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Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the Nile River?

posted on: Aug 14, 2020

Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the Nile River?

By: Tasnim Elnasharty/Arab America Contributing Writer  

Egypt may seem a basic country, however, that is not the case as there are many things that can be said and would take years and years to explain. Let’s take you on a journey to the pharaonic era. Thousands of years ago, wheat was a very important element in the ancient Egyptians’ meal. This is how we grow up knowing why grain and carbohydrates are important. In addition to that, Pharaohs taught us the method of agriculture, where we get our grains, vegetables, and fruits. The thing that helped Ancient Egyptians and us today to develop agriculture is the River Nile. Egypt is located in a very relevant location, which provided fertile land to the Ancient Egyptians. Most of Egypt is desert, but along the Nile River, the soil is rich and good for growing crops.  

Facts about the River Nile

The River Nile is about 6,670 km (4,160 miles) in length and is the longest river in the world. It is generally associated with Egypt, however, only 22% of the Nile’s course runs through Egypt.

The River Nile is in Africa. It originates in Burundi, south of the equator, and flows northward through northeastern Africa, eventually flowing through Egypt and finally draining into the Mediterranean Sea.

Source of the River Nile

Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the Nile River?

Lake Victoria, Africa’s greatest lake, is generally the source of the River Nile. On the northern edge of the lake, water pours over a cascade, known as Ripon Falls, into a thin opening. Some people believe is the start of the River Nile. Other people claim that the many streams that flow into Lake Victoria could be the true source. A lot of Lake Victoria is encompassed by mountains with streams tumbling down into it. The biggest tributary of Lake Victoria is the Kagera stream. The Kagera and its tributary the Ruvubu, with its headwater in Burundi, are currently viewed as the true source of the Nile.

Two main Rivers that flow into the River Nile

Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the Nile River?
White Nile and Blue Nile

The Nile River is formed from the White Nile, it originates at Lake Victoria and the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. At that point, these two rivers meet in Sudan and go on their journey northwards towards the sea.

The White Nile is bigger than the Blue Nile, but due to obstacles along the way, it just contributes about 15% to the flow of the combined Nile. The Blue Nile, ascending in Ethiopia, contributes about 85% to the flow of the Nile that goes through Egypt into the Mediterranean.

The Reason Why Ancient Egyptians live near the River Nile

Most Egyptians lived near the Nile believed that it was the principal source of water, and provided food, transportation and it was an excellent soil for growing food.

The Nile River is the main reason why civilization started in Ancient Egypt. Shielded from foreign invasion by the surrounding desert and supported by the Nile, Egypt grew from a basic agricultural region to refined society.

Ancient Egypt couldn’t have existed without the River Nile, Since rainfall is almost existent in Egypt, the floods gave the main source of dampness to support crops.

Flooding the River Nile

Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the River Nile?
The Nile River Flooding

The River Nile flooded every year between June and September. Consistently, heavy summer rain in Ethiopia sent a torrent of water that flooded the banks of the Nile. At that point, when the floods went down, it left thick rich mud, which was amazing soil to plant seeds after it had been furrowed. The Ancient Egyptians could grow crops just in the mud when the Nile overflowed.

The Nile River provided the Ancient Egyptians with many other things. It provided them with “reeds”. The Egyptians made paper and boats from it. The Nile also gave the old Egyptians food. They used nets to catch fish. They would utilize the nets to get birds that flew near the water. Moreover, the River also helped them in trade, the Nile was the easiest way to travel all around.

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