The River Nile

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

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The River Nile

Post by CocoaButter »

Egypt has a very special environment, which has played a very big part in Egyptian history. Basically Egypt is really part of the Sahara Desert, which runs all across the top of Africa [View map] . But the Sahara [View map] is a really dry desert, and for the most part people
do not live in the desert (though actually the Sahara was not as dry in antiquity as it is now). But even in antiquity it hardly ever rained in Egypt. The reason people did live in Egypt, though, was that the Nile [View map] River runs through the middle of Egypt. The Nile is a big river.It starts in the rain forest south of Ethiopia [View map] , south of Egypt, near the A in Africa on this map, and it flows north into the Mediterranean Sea [View map] . (If it seems funny to you that a river flows north, so that it looks like the water is going up on the map, you're not alone. Lots of people find this hard to remember).
Water from the Nile makes it possible to grow crops in Egypt, especially grain (wheat and barley) and beans (like lentils or chickpeas).
The way this worked in antiquity was that every year it would rain so much in the highlands of Ethiopia that the Nile river would flood. Most of Egypt flooded every year in the late summer and fall (earlier in the south and later in the north). The flood waters were full of good black dirt (silt), carried down the river from central Africa by the flood. The flood waters would eventually go back into the river (after a few weeks), leaving the silt on the fields. This was a great natural fertilizer.
The rest of the year, while the crops were growing, people got water from the Nile River to their fields in canals and irrigation ditches that they dug with picks and shovels. As soon as you are too far from the Nile to get the water to the fields, it turns back into desert again .. ... /index.htm

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Post by Netyoda »

Very interesting article,

I've read many times that Egyptians considered the Nile the lifeblood of the country, but to see the explanation of how it brought enrichment to the land in such a simple way is very enlightening.

Thanks CB :D
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