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:

    How wide is the Nile River?

    A:

    The Nile River reaches a maximum width of two miles. The Nile can be found in northeastern Africa and is considered to be the world's longest river. The total length of the Nile River is approximately 4,200 miles.

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  • Q:

    Where is the Nile River?

    A:

    The Nile River flows from south of the equator northward through northeastern Africa and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. Measuring approximately 4,132 miles, the Nile is the longest river in the world.

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  • Q:

    Where does the Nile River begin?

    A:

    The White Nile, considered the primary source of the Nile River, starts at Lake No located in South Sudan. Some people consider Lake Victoria, the rivers that drain from it and feed into the White Nile the start of the Nile instead. Most of the water comes from the Blue Nile, along with most of the fertile soil.

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  • Q:

    How deep is the Nile River?

    A:

    The Nile River has an average depth of 26 to 36 feet. It can change significantly during periods of flood. In ancient times, the waters of the Nile rose and flooded the surrounding plains. The construction of the Aswan dam has largely ended this natural inundation.

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