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Does Geography Determine Destiny?

  • Which is greater:
    The impact of the environment on people, or people on the environment?
  • How does where you live affect how you live?
  • How does what you eat affect how you live?
  • What does it mean to be civilized?
Terms, Places, People
  • fertile
  • pharaoh

Geography is rarely described as glamorous, yet, without geography of the area where Egyptian civilization developed, Egypt may not have become what it did. The fertile river valley along the Nile River allowed the Egyptian farmers to avoid famine. They could produce a surplus of food with a modest number of workers. They could use the remaining workforce to craft amazing feats of architecture. The Nile was also a provider of fish. There were many plants that grew in the riverbeds. These marshy lands were home to lots of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. The water for irrigating the fields carried mineral-rich silt that was scattered by the annual floods. This made the Nile the lifeline of the pharaoh’s people.

The Nile River with its predictable floods and the surrounding desert: these were the geographic features which dominated Ancient Egypt. As you read about their historical development, always consider how the geography of the region might have impacted that development..