Nubia Cataracts

In ancient times, the people living along the banks of the river Nile developed sophisticated civilizations. Ancient Egypt, stretching from the First Cataract to the Mediterranean Sea, is probably the most well-known ancient culture in this area. The Nubian's inhabited the area along the river Nile from the First Cataract south to the Sixth Cataract.
 The cataracts serve as markers of Nubia's borders. The First Cataract, just to the south of Aswan, marks the northern boundary of Nubia. The southern border, though it fluctuated over time, lies near the Sixth Cataract. The eastern and western borders are generally marked by the extent of the cultivated fields on either side of the river. The cataracts also divide Nubia into different zones, which differ from one to another topographically. Nubia is generally divided into Lower Nubia, Upper Nubia, and Southern Nubia.  

The landscape in Lower Nubia is quite different from that of Upper Nubia. The Nile Valley in Lower Nubia is similar to the Nile Valley in Egypt. The river here is broad and easily navigated, with a wide floodplain available for cultivation. Upper Nubia on the other hand, often presents a much harsher environment. Based on topography, Upper Nubia and Southern Nubia can be divided into five zones: (1) Batn el Hajar, (2) Abri-Delgo Reach, (3) Dongola Reach, (4) Abu Hamed Reach, and (5) Shendi Reach. Each of these zones, defined by cataracts, display a different type of riverine environment.
The ancient region of Nubia was located in northeast Africa, in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The first group of Nubian people that we know much about, called the A-Group by archaeologists, lived around 3500 BC, but there is evidence of civilization in Nubia as far back as 8000 BC.
Because Nubians were great archers, the Egyptians called Nubia "Ta-Seti," or Land of the Bow. The name Nubia came into use in the Middle Ages.
Although it was a hot, dry land, ancient Nubia was a treasure trove of gold, ivory, stone, and other riches, and therefore a tempting target to foreign rulers. At times Egypt ruled Nubia; at other times, various Nubian kingdoms flourished.
The great kingdom of Kush (or Cush) was located in south Nubia. The ancient Greeks called it Ethiopia. In the 8th century BC, Kush -- led by King Piankhi (or Piye) and later his brother and successor King Shabaka -- conquered Egypt. These Kushite kings founded Egypt's 25th ruling dynasty. After Shabaka died, Piankhi's son Shebitku became pharaoh; he was succeeded by his brother Taharqa.
But the Nubian Dynasty's reign in Egypt proved to be short-lived. In the middle of the 7th century BC, Taharqa was driven out of Egypt by the Assyrians. He and his cousin Tanutamon, who succeeded Taharqa as king of Kush, tried but failed to regain the Egyptian throne.
Around 592 BC, Egypt sacked Kush's capital, Napata. After that, the city of Meroe became the capital of Kush. The kingdom lasted for some 900 years more.
One notable Kushite ruler was the fierce one-eyed warrior queen Amanirenas, who battled an occupying Roman army in the first century AD. Her ambassadors were conducted into the presence of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, and according to the Roman writer Strabo, they "obtained all that they desired, and Caesar even remitted the tribute which he had imposed." Queen Amanirenas had won; the Romans withdrew from most of Nubia.
It seems Kush gradually went into decline, and crumbled completely after the armies of Aksum (an kingdom of ancient Ethiopia) conquered Meroe around 350 AD. New kingdoms arose in Nubia, and these kingdoms started converting to Christianity in the 6th century AD. Around 1400, Nubia began falling under the control of Arab rulers, and many Nubians converted to Islam. But much of Nubian culture has survived through the centuries, and the Nubian language is still spoken today in Egypt and Sudan.
Nubian languages- group of languages spoken in Egypt and The Sudan, chiefly along the banks of the Nile River between the first and fourth cataracts (Nile Nubian), but also spoken in enclaves in the Nuba Hills of western Sudan (Hill Nubian). Hill Nubian is composed of Midobi and Birked, which are not closely related. Some scholars divide Nile Nubian into three groups, each containing one language (Northern, or Kenuzi; Central, or Mahas; and Southern, or Dongola), while others group Northern and Southern Nubian together. Although many scholars formerly classified the Nubian languages as Hamitic or as Sudanese-Guinean, most now place the Nubian languages in the Eastern Sudanic subbranch of the Chari-Nile branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family


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