What Is the Nile Delta?

The Nile Delta marks the location in northern Egypt where the Nile River empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Because most rivers deposit silt in the shape of a triangle, resembling the Greek letter delta, the mouth of a river is called a delta.

Prior to Egypt's construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1971, the Nile would flood annually, leaving a layer of rich alluvial soil in its wake. In ancient times, the Nile split into seven branches at the delta; however, there are fewer branches today due to centuries of human construction projects. Cairo, the largest city in Africa and capital of Egypt, is located in this area.