Nile

Nile

Overview
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is 6650 kilometres (4,132.1 mi) long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

The Nile has two major tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

, the White Nile
White Nile
The White Nile is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers...

 and Blue Nile
Blue Nile
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile...

. The latter is the source of most of the water and fertile soil
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is 6650 kilometres (4,132.1 mi) long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

.

The Nile has two major tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

, the White Nile
White Nile
The White Nile is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers...

 and Blue Nile
Blue Nile
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile...

. The latter is the source of most of the water and fertile soil
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

. The former is the longer. The White Nile rises in the Great Lakes
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

 region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 or Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

. It flows north through Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 and South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

. The Blue Nile starts at Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia...

 in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 at 12°02′09"N 037°15′53"E and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

, from Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 into Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, a country whose civilization
History of Egypt
Egyptian history can be roughly divided into the following periods:*Prehistoric Egypt*Ancient Egypt**Early Dynastic Period of Egypt: 31st to 27th centuries BC**Old Kingdom of Egypt: 27th to 22nd centuries BC...

 has depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 are found along riverbanks. The Nile ends in a large delta
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

 that empties into the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

.

Etymology



In the ancient Egyptian language
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

, the Nile is called Ḥ'pī or iteru, meaning "great river", represented by the hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 shown on the left (literally itrw, and 'waters
N-water ripple (n hieroglyph)
The ancient Egyptian ripple of water is one of the oldest language hieroglyphs from Ancient Egypt. It is used on a famous cartouche of Pharaoh Den of the First dynasty....

' determinative
Determinative
A determinative, also known as a taxogram or semagram, is an ideogram used to mark semantic categories of words in logographic scripts which helps to disambiguate interpretation. They have no direct counterpart in spoken language, though they may derive historically from glyphs for real words, and...

) In Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

, the words piaro (Sahidic) or phiaro (Bohairic) meaning "the river" (lit. p(h).iar-o "the.canal-great") come from the same ancient name.

The English name Nile is thought to be ultimately derived from the Semitic
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 Nahal meaning "river" from which the Hebrew nachal is derived.

Course





Above Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

 the Nile is also known as the White Nile
White Nile
The White Nile is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers...

, a term also used in a limited sense to describe the section between Lake No
Lake No
Lake No is a lake in South Sudan. It is located just north of the vast swamp of the Sudd, at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers. It marks the transition between the Bahr al Jabal and White Nile proper. Lake No is located approximately 1,156 km downstream of Uganda's...

 and Khartoum. At Khartoum the river is joined by the Blue Nile
Blue Nile
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile...

. The White Nile starts in equatorial East Africa, and the Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia. Both branches are on the western flanks of the East African Rift
East African Rift
The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. It is part of the larger Great Rift Valley. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates...

, the southern part of the Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is a name given in the late 19th century by British explorer John Walter Gregory to the continuous geographic trench, approximately in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in South East Africa...

.

The drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 of the Nile covers 3254555 square kilometres (1,256,590.7 sq mi), about 10% of the area of Africa. The Nile basin is complex, and because of this, the discharge at any given point along the mainstem
Mainstem (hydrology)
In relation to hydrology, a main stem is "the primary downstream segment of a river, as contrasted to its tributaries". Another common term for the main stem, the final large channel of a riverine system, is the trunk. Water enters the main stem from the river's drainage basin, the land area...

 depends on many factors including weather, diversions, evaporation and evapotranspiration
Evapotranspiration
Evapotranspiration is a term used to describe the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land surface to atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and waterbodies...

, and groundwater
Groundwater
Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock...

 flow.

Source


The source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

 of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size. The Kagera River
Kagera River
The Kagera River, also Akagera River, is an East African river, forming part of the upper headwaters of the Nile and carrying water from its most distant source....

, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba
Bukoba
Bukoba is a town in northwest Tanzania on the western shore of Lake Victoria. It is the capital of the Kagera region. Population estimate: 100,000...

, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself. It is either the Ruvyironza
Ruvyironza River
The Ruvyironza River is a river in Africa which is the most remote source of the Nile, the world's longest river. It rises in Burundi, and flows into the Kagera River in Tanzania, and from there into Lake Victoria.- References :...

, which emerges in Bururi Province
Bururi Province
Bururi is one of the seventeen provinces of Burundi. It is also the largest. It includes the city of Bururi, the provincial capital, and the city of Rumonge which sits on the shores of Lake Tanganyika...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe Forest National Park is a national park in southwestern Rwanda, located south of Lake Kivu on the border with Burundi. The park was established in 2004 and covers an area of approximately 970 km² of rainforest, bamboo, grassland, swamps, and bogs. The nearest town is Cyangugu, 54 km to the...

 in Rwanda. The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls
Rusumo Falls
Rusumo Falls is a waterfall located on the Kagera river on the border between Rwanda and Tanzania, part of the most distant headwaters of the river Nile...

 on the Rwanda-Tanzania border.

Recent exploration says that an exploring party went to a place described as the source of the Rukarara tributaryhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/activityandadventure/734885/Journey-to-the-source-of-the-Nile.html, and by hacking a path up steep jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe
Nyungwe
Nyungwe may refer to:* Nyungwe language, also called Cinyungwe, a Bantu language spoken in Mozambique* Nyungwe Forest, a national park in Rwanda...

 forest found (in the dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

) an appreciable incoming surface flow for many miles upstream, and found a new source, giving the Nile a length of 4199 miles (6758 kilometers)

Lost headwaters



Formerly Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake...

 drained northwards along the African Rift Valley into the Albert Nile, making the Nile about 900 miles (1,448.4 km) longer, until blocked in Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 times by the bulk of the Virunga Volcanoes.

In Uganda


The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls near Jinja, Uganda
Jinja, Uganda
Jinja is the largest town in Uganda, Africa. It is the second busiest commercial center in the country, after Kampala, Uganda's capital and only city. Jinja was established in 1907.-Location:...

, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (310.7 mi) farther, through Lake Kyoga
Lake Kyoga
Lake Kyoga is a large shallow lake complex of Uganda, about in area and at an elevation of 914 m. The Victoria Nile flows through the lake on its way from Lake Victoria to Lake Albert. The main inflow from Lake Victoria is regulated by the Nalubaale Power Station in Jinja. Another source of water...

, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile.

In South Sudan


It then flows into South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

, where it is known as the Bahr al Jabal
White Nile
The White Nile is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers...

 ("River of the Mountain"). The Bahr al Ghazal, itself 716 kilometres (444.9 mi) long, joins the Bahr al Jabal at a small lagoon called Lake No
Lake No
Lake No is a lake in South Sudan. It is located just north of the vast swamp of the Sudd, at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers. It marks the transition between the Bahr al Jabal and White Nile proper. Lake No is located approximately 1,156 km downstream of Uganda's...

, after which the Nile becomes known as the Bahr al Abyad, or the White Nile
White Nile
The White Nile is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers...

, from the whitish clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 suspended in its waters. When the Nile flooded
Flooding of the Nile
has been an important natal cycle in Egypt since ancient times. It is celebrated by Egyptians as an annual holiday for two weeks starting August 15, known as Wafaa El-Nil. It is also celebrated in the Coptic Church by ceremonially throwing a martyr's relic into the river, hence the name, Esba`...

 it left a rich silty deposit which fertilized the soil. The Nile no longer floods annually since the completion of the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

 in 1970. An anabranch
Anabranch
An anabranch is a section of a river or stream that diverts from the main channel or stem of the watercourse and rejoins the main stem downstream. Local anabranches can be the result of small islands in the watercourse...

 river, the Bahr el Zeraf
Bahr el Zeraf
The Bahr el Zeraf is an arm of the White Nile in the Sudd region of South Sudan, Africa. It is completely contained within the South Sudanese state of Jonglei...

, flows out of the Nile's Bahr al Jabal section and rejoins the White Nile.

The flow rate of the Bahr al Jebal at Mongalla, South Sudan
Mongalla, South Sudan
Mongalla or Mangalla is a community in Central Equatoria state in South Sudan, on the east side of the Bahr al Jebel or White Nile river. It lies about by road northeast of Juba. The towns of Terekeka and Bor lie downstream, north of Mongalla....

 is almost constant throughout the year and averages 1048 m3/s. After Mongalla, the Bahr Al Jabal enters the enormous swamps of the Sudd
Sudd
The Sudd , also known as the Bahr al Jabal, As Sudd or Al Sudd, is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile. The word “sudd” is derived from the Arabic word “sadd”, meaning “block.” The term has come to refer to any large solid floating vegetation island or mat...

 region of South Sudan. More than half of the Nile's water is lost in this swamp to evaporation
Evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

 and transpiration
Transpiration
Transpiration is a process similar to evaporation. It is a part of the water cycle, and it is the loss of water vapor from parts of plants , especially in leaves but also in stems, flowers and roots. Leaf surfaces are dotted with openings which are collectively called stomata, and in most plants...

. The average flow rate of the White Nile at the tails of the swamps is about 510 m3/s. From here it soon meets with the Sobat River
Sobat River
The Sobat River is a river in South Sudan, Africa. The most southerly of the great eastern tributaries of the Nile, the Sobat enters the White Nile at Doleib Hill, near the city of Malakal in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan...

 at Malakal
Malakal
-Location:The city of Malakal is located in Malakal County, Upper Nile State, in the northeast of South Sudan, close to the International borders with the Republic of Sudan and with Ethiopia...

. On an annual basis, the White Nile upstream of Malakal contributes about fifteen percent of the total outflow of the Nile River.

The average flow of the White Nile at Malakal, just below the Sobat River, is 924 m3/s; the peak flow is approximately 1218 m3/s in October and minimum flow is about 609 m3/s in April. This fluctuation is due the substantial variation in the flow of the Sobat, which has a minimum flow of about 99 m3/s in March and a peak flow of over 680 m3/s in October. During the dry season (January to June) the White Nile contributes between 70 percent and 90 percent of the total discharge from the Nile.

In Sudan


Below Renk the White Nile enters Sudan, where it flows north to Khartoum and meets the Blue Nile.

The course of the Nile in Sudan is distinctive. It flows over six groups of cataracts
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

, from the first at Aswan to the sixth at Sabaloka
Sabaloka Game Reserve
The Sabaloka Game Reserve is found in Sudan. It was established in 1946. This site is 1160km² ....

 (just north of Khartoum) and then turns to flow southward before again returning to flow north. This is called the Great Bend of the Nile.

In the north of Sudan the river enters Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt, and northern Sudan, and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Strictly, "Lake Nasser" refers only to the much larger portion of the lake that is in Egyptian territory , with the Sudanese preferring to call their smaller body of water...

 (known in Sudan as Lake Nubia), the larger part of which is in Egypt.

In Egypt


Below the Aswan High Dam, at the northern limit of Lake Nasser, the Nile resumes its historic course.

North of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, the Nile splits into two branches (or distributaries
Distributary
A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel. They are a common feature of river deltas. The phenomenon is known as river bifurcation. The opposite of a distributary is a tributary...

) that feed the Mediterranean: the Rosetta
Rosetta
Rosetta is a port city on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. It is located east of Alexandria, in Beheira governorate. It was founded around AD 800....

 Branch to the west and the Damietta
Damietta
Damietta , also known as Damiata, or Domyat, is a port and the capital of the Damietta Governorate in Egypt. It is located at the intersection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile, about north of Cairo.-History:...

 to the east, forming the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

.

Atbara River


Below the confluence with the Blue Nile the only major tributary is the Atbara River, roughly halfway to the sea, which originates in Ethiopia north of Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia...

, and is around 800 kilometres (497.1 mi) long. The Atbara flows only while there is rain in Ethiopia and dries very rapidly. During the dry period of January to June, it typically dries up. It joins the Nile approximately 300 kilometres (186.4 mi) north of Khartoum.

Blue Nile





The Blue Nile
Blue Nile
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile...

 (Ge'ez
Ge'ez alphabet
Ge'ez , also called Ethiopic, is a script used as an abugida for several languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea but originated in an abjad used to write Ge'ez, now the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Church...

 ጥቁር ዓባይ Ṭiqūr ʿĀbbāy (Black Abay) to Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

ns; ; transliterated
Arabic transliteration
Different approaches and methods for the romanization of Arabic exist. They vary in the way that they address the inherent problems of rendering written and spoken Arabic in the Latin alphabet; they also use different symbols for Arabic phonemes that do not exist in English or other European...

: an-Nīl al-Azraq) springs from Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia...

 in the Ethiopian Highlands. The Blue Nile flows about 1,400 kilometers to Khartoum, where the Blue Nile and White Nile join to form the Nile. Ninety percent of the water and ninety-six percent of the transported sediment carried by the Nile originates in Ethiopia, with 59% of the water from the Blue Nile (the rest being from the Tekezé
Tekezé River
The Tekezé River, also known as the Takkaze River, is a major river of Ethiopia, and forms a section the westernmost border of Ethiopia and Eritrea for part of its course. The river is also known as the Setit in Eritrea, western Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. According to materials published by the...

, Atbarah, Sobat
Sobat River
The Sobat River is a river in South Sudan, Africa. The most southerly of the great eastern tributaries of the Nile, the Sobat enters the White Nile at Doleib Hill, near the city of Malakal in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan...

, and small tributaries). The erosion and transportation of silt only occurs during the Ethiopian rainy season in the summer, however, when rainfall is especially high on the Ethiopian Plateau
Ethiopian Highlands
The Ethiopian Highlands are a rugged mass of mountains in Ethiopia, Eritrea , and northern Somalia in the Horn of Africa...

; the rest of the year, the great rivers draining Ethiopia into the Nile (Sobat, Blue Nile, Tekezé, and Atbarah) have a weaker flow.

The Blue Nile contributes between approximately eighty to ninety percent of the Nile River discharge. The flow of the Blue Nile varies considerably over its yearly cycle and is the main contribution to the large natural variation of the Nile flow. During the wet season the peak flow of the Blue Nile will often exceed 5663 m3/s in late August (a difference of a factor of 50). During the dry season the natural discharge of the Blue Nile can be as low as 113 m3/s, although upstream dams regulate the flow of the river.

Before the placement of dams on the river the yearly discharge varied by a factor of 15 at Aswan. Peak flows of over 8212 m3/s would occur during late August and early September and minimum flows of about 552 m3/s would occur during late April and early May.

Bahr el Ghazal and Sobat River


The Bahr al Ghazal and the Sobat River
Sobat River
The Sobat River is a river in South Sudan, Africa. The most southerly of the great eastern tributaries of the Nile, the Sobat enters the White Nile at Doleib Hill, near the city of Malakal in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan...

 are the two most important tributaries of the White Nile in terms of discharge.

The Bahr al Ghazal's drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 is the largest of any of the Nile's sub-basins, measuring 520000 square kilometres (200,773.1 sq mi) in size, but it contributes a relatively small amount of water, about 2 m3/s annually, due to tremendous volumes of water being lost in the Sudd wetlands.

The Sobat River, which joins the Nile a short distance below Lake No, drains about half as much land, 225000 km² (86,873 sq mi), but contributes 412 m3/s annually to the Nile. When in flood the Sobat carries a large amount of sediment, adding greatly to the White Nile's color.

Yellow Nile


The Yellow Nile is a former tributary that connected the Ouaddaï Highlands
Ouaddaï highlands
Ouaddaï Highlands is an area in east of Chad along the border with Sudan. The Ennedi Plateau and the Ouaddaï highlands in the east of Chad complete the image of a gradually sloping basin, which descends towards Lake Chad...

 of eastern Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 to the Nile River Valley c. 8000 to c. 1000 BCE. Its remains are known as the Wadi Howar
Wadi Howar
Wadi Howar is a wadi in Sudan and Chad. It travels approximately 400 kilometres in a northeasterly direction from the Ouaddaï highlands in Chad across the North Darfur state of Sudan, before losing itself in the Libyan Desert...

. The wadi passes through Gharb Darfur near the northern border with Chad and meets up with the Nile near the southern point of the Great Bend.

History




The Nile (iteru in Ancient Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

) has been the lifeline of civilization in Egypt since the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

, with most of the population and all of the cities of Egypt resting along those parts of the Nile valley lying north of Aswan. Climate change at the end of the most recent ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 led to the formation of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 desert, possibly as long ago as 3400 BC.

The Eonile


The present Nile is at least the fifth river that has flowed north from the Ethiopian Highlands. Satellite imagery
Satellite imagery
Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made by means of artificial satellites.- History :The first images from space were taken on sub-orbital flights. The U.S-launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 took one image every 1.5 seconds...

 was used to identify dry watercourses in the desert to the west of the Nile. An Eonile canyon, now filled by surface drift, represents an ancestral Nile called the Eonile that flowed during the later Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

 (23–5.3 million years before present). The Eonile transported clastic sediments to the Mediterranean; several natural gas fields have been discovered within these sediments.

During the late-Miocene Messinian salinity crisis
Messinian salinity crisis
The Messinian Salinity Crisis, also referred to as the Messinian Event, and in its latest stage as the Lago Mare event, was a geological event during which the Mediterranean Sea went into a cycle of partly or nearly complete desiccation throughout the latter part of the Messinian age of the Miocene...

, when the Mediterranean Sea was a closed basin and evaporated to the point of being empty or nearly so, the Nile cut its course down to the new base level until it was several hundred feet below world ocean level at Aswan and 8000 feet (2,438.4 m) below Cairo. This created a very long and deep canyon which was filled with sediment when the Mediterranean was recreated. At some point the sediments raised the riverbed sufficiently for the river to overflow westward into a depression to create Lake Moeris
Lake Moeris
Lake Moeris is an ancient lake in the northwest of the Faiyum Oasis, southwest of Cairo, Egypt. It persists in modern times as a smaller lake called Birket Qarun. The lake's surface is 140 ft below sea-level, and covers about ....

.

Lake Tanganyika drained northwards into the Nile until the Virunga Volcanoes
Virunga Mountains
The Virunga Mountains are a chain of volcanoes in East Africa, along the northern border of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. The mountain range is a branch of the Albertine Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. They are located between Lake Edward and Lake Kivu...

 blocked its course in Rwanda. The Nile was much longer at that time, with its furthest headwaters in northern Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

.

The integrated Nile


There are two theories about the age of the integrated Nile. One is that the integrated drainage of the Nile is of young age, and that the Nile basin was formerly broken into series of separate basins, only the most northerly of which fed a river following the present course of the Nile in Egypt and Sudan. Said postulated that Egypt itself supplied most of the waters of the Nile during the early part of its history.

The other theory is that the drainage from Ethiopia via rivers equivalent to the Blue Nile and the Atbara and Takazze
Tekezé River
The Tekezé River, also known as the Takkaze River, is a major river of Ethiopia, and forms a section the westernmost border of Ethiopia and Eritrea for part of its course. The river is also known as the Setit in Eritrea, western Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. According to materials published by the...

 flowed to the Mediterranean via the Egyptian Nile since well back into Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

 times.

Salama suggested that during the Tertiary
Tertiary
The Tertiary is a deprecated term for a geologic period 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The Tertiary covered the time span between the superseded Secondary period and the Quaternary...

 (65 million to 2.588 million years ago) a series of separate closed continental basins each occupied one of the major parts of the Sudanese Rift System: Mellut rift, White Nile rift
White Nile rift
The White Nile rift is one of several rifts in central Sudan running in a NW direction and terminating in the Central African Shear Zone.The rift is a Cretaceous/Tertiary structure that has similar tectonic characteristics to the Southern Sudan Rift, Blue Nile rift and Atbara rift.These rifts...

, Blue Nile rift
Blue Nile rift
The Blue Nile rift is a major geological formation in the Sudan, a rift with a NW trend that terminates on the Central African Shear Zone.It was formed through crustal extension during the break-up of Gondwana....

, Atbara rift and Sag El Naam rift.
The Mellut Rift Basin is nearly 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) deep at its central part. This rift is possibly still active, with reported tectonic activity in its northern and southern boundaries. The Sudd swamps
Sudd
The Sudd , also known as the Bahr al Jabal, As Sudd or Al Sudd, is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile. The word “sudd” is derived from the Arabic word “sadd”, meaning “block.” The term has come to refer to any large solid floating vegetation island or mat...

 which form the central part of the basin may still be subsiding. The White Nile Rift System, although shallower than the Bahr el Arab rift
Bahr el Arab rift
The Bahr el Arab rift is a major geological feature in the southwest Sudan.The Bahr el Arab rift is made up of the Baggara graben, between the Central African Republic and the Nuba Mountains to the east, and the Sudd graben further south...

, is about 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) deep. Geophysical exploration of the Blue Nile Rift System estimated the depth of the sediments to be 5 –. These basins were not interconnected until their subsidence ceased, and the rate of sediment deposition was enough to fill and connect them. The Egyptian Nile connected to the Sudanese Nile, which captures the Ethiopian and Equatorial headwaters during the current stages of tectonic activity in the Eastern, Central and Sudanese Rift Systems. The connection of the different Niles occurred during cyclic wet periods. The River Atbara overflowed its closed basin during the wet periods that occurred about 100,000 to 120,000 years ago. The Blue Nile connected to the main Nile during the 70,000–80,000 years B.P. wet period. The White Nile system in Bahr El Arab and White Nile Rifts remained a closed lake until the connection of the Victoria Nile to the main system some 12,500 years ago.

Role in the founding of Egyptian civilization


The Greek historian Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 wrote that "Egypt was the gift of the Nile". An unending source of sustenance, it provided a crucial role in the development of Egyptian civilization. Silt deposits from the Nile made the surrounding land fertile because the river overflowed its banks annually. The Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians cultivated and traded wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, flax
Flax
Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent...

 and other crops around the Nile. Wheat was a crucial crop in the famine-plagued Middle East. This trading system secured Egypt's diplomatic relationships with other countries, and contributed to economic stability. Far-reaching trade has been carried on along the Nile since ancient times. The Ishango bone
Ishango bone
The Ishango bone is a bone tool, dated to the Upper Paleolithic era. It is a dark brown length of bone, the fibula of a baboon, with a sharp piece of quartz affixed to one end, perhaps for engraving...

 is probably an early tally stick. It has been suggested that this shows prime numbers and multiplication, but this is disputed. In the book How Mathematics Happened: The First 50,000 Years, Peter Rudman argues that the development of the concept of prime numbers could only have come about after the concept of division, which he dates to after 10,000 BC, with prime numbers probably not being understood until about 500 BC. He also writes that "no attempt has been made to explain why a tally of something should exhibit multiples of two, prime numbers between 10 and 20, and some numbers that are almost multiples of 10." It was discovered along the headwaters of the Nile (near Lake Edward
Lake Edward
Lake Edward or Edward Nyanza is the smallest of the African Great Lakes. It is located in the western Great Rift Valley, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, with its northern shore a few kilometres south of the Equator...

, in northeastern Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

) and was carbon-dated to 20,000 BC
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

.

Water buffalo were introduced from Asia, and Persians introduced camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s in the 7th century BC. These animals were killed for meat, and were domesticated and used for ploughing—or in the camels' case, carriage. Water was vital to both people and livestock. The Nile was also a convenient and efficient means of transportation for people and goods.

The Nile was an important part of ancient Egyptian spiritual life. Hapy
Hapy
Hapi, sometimes transliterated as Hapy, not to be confused with another god of the same name, was a deification of the annual flooding of the Nile River in Ancient Egyptian religion, which deposited rich silt on its banks, allowing the Egyptians to grow crops. His name means Running One, probably...

 was the god of the annual floods, and both he and the pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 were thought to control the flooding. The Nile was considered to be a causeway from life to death and the afterlife. The east was thought of as a place of birth and growth, and the west was considered the place of death, as the god Ra
Ra
Ra is the ancient Egyptian sun god. By the Fifth Dynasty he had become a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the mid-day sun...

, the Sun, underwent birth, death, and resurrection each day as he crossed the sky. Thus, all tombs were west of the Nile, because the Egyptians believed that in order to enter the afterlife, they had to be buried on the side that symbolized death.

As the Nile was such an important factor in Egyptian life, the ancient calendar was even based on the 3 cycles of the Nile. These seasons, each consisting of four months of thirty days each, were called Akhet, Peret, and Shemu. Akhet, which means inundation, was the time of the year when the Nile flooded, leaving several layers of fertile soil behind, aiding in agricultural growth. "Chemical analysis has shown how fertile the Nile mud is. It contains about 0.1 percent of combined nitrogen, 0.2 percent of phosphorus anhydrides and 0.6 percent of potassium."

Peret was the growing season, and Shemu, the last season, was the harvest season when there were no rains.

The search for the source of the Nile



Despite the failed attempts of the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 to penetrate the Sudd
Sudd
The Sudd , also known as the Bahr al Jabal, As Sudd or Al Sudd, is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile. The word “sudd” is derived from the Arabic word “sadd”, meaning “block.” The term has come to refer to any large solid floating vegetation island or mat...

 wetlands in South Sudan, the upper reaches of the Nile remained largely unknown. Various expeditions failed to determine the river's source
Source (river or stream)
The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the place from which the water in the river or stream originates.-Definition:There is no universally agreed upon definition for determining a stream's source...

, thus yielding classical Hellenistic and Roman representations of the river as a male god with his face and head obscured in drapery. Agatharcides records that in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus
Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 BCE to 246 BCE. He was the son of the founder of the Ptolemaic kingdom Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice, and was educated by Philitas of Cos...

, a military expedition had penetrated far enough along the course of the Blue Nile to determine that the summer floods were caused by heavy seasonal rainstorms in the Ethiopian Highlands
Ethiopian Highlands
The Ethiopian Highlands are a rugged mass of mountains in Ethiopia, Eritrea , and northern Somalia in the Horn of Africa...

, but no European of antiquity is known to have reached Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia...

.

The Tabula Rogeriana
Tabula Rogeriana
The Nuzhat al-mushtaq fi'khtiraq al-afaq lit. "the book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands", most often known as the Tabula Rogeriana , is a description of the world and world map created by the Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, in 1154...

 depicted the source as three lakes in 1154.

Europeans began to learn about the origins of the Nile in the 15th and 16th centuries, when travelers to Ethiopia visited Lake Tana and the source of the Blue Nile in the mountains south of the lake. Although James Bruce
James Bruce
James Bruce was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Ethiopia, where he traced the origins of the Blue Nile.-Youth:...

 claimed to be the first European to have visited the headwaters, modern writers give the credit to the Jesuit Pedro Páez
Pedro Páez
Pedro Páez Jaramillo was a Spanish Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia. Páez is considered by many experts on Ethiopia to be the most effective Catholic missionary in Ethiopia...

. Páez's account of the source of the Nile is a long and vivid account of Ethiopia. It was published in full only in the early 20th century, although it was featured in works of Páez's contemporaries, including Baltazar Téllez, Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher
Athanasius Kircher was a 17th century German Jesuit scholar who published around 40 works, most notably in the fields of oriental studies, geology, and medicine...

 and by Johann Michael Vansleb
Johann Michael Vansleb
Johann Michael Vansleb was a German theologian, linguist and Egypt traveller. He converted to Catholicism and was a member of the Dominican Order from 1666....

.

Europeans had been resident in Ethiopia since the late 15th century, and one of them may have visited the headwaters even earlier without leaving a written trace. The Portuguese João Bermudes published the first description of the Tis Issat Falls in his 1565 memoirs, compared them to the Nile Falls alluded to in Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

's De Republica. Jerónimo Lobo
Jerónimo Lobo
Jerónimo Lobo was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary.He was born in Lisbon the third of at least five sons and six daughters to Francisco Lobo da Gama, the Governor of Cape Verde, and Dona Maria Brandão de Vasconcelos. He entered the Order of Jesus at the age of 14...

 describes the source of the Blue Nile, visiting shortly after Pedro Páez. Telles also used his account.

The White Nile was even less understood. The ancients mistakenly believed that the Niger River
Niger River
The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea...

 represented the upper reaches of the White Nile. For example, Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 wrote that the Nile had its origins "in a mountain of lower Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

", flowed above ground for "many days" distance, then went underground, reappeared as a large lake in the territories of the Masaesyli
Masaesyli
The Masaesyli were a North African tribe of western Numidia and the main antagonists of the Massylii in eastern Numidia.During the Second Punic War the Masaesyli initially supported the Roman Republic and were led by Syphax against the Massyllii, who were led by Massinissa...

, then sank again below the desert to flow underground "for a distance of 20 days' journey till it reaches the nearest Ethiopians." A merchant named Diogenes reported that the Nile's water attracted game such as water buffalo.

Lake Victoria was first sighted by Europeans in 1858 when the British explorer John Hanning Speke
John Hanning Speke
John Hanning Speke was an officer in the British Indian Army who made three exploratory expeditions to Africa and who is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile.-Life:...

 reached its southern shore while traveling with Richard Francis Burton
Richard Francis Burton
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS was a British geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as his...

 to explore central Africa and locate the great lakes. Believing he had found the source of the Nile on seeing this "vast expanse of open water" for the first time, Speke named the lake after the then Queen of the United Kingdom
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

. Burton, recovering from illness and resting further south on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, was outraged that Speke claimed to have proved his discovery to be the true source of the Nile when Burton regarded this as still unsettled. A very public quarrel ensued, which sparked a great deal of intense debate within the scientific community and interest by other explorers keen to either confirm or refute Speke's discovery. British explorer and missionary David Livingstone
David Livingstone
David Livingstone was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation, "Dr...

 pushed too far west and entered the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

 system instead. It was ultimately Welsh-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley
Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands , was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley allegedly uttered the now-famous greeting, "Dr...

 who confirmed Speke's discovery, circumnavigating Lake Victoria and reporting the great outflow at Ripon Falls on the Lake's northern shore.

European involvement in Egypt goes back to the time of Napoleon. Laird Shipyard of Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 sent an iron steamer to the Nile in the 1830s. With the completion of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 and the British takeover of Egypt in the 1870s, more British river steamers followed.

The Nile is the area's natural navigation channel, giving access to Khartoum and Sudan by steamer. The Siege of Khartoum was broken with purpose-built sternwheelers shipped from England and steamed up the river to retake the city. After this came regular steam navigation of the river. With British Forces in Egypt in the First World War and the inter-war years, river steamers provided both security and sightseeing to the Pyramids and Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

. Steam navigation remained integral to the two countries as late as 1962. Sudan steamer traffic was a lifeline as few railways or roads were built in that country. Most paddle steamers have been retired to shorefront service, but modern diesel tourist boats remain on the river.

The modern era





The Nile has long been used to transport goods along its length. Winter winds blow south, up river, so ships could sail up river, and down river using the flow of the river.
While most Egyptians still live in the Nile valley, the 1970 completion of the Aswan High Dam ended the summer floods and their renewal of the fertile soil, fundamentally changing farming practices. The Nile supports much of the population living along its banks, enabling Egyptians to live in otherwise inhospitable regions of the Sahara. The rivers's flow is disturbed at several points by the Cataracts of the Nile
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

, which are sections of faster-flowing water with many small islands, shallow water, and rocks, which form an obstacle to navigation by boats. The Sudd
Sudd
The Sudd , also known as the Bahr al Jabal, As Sudd or Al Sudd, is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile. The word “sudd” is derived from the Arabic word “sadd”, meaning “block.” The term has come to refer to any large solid floating vegetation island or mat...

 wetlands in Sudan also forms a formidable navigation obstacle and impede water flow, to the extent that Sudan had once attempted to canalize (the Jonglei Canal
Jonglei Canal
The Jonglei Canal is a project that has been proposed, started but never completed to divert water through the vast Sudd wetlands of South Sudan so as to deliver more water downstream to Sudan and Egypt for use in agriculture.-Concept:...

) to bypass the swamps.

Nile cities include Khartoum, Aswan, Luxor
Luxor
Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

 (Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

), and the Giza Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 conurbation. The first cataract, the closest to the mouth of the river, is at Aswan, north of the Aswan Dam. This part of the river is a regular tourist route, with cruise ships and traditional wooden sailing boats known as felucca
Felucca
A felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean including Malta, and particularly along the Nile in Egypt, Sudan, and also in Iraq. Its rig consists of one or two lateen sails....

s. Many cruise ships ply the route between Luxor and Aswan, stopping at Edfu
Edfu
Edfu is an Egyptian city, located on the west bank of the Nile River between Esna and Aswan, with a population of approximately sixty thousand people. For the ancient history of the city, see below...

 and Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo
Kom Ombo or Ombos or Latin: Ambo and Ombi – is an agricultural town in Egypt famous for the Temple of Kom Ombo...

 along the way. Security concerns have limited cruising on the northernmost portion for many years.

A computer simulation study to plan the economic development of the Nile was directed by H.A.W. Morrice and W.N. Allan, for the Ministry of Hydro-power of the Republic of the Sudan, during 1955–1957 Morrice was their Hydrological Adviser, and Allan his predecessor. M.P. Barnett directed the software development and computer operations. The calculations were enabled by accurate monthly inflow data collected for 50 years. The underlying principle was the use of over-year storage, to conserve water from rainy years for use in dry years. Irrigation, navigation and other needs were considered. Each computer run postulated a set of reservoirs and operating equations for the release of water as a function of the month and the levels upstream. The behaviour that would have resulted given the inflow data was modeled. Over 600 models were run. Recommendations were made to the Sudanese authorities. The calculations were run on an IBM 650 computer. Simulation studies to design water resource systems are discussed further in the article on Hydrology transport models, that have been used since the 1980s to analyze water quality.

Despite the development of many reservoirs, drought during the 1980s led to widespread starvation in Ethiopia and Sudan, but Egypt was nourished by water impounded in Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt, and northern Sudan, and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Strictly, "Lake Nasser" refers only to the much larger portion of the lake that is in Egyptian territory , with the Sudanese preferring to call their smaller body of water...

.

Water sharing dispute


The Nile's water has affected the politics of East Africa and the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

 for many decades. Countries including Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya have complained about Egyptian domination of its water resources. The Nile Basin Initiative
Nile Basin Initiative
The Nile Basin Initiative is a partnership among the Nile riparian states that “seeks to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security”...

 promotes peaceful cooperation among these states.

Modern achievements and exploration


The White Nile Expedition, led by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n national Hendrik Coetzee, became the first to navigate the Nile's entire length. The expedition began at the source of the Nile in Uganda on January 17, 2004 and arrived safely at the Mediterranean in Rosetta
Rosetta
Rosetta is a port city on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. It is located east of Alexandria, in Beheira governorate. It was founded around AD 800....

, four and a half months later.

On April 28, 2004, geologist Pasquale Scaturro and his partner, kayaker and documentary filmmaker Gordon Brown became the first people to navigate the Blue Nile, from Lake Tana in Ethiopia to the beaches of Alexandria on the Mediterranean. Though their expedition included others, Brown and Scaturro were the only ones to complete the entire journey. The team used outboard motors for most of their journey. On January 29, 2005 Canadian Les Jickling and New Zealander Mark Tanner completed the first human powered transit.

A team led by South Africans Peter Meredith and Hendrik Coetzee on April 30, 2005, became the first to navigate the major remote source of the Nile, the Akagera river
Kagera River
The Kagera River, also Akagera River, is an East African river, forming part of the upper headwaters of the Nile and carrying water from its most distant source....

, which starts as the Ruvyironza
Ruvyironza River
The Ruvyironza River is a river in Africa which is the most remote source of the Nile, the world's longest river. It rises in Burundi, and flows into the Kagera River in Tanzania, and from there into Lake Victoria.- References :...

 in Bururi Province
Bururi Province
Bururi is one of the seventeen provinces of Burundi. It is also the largest. It includes the city of Bururi, the provincial capital, and the city of Rumonge which sits on the shores of Lake Tanganyika...

, Burundi.

Crossings from Khartoum to the Mediterranean Sea



The following bridges cross the Blue Nile and connect Khartoum to Khartoum North:
  • Mac Nimir Bridge
    Mac Nimir Bridge
    The Mac Nimir Bridge links Khartoum, Sudan with Khartoum North across the Blue Nile river.- External links :* * – Yapı Merkezi, Constructor of Mac Nimr Bridge, Information Site.* - Sudan Online, News Site...

  • Blue Nile Road & Railway Bridge
  • Burri Bridge
  • Elmansheya Bridge
  • Soba bridge


The following bridges cross the White Nile and connect Khartoum to Omdurman:
  • White Nile Bridge
  • Fitayhab Bridge
  • Al Dabbaseen Bridge (under construction)
  • Omhuraz Bridge (proposed)


the following bridges cross from Omdurman: to Khartoum North:
  • Shambat Bridge
  • Halfia Bridge


The following bridges cross to Tuti from Khartoum states three cities
  • Khartoum-tuti Bridge
  • Omdurman-Tuti Suspension Bridge (proposed)
  • Khartoum North-tuti Bridge (proposed)


Other bridges
  • Shandi Bridge, Shendi
    Shendi
    Shendi or Shandi is a town in northern Sudan, situated on the east bank of the Nile 150 km northeast of Khartoum. Shandi is also about 45 km southwest of the ancient city of Meroe. Located in the River Nile wilayah, Shandi is the center of the Ja'aliin tribe and an important historic...

  • Atbarah Bridge, Atbarah
    Atbarah
    Atbarah is a town of 111,399 located in River Nile State in northeastern Sudan.It is located at the junction of the Nile and Atbarah rivers. It is an important railway junction and railroad manufacturing centre, and most employment in Atbarah is related to the rail lines...

  • Merowe Dam
    Merowe Dam
    The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe High Dam, Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large dam near Merowe Town in northern Sudan, about north of the capital Khartoum. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa...

    , Merowe
  • Merowe Bridge, Merowe

  • Aswan Bridge, Aswan
    Aswan
    Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

  • Luxor Bridge, Luxor
    Luxor
    Luxor is a city in Upper Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 , with an area of approximately . As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple...

  • Suhag Bridge, Suhag
  • Assiut Bridge, Assiut
  • Al Minya Bridge, Minya
    Minya, Egypt
    Minya is the capital of Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt. It is located approximately south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city...

  • Al Marazeek Bridge, Helwan
  • First Ring Road Bridge (Moneeb Crossing), Cairo
    Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

  • Abbas Bridge, Cairo
  • University Bridge, Cairo
  • Qasr El Nile Bridge, Cairo
  • 6 October Bridge, Cairo
  • Abu El Ela Bridge, Cairo (removed)
  • New Abu El Ela Bridge, Cairo
  • Imbaba Bridge, Cairo
  • Rod Elfarag Bridge, Cairo
  • Second Ring Road Bridge, Cairo
  • Banha Bridge, Banha
  • Samanoud Bridge, Samanoud
  • Mansoura 2 Bridges, Mansoura
  • Talkha Bridge, Talkha
  • Kafr El Zayat Bridges, Kafr El Zayat
  • Zefta Bridge, Zefta


Crossings from Rwanda to Khartoum

  • Nalubaale Bridge, Jinja, Uganda
    Jinja, Uganda
    Jinja is the largest town in Uganda, Africa. It is the second busiest commercial center in the country, after Kampala, Uganda's capital and only city. Jinja was established in 1907.-Location:...

     (Formerly Owen Falls Bridge
    Owen Falls
    The Owen Falls was a waterfall on the White Nile in Uganda near the city of Jinja, 4 km from the point at which the river leaves Lake Victoria. The falls, together with the nearby Ripon Falls were submerged in 1954 with the completion of the Owen Falls Dam that now accommodates a...

    )
  • Karuma Bridge, Karuma
    Karuma
    -Location:Karuma is located on the Victoria Nile, at the present location of the Karuma Falls. This location is adjacent to the location where the Masindi-Gulu Highway, crosses the river Nile. It is approximately , by road, northeast of Masindi and approximately , by road, south of Gulu...

    , Uganda
  • Pakwach Bridge, Uganda

See also



  • Bujagali Power Station
    Bujagali Power Station
    -Location:The power station is located across the Victoria Nile, about north of Jinja immediately north of the former location of Bujagali Falls. This location lies at the border between Buikwe District to the west and Jinja District to the east...

  • Egyptian Public Works
    Egyptian Public Works
    The Egyptian Department of Public Works was established in the early Nineteenth Century, and concentrates mainly on public works relating to irrigation and hydraulic engineering. These irrigation projects have constituted the bulk of work performed by this entity in Egypt...

  • Hydropolitics in the Nile Basin
    Hydropolitics in the Nile Basin
    The Nile River is subject to political interactions. It is the world's longest river flowing 6,700 kilometers through ten countries in northeastern Africa — Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo ,...

  • Kiira Power Station
    Kiira Power Station
    Kiira Power Station, sometimes spelled Kiyira Power Station, is a hydroelectric power station with an installed capacity of 200MW, in Uganda.-Location:...


  • Merowe Dam
    Merowe Dam
    The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe High Dam, Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large dam near Merowe Town in northern Sudan, about north of the capital Khartoum. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa...

  • Nalubaale Power Station
    Nalubaale Power Station
    Nalubaale Power Station, often known by its old name, Owen Falls Dam, is a hydroelectric power station across the White Nile near to its source at Lake Victoria in Uganda...

  • Orders of magnitude (length)


Further reading

  • Tvedt, Terje, ed. The River Nile in the Post-Colonial Age: Conflict and Cooperation Among the Nile Basin Countries (I.B. Tauris, 2010) 293 pages; studies of the river's finite resources as shared by multiple nations in the post-colonial era; includes research by scholars from Burundi, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Annotated bibliography


The following is an annotated bibliography of key written documents for the Western exploration of the Nile.

17th century
  • Historia da Ethiopia, Pedro Páez
    Pedro Páez
    Pedro Páez Jaramillo was a Spanish Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia. Páez is considered by many experts on Ethiopia to be the most effective Catholic missionary in Ethiopia...

     (aka Pero Pais), Portugal, 1620

A Jesuit missionary who was sent from Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 to Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 in 1589 and remained in the area until his death in 1622. Credited with being the first European to view the source of the Blue Nile which he describes in this volume.

  • Voyage historique d'Abissinie, Jerónimo Lobo
    Jerónimo Lobo
    Jerónimo Lobo was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary.He was born in Lisbon the third of at least five sons and six daughters to Francisco Lobo da Gama, the Governor of Cape Verde, and Dona Maria Brandão de Vasconcelos. He entered the Order of Jesus at the age of 14...

     (aka Girolamo Lobo), Piero Matini, Firenze; 1693

One of the most important and earliest sources on Ethiopia and the Nile. Jerónimo Lobo (1595-1687), a Jesuit priest, stayed in Ethiopia, mostly in Tigre
Tigray Province
Tigray was a province of Ethiopia. The Tigray Region superseded the province with the adoption of the new constitution in 1995. The province of Tigre merged with its neighboring provinces, including Semien, Tembien, Agame and the prominent Enderta province and towards the end of 19th century it...

, for 9 years and travelled to Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile and is the largest lake in Ethiopia...

 and the Blue Nile, reaching the province of Damot
Damot
Damot was a medieval kingdom in what is now Ethiopia, and tributary to the Ethiopian Empire. Originally located south of the Abay and west of the Muger River, under the pressure of Oromo attacks the rulers were forced to resettle north of the Abay in southern Gojjam between 1574 and 1606.Its...

. When the Jesuits were expelled from the country, he too had to leave and did so via Massaua and Suakin
Suakin
Suakin or Sawakin is a port in north-eastern Sudan, on the west coast of the Red Sea. In 1983 it had a population of 18,030 and the 2009 estimate is 43, 337.It was formerly the region's chief port, but is now secondary to Port Sudan, about 30 miles north. The old city built of coral is in ruins...

. "He was the best expert on Ethiopian matters. After Pais, Lobo is the second European to describe the sources of the Blue Nile and he did so more exactly than Bruce" (transl. from Henze).


18th century
  • Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years – 1768, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773
    Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile
    Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772 and 1773 is a multi-volume account of the Scottish traveller James Bruce of his journeys in the Horn of Africa, which includes an eye-witness account of Ethiopian history and culture, as well as a description of...

    , James Bruce
    James Bruce
    James Bruce was a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent more than a dozen years in North Africa and Ethiopia, where he traced the origins of the Blue Nile.-Youth:...

     of Kinnaird. J. Ruthven for G. GJ. and J. Robinson et al., Edinburgh, 1790 (5 Volumes)

With time on his hands and at the urging of a friend, Bruce composed this account of his travels on the African continent, including comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian trade, a history of Abyssinia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, and other material. Although Bruce would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic, few books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller" (DNB). "The result of his travels was a very great enrichment of the knowledge of geography and ethnography" (Cox II, p. 389.) Bruce was one of the earliest westerners to search for the source of the Nile. In November of 1770 he reached the source of the Blue Nile, and though he acknowledged that the White Nile was the larger stream, he claimed that the Blue Nile was the Nile of the ancients and that he was thus the discoverer of its source. The account of his travels was written twelve years after his journey and without reference to his journals, which gave critics grounds for disbelief, but the substantial accuracy of the book has since been amply demonstrated.


1800–1850
  • Egypt And Mohammed Ali, Or Travels In The Valley of The Nile, James Augustus St. John
    James Augustus St. John
    James Augustus St. John , was a British author and traveller. He was born in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, Wales, the son of Gelly John, shoemaker. He recorded that he received instruction from a local clergyman, eventually mastering the classics, and acquiring proficiency in French, Italian,...

    , Longman, London, 1834

St. John traveled extensively in Egypt and Nubia
Nubia
Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

 in 1832–33, mainly on foot. He gives a very interesting picture of Egyptian life and politics under Mohammed Ali
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

, a large part of volume II deals with the Egyptian campaign in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

.

  • Travels in Ethiopia Above the Second Cateract of the Nile; Exhibiting the State of That Country and Its Various Inhabitants Under the Dominion of Mohammed Ali; and Illustrating the Antiquities, Arts, and History of the Ancient Kingdom of Meroe, G. A.Hoskins. Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman, London; 1835.

  • Modern Egypt and Thebes: Being a Description of Egypt; Including Information Required for Travellers in That Country, Sir Gardner Wilkinson, John Murray, London, 1843

The first known English travelers guide to the Lower Nile Basin.


1850–1900
  • Lake Regions of Central Equatorial Africa, with Notices of The Lunar Mountains and the Sources of the White Nile; being The Results of an Expedition Undertaken under the Patronage of Her Majesty's Government and the Royal Geographical Society of London, In the Years 1857–1859, Sir Richard Burton. W. Clowes
    William Clowes Ltd.
    William Clowes Ltd. is a British printing company founded in London in 1803 by William Clowes. It grew from a small, one press firm to one of the world's largest printing companies in the mid-19th century. The company merged with Caxton Press, operated by William Moore in Beccles, Suffolk in the...

    , London; 1860

Sir Richard Burton's presentation of his expedition with John Speke. Ultimately, Burton's view of the sources of the Nile failed and Speke's prevailed.

  • Travels, researches, and missionary labours, during eighteen years' residence in eastern Africa. Together with journeys to Jagga, Usambara, Ukambani, Shoa, Abessinia, and Khartum; and a coasting voyage from Mombaz to Cape Delgado. With an appendix respecting the snow-capped mountains of eastern Africa; the sources of the Nile; the languages and literature of Abessinia And eastern Africa, etc. etc., Rev Dr. J. Krapf, Trubner and Co, London; 1860; Ticknor and Fields
    Ticknor and Fields
    Ticknor and Fields was an American publishing company based in Boston, Massachusetts.-Early years:In 1832 William Davis Ticknor and John Allen began a small publishing business which operated out of the Old Corner Bookstore located on Washington and School Streets in Boston, Massachusetts...

    , Boston; 1860

Krapf went to East Africa in the service of the English Church Missionary Society, arriving at Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 in 1844 and staying in East Africa until 1853. While stationed there he was the first to report the existence of Lake Baringo
Lake Baringo
Lake Baringo is, after Lake Turkana, the most northern of the Great Rift Valley lakes of Kenya, with a surface area of about and an elevation of about . The lake is fed by several rivers, El Molo, Perkerra and Ol Arabel, and has no obvious outlet; the waters are assumed to seep through lake...

 and a sighting of the snow-clad Kilimanjaro. Krapf, during his travels, collected information from the Arab traders operating inland from the coast. From the traders Krapf and his companions learned of great lakes and snow-capped mountains, which Krapf claimed to have seen for himself, much to the ridicule of English explorers who could not believe the idea of snow on the equator. However, Krapf was correct and had seen Mounts Kilimanjaro and Kenya, the first European to do so.

  • Egypt, Soudan and Central Africa: With Explorations From Khartoum on the White Nile to the Regions of the Equator, Being Sketches from Sixteen Years' Travel, John Petherick
    John Petherick
    John Petherick , Welsh traveller in East Central Africa, was born in Glamorganshire, and adopted the profession of mining engineer....

    . William Blackwood
    William Blackwood
    William Blackwood was a Scottish publisher who founded the firm of William Blackwood & Sons.Blackwood was born of humble parents in Edinburgh. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a firm of booksellers in Edinburgh, and he followed his calling also in Glasgow and London for several years...

    , Edinburgh; 1861

Petherick was a well known Welsh traveler in East Central Africa where he had adopted the profession of mining engineer. This work describes sixteen years of his travel throughout Africa. In 1845, he entered the service of Mehemet Ali, and was employed in examining Upper Egypt, Nubia, the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 coast and Kordofan in an unsuccessful search for coal. In 1848, he left the Egyptian service and established himself at El Obeid as a trader and was, at the same time made British Consul for the Sudan. In 1853, he removed to Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

 and became an ivory trader. He traveled extensively in the Bahr-el-Ghazal region, then almost unknown, exploring the Jur
Jur River
The Jur River is a river in western South Sudan, flowing through the Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions. About long, it flows north and northeast, joining the Bahr el Ghazal River on the western side of the Sudd wetlands. The Jur River is part of the Nile basin, as the Bahr al-Ghazal flows into...

, Yalo
Yalo
Yalo was a Palestinian Arab village located 13 kilometres southeast of Ramla. Identified by Edward Robinson as the ancient Canaanite city of Aijalon, after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Jordan formally annexed Yalo along with the rest of the West Bank...

 and other affluents of the Ghazal
Ghazal
The ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century...

 and in 1858 he penetrated the Niam-Niam country. Petherick's additions to the knowledge of natural history were considerable, being responsible for the discovery of a number of new species. In 1859, he returned to England where he became acquainted with John Speke, then arranging for an expedition to discover the source of the Nile. While in England, Petherick married and published this account of his travels. He got the idea to join Speke in his travels, and in this volume is an actual subscription and list of subscribers to raise money to send Petherick to join Speke. His subsequent adventures as a consul in Africa were published in a later work.

  • Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, John Hanning Speke
    John Hanning Speke
    John Hanning Speke was an officer in the British Indian Army who made three exploratory expeditions to Africa and who is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile.-Life:...

    . William Blackwood
    William Blackwood
    William Blackwood was a Scottish publisher who founded the firm of William Blackwood & Sons.Blackwood was born of humble parents in Edinburgh. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to a firm of booksellers in Edinburgh, and he followed his calling also in Glasgow and London for several years...

    , Edinburgh, 1863; Harper & Brothers, New York; 1864

Speke had previously made an expedition with Sir Richard Burton under the auspices of the Indian government, during which Speke was convinced that he had discovered the source of the Nile. Burton, however, disagreed and ridiculed Speke's account. Speke set off on another expedition, recounted here, in the company of Captain Grant. During the course of this expedition he not only produced further evidence for his discoveries but also met up with Sir Samuel Baker
Samuel Baker
Sir Samuel White Baker, KCB, FRS, FRGS was a British explorer, officer, naturalist, big game hunter, engineer, writer and abolitionist. He also held the titles of Pasha and Major-General in the Ottoman Empire and Egypt. He served as the Governor-General of the Equatorial Nile Basin between Apr....

 and provided him with essential information which helped Baker in his discovery of the Albert Nyanza. The importance of Speke's discoveries can hardly be overestimated. In discovering the source reservoir of the Nile he succeeded in solving the problem of all ages; he and Grant were the first Europeans to cross Equatorial Eastern Africa and gained for the world a knowledge of about 500 miles (804.7 km) of a portion of Eastern Africa previously totally unknown.

External links