Throughout history, humans have interacted with their environments to meet their needs and to satisfy their wants. Water has always played an important role in a civilization’s ability to develop and thrive. People settled in the Nile River Valley to take advantage of the resources the water and land provided. The Nile River was an integral part in the development and growth of the ancient Egyptian civilization, and it was the foundation for Egyptian innovations and religion.
Ancient Egyptians interacted with the Nile River through their gods and in addition to using the river as a means for travel and trade, the Egyptians used its gifts, or resources for farming, inventions and religious ceremonies. The Nile River was the key factor in the growth and development of the ancient Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians relied on the Nile River for many resources and used it as a means for travel and trade. (Doc. C) The Egyptians used the papyrus that grew along the river to make paper, which scribes used to record daily activities.
This helped to develop their civilization because they could use hieroglyphics to keep written records and document important economic, government or social events for the officials and pharaoh. Most Egyptians lived near the Nile. They mostly lived at the Nile Delta. The Nile Delta had the most vegetation so farmers/peasants live there to work in farms. (Doc. A) It was where they could actually get there crops growing. The most important resources the Nile River provided the ancient Egyptians were water and silt.
Annual floods provided rich silt for which the Egyptians used to cultivate their crops. They learned that they could plant barley seeds in the same spot every year, and it would grow again if there was enough water. (Doc. D ) Having a surplus of food led to specialization in ancient Egypt. The division of labor was critical to the development of the ancient Egyptian civilization because it provided the Egyptians with time to master their crafts and then trade. Egyptians used sailboats to travel up and down the Nile River to barter for goods and share ideas. (Doc. C)
The local trade routes and longer expeditions that Egyptians often went on created interdependence between themselves and neighboring communities. The development and growth of the ancient Egyptian civilization was the direct result of the Nile River; its most precious resource. The Nile River was a source of innovation and religion for the ancient Egyptian civilization. The Egyptians used other inventions to help them manage and use the Nile’s gifts. They created a calendar which helped them predict the floods. (Doc. B)
Being able to predict floods helped the Egyptians prepare for and manage the annual surge of water. Ancient Egyptians were innovators in math, science, medicine and architecture. It was their belief, however, that their gods were directly responsible for everything they had and did. The Egyptians invented the shadoof, but they believed that their god-king Osiris taught them how to lead the waters to the barley. (Doc. D) The Egyptians believed that Osiris was the one who had given them the fields and the knowledge of planting seeds. (Doc. D)
Finally, the ancient Egyptians strongly believed in life after death or the afterlife. The Nile River played an important role in the transportation of mummified Egyptian pharaohs or kings. Since they were buried on the west side of the Nile River, a funeral barge was used to transport Egyptian royalty to their tombs. (Doc. C) Ancient Egyptians used the Nile River as a source for their religion and inventions which helped them to develop, grow and thrive as a civilization. When the Nile rises, the land is in exultation. (Doc. E) Without the Nile River there would not be life in Egypt.
Ancient Egyptians depended on the Nile River greatly, and their interaction with the river was evident in all aspects of their lives. The Nile River was directly responsible for the growth and development of ancient Egypt. Without the river, the Egyptians would not have been able to farm and provide a constant food supply. The surplus of food made it possible for the Egyptians to make advancements in math, science and technology, and it provided them with the time and resources to barter. This helped them to develop and grow as a civilization. The Nile River was also directly connected to the Egyptians’ innovations and religion.
The shadoof, nilometer and calendar are great examples of inventions the Egyptians developed to maximize their use of the Nile River which helped in their development. Finally, the ancient Egyptians believed that everything they had, including the Nile River, was connected to their gods. Therefore, the Nile River played an important role in religious ceremonies in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians’ interaction with the Nile River helped them to meet their needs and satisfy their wants, and it was directly responsible for their growth and development as a civilization.