• Imagining History

The River Nile - Why Was It So Important?

The River Nile runs right through the centre of Egypt, but why was it so important to the Ancient Egyptian people?

Two Lands:

Ancient Egypt was divided into two lands; Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

Weirdly Upper Egypt is in the South and Lower Egypt is in the North. This oddness only makes sense when you consider the River Nile, as it flows from South to North – Upper and Lower Egypt are named after the Nile.


The River Nile was vital to Ancient Egyptian life, without it the population would starve.

The Nile flooded fairly reliably every September, fertilising the ground so plants could be grown there. It was also handy for fishing and transportation!

The Nileometer:

The Egyptians measured the height of the River Nile’s annual flood with the brilliantly named ‘Nilometer’.

This handy contraption allowed them to make an accurate guess about how many crops would grow that year.

Food & Clothing:

The fertile land that the Nile provided enabled Ancient Egyptians to produce wheat for bread, flax for clothing and papyrus for everything from paper to sandals.

Further Reading:

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