Encompassing much of the Fertile Crescent, the UAR has one of the longest histories of of any modern country with progenitor states arising up along the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates Rivers in the tenth millennium BC. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Uruk, Palmyra, and Babylon reflect this legacy and they remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide.
At different periods in its history, the UAR has been the center of several civilizations and has been an integral part of numerous empires that are reflected in diverse national and regional identities that are located throughout the country. The populace within the country has endured, and at times assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. Christianised in the first century of the Common Era, it was subsequently Islamised due to the Islamic conquests of the seventh century.
With over 151 million inhabitants, the UAR is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab World and the second-most populous in Africa (after Nigeria). The great majority of its people live near the banks of the three major river systems, and over half the popultion live within urban areas with most spread across the densely populated centres of Cairo, Alexandria, Baghdad, and Aleppo.
The modern UAR is considered a great power with significant cultural, political, and military influence in the African, Arab, and the Muslim worlds. Its economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East and as such is a member of the Group of 20 and the World Trade Organization. Through its predecessor state of Egypt, the UAR is also a founding member of the United Nations and has served as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council since 1996. President Morsi Abu-Hassan also serves as the chairman of the Union of Arab States where the UAR wields significant influence over the confederation.