Copts have a long history as a significant Christian minority in Egypt, in which Muslim adherents form the majority. Coptic Christians lost their majority status in Egypt after the 14th century and the spread of Islam in the entirety of North Africa.
|Part of a series on the|
The question of Coptic identity was never raised before the rise of pan-Arabism under Nasser in the early 1950s. Copts viewed themselves as only Coptic Christians without any Arabic identity sentiment that gather 22 Arabic speaking countries. With the rise of pan-Arabism and wars in the region, many Egyptians accepted an Arab identity, but this shift in identity was less prevalent among Copts than among Muslims. Thus, the emergence of Pan-Arabism served to exacerbate the ethnic and religious difference between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt. Persecution is pivotal to Copts' sense of identity.
Studies have showed the ancient Egyptians to be genetically intermediary between the populations of Southern Europe and Nubia (two frequently-used reference points). A study of Coptic immigrants from Egypt indicated that they have common ancestry with populations in Egypt, as well as also sharing common ancestry with populations of the southern Levant and Saudi Arabia.