In 1478 BC, Thutmose III sometimes spelled Tuthmosis (1504-1426 BC) Egyptian Pharaoh fought a battle with Durusha the Hittite King of Kadesh for the city of Megiddo, a desolate place in the Jezreel Valley, also called Tel Megiddo (as the city was built on a hill) and this site is also known as Armageddon. Durusha lead a coalition of the princes of Palestine that took control of Megiddo, which was an important trade route for Egypt. Controlling Megiddo meant having enormous influence over the ancient Middle East and Thutmose III decided to deal directly with this problem that threatened the integrity of Egypt’s northeastern frontier. Egypt actually had no need for a strong military because the deserts to the east and west, and the Mediterranean to the north, protected her from invasion. To the south, the Egyptians ruled Nubia as a conquered province. The Egyptians believed they already possessed the richest lands in the known world, so they had no desire for conquest.
Thutmose III was one of the greatest military strategists of ancient Egypt and he expanded the country’s borders to establish the Egyptian Empire which elevated his nation to the status of a superpower. Although the regions which became Egyptian provinces prospered under this arrangement, they still looked for opportunities to assert their independence and regain their autonomy. Knowing that the Canaanites had concentrated their forces near Megiddo Thutmose decided to march his army against that Canaan stronghold which took him all of ten days.
Thutmose ignored advice from his generals about taking the North or South routes towards Megiddo to engage the Canaanite coalition. Thutmose decided to take the more direct route which made his army march through the narrow Aruna Pass, which was a gamble but it paid off because the enemy had anticipated that Thutmose would attack from the North or South routes.
The Canaanite defense consisted of a contingent of foot soldiers who guarded the southern route, while the northern approach was held by more infantry. The chariots were concentrated around the walls of Megiddo, waiting for the Egyptian forces to attack the foot soldiers who would quickly retreat as if they were fleeing. Then as the pursuing Egyptians would break ranks to chase after them, they could be attacked by the hidden Canaanite charioteers.
Thutmose reached the south of Megiddo on the bank of the Qina Brook where the Egyptians were able to water their horses and refresh the tired soldiers with the stream that furnished abundant water. The next day the Egyptian army poured out of the pass, catching the enemy forces off guard who rushed back to take refuge inside the walls of Megiddo.
Thutmose formed a brilliant plan and his men built a wall or barricade around the city of Megiddo, proceeding to lock its inhabitants inside. This meant that the armies inside the city of Megiddo had no access to the food, however there was water inside the city. Thutmose and his army had all the food and water that they needed to wait out a siege quite comfortably. Thutmose never wanted to destroy the powerful city of Megiddo, he only wished to control it. It did not make sense to him to destroy a magnificent city like Megiddo and then have to spend years of labor rebuilding it. Thutmose and his men camped outside the city for 7 months trapping everyone inside the city just waiting for their resources to run out when they were finally exhausted and forced to surrender. This became the first battle ever recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail. Many other battles were fought here and Napoleon Bonaparte declared it as being “the most natural battleground of the whole earth.”