Located in the north-eastern region of Africa, the Nile River is the world’s longest river at 4,160 miles/6,693 km. The Nile is fed by two major river systems; the White and the Blue Nile. The White Nile flows from the Great Lakes of East Africa and the Blue Nile originates from the Ethiopian highlands. The White Nile provides a steady flow of water through out the year. The Blue Nile, however, carries fertile soils of the Ethiopian highlands into the lower Nile Valley following the Ethiopian summer rains. Prior to the construction of the Aswan dam in southern Egypt, the Nile used to significantly erode its banks yearly, creating rich and fertile soil ideal for vegetation. The settlements living on the Nile River banks depended largely on the fertile soil for growing their vegetation.
From its source at Lake Victoria, in Uganda, the Nile River stretches to the Mediterranean Sea, at the Nile Delta. The White Nile flows through Uganda and Sudan, while the Blue Nile starts in Ethiopia, with Lake Tana as its source. Countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi all have tributaries that flow into the Nile or into Lake Victoria. Settlements and large cities are found on the banks of the Nile River and the White Nile, including Cairo, Khartoum, Aswan and Thebes.
| The word Nile comes from the Greek Neilos, meaning valley or river valley. Papyrus reeds often grew along the banks of the Nile River. In the past, it was used for building boats and houses, and making paper. This paper was used to write important documents. At some point, ancient Egyptians called this river “Hapi,” and often worshiped into instead of worshiping the one true God. The Nile River is mentioned in the bible a few times. It is in the Nile River that God turned its water into blood and the basket of Moses was found in the Nile River and the plague of frogs also comes from the Nile.
|The Nile River was also a natural border for Egypt. The land surrounding the Nile River Valley is in fact, desert land. It acted as a guard, offering protection to Egypt. Just as the Mediterranean Sea protected Egypt from invaders (except for Napoleon in the nineteenth century), the Nile River served a similar role. The people of Egypt have always associated the Nile River with life and development. The river is their main source of prosperity as it provides water, transportation and trade. It also allows people to communicate.
Many cities in Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya,
also use the Nile as their water source. This river has played a pivotal role in building the Egyptian civilization.