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Top 10 Facts About the Nile River

Updated on April 11, 2017
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Map Showing the Delta Region. Traditionally considered to be the longest river in the world, the Nile passes through 11 different countries, including Kenya, Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and Egypt, before it eventually drains into the Mediterranean Sea.
Map Showing the Delta Region. Traditionally considered to be the longest river in the world, the Nile passes through 11 different countries, including Kenya, Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and Egypt, before it eventually drains into the Mediterranean Sea. | Source

The Nile is one of the most famous rivers in the world. Located in North Africa, it flows through 11 countries, including Kenya, Congo, Sudan, Uganda, and Egypt, before it eventually drains into the Mediterranean Sea.

The northern section of the river flows through an area which is almost entirely desert, providing fertility and a source of water. Egypt has relied on the Nile since ancient times, with most of the population living along the riverbanks or nearby.

Below are my top 10 facts on the Nile River.

For many years the Nile was considered to be the longest river in the world.  It was usurped by the Amazon, however., which is now generally considered most experts to be the longest
For many years the Nile was considered to be the longest river in the world. It was usurped by the Amazon, however., which is now generally considered most experts to be the longest | Source

1. The Nile is traditionally considered to be the longest river in the world, measuring 4132 miles (6650 km) in total, although some people now consider the Amazon to be the longest.

The ancient Egyptians built most of their cities along the Nile. This statute shows the goddess, Hathor, the deity who personified joy, love, and motherhood.  Worshiped by all sections of society, she was one of the most popular and important deities
The ancient Egyptians built most of their cities along the Nile. This statute shows the goddess, Hathor, the deity who personified joy, love, and motherhood. Worshiped by all sections of society, she was one of the most popular and important deities | Source

2. The source of the river was disputed for many years. The arguments arose because the river begins in the area of Lake Victoria, which has many feeder rivers entering it. However, the biggest of these feeders, the Kagera river, is now usually accepted to be the true source of the Nile.

The northern section of the Nile flows through desert, bringing fertility to an area that would otherwise be barren.  It is this geography that has contributed to making the area a cradle of civilization for thousands of years.
The northern section of the Nile flows through desert, bringing fertility to an area that would otherwise be barren. It is this geography that has contributed to making the area a cradle of civilization for thousands of years. | Source

3. The River Nile is formed from two major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, which meet in Sudan, near the capital of Khartoum, before continuing northwards to the Mediterranean Sea.

Quotes About The Nile River

"The Egyptian Nile, though it does have its own particular hazards, is subject to none of what I find in Rhode Island. Since the Aswan High Dam was built in 1973, the Nile has become something of a grand canal. It is wide, flat, slow, and so calm it verges on the geriatric." Rosemary Mahoney

"Today the traveller on the Nile enters a wonderland at whose gates rise the colossal pyramids of which he has had visions perhaps from earliest childhood." James Henry Breasted

4. The origins of the name: “Nile”are disputed. Some people think that it comes from the Semitic word: Nahal, which means "river". Others think that the Greek word, “neilos”, which means valley, is the true origin.

5. The Ancient Egyptian civilization was dependent on the Nile for drinking water, food (e.g. fish), trade and transportation. It also provided rich soil, that was great for growing crops. As rainfall is almost none-existent in Egypt, the people were dependent on the yearly floods, caused by heavy rainfall in Ethiopia, which supplied moisture and left thick rich mud, ideal for cultivation.

6. The river also had a vital role in the building of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, as the blocks of stone used for construction had to be transported by boat. The Ancient Egyptians also used the reeds growing alongside the Nile, known as papyrus, to make paper and boats with.

7. The Southern stretches of the river are home to Nile crocodiles, one of the largest and most dangerous species of crocodile, responsible for the deaths of many people each year. At one time, these aggressive reptiles could be found all the way up to the Nile Delta, but their habitat has shrunk over the years.

8. In 1970, the Aswan High Dam was built. This helps to control the yearly flooding of the River. Previously, high floods could wipe out crops, and drier years could result in failures and famine, but the dam now regulates water levels.

More Quotes About The Nile

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." Mark Twain

"The study of mathematics, like the Nile, begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence." Charles Caleb Colton

"He who rides the sea of the Nile must have sails woven of patience." William Golding

"If you look at the Nile on a map of Egypt, you don't think it has moved very much, but the river is very violent and has moved over time." Sarah Parcak

9. The Ancient Egyptian god of the Nile was known as Hapi, he was honored for the annual floods which brought great fertility to the land. The god was known by a variety of titles, including: Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation and Lord of the Fishes and Birds of the Marshes. He is commonly depicted as an intersex person with a big belly and breasts, and dressed in a loincloth and ceremonial false beard.

In the ancient Egyptian religion, Hapi was the god of the flooding of the Nile, which took place each year. The image shows Hopi represented as two genies, symbolically tying together upper and lower Egypt.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, Hapi was the god of the flooding of the Nile, which took place each year. The image shows Hopi represented as two genies, symbolically tying together upper and lower Egypt. | Source

10. Around half of Egypt’s population of 80 million people reside in the Nile Delta region. The largest city in this area is Alexandria, which has a population of over 4 million. The city of Rosetta can also be found in the delta region – it was here that the famous Rosetta Stone was found, its inscriptions helping modern people to understand Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Alexandria is the biggest city along the Nile and Egypt's biggest seaport.  It is also a major tourist destination.  Founded by Alexander the Great (hence its name), the city was the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, up until the Muslim invasion
Alexandria is the biggest city along the Nile and Egypt's biggest seaport. It is also a major tourist destination. Founded by Alexander the Great (hence its name), the city was the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, up until the Muslim invasion | Source

© 2014 BigBrains2

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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 2 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Another interesting fact is in very ancient times the Nile used to flow from east to west and empty into the Atlantic. This has been shown by satellite imagery.

      Another interesting point is a man named Edgar Cayce stated the Nile changed course (see above) and the Sahara was green back in the 1930s. Now how did he know that?

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 9 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      6. The river also had a vital role in the building of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, as the blocks of stone used for construction had to be transported by boat.

      Now we know the Pyramids were made of poured natural concrete. This was discovered by a French chemist. Google geopolymers and pyramids.

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