Ancient Egypt had many natural
barriers. The Nile River ran down the middle, but there deserts to the
east and west of the Nile River. There were mountains to the south,
separating Egypt from the rest of Africa. The Nile ended at the
Mediterranean Sea, so you could reach Egypt. They did not live in
isolation. The early Greeks tried to establish outposts in Egypt, but
the Egyptians chased them away. They were not alone in the ancient
world. They knew that. But still, there many natural barriers helped
them to develop a culture uniquely Egyptian.
The Nile is the longest river in the
world. It is shaped like a lotus flower, the design seen in ancient
Egyptian art, math, and hieroglyphics. It runs south to north,
beginning in the mountains in the south and ending 4,000 miles later
at the Mediterranean Sea.
Each spring, snow on the mountains
would melt. The Nile River would flood. This was a very good thing.
When the flood waters receded, they left behind fertile soil. Crops
could easily be grown in this black, rich soil. The ancient Egyptians
called this soil the "The Gift of the Nile".
Nile provided other gifts to the ancient Egyptians. Papyrus, used for
everything, grew wildly along its banks. It provided water for cooking
and bathing. Fish and waterfowl were plentiful. Wild vegetables could
be found, along with bird eggs. Egypt is located in the middle of a
desert. But life along the Nile was splendid.
Story (British Museum)
Egypt Interactive Maps
about the Nile River