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several first-rate business houses. The destructive fanaticism peculiar to the Muhammedan mind, so common in the far east parts of Mesopotamia, seems to be non-existent in Egypt; such fanaticism as exists is, no doubt, kept in check by the presence of Europeans, and all the different peoples live side by side in a most peaceable manner. The great benefit derived by Egypt from the immigration of Europeans during the last few years, is evident from the increased material prosperity of the country, and the administration of equitable laws which has obtained.


The river Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world;

its Egyptian name was Hapi, 9 0 ~^wj an(i the Arabs

call it bahr, or 'sea.' It is formed by the junction, at 150 34' N. lat., and 300 30' 58" E. long., of two great arms, the Bahr el-Azrak, i.e., the 'turbid,' or Blue Nile, from the S.E., and the Bahr el-Abyad, i.e., the 'clear,' or White Nile, from the S.W.* The eastern branch rises in Goyam, in Abyssinia, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet above the level of the sea. Flowing through the lake of Dembea it passes round the eastern frontier of Goyam, till, when nearing the 10th degree N. lat., it takes a northwest direction, which it preserves until it reaches Khartum; here it unites with the Bahr el-Abyad, the other great arm, which flows from the S.W. The Bahr el-Abyad, or White Nile, is so called because of the fine whitish clay which colours its waters. It is broader and deeper than the eastern arm, and it brings down a much larger volume of water; the ancients appear to have regarded it as the true Nile. There can, however, be no doubt that the Bahr elAzrak has the best right to be considered the true Nile, for during the violent and rapid course which it takes from the Abyssinian mountains, it carries down with it all the rich mud which, during the lapse of ages, has been spread

* The White Nile rises in the mountainous districts a few degrees north of the Equator, and the principal streams which flow into it are those of the Sobat, Giraffe, and Gazelle rivers. It is not navigable, and its banks are so low that its whitish slimy deposit often extends to a distance of two miles from the stream. For about a hundred miles south of Khartum the river is little more than a marsh.

over the land on each side of its course and formed the land of Egypt. In truth, then, Egypt is the gift of the Bahr el-Azrak. The course of the Bahr el-Abyad was traced by Linant in 1827 for about 160 miles from its confluence with the Bahr el-Azrak. At the point of confluence it measures about 600 yards across, a little farther up it is from three to four miles wide, and during the inundation the distance from side to side is twenty-one miles. In an ordinary season it is about 24 feet deep.

The source of the Nile was not discovered by Bruce, but by Captains Grant and Speke and Sir Samuel Baker. Its parents are the Albert Nyanza and Victoria Nyanza Lakes. The fountain-head of the Nile, Victoria Nyanza, is a huge basin, far below the level of the country round about, into which several streams empty themselves. About 200 miles below Khartum the united river receives, on the east side, the waters of the Atbara, which rises in the mountains of Abyssinia, and from this point onwards to its embouchure, a distance of about 1,750 miles, the Nile receives no affluent whatever. From Khartum to Cairo the Nile falls about 400 yards; its width is about 1,100 yards in its widest part. The course of the Nile has been explored to a length of about 3,500 miles. At Abu Hammed the river turns suddenly to the south-west, and flows in this direction until it reaches Donkola, where it again curves to the north. The river enters Nubia, flowing over a ledge of granite rocks which form the third cataract. Under the 22nd parallel N. lat. is the second cataract, which ends a few miles above Wadi Halfah, and about 180 miles lower down is the first cataract, which ends at Aswan, or Syene, a little above the island of Elephantine. After entering Egypt, the Nile flows in a steady stream, always to the north, and deposits the mud which is the life of Egypt. The breadth of the Nile valley varies from four to ten miles in Nubia, and from fifteen to thirty in Egypt. The width of the strips of cultivated land on each bank of the river in Egypt together is never more than eight or nine miles.

In ancient days the Nile poured its waters into the sea by seven mouths; those of Damietta and Rosetta* are now, however, the only two which remain. The Delta is, in its widest part, about ninety miles across from east to west, and the distance of the apex from the sea is also about ninety miles. Many attempts have been made to ascertain the age of Egypt by estimating the annual alluvial deposit; the results, however, cannot be implicitly relied on.

The inundation is caused by the descent of the rain which falls on the Abyssinian mountains. The indications of the rise of the river may be seen at the cataracts as early as the end of May, and a steady increase goes on until the middle of July, when the increase of water becomes very great. The Nile continues to rise until the middle of September, when it remains stationary for a period of about three weeks, sometimes a little less. In October it rises again, and attains its highest level. From this period it begins to subside, and, though it rises yet once more, and reaches occasionally its former highest point, it sinks steadily until the month of June, when it is again at its lowest level.

The modern ceremony of ' Cutting the Dam ' of the river takes place generally in the second or third week of August at Fum el-Khalig, at Cairo. In ancient days the ceremony of cutting the canals was accompanied with great festivities, and great attention was paid to the height of the river in various parts of Egypt, that the cutting might take place at the most favourable time. We learn, on the authority of Seneca, that offerings of gold and other gifts were thrown

* The seven mouths were called the Pelusiac, Tanitic, Mendesian, Phatnitic, Sebennytic, Bolbitic, and the Canopic.

into the Nile at Philae by the priests to propitiate the divinity of the river.

If the height of the inundation is about forty-one feet the best results from agricultural labour are obtained; a couple of feet of water, more or less, is always attended with disastrous results either in the Delta or Upper Egypt. The dykes, or embankments, which kept the waters of the Nile in check, and regulated their distribution over the lands, were, in Pharaonic days, maintained in a state of efficiency by public funds, and, in the time of the Romans, any person found destroying a dyke was either condemned to hard labour in the public works or mines, or to be branded and sent to the Oasis. If we accept the state ments of Strabo, we may believe that the ancient system of irrigation was so perfect that the varying height of the inundation caused but little inconvenience to the inhabitants of Egypt, as far as the results of agricultural labours were concerned, though an unusually high Nile would, of course, wash away whole villages and drown much cattle. If the statements made by ancient writers be compared, it will be seen that the actual height of the inundation is the same now as it always was, and that it maintains the same proportion with the land it irrigates. According to Sir Gardner Wilkinson {Ancient Egypt, II., 431), the cubit measures of the Nilometers ought, after certain periods, to be raised proportionately if we wish to arrive at great accuracy in the measurement of the waters. The level of the land, which always keeps pace with that of the river, increases at the rate of six inches in a hundred years in some places, and in others less. The proof of this is that the highest scale in the Nilometer at the island of Elephantine, which served to measure the inundation in the reigns of the early Roman emperors, is now far below the level of the ordinary high Nile; and the obelisk of Heliopolis, the colossi at Thebes, and other similarly situated

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