Established after the Middle Kingdom (c. 2000–1523 BCE) the era of the New Kingdom (c. 1523–712 BCE) was when the Egyptian empire peaked. This was the time of the warrior pharaohs and began with the defeat of the foreign Hyksos kings. Thebes became Egypt’s new capital. There was a programme of temple building, initiated by Thutmose I, celebrating Amun-Ra, a major Egyptian deity. The most powerful warrior kings of the New Kingdom were Thutmose I and Thutmose III. Thutmose I brutally reasserted Egyptian authority over the vassal states of Syria, Palestine and Nubia. It is thought that he constructed the Valley of the Kings, used for royal tombs. His grandson, Thutmose III, expanded the empire further, using the army and garrisons to maintain Egyptian authority and to exploit Sinai and Nubia for their mineral wealth. The New Kingdom ended with the rule of the weak Ramesses III.
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