The First Intermediate Period (2181-2050BC)
The demise of the Old Kingdom brought a period of chaos and anarchy which characterized the Seventh Dynasty (2181-2173BC). During this brief period over 70 rulers were said to have laid claim to the throne. The Eighth Dynasty (2173-2160BC) followed the same pattern. Civil disorders multiplied and a drought struck Egypt.
Out of the turmoil and Pharaonic inertia, principalities within the realm rose up to challenge the authority of the kings. Achthoes, ruler of Heracleopolis, seized control of Middle Egypt, seized the throne and founded the Ninth Dynasty (2160-2130BC).
The kings of Heracleopolis maintained control over northern Egypt through the Tenth Dynasty (2130-2040BC). However, the rulers of Edfu and Thebes fought over control of Upper Egypt. The battle over Upper Egypt was won by Thebes and its ruler Inyotef Sehertowy founded the Eleventh Dynasty (2133-1991BC) with the aim of extending his power over all the land.
The north-south battle for control of Egypt ended with the victory of Nebhepetre Mentuhope II who reunited the country under one king and launched the Middle Kingdom.