The pharaonic golden age (1839–1292 BCE) was a time of relentless colonization and exploitation of Nubia, Egypt’s workshop. With its newly restored and expanded borders, Nubia’s mineral wealth, especially gold, was needed to maintain Egypt’s prosperity and fund its palace and temple building programme. With the Buhen fortress restored and Wawat again under Egyptian control, Ahmose I and Amenhotep I (1539–1493 BCE) established fortifications and administrative centres between the second and third cataracts in the gold ore region in Nubia, with Sai at its heart. Resistance was so brutally crushed by Thutmose I (1520 BCE), ‘the scourge of Nubia’, that there were no further rebellions until c. 1334. A more lasting peace was brokered by Thutmose III, who built the administrative centre of Napata and converted the population to the worship of Amun. Nubia continued to require a significant military presence.
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