Q:

Why is the Nile River so important?

A:

Quick Answer

The Nile River is important because it provides Egypt with irrigation, hydroelectric power, a steady water supply and rich soil. It was the lifeblood of ancient Egyptian transport, commerce and agriculture, and remains crucial for sustaining life in the barren deserts of Egypt today. At over 4,000 miles long, it is the longest river in the world.

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The Nile River makes agriculture, fishing and boating possible in Egypt. It floods annually, leaving behind nutrient-rich silt than can be used for growing food. Basin irrigation was developed thousands of years ago to capture a portion of the flood water. Later, a perennial irrigation system was developed to reduce dependence on the annual flood. Basin irrigation supports basic crops, such as barley and wheat, while perennial irrigation supports cash crops such as cotton and corn.

The waters themselves provide several different types of fish including mullet, bolti, perch and catfish. They also provide transport, and the ancient Egyptians are believed to have built cargo, passenger and naval boats for traversing them. Culturally, the Nile is an important part of Ethiopian and Judeo-Christian tradition as its banks served as a backdrop for the stories of Moses, Joseph and the Holy Family. For thousands of years, Egyptians have associated the river with the concept of rebirth as its reliable waters rejuvenate the floodplains annually, making growth and life possible.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the cataracts of the Nile River?

    A:

    The cataracts of the Nile River are portions of the river characterized by a sheer, rocky topography and a predominance of boulders that obstruct navigation in these areas. Although numerous cataracts have been charter, these shallow waters that extend for several miles from Egypt to Sudan are classified into six major divisions: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth cataracts.

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  • Q:

    Where does the Nile River start?

    A:

    The source of the Nile River is considered to be the Kagera River and its tributary, the Ruvubu River, in the African country of Burundi. The Nile River travels for over 4,200 miles until it empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

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  • Q:

    What are the physical features of the Nile river?

    A:

    The Nile River, one of the longest river systems in the world, begins with six cataracts that flow into a narrow valley-river section, then spreads out into the marshy Nile Delta near the Mediterranean Sea. Up to 90 percent of Egyptians live in the narrow, fertile Nile Valley.

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  • Q:

    Where is the Nile River located?

    A:

    The Nile River is located in the continent of Africa, and it flows through the countries of Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt, Burundi and Sudan. The Nile River is the longest river in the world, at 4,160 miles, or 6,670 kilometers.

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