Hyksosa foreign people who ruled in ancient Egypt. Their name means “rulers of foreign lands.” Late in the 18th century B.C. they entered Egypt from Asia and occupied the northeastern Delta. They were predominantly Semitic, but were probably a mixed group; their identity is not known. They introduced the horse-drawn war chariot into Egypt.
The country was divided at that time, with one ruler in Memphis and another in the western Delta. About 1674 B.C. Memphis fell to the Hyksos, who founded Dynasty XV and soon ruled the greater part of Egypt. In the south a vassal Egyptian dynasty had its capital at Thebes. In the 1570's B.C. the Thebans expelled the Hyksos from Memphis and within a decade or so they drove the last of them from Egypt.