suffered military defeat at the hands of King Ezana of Axum (ancient Abyssinia) about 1,650 years ago. Ruins of magnificent pyramids, temples, public buildings, ironworks, and homes are located at Jebal Barkal and at many other places.

See also:


  • Welsby, Derek A. The Kingdom of Kush: The Napatan and Merotic Empires. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1998.
  • Andrew J. Waskey

    Copyright © 2008 by ABC-CLIO, Inc.

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