What Role Did King Khufu Play in the History of Egypt?

King Khufu, called Cheops by the Greeks, is most famous in Egyptian history for building the Great Pyramid at Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Khufu was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, and ruled in the Old Kingdom period, around the 26th century B.C. He was the son of King Sneferu and Queen Hetepheres I. Historians believe he had three wives, but little documentation remains of most aspects of his reign.

What little is known about King Khufu, whose full name was Khnum-Khufwy, is derived from inscriptions in his necropolis at Giza and a limited number of later documents, such as the Papyrus Westcar from the 13th dynasty. Ancient Egyptian and Greek historians wrote King Khufu's obituary around 300 B.C., and he regained popularity during the Roman period.

Khufu took the throne in his 20s and immediately began building the Great Pyramid, the first pyramid at Giza. Historians estimate the project took approximately 23 years. Hhufu's nephew, Hemiunu, oversaw construction for the Great Pyramid, which is made of 2.3 million building blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 tons each.

The only surviving statue of King Khufu is the smallest piece of Egyptian royal sculpture ever discovered, an ivory figurine 3 inches high.