Ancient Egypt - Homework Help

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The River Nile

Click to enlargeThe River Nile is about 6,695 km (4,160 miles) in length and is the longest river in Africa and in the world. The river begins in the mountains of Africa and flows north to the Mediterranean Sea.

It was by the banks that one of the oldest civilizations in the world began. The ancient Egyptians lived and farmed along the Nile, using the soil to produce food for themselves and their animals.

Countries it flows through
Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi
6,695 kilometres (4,160 miles)
Number of tributaries
Burundi, central Africa
Egypt into the Mediterranean Sea

Where is the River Nile?

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

Map of the River Nile from space
The land is green on either side of the Nile.


Which two main rivers flow into the River Nile?

The River Nile is formed from the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, and the White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria. These rivers meet in Sudan and then go on their long journey northwards towards the sea. The white Nile is a lot bigger then the Blue Nile.

Why did the Ancient Egyptians live near the River Nile?

Most Egyptians lived near the Nile as it provided water and excellent soil for growing food.

Why was the Nile River so important to the Ancient Egyptians?

Ancient Egypt could not have existed without the river Nile. Every year, heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian highlands, sent a torrent of water that overflowed the banks of the Nile. When the floods went down it left thick rich mud (black silt) which was excellent soil to plant seeds in after it had been ploughed.

The ancient Egyptians could grow crops only in the mud left behind when the Nile flooded. So they all had fields all along the River Nile.
Find out about Egyptian Farming

What else did the Nile provide for the Ancient Egyptians?

Reeds, called papyrus, grew along side the Nile. The Egyptians made paper and boats from the reeds.
Find out about Egyptian Writing

The Nile also gave the ancient Egyptians food. They used spears and nets to catch fish. They would also use the nets to catch birds that flew close to the surface of the water.

Another way the Nile helped the ancient Egyptians was in trade. The Nile was the quickest and easiest way to travel from place to place.

What was the area next to the River Nile Called?

This area was known as the Black Land. Further away from the river was the Red Land, a region of inhospitable desert.

When did the Nile flood?

The River Nile flooded every year between June and September, in a season the Egyptians called akhet - the inundation.

Why did the Nile Flood?

Melting snow and heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian Mountains sent a torrent of water causing the banks of the River Nile in Egypt to overflow on the flat dessert land.

Click here to see a larger pictureWhy does the Nile not flood now ?

The construction of the Aswan Dam in the 1960's meant that from 1970 the annual flood was controlled.

Who was the Nile God?

Hapi was the Nile god. Honouring a god was very important, so when a flood came the Egyptians would thank Hapi for bringing fertility to the land.

Interesting Facts about the River Nile:

  • The Nile River is the longest river in the world.
  • The Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The largest source of the Nile is Lake Victoria.
  • The Nile has a length of about 4,160 miles (6,695 kilometres).
  • Its average discharge is 3.1 million litres (680,000 gallons) per second.
  • The Nile basin is huge and includes parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo (Kinshasa), Kenya.
  • The Nile receives its name from the Greek Neilos, which means a valley or river valley.

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Further Infomation

The River Nile
The River Nile There is no better way to trace the course of Egyptian history than to follow the course of the Nile. The river has been Egypt's lifeline for ...

Nile River Basin Map
An excellent map of the basin, from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea.

Nile River
A fantastic resource about the Nile.

Animals of the River Nile
Many different types of animals, birds, and fish all call the Nile River home.

The River Nile and its banks
Contains photos of the Nile

Fact File of the River Nile

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