What’s the Nile River?

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The Nile River is a famous river that flows through many African countries, including Egypt. It is believed to be the longest river in the world and drains about 10% of Africa. The river has been important for irrigation, fishing, trade, and culture for thousands of years. However, it is now at risk from overexploitation and pollution. The Aswan High Dam has also caused changes to the river’s natural cycle, leading to concerns about cultural and ecological damage.

The Nile River is a river that meanders through the northeastern corner of Africa, affecting Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Congo, Kenya and Egypt, among other locations. This river is perhaps one of the most famous in the world, thanks to the millennia of civilizations that have been housed on its banks. The Nile is also believed to be the longest river in the world, although the Amazon River may give the Nile a run for its money, when all tributaries and headwaters are counted.

This river drains about 10% of Africa, through a variety of tributaries forming two main trunks, the Blue Nile and the White Nile. In Sudan, these branches meet, forming the main Nile River, which drains through a delta on the Mediterranean coast. The Nile and its tributaries are so large that they can be clearly seen in satellite and space images, and numerous startling images have been taken of the Nile by astronauts and satellites.

Many people associate the Nile with Egyptian civilization and culture, as the river has been the hub of life in Egypt since at least 4,000 BC The Egyptians used the River Nile as a source of irrigation for their crops, fished for food in the river and used it as an artery for trading boats, and they knew the river as Iteru, the “Great River. When the Greeks arrived, the Nile acquired its present name, derived from the Greek neilos, meaning “river valley”.

In addition to being important to the Egyptians, the Nile River has historically been important to the other nations it passes through as well. As it drains across the eastern corner of Africa, it irrigates crops, provides water for animals to drink, shelters fish, and provides a trade route for people to sail. Like many other heavily used rivers, the Nile is a cause for concern among some scientists, who fear it could be harmed by overexploitation. The Nile is also at risk from pollution such as pesticide runoff from crops.

Until the 1970s, the seasonal rise and fall of the Nile was an important part of Egyptian culture. The annual floods fertilized and deeply irrigated the crops, and most Egyptians lived near its banks to take advantage of the ample water supply. Numerous Egyptian cultural artifacts can be found near the banks of the River Nile, testifying to the ancient association with the river. In the 1970s, however, the face of Egypt’s River Nile changed dramatically, with Egyptians using the Aswan High Dam to control floods and generate power. Some people have suggested that the dam has caused irreparable cultural and ecological damage and have lobbied unsuccessfully to see it dismantled.

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