Nile River Facts and History
Why is the River Nile so famous?
Rivers are water bodies, bigger than a stream or lake and flow into the ocean. River bodies and water bodies are plenty all around the earth. The river Nile is the longest river in Africa and the entire world. It is 4,135 miles long that is about 6,670 km in length.
Where is the Nile located?
Mostly the river Nile is associated with Egypt. But it is interesting to note that only about 22% of this river runs through Egypt. The source of River Nile is at Lake Victoria in Uganda where it is called White Nile and at Lake Tana in Ethiopia where it is called Blue Nile.
Where does the Nile river flow through?
It passes through Kenya, Eritrea, Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. The Blue Nile and the White Nile meet in Khartoum, Sudan from where they move on their long journey towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Ancient Egypt and Nile History
The River Nile has a long association with ancient Egypt. Most of the ancient Egyptian historical sites like Luxor or Cairo are located at the banks of the Nile River. The Nile river had deserts to it’s east and west, while the southern part to the Nile had mountains. The River Nile is shaped as the lotus flower. The lotus has been the symbol in much ancient Egyptian art. The Nile was the main source of irrigation for the ancient Egyptians. But many a times it was also the source for floods. As the days passed the flood water would recede and the river bed would be full of black, rich and fertile soil; which the Egyptians named the ‘Gift of the Nile’. They used to call the river ‘Ar’ or ‘Aur’ meaning ‘black’ because of the black soil left behind. Nile was also the main source of transportation and trade. Even today steam ships are used in Egypt and Sudan for transportation of goods. The bank of the Nile was used to grow papyrus weed which was used to make paper. Not only that, the Nile also provided the ancient Egyptians with building materials and cloth- thus making the ancient Egyptians one of the most accomplished ancient civilizations. The River Nile also gave the Egyptians food. They used spears and nets to catch fish and birds. Hapi was considered as the Nile God and was worshipped and honored for bringing fertility to the desert land.
The Nile River Delta
The Nile River Delta is extremely vast. It drains almost an area of 1,293,000 miles. Due to the vastness of this area, different climatic conditions can be seen. Towards the North, in Egypt and Sudan, rainfall is scarce. Moving to the south, along Ethiopia, there is heavy rainfall due to which the floodwaters move downstream and create fertile soil. The Nile River delta has varied species of animals ranging from crocodiles t turtles, baboons and about 300 species of birds. The Nile valley Sunbird is the most famous.
5 Facts about River Nile:
- The Aswan Dam that was built in 1970 on the River Nile has been a huge success in controlling the flooding of the River and nearby areas.
- The White Nile Expedition began in 2004 and was started to navigate the entire length of the river. The expedition took 4 months and 2 weeks to complete.
- The northern edge of Lake Victoria has water pouring over a waterfall, known as the Ripon falls. Some believe River Nile begins from here.
- The Nile River is measured from the Kagera River, a tributary of Lake Victoria.
- The period between June and September is known as ‘akhet’ or inundation by the Egyptians, because of the flooding of the River Nile during that time.