Importance Of Water For Ancient Egypt Vs. Mesopotamia
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World History Assignment #2 Water was more important to the development of a working civilization in Ancient Egypt than Mesopotamia for the following reasons: irrigation, drinking, resources and trade. Although these factors were used by both Egypt and Mesopotamia, the latter had a better understanding and control over water than Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia (3500 B.C.E. – 530 B.C.E.) was located in northeast Syria, which is now know today as Iraq. It was mainly surrounded by water, most notably the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which is how it adopted its name “the land between the rivers”. Luckily it was also located on the site of some of the world’s first permanent farming villages. The land and climate within these regions was not the best area for the development of a working civilization, as the South was primarily flat flood plain.
Flooding was the Mesopotamia peoples’ main problem, based on a lack of knowledge on how to deal with them. The floods were unpredictable, and created hazards to the settlements situated near the rivers, such as destruction of land and housing. Based on the constant floods travel and communication were also hindered by the flooding.
After many civilizations were conquered, the people of Mesopotamia finally learned to control the floods in the South and used their acquired knowledge to drain the land and irrigate the soil. This in turn lead to the people of the region producing many different types of food, and contributing to their striving civilization. By this time their reign was almost coming to an end, and was relatively useless to them.
Water was never used to the best advantage by Mesopotamia. They were unable to control flooding or to develop adequate drainage, therefore it was of limited use to them.
Ancient Egypt (3100 B.C.E. – 395 B.C.E.), just as Mesopotamia, developed around a large river. This river was and still is know as The Nile River. The river provided water for both irrigation and drinking, silt for their many fields, as well as a highway connecting Egyptian communities. The land around the banks of the Nile was extremely fertile and could produce food with little labour involved.
Unlike the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Nile would flood on an annual basis, depositing rich supplies of silt for surrounding fields. Based on this predictable annual event, the Egyptians could plan when to plant seeds for the production of food to feed their population.
As well as filling in marshes, and building walls to keep out the flooding waters. The Nile was known to the Egyptians as their “lifeline”.
The Nile also provided a source of trade, by allowing merchants of the pharaohs and nobles to travel up and down the river, sailing to lands bordering the Aegan, Mediterranean and Red seas. Barley, wheat and wine were the main items traded on the river boats. Had the Egyptians not had a knowledge of the river, they would have probably never known to use it for trading purposes.
Water was, and always has been, a very important source for any civilization. Today we use water as a source of power, for food preparation, irrigation, drinking and cleaning therefore it is a crucial resource for survival. One task for human beings is to know how to use it properly to succeed. The Egyptians used their knowledge of the Nile River to their advantage and were able to strive for many years as a strong and advancing civilization. Mesopotamia on the other hand was not able to acquire adequate understanding of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which eventually led to their demise.