The ancient Egyptians enjoyed many natural barriers. There were deserts to the east and west of the Nile River, and mountains to the south. This isolated the ancient Egyptians and allowed them to develop a truly distinctive culture.
The Nile is the world's longest river. It is over 4000 miles long! It is shaped like the lotus flower so often seen in ancient Egyptian art. Each spring, water would run off the mountains and the Nile would flood. As the flood waters receded, black rich fertile soil was left behind. The ancient Egyptian called this rich soil The Gift of the Nile.
Fertile soil for crops was not the Nile's only gift. The Nile gave the ancient Egyptians many gifts. Thanks to the Nile, these ancient people had fresh water for drinking and bathing. The Nile supported transportation and trade. It provided materials for building, for making cloth for clothes, and even for making paper - made from the wild papyrus weed, that grew along the shores of the Nile.
Because of the annual flooding of the Nile, the ancient Egyptians enjoyed a high standard of living compared to other ancient civilizations. Without the Nile, Egypt would be a desert.