Egypt's First Empire, the first three hundred years of which was a period of conquest, began around 3000 B.C. The Pyramid Age in Egypt began around 2700 B.C., when the conquest was complete. Egypt finally gained control of the few other African civilizations (Ethiopia in particular) and united the settled portions of the continent under the capital city of Memphis. Now they could spend a few centuries concentrating on architecture, art, science, religion, and literature (it was the Egyptians who invented fiction).
About 2400 B.C., the Indo-Aryans of central Asia and Iran invaded the older and more civilized Indus civilization. The two peoples' religions combined to form Hinduism, and about that time castes began to develop. The warrior caste (comprised mainly of Indo-Aryans) and the religious caste (mostly Indi) both claimed to be the highest, and from time to time the region knew civil war between these castes, each vying for the loyalties of the lower castes. It is perhaps interesting to note that in the Mirror Universe, Hinduism encouraged such conflicts, as one of its prime tenets was to seek as much personal wealth and power as one could. (Before one could escape the mortal cycle, one had to improve the lives of others; and before one could do that, one had to make his own life perfect, from a worldly standpoint.) Ultimately one was expected to do good with one's wealth and power when one had attained it, but the Vedas (religious writings and hymns) clearly conveyed that in acheiving one's goals, the ends always justified the means. That is, to get to the point where one can afford to do good, one is justified in doing as much evil as one feels is necessary. And as it turned out, very few people ever felt they had attained enough wealth or power to switch gears.
In about 2200 B.C., a civilization began to develop around the eastern part of the Yellow River in what would later be called China. More will be heard of them later on.
The Second Empire began in Egypt around 2100 B.C. after Memphis had lost its hold over its subject regions. Art and science had allowed freer thinking, and people weren't much interested in politics anymore. And so as the kingdom was falling apart, a new religious revolution began in Thebes. Allegiance to the sun-god Amon was strictly enforced, and this brought about a new unity among the people. Once the subject territories were once again subject, this time with Thebes as the capital, a new era of conquest was begun, this time of Palestine and Arabia.
It was also around 2000 B.C. that the Hittites completed their First Kingdom. Those peoples they subjugated included the Hurrians, Assyrians, Mitanni, and Lydians.
Around 1900 B.C., the Hittites invaded and captured Assur. At this point, after a millennium of peaceful coexistence, the Sumerians and Akkadians decided to officially combine their kingdoms, for the common defense. Babylon became the new capital city, and so they named the combined kingdom Babylonia. The Hittites were a problem to a number of other kingdoms in the area, and many of these allied themselves with Babylonia (or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say they invited Babylonia to annex them). It was around 1750 B.C. that a king from one of these allies, Hammurabi, became king of Babylonia and established his famous code of laws. He also arranged alliances with the Second Egyptian Empire and the Minoans.
It was also around 1750 when the Shang Dynasty began in what would later be northeast China, around the Yellow River.
Between 1700 and 1600 B.C., Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos, who were comprised of portions of the forces of two members of the Hittites' First Kingdom: the Hurrians and the Assyrians. Meanwhile, the Mitanni invaded northern Babylonia for the Hittites, along with their new allies the Kassites. The Minoans were busy with the Greeks, and so none of the allies could afford to help one another. And so for a time the Hittites ruled a great deal of the Near and Middle East.
But in 1580 B.C. a new rebellion began in Thebes, and the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. This was possible because the Mitanni and Kassites had recently broken off from the Hittites, the Mitanni taking control of Assyria and the Kassites Babylonia. It was around this time that the Israelites settled in Egypt, just as it was beginning its Third Empire. Egypt now took over Palestine, Phoenicia, and Syria.
By 1500 B.C., Greece had finally eliminated the Minoans.
In the 1300s B.C., religious reforms in Egypt caused some degree of chaos, and Arabia and Syria allied themselves against the Third Empire. They broke away and took Palestine and Phoenicia with them.
In 1225 B.C., the Hittites made a final desperate attempt to reassert themselves as a major empire. They declared their Second Kingdom, and invaded Syria. In exchange for Egypt's aid against the Hittites, and recognition of the Arabians' and Syrians' independence, Palestine was given back to Egypt. Around this time the Israelites left Egypt and resettled in Palestine. Meanwhile the Greeks were beginning to give Egypt trouble, which is chiefly why Egypt was doing whatever it could to obtain new allies. Thus the Egyptians, Syrians, Arabians, Assyrians, and Kassites all turned against the Hittites. By 1200 B.C., the Hittites were no more, and their former kingdom was left all but unoccupied. Around this time, though, the Philistines were colonizing southern Palestine. Since claims to that area were being greatly disputed, some of them went north to the recently vacated Asia Minor, and set up their own kingdom there. They formed an alliance with the Lydians (who in the first millennium B.C. would introduce the first stamped coinage to the world), newly free of Hittite domination; and the Thracians, who were looking to break off from Greece.
Around 1150 B.C., the Syrians took Babylonia from the Kassites, who fled to Assyria. But the Mitanni were helping Egypt against the Israelites in Palestine, and the Assyrians took the opportunity to regain control of Assyria. Again the Kassites fled, this time to join their allies the Mitanni in Palestine. But when the Egyptians returned to Africa to quell the Greek invasion of Libya, the Israelites managed to kill off the last of the Kassites and Mitanni, with the help of the Syrians. By 1100 B.C., Egypt just gave up on trying to control Palestine, and concentrated on fighting the Greeks.
Also around this time, the Shang Dynasty broke up under constant invasions from Mongolia, and China was for some centuries fragmented in many provinces.
At the end of the second millennium, the Israelites were locked in a conflict with the Philistines for control of Palestine.