The New Student's Reference Work/Nile

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search


Nile, a great river of Africa, the ancient Nilus, the second longest river in the world and the sacred river of the Egyptians.  It has its source at the southern end of Lake Victoria Nyanza, and, pouring over Ripon Falls, runs 300 miles to join Albert Nyanza, 20 miles from which it falls 120 feet into a deep gorge, and flows in a northerly direction into the Mediterranean.  At 7½° N. the channel is divided in two, only to join again at 9½°, to be called the White Nile, flowing thus to Khartum, where it is joined by the Blue Nile, 950 miles long.  These augmented waters flow for 200 miles before they are joined by the Black Nile.  Below Khartum the navigation is impeded and dangerous on account of six rapids.  The Nile begins to rise in April and reaches the highest point in September, often causing disastrous floods.  The ancients believed that the river rose in Morocco and flowed underground for several days’ journey, rising to the south of Ethiopia, thence passing northward.  The Emperor Nero first began the investigations of the source of the river by sending out two expeditions, but they were not completed in their present form until the explorations by Speke in 1858, by Baker and Schweinfurth in 1868–71 and by Stanley in 1875 and 1889.  The total length of the Nile from Victoria Nyanza to the Mediterranean is 3,400 miles, although the river actually draws its water as far as 250 miles south of Lake Victoria.  See the writings of the explorers named.