Fact 1 on 20th Dynasty:
The previous royal line of kings ended in chaos with the mysterious death of Queen Twosret. The queen had ruled Egypt with the aid of Chancellor Bay who attempted to usurp the throne of Egypt.
Fact 2 on 20th Dynasty:
The ambitions of Chancellor Bay were thwarted and following the death of Queen Twosret, Setnakhte who became the founder of the 20th dynasty.
Fact 3 on 20th Dynasty:
Pharaoh Setnakhte was believed to be a grandson of Ramses II. He therefore claimed descent from one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs and secured his line from any other usurpers and the threat of civil war.
Fact 4 on 20th Dynasty:
He was succeeded by his son Ramses III, who was the last truly great pharaoh of ancient Egypt.
Fact 5 on 20th Dynasty:
Pharaoh Ramses III was faced with attacks from the Libyans and the Sea Peoples. Like his grandfather before him he was faced with securing the borders of Egypt from hostile attacks.
Fact 6 on 20th Dynasty:
The 'Sea Peoples' were the enemies of the 'land people' of Egypt who included seafaring raiders of the Hittite Empire - see map below.
Fact 7 on 20th Dynasty:
Ramses III fought off the foreign attacks and defeated his enemies in two great land and sea battles.
Fact 8 on 20th Dynasty:
Towards the end of his reign the government was beginning to crumble due to corrupt officials, the vizier was stripped of power and Pharaoh Ramses was challenged in a royal harem conspiracy.
Fact 9 on 20th Dynasty:
The Harem Conspiracy: Queen Tiye was a consort of Ramses III. She plotted against her husband with fellow courtier conspirators in order to secure the throne of Egypt for her son, Pentaweret, rather than the rightful heir.
Fact 10 on 20th Dynasty:
Pharaoh Ramses III "was murdered during the harem conspiracy by cutting his throat." The conspirators were punished by Ramses IV, the heir to the throne.
Fact 11 on 20th Dynasty:
Ramses IV initiated building projects and trading expeditions to Sinai and Nubia. He started building two temples near Thebes, and completed the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak. He only enjoyed a short reign and was buried in the Valley of the Kings.
Fact 12 on 20th Dynasty:
His son, Ramses V succeeded him. Government corruption continued and the priests also gained considerable power in Egypt. He died during a devastating smallpox epidemic which took a terrible toll in the royal family and the people of ancient Egypt.
Fact 13 on 20th Dynasty:
The power of the priesthood of Amun continued to increase in the reign of Ramses V. Records show that the priests of the Amun Temples had over 80,000 people working for them and owned enormous amounts of land, cattle and hundreds of ships.
Fact 14 on 20th Dynasty:
The control of the temple land and state finances was at the expense of Pharaoh.
Fact 15 on 20th Dynasty:
The reign of the next pharaoh, Ramses VI, was uneventful, however his death was significant. His tomb was broken into and ransacked by grave robbers who hacked away at his hands and feet in order to gain access to his jewelry.
Fact 16 on 20th Dynasty:
The following reigns were marked by bad harvests and high prices of grain. The country experienced severe economic problems and more tomb robberies took place and the criminals were prosecuted.
Fact 17 on 20th Dynasty:
Pharaoh Ramses XI was the tenth and last king of this royal line of kings. His reign was marked by the gradual disintegration of the Egyptian state and civil conflict. He was forced to share his power with Herihor, the High Priest of Amun, who ruled Thebes and Upper Egypt. Smendes, the governor of Tanis, controlled Lower Egypt.
Fact 18 on 20th Dynasty:
When Pharaoh Ramses XI died he was buried by Smendes and, according to ancient Egyptian custom, this gave him the authority and right to ascend to the throne.
Fact 19 on 20th Dynasty:
The remarkable period of the New Kingdom was over and the great Egyptian Empire was in decline, soon to be lost to foreign invaders from Libya.