Kamose was the 16th century BC last king of the 17th dynasty (c. 1630-1540 BC) of Egypt, who opened hostilities with the Hyksos, the west Semitic invaders who had seized part of Egypt in the 17th century BC. Following the death of his father, Seqenenre, Kamose became ruler of the southernmost third of Egypt. In his third year the Hyksos-Egyptian border lay at Cusae, near modern Asyut, in Middle Egypt, while a separate kingdom held Nubia south of the First Nile Cataract.
Although his kingdom had peaceful relations with the Hyksos, Kamose, dissatisfied with ruling only part of Egypt, decided on a war of liberation. With a fleet and desert tribal troops from Nubia, he made a surprise attack against the Hyksos' southernmost stronghold. Continuing his northward march, Kamose showed no mercy to Egyptians who had made accommodations with the enemy. He also claimed that his fleet captured Hyksos ships laden with weapons and that he sailed past the Hyksos capital itself, in the eastern Nile River delta, where he taunted and insulted the enemy king. About 100 miles (160 km) downstream from Cusae, he captured a Hyksos messenger en route to Cush (in the modern Sudan) who was carrying a missive urging the Kushite prince to attack Egypt from the rear. Completely undaunted, Kamose sent a detachment to seize the important Bahriyah Oasis and so thwarted his foes. As the campaign season ended, he returned jubilantly to Thebes, defeating rebels who had risen behind him.
Kamose's name appears in Nubia, at the Second Nile Cataract, beside that of his brother, Ahmose, who succeeded him. It is therefore possible that Kamose penetrated into Kushite territory. Little else is known about Kamose's reign. Most scholars agree that he did not rule for more than five years.