Egypt lies at a crossroads between Africa, Asia, and Europe and is the largest country in the Middle East. In terms of population, it ranks 15th in the world. Most of its 79 million residents live near the Nile River, which is the country's most prominent geographical feature and the world's longest river. Egypt's other primary geographical feature, its deserts, also played a significant role in the development of its civilization, which dates from 3000 BCE. The Nile helped in the cultivation of crops, while the deserts helped keep Egypt isolated from other civilizations. These fascinating facts are highlighted in Egypt, Second Edition , an updated, full-color exploration of the people, culture, history, geography, environment, ecomy, and government of one of the world's most intriguing nations.