What Was Traded Along the Nile River?

Trade along the Nile River has historically included ivory, gold, exotic furs, oils and other precious commodities. Ancient trade routes crossed the Mediterranean Sea and connected Egypt to nations like Greece, Crete and Nubia.

Trading across the Mediterranean Sea was a natural choice for the ancient Egyptians because the Upper Nile River allowed for easy access. Trade posts were established in Greece, Cyprus, Crete, Syro-Palestine, Punt, and Nubia. Though the exact locations of some of these posts are lost to history, Punt was famous for its incense production, while Syro-Palestine traded in cedar, horses and oils. More exotic goods, such as ostrich feathers, giraffe tails, monkeys and cattle, were traded throughout history. As land travel improved with the domestication of horses around 1,550 B.C., trade around the Nile River continued to blossom.

In 2007, archaeologists from the University of Chicago discovered impressive evidence of a massive gold center in the ancient kingdom of Nubia. A horde of gold grinding stones dating between 2,000 and 1,500 B.C. were discovered at the site, supporting claims that ancient Nubia was known for its fabulous gold deposits. Though the ancient Nubians possessed no formal writing system or even urban centers to support their trade, the Nile River provided a wealth of resources and trade options. Cultures there continued to thrive for more than 4,000 years.