Mystery of the Nile River Facts

Egypt has a fascinating past. Share your knowledge or ask your questions here.

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Mystery of the Nile River Facts

Post by CocoaButter »

The Nile River is named for the Semitic word Nahal and later for the Greek word Nelios, which means “River Valley.” The ancient Egyptians called it “River of Life.”

The Nile and its tributaries flow through 10 distinct African nations: Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Eritrea and Burundi.

The vast river system of the Nile includes two main tributaries: the White Nile (so named for its milky, silt-filled appearance), and the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan on its way to the sea.

Taken in its entirety, the Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing for 4,132 miles in total. The Nile River basin is so immense, it covers one-tenth of the entire African continent, or more than 1.3 million square miles.

The source of the White Nile is the springs of Mount Bigugu in Rwanda. The source of the Blue Nile is Sakala Springs above Lake Tana in Ethiopia, which contributes to more than 50 percent of the river’s flow. The water’s volume from the Blue Nile increases tremendously in the monsoon season, from July to September.

The Nile flows south to north, beginning in the highlands of Ethiopia and Rwanda heading toward the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria, Egypt.

Around 5000 B.C., the first great Egyptian civilization was founded in the northern Nile Valley. The Egyptians came to rely heavily on the Nile and its annual summer floods for irrigation, agriculture and transportation.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped the Nile as one of their gods (the god Hapi) and made sacrifices solely for the Nile’s sake.

The first dams were built on the Nile in 1861 in order to raise the river levels for easier navigation and increased irrigation. Major dams on the Nile today include Aswan Dam, Roseries Dam, Sennar Dam and Owen Falls Dam.

Today the Nile remains a vital pathway that is essential to millions of African farmers. Egypt still imports 40 percent of its grain by means of the Nile.

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