Comparing Physical Features of Egypt and Mesopotamia

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The earliest known civilisations were built in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. They occurred at around the same time and almost had the same physical climate, yet the similarities and differences in the geographical features made them distinct. Both of these civilisations were created around a very important source: water. Ancient Egypt was built in the fertile area on the banks of the river Nile. The basis for Mesopotamia was in the Fertile Crescent, specially the area around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Water is important for agriculture which is the very basis for a civilisation. The rivers of both the civilisations (Nile in Egypt and Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia) had varied upper and lower regions. The Nile river valley marked the landscape of Upper Egypt where it flowed from the highlands in a single stream. By contrast, in Lower Egypt, the Nile separated into different branches, creating a fertile triangular plain. In Northern Mesopotamia, the riverbeds of Tigris and Euphrates are mostly rock thus making the rivers run faster and rarely flood. On the other hand, in the South, the riverbeds were sand and the silt deposited by floodwaters was extremely fertile. The difference in the nature of their rivers affected the lives of their people. Egypt was centred on the dependable Nile. The rich and fertile soil of the Nile Valley provided good harvests. Its flooding was predictable and sudden and disastrous floods were rare. In Mesopotamia, flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates was never welcomed. Their flooding was unpredictable and posed a serious hazard to the river valley settlements. The physical features of both civilizations shaped their stability and longevity. The North African desert surrounding Ancient Egypt acted as a buffer – shielding it from invasions and outside influences. Thus the Egyptian culture and civilisation lasted longer and Egypt has had a long, stable and serene history. Ancient Mesopotamia, on the other hand, was located at...
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