Together with Mesopotamia and the Minoan civilization Ancient Egypt looms high as an early progenitor for the West. Centred on the Nile, Ancient Egypt like the Indian Harappan civilizations and the Chinese Xia dynasty was a river-based culture (the former was founded on the Indus River, the latter on the Yellow River.
As the lifeblood of Egypt the Nile was the location of vast agricultural based city states that paralleled those of the Tigris-Euphrates basin. However until the arrival of Menes c.3100 BC they were largely divided into Lower and Upper frames of influence. Who Menes was is still a source of debate? Some historians argue that he was the proto dynastic pharaoh Narmer. Others believe that he was a first dynasty pharaoh Nor-Aha.
The name Menes is attributed to the writings of the Egyptian historian Manetho who lived in the 3rd century BC. In addition there is some disagreement concerning the date of unification of Egypt but the 3100 BC figure seems to be a common figure in use. While the uncertainty may become less nebulous over time what cannot be denied is that the unification of Egypt would lay down the foundation for a civilization that would play a key role in the dissemination of ideas, technology and political capital for the next three millennia to follow.