Kush was an ancient Nubian kingdom situated on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile, and River Atbara in what is now the Republic of Sudan. Kush was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt with its center at Napata. After King Kashta invaded Egypt in the 8th century BC, the Kushite kings ruled as pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt for a century, until they were expelled by Psamtik I in 656 BC. The Kushite kingdom with its capital at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD, when it weakened and disintegrated due to internal rebellion. By the 1st century AD, the Kushite capital had been captured by the Beja Dynasty, who tried to revive the empire. The Kushite capital was eventually captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingdom of Axum.

Mentuhotep II, the founder of the Middle Kingdom, is recorded to have undertaken campaigns against Kush in the 29th and 31st years of his reign; this is the earliest Egyptian reference to Kush. During the New Kingdom of Egypt, Nubia (Kush) was an Egyptian colony, from the 16th century BC governed by an Egyptian Viceroy of Kush. When the New Kingdom collapsed around 1070 BC, Kush became an independent kingdom with its capital at Napata in modern Sudan. In 945 BC, Sheshonq I and Libyan princes took control of the Ancient Egyptian delta and founded the so-called Libyan or Bubastite dynasty, which would rule for some 200 years. Sheshonq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. In 711 BC, Sheshonq made Memphis his northern capital. However, Libyan control began to erode as a rival dynasty in the delta arose in Leonotopolis and Kushites threatened from the south. Around 727 BC, the Kushite king Piye invaded Egypt, seizing control of Thebes and eventually the delta. The Twenty-fifth dynasty was born; the dynasty continued until 671 BC, when it was toppled by the Neo Assyrian Empire. In the 1st century BC, Kush went to war with Roman Egypt. After the initial victories of Kandake ( "or Candace") Amanirenas, the Kushites were defeated and Napata was sacked. But the Kushites were not entirely defeated; three years later, in 22 BC, a large Kushite moved northward to attack the Romans. At some point during the battle, the Kushites sent ambassadors to negotiate a peace settlement with the Roman prefect of Egypt, Gaius Petronius. The Kushites succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty and trade between Egypt and Nubia increased. It is possible that the Roman emperor Nero planned to conquer Kush before his death in 68 BC. By the 1st or 2nd century AD, Kush began to fade as a power because of its war with Roman Egypt and the decline of its traditional industries. Christianity began to gain over the old phaoronic religion and by the mid-sixth century AD the Kingdom of Kush was dissolved.

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