Ancient agriculture in the Nile Valley

Ancient agriculture in the Nile Valley

Ancient Egypt was called the ‘gift of the Nile’, since the river played an important role in the rise of Egyptian civilization.

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Keywords

Nile, agriculture, Gift of the Nile, intensive farming, irrigation agriculture, irrigation system, water-lifting device, shadoof, antiquity, crop, lifestyle, Africa, Egypt, flood, channel, co-operation, calendar, communities

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The Nile is the longest and among the best known rivers in the world. It played an important role in Egyptian culture in prehistoric times. In Ancient times, the river was called ‘Hapi,’ after the god of fertility and rebirth. The name Nile originates from the Greek word ‘Neilos,’ meaning ‘river valley.’

Egypt is often called the ‘gift of the Nile,’ as the life of Egyptians depended on the river. It flooded annually, around July 19, leaving fertile mud deposits on the surrounding land. This event was so important that the day of the flood became the first day of the Egyptian calendar.

The ancient Egyptian name of the country was Kemet, meaning ‘black land,’ from the rich dark mud. As the river flooded, Egyptians attempted to keep the water on the lands by building dams and canals, so that the mud could be completely deposited.

Using an advanced irrigation system, they made large areas along the Nile fertile. Lands were divided into parcels by ditches, these parcels were watered from canals with water-lifting devices. The construction of canals and dams and the operation of irrigation systems required co-operation and a high level of organization within the settlements and thus played a great role in creating the ancient Egyptian state.

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