What Was the Nile River Used For?

Dan Lundberg/CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Nile River was originally used a food source for the Egyptian civilization. Researchers believe that the Egyptian people began living around the river in 6,000 B.C.E.

With very limited food sources found in the Egyptian deserts, the Nile River provided relief for the people in the region. The river provided an abundance of fish and the banks were an ideal growing environment for fruit trees.

Another benefit of the river was that it flooded and receded seasonally, which allowed people to grow wheat and barley in the rich soil.

The massive river also provided a defense for the Egyptians. Not only did the yearly flooding keep invaders out, the treacherous sands made it difficult to cross the desert.

The Nile supplied people with water. After learning how to purify it, communities all around the area were provided with water for drinking and cooking. The water was also used for basic purposes, including cleaning.

In addition, the Nile River provided transportation, and it was used to gain access to nearby areas. The wealthy built boats and ferried people across the river. Eventually, the river was used as a main shipping route. The stones used to build the ancient pyramids were shipped on boats and rafts.

Nile River Facts

  • The Nile River is the longest in the world at just over 4,000 miles.
  • The river is two miles wide.
  • The River continues to be a water source for 11 different countries

The river provides an important water route between landlocked regions of Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Without it, many companies in developing nations would have no way to transport goods for distribution and trade. It is even thought that the stones used to build the great pyramids were transported on barges on the Nile River. The Nile also provides transportation in the form of water vessels. Such transportation is much faster in regions where roads are poorly developed.

The Nile is a source of tourism. Tourists take Nile cruises to visit more remote parts of African nations where ancient ruins are located. People also fish in the Nile to feed themselves. Some segments of the Nile are even safe for swimming. When the Nile floods each year, it becomes an important irrigation tool for crops. Much of the land in regions surrounding the Nile is dry and dusty. Without the aid of Nile floods, the land could not sustain crops.