The Nile

An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture

by John A. Shoup


Without the Nile, ancient civilizations in Egypt would have never flourished, and the path of human civilization would likely have been radically different.

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Cover image for The Nile

May 2017


Pages 420
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Physical Geography and Environment
  World History/Environment

This book provides an avenue for students to explore the Nile—the world's longest river—and better understand its larger role in society in the past, present, and future.

The Nile River has been the most important natural resource for Egyptians and other Africans who live along its shores for thousands of years, bringing life to an otherwise arid and bleak desert region. Without the Nile, civilizations in Egypt could not have achieved such success. The physical, cultural, religious, and political impacts of this mighty riverway are enormous. This one-volume encyclopedia explores a breadth of topics related to the Nile River, from ancient irrigation techniques to 19th-century exploration and from current environmental controversies to concerns regarding man-made Lake Nasser. Readers will be able to explore beyond the physical aspects of the world's longest river to achieve an understanding of the Nile River's larger role in society.

After a preface and introduction that provides general background information on the source, tributaries, and mouth of the Nile, the encyclopedia presents thematic essays that cover topics such as the Nile's physical geography; history; environmental issues and controversies; culture, religion, and legend; and politics. More than 100 entries cover key individuals, specific locations, geology and structure, significant expeditions, gods and deities, and folklore related to the Nile. In addition, the work provides an appendix of primary document excerpts from explorers' journals and more recent legislation on damming as well as an appendix of place names, interesting sidebars, and a helpful chronology of key events.


  • Presents primary documents that allow students to delve deeper into the past and more recent political history of the Nile and serve librarians and teachers in their support of curricula standards
  • Combines historical, cultural, and geographical perspectives on the Nile River—in the long-ago past through to modern day—into one comprehensive reference work
  • Contains additional features, such an appendix of place names and a glossary of terms, that provide ready-reference material
Author Info

John A. Shoup is associate professor of anthropology at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. His published works include Greenwood's Culture and Customs of Jordan and Culture and Customs of Syria. Shoup was one of the main authors and editors for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab States Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Arab States.



"This comprehensive volume provides information to allow a deeper understanding of the past and recent political history of the Nile. . . . An excellent choice for students and teachers looking for historical, cultural, and geographical perspectives on the Nile."Booklist

"This book provides an excellent, general overview of the Nile region and is suitable for all beginning researchers. Includes illustrations, photos, and an extensive bibliography. Summing Up: Recommended. High school and lower-level undergraduate students; general readers."Choice

"Lovers of ancient Egyptian and African history will enjoy learning more about this important natural resource."Library Journal

"This book discusses the Nile River, from its beginnings in Lake Victoria and Lake Tana in Ethiopia. . . . Recommended."ARBA

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