The River Nile lies in the northeast of Africa, being the longest one in the globe. Its source is located in equatorial Africa, and the mouth is in the Mediterranean Sea. The river is referred to as a transnational one because many countries depend on it as their primary source of water (Calas and Martinon 63). North Africa is a moderately narrow piece of land that lies between the desert of Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea, and elongates from the Moroccan Atlantic coast down to Egypt and Sudan. The region consists of seven countries, including Western Sahara, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Sudan. The River Nile is considered the life center, blood, and the backbone of North Africa because despite a hot desert climate of the region, it unites the most affluent agricultural boroughs in the world.
As a famous catch phrase says, indeed, ‘water is life’, and the people of the northern part of Africa could quickly attest to this from first-hand information. In other words, if there had been no water from the great River Nile, the existence of life in North Africa would have been a mystery. North Africa is majorly full of sand, which cannot support agricultural activities, and living along this strip has always been hard (Said 12). However, life along the Nile River is quite possible because of the proximity to water, which is essential for domestic use as well as for watering people’s crops and feeding animals. Consequently, it attracted quite a significant number of people. Accordingly, major economic activities began to develop as a civilization along the Nile River valley had ensued. The Nile is a multisource of livelihood for many North African settlers, and other than providing water for use, it is a home for many marine animals, which also serve as food rich in protein for people. The river has created many employment opportunities for individuals for many years, leading to augmented living standards among the people living in this region.
In addition, the annual flooding of the River Nile played a great role in enhancing agriculture apart from the fact that it created havoc by destroying human structures and causing other damages. The River Nile floods coming during the drought season did not only cause destruction annually, but also promised a bumper harvest for residents who lived downstream. Silt deposits from floods were vital for their crops to grow healthily. It explains the ancient Egyptian state’s development because a plenty of food was available, and people engaged in different economic activities. As such, great structures such as pyramids and temples were erected leading to the flourishing of the region’s civilization. During Nile River floods, rich volcanic soils were washed away from the Ethiopian Highlands and deposited along the riverbanks (Said 102). People living along the latter saw the usefulness of such situation as it resulted into the most fertile soil that they could rely on to plant crops as well as animal feeds. Floods could also provide water in plantations and farms and irrigate human crops. This fact led to an increase in food production as a result of several agricultural activities practiced in the Nile River region.
Floodwater, as well as the water drawn from the River Nile for irrigation, became a huge factor for bumper harvests along the region. Other than food production, the Nile River banks were lined with papyrus reeds that were used in many areas such as making ropes and boats for transportation of food products from one side of the river to the other to enhance an exchange of goods (Calas and Martinon 35). Therefore, with an increase in crop production and other agricultural products, several regions such as Cairo in Egypt developed into a huge economic hub that allowed trade to take place not only among the people of North Africa but also with the Western world. Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, lies at the northern end of the Nile River and is densely populated. It has a rich history as far as its strategic location is concerned, which has over decades allowed it to advance more than any other cities in North Africa. Additionally, it harbors millions of people majorly because of its economic advancement since ancient times. It is mainly due to the huge population that sprang up to enjoy the city’s rich environment in terms of easy access to water, electricity, and food among other social amenities. Consequently, this led to the growth of trade with other cities leading to an increase in riches in the region and eventually the success of several states in North Africa. Besides, an increase in food and crops production ensured food security despite hot conditions in the region, and the growth of the population resulted into a constant supply of labor in construction sites. Food and other goods were used as a payment to great pyramid builders in exchange for their services (Said 203).
The River Nile provided opportunities for transportation in Egypt, which was the main economic hub in North Africa. As it has been mentioned above, the river provided papyrus reeds that were used to make ropes and boats, which were very vital for the transportation of people as well as goods across the river. Crops were transported to other parts reaching Morocco making it easy for the Western world to interact with the people of northern Africa. Other neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Algeria among others depended on agricultural produce from the Nile River valley in exchange for other precious commodities. Indeed, the presence of the River Nile served as a crucial mode of transportation that allowed an easy movement of goods and exchange of products (Calas and Martinon 89).
In addition, because of the ease of transportation up and down the Nile River, communication became easy majorly with regular interactions in various areas, including the regions of the Nile River, Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea. It ultimately led to the attraction of foreigners who thronged the river valley in an attempt to conduct businesses. Most of those who came from such countries as the United Kingdom were well educated as compared to the ones from the countries in North Africa. As a result, their conquest and settlement provided a chance for African countries to develop both economically and politically. For instance, during the construction of the Suez Canal, Ismail Pasha obtained financial help from British and French bankers to manage financial troubles he was facing (Said 90). Therefore, without the Nile River and transportation and communication opportunities it provided, which were crucial factors that contributed to the economic, social, and political development in North Africa, other countries would not have had the connection with Egypt, which was so far the most developed economic hub in the region.
Building the Aswan Dam across the Nile River was also a major fact that contributed to the rise and success of Egypt. It was because the country could get electricity from the river used in most industries as well as supply it into homesteads for lighting purposes. Several other diversion dams allowed more agricultural activities along the river as a plenty of water became available for irrigation as well as watering animals. It has also contributed to the modern irrigation system along the river leading to a further increase in crop production. Building of dams also helped farmers in the region to diversify their crops due to a decline in the fertility of the land, as less deposits and silt were available (Said 78). It resulted into the appearance of a number of different foreign plants as well as animals and an increase in food production. Moreover, some products were produced in large quantities, and surplus goods were traded into the Middle East and the West in exchange for other goods. Further irrigation innovations along the Nile River chiefly contributed to the agricultural development of Egypt, and the neighboring nations continued to learn from it to make the impossible possible.
In conclusion, the River Nile along the North African belt has been continuing to play a crucial role in the support of live in a borough that for ages has been considered a dry region with minimal support of life. This essay has endeavored to substantiate the fact that indeed the River Nile has been imperative for the intensification and achievements of states in North Africa taking into consideration the African, Western, and other perspectives contributing to the rich history of Africa. The success in North Africa’s economic and political development as well as prominent social advancements relied heavily on the River Nile, which allowed a great ancient civilization along the river to develop. In particular, Egypt and Sudan had a unique chance to enjoy the richness of the River Nile and shared their results with other neighboring nations leading to the rise of successful states in North Africa.