Did you know that the Nile River flows for a distance that stretches approximately 4100 miles? This is how long it flows for before it reaches the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea.
This river has been around for thousands of years to serve a number of important functions.
One of its main benefits is that it has managed to be a source of irrigation in dry land. Nowadays, this river has been upgraded to become a source of transportation as well as trade routes. Keep on reading to find out more.
The Nile River is a river that flows through eastern Africa. It flows in a south to north direction. The origin of this river can be traced to Lake Victoria that’s located between three countries, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
After flowing for 4100 miles towards the north, it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, this is the longest river in the entire world. Moreover, it’s the only river that runs along the borders of 10 countries in Africa.
Table of Contents
- What is the History of the Nile River?
- Ancient Egyptians and the Nile River
- The Importance of the Nile River Today
- The Value of its Sediment Load
- Why Does the Nile River Flow South to North?
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Nile River
When you think back to the development of Ancient Egypt, you’ll know that this river was one of the critical components for building it.
However, it has also played a significant role in helping other African countries to meet their irrigation needs.
The entire soil of this river that can be found along the delta that runs between Cairo and the Mediterranean Sea is very rich in nutrients.
The fact is that there are large silt deposits that you can find along the Nile River’s banks. There is annual flooding that maintains these deposit silts.
If you were to use a satellite map to observe the contrast between the Nile River and its surrounding desert, you’ll see how obvious it is.
There are lush river banks that you find in the desert where this river flows. The Nile River’s delta region has been responsible for the cultivation of food in Egypt. This has been happening for millions of years.
In Ancient Egypt, there were innovative irrigation methods that were developed to help increase the amount of land that was needed for crops.
This was essential to help support a population that was thriving. Abundant crops such as beans, cotton, and flax were stored carefully because they could be traded easily.
One of the most valuable plants that were grown on the Nile River delta is the papyrus plant. This plant was used by ancient Egyptians for many things. Amongst these, was making paper and cloth from this plant.
The Nile River was used by ancient Egyptians for its natural resources. In addition to this, it was mainly used for bathing, recreation, drinking, and even transportation.
Nowadays, there are approximately 95% of Egyptians that live within a few miles from the Nile River. They use canals to ensure that they have adequate water supply for their farms and to support irrigation needs in the city.
The most notable activities that are supported by this river are agriculture and fishing.
The great thing about technology is that it provides the ideal advancements that are essential to make life easier.
With the invention of speed boats and water taxis, using the Nile River for transportation has made it easier for locals to travel. Moreover, it’s a great way for you to avoid crowds.
There are dams such as the Aswân High Dam that serve a purpose to help tame this river. Plus, they provide the cities with hydroelectric power. But, there’s a downside to this.
The nutrient rich sediment load that used to enrich the soil for a valuable delta has started to build up behind the dam instead. There is a lot of erosion that has been taking place along the Mediterranean Sea.
Researchers suggest that it is a result of climatic conditions that keep on changing.
This means that the delta is shrinking in size. Additionally, the annual flooding doesn’t happen in some parts along this river.
The thing about these floods is that they were very significant for flushing any agricultural and human waste. If you have noticed the delta in recent years, you’ll realize that it has become more prone to pollution.
Yet, the one thing that remains true to its purpose is that the Nile River is still a very functional and significant trade route. It connects the African continent with European markets and beyond.
Now that you have the history of the Nile River and how it is still a valuable resource today, you should understand why its flow is considered something worth asking about.
It confuses a lot of people, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. The simple answer is that the north direction of the river’s flow is downhill.
The fact is that the direction that a river will flow is determined by the elevation of its drainage basin. This means that you can’t rely on geographical direction to determine where the river will flow.
The land where this river flows through falls away towards the north direction.
This is how this river flows from south to north even though geographically speaking, it flows from the east since it originates in Lake Victoria.
There are other rivers such as the Monongahela River that will flow from south to north. Yet, there is this misconception that rivers will flow south due to how the earth is shaped.
The fact of the matter is that the higher the elevation of a river, the further north it will flow. This is a typical flow direction that you find in lakes and rivers that are along the African Rift Valley.
The only time when the flow of the river will change is if the land is completely flat.
There are a lot of people and countries that depend on the Nile River as a source of irrigation and transportation. It provides more than 90% of the population with its water needs.
Even though it hasn’t completely dried up, the impact of global warming is causing parts of this river to dry up.
The rising sea levels and soil salinization are also compounding to this problem.
On average, the water on the mid-stream of the Nile is still considered to be very clean. However, there are dilution effects that have had an impact on the quality of the water in parts of the Nile River.
For instance, the degradation of the delta from the deposits that are collected due to the Aswân High dam, have increased pollutants in the river.
The main issue is that the dam has heightened pollution within the banks of the river. This has decreased the surrounding land fertility as a result.
In summary, this river has become a very significant part of the African continent. Majority of its irrigation and transportation systems rely on the Nile River.
In addition, the lush nutrients found in the sediment load have ensured that many populations receive adequate agricultural production and support.