Often described as the precursor to Egyptian civilization is Nubia. Nubian pyramids are pyramids that were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms. Prior to the Kushites building these pyramids, there had been no pyramid construction in Egypt and the Nile Valley for more than 500 years.
The area of the Nile valley known as Nubia, which lies within present day Sudan, was home to three Kushite kingdoms during antiquity. The first had its capital at Kerma (2600–1520 BC). The second was centered on Napata (1000–300 BC). Finally, the last kingdom was centered on Meroë (300 BC–AD 300).
Kerma was Nubia's first centralized state with its own indigenous forms of architecture and burial customs. The last two kingdoms, Napata and Meroe, were heavily influenced by ancient Egypt; culturally, economically, politically, and militarily. The Kushite kingdoms in turn competed strongly with Egypt. In fact, during the late period of Ancient Egyptian history, the rulers of Napata conquered and unified Egypt herself. The Napatans ruled as the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The Napatan domination of Egypt ended with the Assyrian conquest in 656 BC.