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Ancient Egypt - Land of the River

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Essay title: Ancient Egypt - Land of the River

"All of Egypt is the gift of the Nile" It was the Greek historian Herodotus who made that observation. The remarkable benefits of the Nile are clear to everyone, but through history he was the first to talk about it and consider its fascination. Through history, the Nile played a major role in the building of civilizations. The first civilizations to appear in history started on a river valley or in a place where resources are numerous and example of these are in India where Indus river is found and Tigris where Euphrates is found and many other places (cradles of civilization).

The Nile is the longest river in the world, cuts a swath of green and life through the bareness of the giant Sahara desert in northern Africa. It is almost 4160 miles long from its remotest head stream, the Lavironza river in Burundi, in central Africa to its delta on the Mediterranean sea north east of Egypt. The river flows northward and drain 1100100 square miles, about tenth the size of Africa, passing through ten African countries. It has many tributaries but there are two main ones: the White Nile fed by lake Victoria and the Blue Nile coming from Ethiopian mountains. These two main branches join near Khartoum, the capital of Sudan and they continue together as Nile proper until meeting the Mediterranean Sea and forming the Nile delta in northern Egypt.

Around 5000 BC, one of the first great civilizations developed in the northern Nile river valley dependent on agriculture in a land called Egypt. Water; Fertile soil; and river's flow north while prevailing wind blows south made the Nile the best transportation way, were examples of the Nile gifts. Another gift is that every year the flood came bringing disaster and famine due to destroying the crops and their villages. The first forms of government appeared in Egypt when the Egyptians organized their efforts under one leadership to avoid the disasters of the yearly flood.

On the other hand Nile flooding caused some problems in landmarks. Simple geometry had to be found to keep the boarder and a simple system metric (invention of the nilometer) to study the Nile flow and flood every year. As the state grew and more complex religious and political systems started to emerge, the need for a system to record events and rituals was growing too. Therefore, the need to have written records was of great importance. Because of that, the papyrus paper was found to satisfy that need. These are mainly the gifts of the Nile.

Being a rich source of water The Nile is seen as the foundation of life in ancient Egypt. Egyptians' water uses were numerous. Mainly water was used for drinking and for watering plants and crops. Irrigation systems were among the biggest achievement of the ancient Egyptians' civilization. They were primitive types of irrigation that depended very much on the physical geography and geology of the area but to their time, they were of great importance. All irrigation systems depend on taking water from a natural resource and diverting it to artificial channels or ponds where it is applied to crops. At first, before the irrigation systems were of great use and importance, Egyptian agriculture along the Nile was based on growing winter crops after flooding had subsided. But after many enhancements made in the field of irrigation methods, they were able to have more than one harvest a year and having more yields. These irrigation systems allowed them to grow plants that need watering all the time thus leading to more variety of crops. And due t the great amount of water the river delivers, it provided a constant water supply to the people of Egypt. Moreover, water uses are not limited to drinking and watering but it is also used for washing, bathing, manufacturing, building and many others.

The influence the Nile has is so extensive. Ancient Egypt was an agricultural estate and mainly relied on the flooding of the Nile for fertile soil. Inundation is the yearly gradual overflow of the Nile water or as we can say flood. Each year, in June and extending to the end of November, land would be covered with water and slowly water drains and flows back leaving behind high fertile soil. Its annual cycle of flooding and depositing of silt creates a new layer of topsoil each year. This topsoil is rich in organic nutrients and basic elements for plants such as ammonia and nitrogen. Besides this, when water recedes in October, it leaves behind pools of water in depressed areas whish is stored for some time until the soil could absorb more water therefore acting as a reservoir. On the other hand, the mud left by the flooding would be the best medium for planting their crops. Thus concluding that without the yearly flooding the soil would loose its fertility, as well as agriculture will loose its importance.

Nile gifts are not limited, another important issue arises

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