The history of ancient Egypt is divided into three main periods: the Old Kingdom (about 2700B.C.-2200B.C.), the Middle Kingdom (about 2050B.C.-1800B.C.), and the New Kingdom (about 1550B.C.-1100B.C.). Although power passed from one dynasty, or ruling family to another, to another, the land generally remained united. The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty. These two dynasties were originally considered to be the full extent of this unified kingdom, but historians now consider the 13th Dynasty to at least partially belong to the Middle Kingdom.
Power struggle, crop failures, and the cost of pyramids contributed to the collapse of the Old Kingdom. After more than a century of disunity, new pharaohs reunited the land, ushering in the Middle Kingdom. Egyptian Armies occupied part of Nubia, the gold-rich land to the south. Traders also had greater contact with the people of the Middle East and the Mediterranean island of Crete.
Egyptians inherited from their earliest ancestors a variety of religious beliefs and practices. Inscriptions on monuments and wall paintings in tombs reveal how Egyptians appealed to the divine forces they believed ruled this world and afterlife. They believed that Osiris and Isis had promised them eternal life after death. Belief in the afterlife affected all Egyptians, from the highest noble to lowest peasant. They were polytheistic, they believed in gods and goddesses such as Osiris, Isis, Horus, and Amon-Re (chief god). Most Egyptians identified more easily with Osiris and Isis whose story touched human emotions such as love, jealousy, and fear of death.
In Ancient Egypt, the Middle Kingdom is seen as one of its finest ages. This is because it was a time of ‘expanding political strength’ and ‘broader economic horizons’. Generally thought to be from approximately 2000 B.C. to 1780 B.C., it was during the Twelfth Dynasty that Egyptians opened a wide trade amongst other countries, improved agricultural systems, fortified and expanded Egyptian borders