The Nile River is the longest river in the world, stretching about 4,160 miles. Without this important river, the land could not have supported the great civilization that appeared in Egypt. The Nile River had a smooth, steady flow which provided a natural route for transportation, as well as a seemingly endless supply of life-giving water. Since the Nile flowed North-to-South, the early people were able to move goods upland. In the 400s B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus described the Nile River’s annual cycle of months-long flooding. Although the Egyptian farmers couldn’t explain the floods, they planned their work around them; they harvested crops before the floods came, and when the water was gone, they were left with fertile soil. Besides fertile soil, the Nile Valley also offered its sunny, frost-free climate which made it easy to grow many kinds of crops and its north wind that blows from the Mediterranean Sea upstream into the Nile. This allowed the ancient Egyptians to use the Nile River as a pathway of travel and trade linking all parts of the Nile Valley and also helped them unite the region into one kingdom. The Nile Valle contains deposits of granite, sandstone, and limestone which the Egyptians used as building materials. Finally, the location was another advantage because the deserts and seas that surrounded the Nile Valley provided a natural protection against invaders.
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