The Nile is one longest river of the continent of Africa. Though some sources credits Nile to be the longest river of the world but others give the title of the longest river to Amazon of South Africa. The Nile like Amazon is a dangerous river being infested with the perilous river game, the crocodile.
Nile is about 6,695 kilometers long, beginning in the mountains of Burundi of central Africa it flows north to the Mediterranean Sea. The river flows through Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and Burundi. Aswan, Luxor (Thebes), Goza, Cairo and Khartoum are some of the prominent cities on the Nile.
The name Nile is derived from the Greek word ‘Neilos’ which means a valley or river valley.
The Tributaries Of Nile
The two main tributaries of the Nile are the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia at Lake Tana and the White Nile, which is bigger, originates in equatorial East Africa at Lake Victoria. After meeting in Sudan the two rivers flow northwards towards the sea.
Role Of Nile In The Growth Of Ancient Egyptian Civilization
Greek historian Herodotus wrote “Egypt was the gift of the Nile” and from this truth we will start our discussion.
Nile was the mother of ancient Egypt. The banks of Nile with first-rate soil for farming and water of the river sustained ancient Egypt. Nile was called ‘Iteru’ in ancient Egyptian language.
Every year the banks of Nile were over flown by heavy summer rains in the Ethiopian Highlands. After the floods left, the banks got covered with thick rich mud (black silt), which was most fertile for cropping. ‘Hapi’ was the Egyptian god of Nile who was credited as the bringer of fertility.
Not only cropping, Nile provided ancient Egyptians with foods like fish of the water and birds that flew close to the water.
Along the coast of the Nile reeds called papyrus grew from which the Egyptians made paper and boats.
Ancient Egypt prospered in trade, as Nile was the most convenient waterway for traveling from one place to another and cruise expeditions.
The grand history of ancient Egypt owes its life to the Nile.
The Flood Situation Of Nile Now
As I have said earlier that heavy summer rains in the Ethiopian mountains caused yearly floods in Nile. But now the Nile experiences no flood because of the construction of Aswan dam in 1960. From 1970 onwards floods were controlled.
What Is Eonile?
From the pictures of satellite imagery dry watercourses has been identified in the desert map of west of the Nile. An Eonile canyon filled by surface drift stands for an ancestral Nile that flowed during the later Miocene.
The Nile Now
Still today Nile sustains people living along its banks, it is still the lifeline to the Egyptians living in the infertile stretches of the Sahara. Yearly flood deposits fertile soil in its banks. But today the flow of Nile has become slow due to various obstacles impeding navigation by boats. One of the most alarming blockages is the sudd of Sudan and the alarm was so strong that Egypt once took an attempt to dig a canal, the Jongeli canal to improve the flow.
But Nile till date remains the watercourse that allows convenient navigation and transportations.
This is the present story of the Nile and thus ends the anecdote of the utilitarian river.