Reclaiming Nile Valley Civilization

By Dr. Leonard Jeffries

The Nile River Valley has played a unique role in human history. Because of its special ecology, featuring the annual overflow of rich soil from the Great Lakes regions of Central Africa, the banks of the Nile were able to support intensive agricultural development. Food surpluses and the concentration of populations migrating from parts of African and Asia laid the foundations of the Nile Valley civilization of the ancient world. The enormous impact of this high culture of the Nile Valley spread to various parts of Africa and the world.

These discoveries have established Africa as the site of the earliest domestication of grains and cattle, several thousand years before similar domestication took place in Western Asia around Mesopotamia. The African sites were tested (with the carbon 14 method) and discovered to be about 15,000 and 18,000 years old, whereas the Asian sites have traditionally been dated to be about 7,000 or 8,000 years old. A University of Chicago research team in the 1960s discovered thirty-three royal tombs in Nubia south of Egypt along the Nile River. Many of the thousands of objects in these tombs have been dated to be more then 53,000 years old, making this discovery the earliest evidence of an established monarchy in the history of the world. This new evidence along with older finds and the existing monuments, temples, tombs and pyramids have firmly established Egypt-Nubia-Ethiopia in the Nile Valley as the cradle of civilization. These developments of African peoples of the Nile Valley became the foundation from the cultural progress of various groups in Africa and provide the basis for the cultural unity of Africa through its traditions and institutions. These developments can be seen through the existence of a communal, cooperative and collective value system throughout the continent.

The African social structure has functioned through the extended family system with a unique preservation of the spirit of the ancestors. It is this African value system that became the basis of the Nile Valley civilization and explains the monumental building of temples, tombs and the pyramids and the need to produce sacred writing and literature, medicine, mathematics, art, and architecture. All of these developments left a golden legacy for the ancient world which not only nurtured Africa, but inspired the early Hebrews and Greeks who sojourned in the Nile Valley.

The Niger River system flows more than two thousand miles through West Africa from the highlands of the Republic of Guinea to Mali, Niger, Benin and finally empties into the Atlantic Ocean along the Nigerian coast. The river actually splits the Republic of Nigeria, one of Africa's most important nations, into two halves and is the source of its name. During the medieval period from 1,000 A.D to 1,600 A.D., the Niger River Valley was the center of African Islamic civilization that produced the great empires of Ghana, Mali and Songhai which were famous for their gold trade across the Sahara with the Mediterranean world. This Sudanic civilization with its mixture of traditional African cultural systems and Islam was based on agricultural development combined with extensive commercial activity in several city-states, such as Kumbi-Kumbi, Gao, Mopti, Kjenne, Kano, Sokoto, Zaria, and Timbuctoo which was famous for its trading and its University at Sankore. Several Arab scholars visited these empires and wrote about their prosperity, the peace and safety throughout the land and the fairness of their systems of justice and administration. The Empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai rose to prominence during the period of the Middle Ages when Europe was suffering from the chaos and confusion of the crusades, feudal wars and the dark ages.

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