Making the land fertile

The Nile served Egypt as a highway, a hunter's paradise and a pleasure resort. But above all the river gave the land it's wonderful fertility. Every year, in mid-June, the Nile began to rise until it flooded its banks and covered the farmer's field. After four months the water level fell again, leaving layers of rich earth which the river had brought down from the north. The crops grown in this soil provided the true riches of Egypt.

The Nile's behavior was so vitally important that the Egyptians developed very accurate ways of recording and predicting it.

Life on the Nile

Almost all Egyptians lived close to the Nile, which teemed with life.

Hunters pursued the great variety of wild fowl with throwing sticks and nets. Fishermen hooked of netted their catches from light boats, made from tightly tied bundles of papyrus reeds which grew along the riverbanks.

Fiercer prey such as hippopotamuses, were also be found, especially in the marshy, untamed Nile Delta. Wealthy folk crossed the river for pleasure, and the Egyptians' vivid paintings of birds and beasts suggest that their beauty was keenly appreciated.The Nile was also a great waterway for vessels making longer journeys, carrying busy officials or transporting blocks of building stone.

See Trade, Commerce & Conquest