KUSH AND MEROE (SOUTH OF EGYPT)
Nubia lay to the south of Egypt. The region was of great interest to Egypt for two major reasons. First was because of the Nile river, the lifeline of ancient Egypt, traversed this region. The second reason was the mineral resources available in the region. The most significant of it was gold. With the emergence of Egypt a major imperial power during the new kingdom led to the military conquest of Nubia about 1500 B.C. For the five centuries that Egyptian control lasted, Nubia became progressively Egyptianized in religion, language and writing skills.
However, with the decline of Egypt form about 1000 B.C, Nubia quickly grabbed the opportunity to assert it’s independence. A new state, known as Kush emerged, dominanting the Nile confluence and maintaining trade and cultural relation with Egypt, was established.
It is cogent to note that the relevance of Egypt to Africa is thus something fun fundamentally different from its relevance to Europe. The easiest contact of Egypt were certainly those of trade. That is clearly obvious on the exploitation of Nubia gold form the hills between the Niles and red sea was already in progress in pre-dynastic times. From the beginning of the dynastic period at least, there was regular contact with the coast of Eritrea, Somaliland, and Southern Arabia, where they grew the incense which was burned in such prodigious quantities in the temple of Egypt.
Thus, the necessity of Egypt also drove her to other parts of Africa. As she hot raw materials and resources from these states, she also influenced them with her civilization. Theses states also transfered the civilization and culture of Egypt to other parts of Africa.
By the early dynastic times Egypt had exhausted it’d own supplies of ivory and hardwoods, and had to seek the other raw materials from the black south. Trading expedition had their effect upon the material culture of a wide Region. Probably the Egyptian took with them both animals on hoof and vegetable seed to sow in the rainy season. Probably it was through such contact that many hunting and gathering period received their first initiation into the way of food production.
The greater influence of Egypt was evidence in Nubia’s (Kush) beliefs and social organization. It is said by some scholar that Kush was directly colonized by Egypt. By the end of the second Millennium B.C., Egyptian influence throughout this region was much stronger. Nubia was fully occupied between the first and third cataracts. According to one calculation, it’s mines were yielding forty thousand kilograms of a year, an amount which never again reach in world production until the nineteenth century. And beyond nubia in Kush, there was now a whole series of Egyptian towns including an important offshoot of the Theban temple of Amon, at Jebel Barkal near the fourth cataract.
It could be inferred from the highly priestly family of Jebel Barkal that there emerged, at the beginning of first Millennium B.C, the dynasty of the independent though highly Egyptianized kingdom of Kush, which was to survive, with its capital first at Napata and later Meroe, for more than a thousand years. Indeed until the middle of the fourth century A.D consequently, Kush emerges as an independent kingdom with its first, capital at Napata was a direct result of Egypt decline in the first millennium B.C.
A century later, the rulers of Kush had become strong enough to conquer Egypt. Five of their members are remembered as the twenty-fifth dynasty of Pharaohs. For a brief period Napata became the capital of the ancient world, Egypt end came swiftly. Most importantly, Kush retained practically undiluted a sturdy remnant of Egyptian civilization.
Finally, Kush like Egypt, was basically a country of white Caucasians. Around the sixth century Kush began to push first it’s frontier and then later it’s capital southerward. In 670 B.C, the Kushites were dislodged by the iron using Assyrians. The Kushites dynasty was attacked and sacked in Napata. The Kushite ruler migrated southwards establishing a new state with a new administrative center on the “Island of Merowe” located north of the sixth cataract of a new and at the confluence of the Nile.
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