Although it is not clear precisely when the Kingdom of Kush or Nubia arose, there is some evidence that it predated Ancient Egypt. By the year 3,000 BC, there was already contact between Egypt and Nubia. Nubia became an Egyptian tributary for nearly 1,000 years regaining its independence when the New Kingdom disintegrated. For a brief period, the newly independent Kush Kingdom conquered Egypt. In 663 B. C.E., Kush was driven out of Egypt.

The Kush economy was primarily agricultural and Kush was also a major trading center for the region. Kush society, however, was largely urban. The Kingdom of Kush developed its own phonetic language. It is believed that the extensive foreign trade engaged in by the Kush -- exports of ivory, gold, ebony and slaves -- were initially government monopolies. By the latter period of the Empire, a private merchant class was apparently in existence. In the first millennium, the state of Kush began to decline and it was soon conquered by the Axums.