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Kush-Nubia Civilization

The Kush-Nubia civilization was located directly below southern Egypt. The two countries were connected by the Nile River. In Kush-Nubia the Nile passes through a series of six cataracts (rocky rapids) that interrupt navigation and are largely impassable. Unfortunately, fertile land along the banks of the river was not as plentiful as it was in Egypt. The original inhabitants of Kush-Nubia were hunters and gatherers. In fact , Egyptians at the time called the area that the Kush-Nubia inhabited, “the land of the bow.”

The Kush-Nubia lived a very good life because fo their geographical locations. They were located in the middle of a trade corridor that served as a commercial route between the Sub-Saharran countries in the south, and Egypt and other countries to the north. Kush-Nubia markets contained the most exotic items from as far away as central Africa. Through Kush-Nubia passed gold, silver, copper, ivory, slaves, wild animals (monkeys), panther skins, and a host of exotic food items. Kush-Nubia was fortunate to have abundance of natural resources, and from the earliest times they traded extensively with Egypt. The Kush-Nubians were rich in gold, precious stones, and copper mines that were all manned by slaves. At the same time, they raised large herds of cattle for export . The first trade expeditions that arrived from Egypt were always escorted by soldiers. The military expeditions were sent to make sure the people of Kush-Nubia understood the pharaohs might. The Egyptians constructed a series of forts along the Nile, between the cataracts. Eventually, they colonized the Kush and trade expeditions no longer required escorts.

During the Hykos Period (circa 1570 B.C.)a succession of foreign kings ruled Egypt and the Kush-Nubians again became independent. The Egyptians realized that if they didn't become more aggressive other colonies would soon leave them. After numerous military campaigns a succession of kings including Amenhotep I and Tuthmosis I regained control of much of the territory that had been lost. Egyptian power in Kush-Nubia peaked during the New Kingdom Period (1567-1085 B.C.). At the time the Kush sent tribute to the Egyptians in the form of gold, slaves, precious stones, ostrich plumes, and leopard skins. There were only a few small revolts during this time period.

The Kush-Nubia people adopted an interesting mix of Egyptian culture and African culture. Amazingly, they constructed small Egyptian style step pyramids in dozens of locations. At the same time they worshiped the same Egyptian god called Amen-Re, but they created their own version of the Egyptian religion. Even more interesting is the fact that the Kush-Nubians borrowed the Egyptian language for writing. Starting in the 1st century B.C., the Kush-Nubians used 23 Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian hieratic cursive writing to write the Kush-Nubian language.

The Kush-Nubia civilization flourished for more than 1,000 years, from 700 B.C to 400 A.D. They declined when other countries from Africa, India, and Rome began acquiring many of the same goods from Axum, an African kingdom on the Red Sea that existed where today we find the country of Ethiopia.