Egypt… Another Nile Valley Civilization: The White Nile to the Blue Nile


Nubia and Ancient Upper and Lower Egyptian map.svg

774px-view_from_cairo_tower_31march2007 The Nile Valley Civilization

The Blue Nile and the White Nile

Egypt, Ethiopia , Nubia to Uganda

The Nile Valley is dominated by the longest river in the world, and  is home to a large variety of peoples and cultures, who vary widely in skin color, facial shape and other indices.

Below is a survey of the peopling and origins of various Nile Valley populations, including scholarly anthropological and archaeological views on their origins, similarities, differences, and related movements.

A variety of factors are involved in studying the origins of the Nilotic or Nile Valley peoples, including geographic, genetic, and environmental data. These are presented throughout the article. As one archaeological text suggests, interpretations of the biological affinities and origins of the Ancient Nile Valley peoples:

The Egyptians as simply another Nile Valley population

A number of current mainstream scholars such as Bruce Trigger, and Frank Yurco eschew a racial approach, asserting that the previous archaeological and anthropological approaches were ‘marred by a confusion of race, language, and culture and by an accompanying racism’.

As to racial affinities of the people of northeast Africa, Yurco declares that all the peoples of the region are indigenous Africans and that arbitrary divisions into Negroid and Caucasoid stocks is misguided and misleading. To Yurco, the indigenous stocks are part of a continuum of physical variation in the Nile Valley.

Just as Europeans are noted to vary between tall blonde Swedes, and shorter, darker Portuguese, or Basques with strikingly different blood types, so the Nile Valley populations are simply allowed similar variation.

Other mainstream scholars such as Shomarka Keita applaud Trigger’s and Yurco’s approach but note the continued use of terms such as “Mediterranean” to incorporate the ancient Egyptians, and the continued use of classification schemes that screen out or deemphasize variability, and the rich diversity of the African people.

As one mainstream anthropologist puts it:

The living peoples of the African continent are diverse in facial characteristics, stature, skin color, hair form, genetics, and other characteristics.

No one set of characteristics is more African than another”.

Variability is also found in “sub-Saharan” Africa, to which the word “Africa” is sometimes erroneously restricted. There is a problem with definitions. Sometimes Africa is defined using cultural factors, like language, that exclude developments that clearly arose in Africa.

For example: sometimes even the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea) is excluded because of geography and language and the fact that some of its peoples have narrow noses and faces.

However, the Horn is at the same latitude as Nigeria, and its languages are African.

The latitude of 15 degree passes through Timbuktu, surely in “sub-Saharan Africa,” as well as Khartoum in Sudan; both are north of the Horn. Another false idea is that supra-Saharan and Saharan Africa were peopled after the emergence of “Europeans” or Near Easterners by populations coming from outside Africa.

Hence, the Ancient Egyptians in some writings have been de-Africanized. These ideas, which limit the definition of Africa and Africans, are rooted in racism and earlier, erroneous scientificapproaches.” (S.  Keita, “The Diversity of Indigenous Africans,” in Egypt in Africa, Theodore Clenko, Editor (1996), pp. 104-105. )

The general Egyptology consensus is captured in the words of mainstream scholar Frank Yurco:

“Certainly there was some foreign admixture [in Egypt], but basically a homogeneous African population had lived in the Nile Valley from ancient to modern times… [the] Badarian people, who developed the earliest Predynastic Egyptian culture, already exhibited the mix of North African and Sub-Saharan physical traits that have typified Egyptians ever since (Hassan 1985; Yurco 1989; Trigger 1978; Keita 1990.. et al.,)…

The peoples of  Egypt, the Sudan, and much of East African Ethiopia and Somalia are now generally regarded as a Nilotic continuity, with widely ranging physical features

(complexions light to dark, various hair and craniofacial types) but with powerful common cultural traits, including Cattle Pastoralist traditions.

The White Nile (Arabic: النيل الأبيض, transliterated: an-Nīl al-Ābyadˤ) a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile, 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. In the wider sense, White Nilerefers to the approximately 3700 kilometers (2300 miles) of rivers draining from Lake Victoria into the White Nile proper. It may also, depending on the speaker, refer to the headwaters of Lake Victoria.

The 19th century search by Europeans for the source of the Nile was mainly focused on the White Nile, which disappeared into the depths of what was then known as “Darkest Africa”. The discovery of the source of the White Nile thus came to symbolise European penetration of unknown jungle.

The most distant source of the waters of Lake Victoria is the Luvironza River in Burundi, which flows into the Rurubu River near the northern Burundian town of Kayanza. The Ruvuvu in turn flows into the Kagera River, the most notable feature of which is Rusumo Falls. On 28—29 April 1994, 250,000 Rwandans crossed the bridge at Rusumo Falls into Ngara, Tanzania in 24 hours in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called the “the largest and fastest refugee exodus in modern times.” The Kagera forms part of the Rwanda-Tanzania and Tanzania-Uganda borders before flowing into Lake Victoria.

The river continues north to Nimule where it enters Sudan and becomes known as the Bahr al Jabal (“River of the Mountain”, sometimes Mountain Nile). Bahr al Jabal was the former name of the state of Central Equatoria. The Bahr al Jabal then winds through rapids before entering the Sudan plain and the vast swamp of the Sudd. It eventually makes its way to Lake No, where it merges with the Bahr el Ghazal and forms the White Nile. An anabranch river called Bahr el Zeraf flows out of the Bahr al Jabal and flows through the Sudd to eventually join the White Nile. The Bahr al Jabal passes through Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, and the southernmost navigable point on the Nile river system, and then Kodok, the site of the 1898 Fashoda Incident that marked an end to the “Scramble for Africa“. The river lends its name to the state of White Nile before merging with the larger Blue Nile at Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

The Blue Nile Falls fed by Lake Tana near the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia forms the upstream of the Blue Nile. It is Fal also known as Tis Issat falls after the name of the nearby village.

The Blue Nile flows generally south from Lake Tana and then west across Ethiopia and northwest into Sudan/Nubia. Within 30 km (18.6 mi) of its source at Lake Tana, the river enters a canyon about 400 km long. This gorge is a tremendous obstacle for travel and communication from the north half of Ethiopia to the southern half. The power of the Blue Nile may best be appreciated at Tis Issat Falls, which are 45 m (148 ft) high, located about 40 km (25 mi) downstream of Lake Tana. Despite the hazards and obstacles of the river, on January 29, 2005 Canadian Les Jickling and New Zealander Mark Tanner reached the Mediterranean Sea after an epic 148 day journey becoming the first to have paddled the Blue Nile from source to sea.

The flow of the Blue Nile reaches maximum volume in the rainy season (from June to September), when it supplies about two thirds of the water of the Nile proper. The Blue Nile, along with that of the Atbara River to the north, which also flows out of the Ethiopian highlands, were responsible for the annual Nile floods that contributed to the fertility of the Nile Valley and the consequent rise of Ancient Egyptian civilization and Egyptian Mythology. With the completion in 1970 of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt, the Nile floods ended.

The Blue Nile is vital to the livelihood of Egypt. Though shorter than the White Nile, 56% of the water that reaches Egypt originates from the Blue Nile branch of the great river; when combined with the Atbara River, which also has its source in the Ethiopian Highlands, the figure rises to 90% of the water and 96% of transported sediment.The river is also an important resource for Sudan, where the Roseires and Sennar dams produce 80% of the country’s power. These dams also help irrigate the Gezira Plain, which is most famous for its high quality cotton. The region also produces wheat, and animal feed crops.  Amhara.Blue Nile

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ቢልልይ ጋምበላ

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