The world’s longest river; The Nile, is considered Egypt’s lifeline. This significant physical geographic factor, has contributed to the development of the ancient Egyptians. This country which is located in Africa’s northeast corner, receives very little rainfall throughout the year. As a result, Egypt has relied on the Nile River for its economy. Each year, the Nile floods due to upstream rain, depositing a type of rich black soil called silt, along the river banks. The silt at the river’s mouth forms into a triangular shape, which creates a delta. Most of Egypt’s population clustered in the Nile’s river valley and delta. This river’s yearly floods made these regions so fertile that ancient Egyptians called their country Kemet, or the Black Land. (Bednarz, 2008) Ancient Egypt, one of the world’s first great civilizations, arose along the banks of the Nile. For centuries, geography kept Egypt isolated. Six high waterfalls called cataracts, and rapids make the Nile hard to navigate in the south. Desserts surround the Nile in the west and east, and the Mediterranean Sea borders Egypt to the north. People created farming villages along the Nile by about 4000 B.C.
Eventually these villages became two kingdoms, Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt at the Nile delta. The Nile Valley provided various grasses and reeds used for huts, sandals, baskets, simple boats, and other products. Ancient Egyptians also dug canals to irrigate their fields and channel the Nile’s water. Each June, floods would leave behind silt in a narrow strip along the flood plain and at the delta. Today, the Aswan High Dam controls the Nile’s flooding and provides year-round irrigation. Since the Aswan High Dam opened in 1970, Egypt has doubled its agricultural production. (Bednarz, 2008) Over the centuries, religions have spread from their points of origin to the rest of the world.
All of the world’s major religions began in Asia, and moved to other continents. At first, religious beliefs were carried to different places by followers of the religion or traders. In some lands, traditional religions have been practiced for as long as people have lived in a culture group. The development and spread of beliefs by Egyptian religion, provides an example of the process of diffusion between early human societies. Ancient Egyptians worshiped several deities (gods or goddesses), and considered their pharaoh leaders to be earthly versions of them. During the New Kingdom period of Egypt, a pharaoh known as Akhenaton, promoted the worship of only one deity, the sun god Aton.