De Nile

The Rive Nile, currently being stretched inch by inch by its advocates in a competition with the Amazon and its advocates for the title of the longest river in the world, is famously comprised of two principal tributaries, the While Nile and the Blue Nile, which converge in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

De NileThe White Nile is the better known of the two, largely because when it comes to rivers it is the longest which has always captured our imaginations.  It pours north out of Lake Victoria, which itself is fed by smaller rivers and streams from all over the region.  It is one of these, emanating from a spring in Burundi, which is currently considered to be the source of the Nile, the most distant source of the water which flows into the Mediterranean north of Alexandria, Egypt.

Though shorter, the Blue Nile actually contributes far more water to the river’s annual flow.  It crashes down from the highlands of Ethiopia in a gigantic flush of rich, organic silt once every year.  When the Bible speaks of the annual flood that nourishes Egypt, it is describing the waters of the Blue Nile.  When it speaks of drought, it is because the rains failed that year in Ethiopia.

In the case of the River Nile, it is wrong to think of the most distant point as the source.  From the perspective of anyone downstream of Khartoum, the source of all that water and the river’s true genesis, is the Blue Nile of Ethiopia.

Graph taken from The Africa Report.

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