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The Gift of the Nile

Like a giant snake, the Nile River slithers 4,160 miles from the
mountains of central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. There the river
cuts a narrow green valley through the desert and creates a fan shaped
area of fertile land called a delta. The Nile, which is the world’s
longest river, was also home to one of the earliest civilizations in
history. Ancient Egypt could not have existed without the great
river due to the constant flooding of the Nile. Every year, the snow in
the mountains of East central Africa melts, sending a torrent of water
that overflows the banks of the Nile. The river picks up bits of soil and
plant life called “Kem” by the Egyptians. This fertile silt is dropped on
the banks of the Nile as the flood recedes, and creates excellent topsoil
that provides two or three crops every year. The ancient Greek
historian, Herodotus, referred to Egypt as “the Gift of the Nile.”

Ancient Egypt was protected from invaders by natural

• The land beyond the Nile River Valley is a desert that receives less than ten
inches of rain per year.
• There are several cataracts (or large waterfalls) along the Nile River south of
the ancient civilization.
• Not many people ventured into the sea before 1500BC, so the Mediterranean Sea
formed a natural border. (Egypt was not invaded by the sea until Napoleon in
the nineteenth century)
• Enemies could only invade Egypt by crossing the narrow Isthmus of Suez.

Three Seasons
The Egyptians divided their
year into three seasons based
on the behavior of the Nile.
The “Inundation,” the time of
the flood, was from June to
September. During this
season the Egyptians often worked for Pharaoh or the temples on building
projects. The “Emergence” of the land from the water covering them was
from October to about February. The soil was moist and was good for
planting during this time. The Egyptians would use shadoofs, an irrigation
tool, and basins to help irrigate the crops. The third season was the
“Drought”. During the Drought season they would harvest crops and
thresh grain to make the bread they ate.


Answer in complete sentences

Use your study sheet to find the correct answers.

*1. In what direction does the Nile River flow? (Stem

your answer)

2. On which continent is Egypt located? (Stem your


3. List the reasons that Egypt was protected on her borders.


The Nile is the w________’s longest r________. It travels from the mountainous
land *s_________ of Egypt through some of the driest d__________ in the world. More
than s________ million people currently l______ along the b________ of the Nile. The
history of the great r________ also includes the c______________________ of ancient
The Nile made the a____________ Egyptian c_____________________ possible.
Melting s________ from the m________________ of E______ Africa f____________ the
banks of the N______. The flood left behind bits of s______ and p________ life called
k______. The silt created excellent t____________ that provided the
E________________ with two or three annual c________.
The E___________ divided their y_________ into t_________ s__________
based on the behavior of the N________. The “I_____________” was called the
f_________ and happened during our * S__________. The “E__________” of the
l____________ from the water covering them was from O________ to about
F______________. The Egyptians would use s___________ and b______________ to
help i____________ the crops. The third season was the “D_______________”. During
the D______________ season they would h_____________ c______________ and
t__________ grain to make the bread they ate.