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Questions of identity came to fore in the 20th century as Egyptians sought to free themselves from British occupation, leading to the rise of ethno-territorial secular Egyptian nationalism (also known as "Pharaonism").After Egyptians gained their independence from Great Britain, other forms of nationalism developed, including secular Arab nationalism as well as Islamism.

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Additionally, a sizable minority of Egyptians living in Upper Egypt speak Sa'idi Arabic."Pharaonism" rose to political prominence in the 1920s and 1930s during the British occupation, as Egypt developed separately from the Arab world.A segment of the most Westernized upper class argued that Egypt was part of a Mediterranean civilization.Egyptians in neighboring countries face additional challenges.Over the years, abuse, exploitation and/or ill-treatment of Egyptian workers and professionals in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Libya have been reported by the Egyptian Human Rights Organization Arab nationals have in the past expressed fear over an "'Egyptianization' of the local dialects and culture that were believed to have resulted from the predominance of Egyptians in the field of education" The degree to which Egyptians identify with each layer of Egypt's history in articulating a sense of collective identity can vary.On the other hand, Egyptians migrating to Arab countries almost always only go there with the intention of returning to Egypt; virtually none settle in the new country on a permanent basis.

Prior to 1974, only few Egyptian professionals had left the country in search for employment.

Egyptians also tend to be provincial, meaning their attachment extends not only to Egypt but to the specific provinces, towns and villages from which they hail.

Therefore, return migrants, such as temporary workers abroad, come back to their region of origin in Egypt.

This ideology largely developed out of the country's lengthy pre-Islamic history, the relative isolation of the Nile Valley and the mostly homogeneous ethnicity of the inhabitants.

One of Pharaonism's most notable advocates was Taha Hussein who remarked "Pharaonism is deeply rooted in the spirits of the Egyptians.

Ni/rem/en/kīmi) are an ethnic group native to Egypt and the citizens of that country sharing a common culture and a common dialect known as Egyptian Arabic. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to the Mediterranean and enclosed by desert both to the east and to the west.