II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > B. Kingdoms of Western Asia and Africa, to 323 B.C.E. > 4. East Africa, c. 2000–332 B.C.E.
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4. East Africa, c. 2000–332 B.C.E.
a. Geography
 
Nubia, or Kush, began at the Nile's First Cataract (waterfall), where the island of Elephantine (Yeb) was located, although the political boundary was often farther upriver. As one moved upriver, the Nile flowed over six more cataracts, before the river split into the White and Blue Niles. Between these two points lay the massive Egyptian temples at Abu Simbel, now inundated by the Aswan Dam, as well as the three capitals of the region: Kerma, Napata, and Meroë. Around 500,000 people lived in the area of modern Sudan around 2000 B.C.E., and nearly 1 million by 1500, though Kush comprised only a portion of this region. The region between the Nile and the Red Sea was not heavily populated before the 5th century B.C.E. The Somalian and Eritrean coast, however, was an important center for trade, known to the Egyptians as Punt.  1
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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