River of Africa Surrounding landforms and availability of resources affect civilizations. The survival of countries in Africa relies on the Nile River. Physical landforms, climatic agriculture as well as ancient cultures and advances contribute to the effective utilization of the Nile. Various subdivisions and landforms along the coast of the river present tremendous opportunities for the Africans. Over time, the control of water intake and the substantial contribution of different climates create a vast diversity among the vegetation because of the proliferous soil by the Nile’s annual flood.
The formation of ancient cultures, agriculture, and technologies significantly contributed to the developing countries adjacent the banks of the Nile. The tributaries, landforms and various transportation opportunities assist the Africans. The tributaries connect several locations in Africa to provide the countries with water, exploration, and fertile land. The portion of the river in North Africa consists of three main sources: the White Nile, the Blue Nile, and the Atbara Rivers. The White Nile contains the largest mass of water so that during the dry season the river remains sustainable (Middleton vol. ). Western explorers investigated Africa because of the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile “is the link between the Mediterranean and the Deep Interior;” therefore, “the search for its source drew many Western explorers into Africa” (Murray 170). Among many of the smaller tributaries, the Atbara provides water in Ethiopia during the dry season. The Atbara “runs through the Ethiopian highlands during the wet seasons, but is dry from January to June” (Barrow). Therefore, it provides the amount of water suitable for the environment during that half of the year.
The waters and soils of the Nile, the largest river in the world, supplies life to the barren desert and the river’s neighboring area. The two lands surrounding the Nile affect the flooding and climate zones. The black land “was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile” (Barrow). Black layer contains silt which contains layers of sediments left behind from the annual flood; moreover, the sediments made the land useable for agriculture. The red land “was a region of inhospitable desert” (Barrow). This region of desert protected the Egyptians from attack bordering the country.
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The headwaters of the flood water originate from the Ethiopian Highlands. Every summer, “rain in the Ethiopian highlands sent a barrage of water that overflowed the banks of the Nile” (Barrow). Without the precipitation in the Ethiopian Highlands, the river would cease to provide any nutritional soil; as a result, the prominent agricultural land would indefinitely vanish from existence, leaving a barren, tundra like land. The waters contain numerous beneficial obstacles environing the area. The small ridges of the central plateaus mean that “the lower courses of rivers are characterized by waterfalls and cataracts” (Murray 12).
The cataracts and waterfalls redirect the course of the river, affecting the vegetation and farming around it. Settlement in Sudan depends on the river. The White Nile River flows “north across the Sudanese border into the Sudd, the world’s largest permanent swamp” (Middleton 3: 66). Even though half of the river’s water evaporates in the swamps, half of Sudan’s population lives among the banks of the subsidiary. The river’s surrounding features, as well as the tributaries and waterfalls, significantly contribute to the welfare of the country’s needs.
Flooding and climate influence the vegetation in the area, which remains vital for existence. Irrigation manipulates the growth and development of agriculture; moreover, irrigation systems contribute to improve the effective utilization of the river. Because of the dry climate and vast desert surrounding the river, the irrigation remains for life. The continents “unreliable rainfall and frequent drought make irrigation an essential tool for agriculture” (Middleton 2: 159). Irrigation supplies the water for the crops during the dry season, which remains essential for food. Flood cropping exemplifies ancient forms of irrigation and technology.
The Egyptians would plant crops, and would then flourish when the river floods in the fall, followed by harvesting the crops in the winter; moreover, the people named the system basin irrigation for the pattern of events. (Middleton 2: 159). Flood cropping did not create an abundance of crops due to the unusual pattern of the great flood. In the early stages of developing irrigation, Egyptians formed a system called basin irrigation. When the Nile floods, the water fills the basin; as a result, when the river fell the farmers allowed “the water to drain away and then plant crops in the wet soil left behind” (Middleton 2: 159).
Basin irrigation created a mass majority of the planted crops which created a bountiful amount of food for the people; however, the farmers could only plant crops once a year. The vegetation grown around the Nile River Basin depends merely on the flooding season and by the proliferous soil. The annual flood of the Nile contributes to the mass vegetation and of the cycle of growth. The close correlation between the distribution of soil and vegetation remains a significant factor for plant cover in soil formation. The flood produces soil needed for growth of various types of vegetation.
When the annual flood recedes, the river leaves a “thick layer of silt which was excellent soil to plant seeds in the soil after it had been ploughed” (Barrow). The silt provides the necessity to properly grow plants. The cycle of the growing crops consist of Akhet, Peret, and Shamuc. During the months of June through September, also known as the Akhet, the annually flood occurs; also, during these months, farming has ceased (Barrow). From the months of October through February, or the period called the Peret, the floodwaters recede, leaving a thick layer of silt; moreover, during this time the farmers plough the soil (Barrow).
During the time of Shamuc, months from March through May, the farmers harvest the crops and workers repair the canals (Barrow). The three periods of time work in perfect tandem to grow crops. The vegetation grown in the Nile Basin depends on the soil for nutrients. One of the most prominent crops grown for centuries yet to come remains wheat and other types of grain along the Nile River. The grain along the Nile supplies people to make “bread, porridge, and beer. After the grain was grown, they grew assorted fruits” (Barrow).
The vegetation grown in the Nile supplies the people with nourishment and trade opportunity. The climate along the Nile affects the type of vegetation grown along the banks as well as the human livelihood. The Nile consists of four climates: the tropical wet, the tropical dry, steppe, and desert. The tropical wet and tropical dry lie in the South of Africa, and they receive much rainfall, with some dry seasons (Boehm). The desert and steppe climate lie near the Mediterranean Sea, along the start of the Nile.
They receive less than ten to fourteen inches of rain a year; moreover, they have little vegetation, leaving the various locations barren with extreme temperatures (Boehm). The strip of land along the Nile makes it hospitable because of the giant mass of water. Farmers use animals mostly for work, labor, and production of food. They would use these animals for “trampling in the seeds, pulling the plough, eating unwanted grain and providing them with food” (Barrow). The animals play an important role for the livelihood of the people by providing food, labor, and help with farming.
The vegetation growth depends on the annual flood, climate, and animals of the area. The base of civilizations, technological advances, and cultures primarily exist in Africa because of the Nile, which makes it essential for the countries environing the area prosperous. Transportation began early for the Egyptians because of trade and fishing, but eventually they developed technologies for transferring goods to other countries. The ancient Egyptians developed boats from papyrus to obtain fish and materials for other necessities (Boehm). As the technologies advanced, other ideas arose to get to certain points in the river.
The people would use “steamers to transport only to a certain point in the river” (Barrow). The steamers would eventually head to the Mediterranean through various tributaries until the goods traveled all around the world. This process would only be possible through the Nile River, which provided transportation to associate themselves with other countries. The start of a great civilization, Egypt, would progress only with the significant contribution of the Nile River. Many Egyptians inhabited close to the Nile because it provided transportation, water, and amazing soil for growing crops.
Through farming, the Egyptians created new mechanisms to make farming easier for the farmers. (Murray). A main source of food for the Egyptians remains fish. The most wanted fish from Africa today, the Nile Perch, has been shipped all around the world (Middleton Vol. 4). Today, almost all of the Egypt’s residents live along the Nile Delta or the along the course of the river. The river supplied the African countries with technology and culture, as well as the prominent ancient civilization of Egypt. Culture and energy existed because of the Nile River’s presence.
Religion has been spread from country to country by the existence of the Nile tributaries. The capital of Sudan, Khartoum, lies between the White and Blue Nile. The spread of the Muslim religion has a major influence on the country, and “it is the primary religion of the Nile” (Murray 173). The religion was established when Muhammad had begun preaching around the Nile Valley, spreading it to various parts of the continent. Along the banks of the Nile, the Egyptians harvested a plant named sorghum. Because of the sorghum, the Egyptians developed “crafts such as boating, matting, basketry, and pottery” (Murray 46).
The Nile provided vegetation and materials to further develop technologies in agriculture and aquaculture. Africans developed new technologies to harvest power from the water, and the future of energy, hydroelectric power. Today, “electricity is provided by generators powered by the Aswan Dam” (Boehm 426). The Nile’s Aswan Dam, developed to control the annual flood and preserve water, provides electricity for the people surrounded by the Nile. The Nile provided the ancient Egyptians with necessities, and the river continues to contribute to Egypt and Sudan today.
Without the existence of the Nile, Egypt would remain barren and underdeveloped. The base of Egyptian civilization and technologies developed the countries encircling the coast. Moreover, the Nile provides the people with food, electricity and transportation, which remain a significant aspect of everyday life. Although new developments have altered the need for the Nile, people still rely on the Nile. ? Works Cited Barrow, Mandy. Ancient Egyptian Farming. Chiddingstone Church of England School, Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2013. Barrow, Mandy. The River Nile. Chiddingstone Church of England School, Jan. 013. Web. 21 Jan. 2013. Boehm, Richard G. World Geography and Cultures. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012. Print. Middleton, John. Ed. Africa; an Encyclopedia for Student. Volume 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002. Print. Middleton, John. Ed. Africa; an Encyclopedia for Student. Volume 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2002. Print. Murray, Jocelyn. Ed. The Cultural Atlas of Africa. New York: Checkmark Books, 1998. Print. Nile, Battle of the: Nile River. Photograph. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. http://www. school. eb. com. com/eb/art-228/ ?
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