Why did civilizations develop along the Nile River?

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There are many reasons why civilizations developed along the Nile River. For one, people began to realize that the Nile River was a good source of food. Food wasn’t always easy to obtain since desert regions surrounded much of the area around the Nile River. But people could get fish...

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There are many reasons why civilizations developed along the Nile River. For one, people began to realize that the Nile River was a good source of food. Food wasn’t always easy to obtain since desert regions surrounded much of the area around the Nile River. But people could get fish from the Nile, and many fruit trees grew along the river. Additionally, the Nile flooded every year, making the surrounding soil incredibly fertile for farming. Various crops could be grown, and farmers learned how to make canals so water would be readily available for the crops.

Another advantage of settling along the Nile River was that it was hard to attack the settlements that formed. The areas around the Nile were mostly desert, and these deserts provided a natural barrier from attacks. The river also allowed for the people to trade and for the people to use it for transportation.

With plenty of food and a relative freedom from the fear of attack, the people who settled along the Nile River could begin to develop their civilization. Art, government, and philosophy were some aspects that were developed to enhance the civilizations that formed along the Nile River.

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The Nile River played an important role in the development of the Egyptian Empire. People settled along the river because it was their primary source of food. The Nile Valley offered an opportunity for cultivation, and the river was essential in satisfying an immediate need for food. The river provided the people with fish, and the strip of land along it presented them with fruit trees.

People discovered that the river flooded at particular times of the year. The flooding river would deposit agriculturally rich soil on the land around the Nile. Additionally, the people also learned to harness the water from the river to irrigate nearby fields. Thus, the rich soils and the water provided by the Nile made it possible for the people to cultivate their crops.

It is important to recognize that the Nile was also surrounded by desert plains on both sides. The desert areas were unsuitable for settlement, and the people were naturally attracted to settle on the green strip that was next to the river.

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The Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the “gift of the Nile.”  This references the importance of the Nile River for farming, transportation, and trade. The Nile River was the home of two ancient civilizations:  Egypt and Kush.  The river valley was a perfect place to establish agricultural kingdoms. The river flooded very regularly and did so in a way that did not damage property.  The floods left behind a fertile layer of soil that the ancient Egyptians called Ke’met.  A number of crops including wheat, barley, and pomegranates thrived along the fertile banks of the Nile River.  Both kingdoms used surpluses to create great wealth through trade.  The river also provided fish and waterfowl that Egyptians could eat.  

The Nile River also created a natural boundary to the north and south for the Egyptians.  In the north, the river created a delta when it entered the Mediterranean Sea.  The delta was very marshy and invaders could not anchor their ships.  The southern part of the Nile was difficult to navigate because of the cataracts which also protected the kingdoms from invasion.  

The Nile River was also very useful for transportation and trade.

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