Examination of the Nile River

652 Words3 Pages
A brief examination of the influence of the Nile river on ancient Egypt shows that geography and environment play significant roles in the development and interaction of the societies found within them. The ancient historian Herodotus even referred to Egypt as "the gift of the Nile" (Hanna). This is true at the most fundamental level: without the Nile most of Egypt would be a nearly uninhabitable desert. However, this claim is true on many more levels as well. Water was not the only gift that the Nile brought. Its yearly floods also spread new nutrient-rich soil from the river bottom and further upriver, and washed away depleted topsoil. These floods make the region surrounding the Nile especially fertile. The civilization that this fertile land allowed to flourish then developed irrigation systems that made even more of the valley fertile. This proved to be a tipping point, allowing the ancient Egyptian civilization to produce crop surpluses. These surpluses gave Egypt a powerful economy, which drove growth in a number of other areas. They allowed the upper classes to educate and maintain a class of scribes, clerics, and engineers. This class created writing, and the engineering needed for their irrigation and construction projects. The surplus also allowed Egypt to provide other countries with both necessary staples like wheat and luxuries like papyrus. This gave Egypt a pre-eminent position amongst the other nations of its time. The crop surpluses let Egypt train a
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