Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

 The Egyptian Nubians

The Egyptian Nubians were deeply attached to their soil. they had rarely thoughts of emigration to another area. Originally , the Egyptian Nubians of about 50 thousands of population inhabited an area along the Nile between Aswan and Adendan on the Sudanese border for a distance 320km. The inhabitants are composed of three ethnic groups the Kenuz , The Arabs, and the Fadga where they lived in well defined regions, occupied in separate ethnic groups. Each group has its own spoken dialects in addition to Arabic which is used by the Arab group .
 

 In ancient times Nubia was a kingdom closely associated with Ancient Egypt, and occasionally conquered by their more powerful northern neighbours. Nubia adopted many Egyptian practices such as their religion and the practice of building pyramids. The kingdom of Nubia survived longer than that of Egypt and was never annexed by the Romans. The Nubians did trade with the Romans.
In later Roman times, Nubia was divided into three kingdoms: northernmost was Nobatia between the first and second cataract of the Nile River, with its capital at Pachoras (modern day Faras); in the middle was Makuria, with its capital at (Old) Dongola; and southernmost was Aloda, with its capital at Soba (near Khartoum). King Silko of Nobatia crushed the Blemmyes, and recorded his victory in a Greek inscription carved in the wall of the temple of Talmis (modern Kalabsha) around AD 500.
While bishop Athanasius of Alexandria consecrated one Marcus as bishop of Philae before his death in 373, showing that Christianity had penetrated the region by the fourth century, John of Ephesus records that a Monophysite priest named Julian converted the king and his nobles of Nobatia around 545. John of Ephesus also writes that the kingdom of Alodia was converted around 569. However, John of Bisclorum records that the kingdom of Makuria was converted to Roman Catholicism the same year, suggesting that John of Ephesus might be mistaken. Further doubt is cast on John's testimony by an entry in the chronicle of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria Eutychius, which states that in 719 the church of Nubia transferred its allegiance from the Greek Orthodox to the Coptic Church. Christianity eventually faded from Nubia. While there are records of a bishop at Qasr Ibrim in 1372, his see had come to include that located at Faras. It is also clear that the "Royal" church at Dongola had been converted to a mosque around 1350. Many Nubians were forcibly resettled to make room for Lake Nasser after the construction of the dams at Aswan. Nubian villages can now be found north of Aswan on the west bank of the Nile and on Elephantine Island, and many Nubians live in large cities such as Cairo. There was also a civilization in Nubia that was called Kush.
Nubian in Egypt had suffered a great deal of insecurity from periodical inundation of their land since 1903(the construction of the first Aswan Dam) and through 1912,1930 (raising of the Aswan Dam) till 1960 -the construction of the Aswan High Dam. They used to seek shelter in the chain of Nubian Mountains along the Nile whenever their villages were inundated. Every time they used to build new settlements which got inundated again and again till they were relocated in Kom Ombo. Thus they had shown a great deal of tolerance and persistence similar to their Sudanese Nubian brothers.The Egyptian Nubian are the Kunuz (Matokia)-an arabized Nubian,the Fadeja ( a continuation of the Nubian in the the northern parts of Sudanese Nubia ), the Nubanised Arabs of Koresko(Eliagat). The Nubian proper there (these who talk old Nubian) are very proud of their culture and heritage . Since they are a very small community in a highly populated Arabized country , their contribution to the welfare of Egypt is hard to separate from other Egyptian.
    The land of Egyptian Nubia which was first inundated by the water of the Aswan Dam, was inhabited by three major ethnic groups: from north, the Kanzi, who speak Nubian; the Arab, who as the name suggests, speak Arabic, and the Fadjga who lived in the southern district and also speak Nubian.
This land was composed of 42 administrative areas called nahiyat, each one containing several villages. The Kanzi area was composed of 20 nahiyat, the Arab of 5, the Fadjga of 17. All the villages were located on both banks of the Nile

.
The agricultural land was formed by small areas of artificial mud isolated from each other, stretching along the valley for more than 300 Km. All the area covered a surface of about 32,000 acres. The land was regularly cultivated using the sagiya or waterwheel and the shaduf as in Egypt.  
Agriculture was and still is the basis of the Nubian economy. The Nubians in Egypt had two cultivation seasons, winter crops, called “shitwi” and summer crops called “sifti”. The Nubians depended on the rise and fall of the Nile water to irrigate winter crops. Peas, okra, beans and lentils were cash crops sold by the Sudanese Nubians. Today the Egyptian Nubians use their land to cultivate sugarcane as a cash crop sold at a government regulated price. Other crops such as fruits and vegetables were rare. 
Nubians in Egypt and in Sudan
Nubia is located in the extreme south of Egypt within the boundaries of Aswan governorate. The Nubians inhabited this area since the ancient Egyptian pre-dynasty era. Over their long history, they had been subjected to many foreign influences that changed their way of life. They belong to five groups or tribes, geographically divided between the south and the north as follows: Donakela, Mahiss, Sokkot, Fadija and Kanuz. The first three tribes live in Upper Nubia (Sudanese Nubia), northern Sudan, while the other two in Lower Nubia (Egyptian Nubia), southern Egypt. The Kanuz area extends from Aswan in the south to Kilometre No. 145 at al-Madheeq, comprising 17 villages and hamlets. Kanuz tribes have their own dialects: Matouk or Matoukia. The Fadija, who speak a dialect named after them, live in an area comprising 19 villages, extending from Kilometre No. 183 south of the Sudanese borders.
The Economic Importance of Nubia
Precious Metals and Stones
Nubia's most important resource for Egypt was precious metal, including gold and electrum. The gold mines of Nubia were located in certain valleys and mountains on either side of the Nile River, although the most important mining center was located in the Wadi Allaqi. That valley extended eastward into the mountains near Qubban (about 107 km. south of Elephantine). Nubia was also an important source of valuable hard stone and copper, both of which were necessary for Egypt's monumental building projects. 
Trading in African Goods 
Especially important for Egypt was that Nubia was also a corridor to central Africa and a point for the trans-shipment of exotic goods from that region, including: frankincense, myrrh, "green gold," ivory, ebony and other exotic woods, precious oils, resins and gums, panther and leopard skins, monkeys, dogs, giraffes, ostrich feathers and eggs, as well as pygmies (who became important to Egyptian religious rituals). In the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians regularly penetrated as far as the Second Cataract to barter for these products which were coming down through the upper Nile Valley .
 

 
 

Main Page