On This Day In History: Ramesses II Became Pharaoh Of Ancient Egypt – On May 31, 1279 BC

AncientPages.comOn May 31, 1279, BC, Ramesses II (1303 BC-1213 BC) became the third king of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt at the age of twenty-five.

Ramesses II – called by his successors and later Egyptians, him the "Great Ancestor" - is regarded as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire.

He founded a new capital, Pi-Ramesse in the eastern Delta, which remained the royal residence throughout the Ramesside period.

On This Day In History: Ramesses II Became Pharaoh Of Ancient Egypt - On May 31, 1279 BC

Ramesses II led several military expeditions into the Levant, reasserting Egyptian control over Canaan and to the south, into Nubia.

For Ramesses II, the most significant historical event in his reign was the battle of Kadesh, fought against the Hittites. He led his smaller force of 20,000 men against the larger Hittite army of 50,000 men.

Although the battle was indecisive.  Ramesses returned home a military hero. Later, Ramesses would establish one of the first major peace treaties in history with the Hittites. This helped to establish a peaceful northern border throughout the rest of Ramses' rule.

He also built a vast number of temples throughout Egypt and Nubia. The most famous of these are the rock-cut temple at Abu Simbel, and his mortuary temple at Thebes, the Ramesseum. The tomb of his principal wife, Nefertari, at Thebes is one of the best-preserved royal tombs.

The tomb of many of his sons has also recently been found in the Valley of the Kings (KV5).

Ramesses II was buried in the Valley of the Kings and his body was found in the Deir el-Bahari cache.