Died: c. 664 BC
Location of death: Sudan
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Mummified, Pyramids at Nuri, Sudan
Race or Ethnicity: Black
Occupation: Government, Military
Nationality: Ancient Egypt
Executive summary: Nubian Dynasty in Egypt
Taharqa was the fifth ruler of ancient Egypt's Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (also called the Ethiopian or Nubian Dynasty), an era when Africans ruled Egypt. He commanded the Egyptian Army during the latter years of his nephew Pharaoh Shabaka's reign, after Shabaka had taken Lower Egypt for the Nubians, and during the short reign of Shabitku, Shabaka's successor. Taharqa took power in about 688 BC -- apparently by having Shabitku assassinated -- and he eventually constructed monuments in Karnak, Tanis, and Thebes. He lost much of his empire in about 671 BC when the armies of Esarhaddon, the Assyrian king, conquered Taharqa's army and took Memphis. Taharqa fled to exile in Upper Egypt, but returned two years later with a replenished army and briefly took control of the Delta before being driven out again by Esarhaddon's successor, Ashurbanipal. For the remainder of his life Taharqa never again sought to restore his power in the north, and ruled a smaller area to the south called Cush (or Kush), in the northern area of what is now Sudan.
He is sometimes called "the last Pharaoh", because for several centuries after his reign Egypt's rulers controlled diminished territories and wielded lesser power, and this designation will no doubt become ubiquitous with the release of Will Smith's upcoming feature film The Last Pharaoh, about Taharqa. Historically, however, the armies of Taharqa's nephew Tantamani briefly wrested control of all Egypt from the Assyrians before being driven back to Nubia, making Tantamani, not Taharqa, the last Pharaoh of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty. Several centuries later Cleopatra was the last to hold the title Pharaoh in ancient Egypt. Taharqa's name is sometimes spelled Taharka, Tarakos, Tarku, Tirhakah, or Tirakah, as mentioned in the Bible's Kings 19:9.
Father: Piankhi (a.k.a. Piye, Pharaoh)
Mother: Abar (a.k.a. Abale, Queen)
Wife: Amendukhat (one of several wives)
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