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Early Agriculture in Egypt

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

1. Identify the factors that led to the development of early agriculture in Mesopotamia

2. Explain the development of early agriculture in Egypt

Early Agriculture in Egypt

Agriculture in Egypt was practiced along river Nile since Egypt was a desert. It is said to have started between 5000 and 4000 BC.

Map showing the Nile valley where agriculture began


Factors that led to the development of Agriculture in Egypt.

Several factors led to the development of early agriculture in Egypt:

1. River Nile which provided water for irrigation

2. Fertile silt deposited in the fields during floods by river Nile and its tributaries

3. Wheat and barley were found growing wildly

4. Invention of agricultural tools such as hoes and ox drawn plough

5. Use of the shadoof irrigation


Farm tools

Tilling of land using Ox-driven plough

Effects of early Agriculture in Egypt

There were several effects of early agriculture in Egypt:

1. increased food production which led to increase in population

2. settled life

3. increased in trade due to surplus food

4.  development of urban centers like Memphis, Thebes and Aswan. The map provided in the next page shows these towns.

Early Agriculture in Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia means the land between two rivers, i.e. Tigris and Euphrates. These rivers were important in the development of agriculture. Mesopotamia is part of the present day Iraq. Food production in Mesopotamia began around 8000 BC and it was introduced by settlers from the Iranian plateau and the Egyptians. The Sumerians developed skills and techniques for controlling flood waters. The map provided shows fertile crescent.

The map shows Mesopotamia and the fertile crescent.

Factors that led to the development of agriculture in Mesopotamia

Several factors led to the development of agriculture in Mesopotamia.

1. Availability of indigenous crops for example wheat, dates and barley

2. Domestication of  animals for example  goats, sheep and cattle for food

3.  Rivers Tigris and Euphrates deposited fertile silt during the floods

4.  The use of canal irrigation to grow crops.

5.  The Sumerians developed skills and techniques for controlling flood waters, for example, they build dykes, ditches and canals to drain water from swampy areas.

6.  The invention of ox drawn ploughs and seed drills

7.  The invention of the wheel facilitated transportation of farm produce

8.  Increased demand for food due to increased population

Effects of early Agriculture in Mesopotamia

Early agriculture had the following effects:

1. resulted to settled life

2. increased food production resulting in increase in population

3. emergency of urban centres for example Kish, Erindu, Uruk, Nippur, Babylon and Ur.

4. the development of trade

5. promotion of religious activities

6. emergence of rules and regulations to govern people

7. development of writing and arithmetic to help keep records. The writing developed in Mesopotamia was called cuneiform.

8. Development of farm implements such as seed drill, the hoe and ox-driven plough

9. invention of the wheel

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