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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Land and People Ancient Nubia

Ancient Nubia

Nubia: Egypt's Rival
The land of Nubia stretched along the Nile River from Egypt's southern border almost to where the city of Khartoum (kar»TOOM), Sudan, stands today. Beneath Nubia's rocky soil were many resources, such as copper and gold. Cliffs made of granite and other kinds of rock used in building rose high above the landscape. Animals of many kinds roamed the land. The many resources of Nubia made life comfortable for its people. Nubia's resources also caused other peoples, such as the Egyptians, to want control of the land. Many conflicts arose as a result. The close contact of the Egyptians and the Nubians caused them to influence each other's religion, government, and culture. Each adopted some of the ideas and customs of the other. Still, over thousands of years, each held on to its own identity.

The Land and People Ancient Nubia
The geography of Nubia was very different from the geography of Egypt. Nubia was much rockier than Egypt. In some places high cliffs rose straight up from the Nile River.

Even the Nile River took on a different shape as it traveled through Nubia. The Nile's course was not as smooth in ancient Nubia as it was farther north in ancient Egypt. Large granite boulders blocked parts of the river in the south, causing rapids and waterfalls. These groups of rocks formed the six large areas of cataracts found along the southern, or upper, part of the Nile.

Archaeologists believe that people migrated to Nubia at least 8,000 years ago. Evidence of an early culture from this time has been uncovered near the modern city of Khartoum. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Nubians usually lived alongside the Nile.

The earliest people of Nubia lived just as the Egyptians lived before the dynasties. Some experts believe that the ancient Nubians provided some of the basic ideas of Egyptian culture. For example, some Egyptian gods may have been first worshipped in Nubia.

To survive, the early people of Nubia fished and hunted and gathered wild grains. In time, the ancient Nubians began to grow their own grain and raise cattle, sheep, and goats. These Nubian farmers and herders found it best to stay in one place all year round rather than travel from place to place.

As settled people, the ancient Nubians began to make pottery to store grains and carry supplies. People on the move could not use pottery because it would get broken on long trips. For settled people, however, pottery was very useful.

The Nubians were among the first people to make pottery. Nubian craftworkers worked with clay as early as 6000 B.C. Nubian bowls and jars are among the most beautiful and best-made of all early objects.

Over time, pottery became a trade item offered by the Nubians. The Nubians also traded goods that came to them from several places in central and southern Africa. These goods were in great demand by the Egyptians and the peoples of southwestern Asia.

Nubia's location between Egypt and southern Africa made it an ideal trading center. The Nubians served as go-betweens for trade between northern and southern Africa. Among the many trade items the Nubians sent northward were leopard skins, ostrich eggs, feathers, ivory, ebony, spices, and gold.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Egypt and Nubia traded peacefully at first. The Egyptians realized, though, that they could gain greater wealth if they had control of Nubia's trade routes, the paths that traders use as they exchange goods.

By 2600 B.C. Egyptian kings succeeded in claiming all the trade routes in northern Nubia. The Egyptians also began helping themselves to Nubia's rich natural resources. Egyptians cut blocks of stone such as granite, which they used for statues and buildings. They also mined Nubian copper and gold. After years of controlling much of northern Nubia, Egypt moved to annex, or take over, the land. About 1900 B.C. the Egyptian pharaoh ordered forts built near the second cataract to protect the newly annexed land from enemies.

Why did Egypt want control of Nubia's trade routes?


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