Why was the River Nile so important to the Ancient Egyptians?
__ Most Egyptians lived near the Nile as it was a source of water, which provided an excellent soil for growing crops, as well as being used for transportation.
Hardly any rain falls in Egypt, therefore the floods that occurred from the River Nile
provided the only regular source of moisture to sustain crops.
Every year, heavy summer rain in the highlands,
sent a gigantic amount of water that gazumped the banks of the Nile. This floodwater left thick mud which is known as black silt, this type of mud is excellent for planting seeds.
In Ancient Egypt this was the only place that they could grow their own food, and it was very common to see many fields being farmed all along the river. Similar to the picture above.
A wall painting showing 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.
The Nile also gave the ancient Egyptians food in a different way to farming. 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 (buying and selling goods, such as food). The Nile was the quickest and easiest way to travel from place to
Once the flooded river had receded and the farming fields had dried out, many plants and crops would die. The mud that the Nile left behind needed lots of watering in the hot sun. The ancient Egyptians used clever tools to trap as much water as they could, so they did not have too always rely on the river.
They built mud-brick reservoirs to trap and hold the
water. They also had a network of irrigation canals that filled with
water during the flood and were refilled from the reservoirs.
To lift the water from the canal they used a shaduf (pictured above).
A shaduf is a large pole balanced on a crossbeam, a rope and bucket on
one end and a heavy counter weight at the other. When the rope
was pulled it lowered the bucket into the canal. The farmer then raised the bucket
of water by pulling down on the weight. He then swung the pole around
and emptied the bucket onto the field. _
Hapi - The Nile God
_Honouring a god was very important in Egypt, and there were many gods they they used to worship. Hapi was the Nile God; when the floods came, the ancient Egyptians would thank Hapi for bringing fertility to the land.