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Egyptian Trade Influence in the Mediterranean Region (Term Paper Sample)


Topic: To what extent did the Egyptian trade influence the Mediterranean region? Structure (Follow it strictly; Also follow all the details and brief given below necessarily) Introduction: Brief explanation about the agriculture and inventions of the Egyptian; introduction of the Pharaohs who spread Egyptian trade to the Mediterranean Body 1st heading: The products/ Food/ .. Egyptians spread to different parts of the Mediterranean region (talk in detail about the products they exported and which exact countries of the Mediterranean region did they trade with) Body 2nd heading: How did this Egyptian trade influence the Mediterranean region (how did those countries change with the Egyptian trade, how did those products they got from Egypt change their lives) Conclusion (only 100-120 words)

Egyptian Trade Influence in the Mediterranean Region
Agriculture in Egypt began around 5000BC.It began on the small-scale, but with time, agriculture was a widely practised activity. The farming practices of the community flourished because they had sufficient water flowing from the Nile River, which allowed them to irrigate the farming land sufficiently. They used dikes and canals that diverted and blocked water for use on the farmland. In addition, the soils were fertile gaining nutrients washed down from the slopes. Egypt’s agricultural area lies along the banks of the Nile and this helped the community turn to farming faster than it would take countries that did not have enough water source. In the beginning, they practiced single crop farming but as the population grew, there was the need to increase and cultivate more crops. This called for sophisticated methods of irrigation because the community was ferrying water from the Nile using buckets. One of the first inventions to deal with the cumbersome task of ferrying water was the shadoof, which had two arms levelled on a pole. The short arm held a weight for balancing a bucket of water on the longer arm (Hillel, 1991, p.91-93). This reduced the human effort they needed to water the expansive irrigation lands.
The start of artificial irrigation in Egypt does not have a definite date, but a picture known as the Scorpion Macehead of around 3200BC depicts use of an irrigation canal (Shaw & Nicholson, 2000, p.515). Another machine developed in this age was the balance. It was necessary for trade purposes (Rezende, 2006, p.7). It was important because measures were required for different commodities from the field as well as the manufactured products. Evidently, one of the popular crops in ancient Egypt was barley.
Archaeological findings show various barley species that date back to the period around 5000BC. The findings were also conclusive that Egyptians exchange barley as presents and they also used this product as an offering to their deities. In the homes, barley was essential in baking of bread and as feed for livestock (Mehdawy & Hussein, 2010, p.25). Peas were also cultivated (Bard, 1999, p.137).
Hatshepsut, the first female Pharaoh in Egypt encouraged trade with the neighbouring regions. She set up trade with Phoenicia so that Egypt would get supplies and skilled labour to build ships. Her expedition presents one of the most significant trading adventures in the history of ancient Egypt. The walls of this Temple explain the products she took as well as what she received. The description of the houses and the people in the paintings explains that she indeed traded with Punt (Dell, Cooney & Palmer, 2008, p. 73). There is no documented evidence that shows how or why the Pharaoh decided to trade with Punt.
The Products and Food Exports from Egypt
Egypt’s agricultural activities provided sufficient food for the nation as well as surplus for sale to other countries. The inventions of better irrigation systems had improved Egypt’s dependence on the land, and the fact that most of Egypt’s agricultural land lies on the banks of River Nile. In addition, the political stability of this nation enhanced international relations since the country depended on the Pharaoh’s rule. People feared and respected the Pharaohs, which aided them in creating a dynasty that would traverse the sea to trade and conquer. Further, River Nile created a platform for trade between Egypt and her trade partners because traders would sail to destinations they could not access by land even though road transport was popular especially between Egypt and Sudan (Silverman, 1997).
According to Ruiz (2001), Egypt had a lot to offer her trading partners who included the Greek, the Syrians, the Sudanese (Nubians), and the people of Punt, Crete, and Cyprus, Lebanon (Phoenicia). This mutual relationship allowed each country to bring what the other did not have. Some of the popular products in the Mediterranean trade between Egypt and her partners’ were gold, papyrus, and grains, jewellery, and linen. They also had leather from the domestic herds in the region. This provided stable raw material for the leather tanning industry, and thereby, sufficient good quality leather for the international trade market. They also offered ivory because Egypt had many hippos. The papyrus plant was available in plenty in the wild, but later they started growing it on the farm. This plant was essential in the production of clothes, mats and in the production of furniture (David, 1998). Silverman (1997), says Egypt also traded in soda and copper. Egypt’s Mediterranean trade activities were profitable because it had skilled labour. Even though agricultural activities depended on machines such as shadoof, human labour was essential from the planting to the harvesting period.
In addition, there was the obligatory corvee duty that required people to work for pay by the Pharaohs, and the prisoners provided labour too. Egypt also had an advantage in Mediterranean trade because it had efficient industries that produced merchandise in large quantities such as cosmetics, pottery, bricks, glass, papyrus, and leather among others. The agricultural activities provided produce for food processing such as fruits, vegetables, and wine. This region also depended on fishing, and it sold salted fish to its trading neighbours (David, 1998, p.281-308). The cosmetic industry in Egypt produced perfumes and oils made from natural products. It used plants for the entire process by removing the unwanted matter and retaining the scents from various parts of the plants such as the seeds. This country had a large number of plant species that it would use for making cosmetics and spices. It also used theses to make decorations for the home (David, 1998). These resources ensured that Egypt had enough to offer her neighbours for a long time, even beyond what other countries brought to the trade.
The business partnership between Punt and Egypt dates back to the reign of Hatshepsut though there were previous attempts to jump-start international relations with that country. Hatshepsut led the merchant ships into this region, and returned with plenty of treasures as Deir El Bahari’s Temple walls indicate (Monderson, 1997). The punt was essential in Egypt’s foreign trade because it provided ingredients for the manufacture of perfumes and oil. The Greeks showed up in Egypt during the reign of Psammetichus I. At one time, they had to trade from a constricted zone because of protests from the locals. It shows that Egypt’s success in the region had welcome visitors who wanted to invest in the trade. In fact, Greece influenced agricultural practices in Egypt by improving the irrigation methods and infrastructure. This happened when they ruled the land of the Pharaohs (David, 1998).
Egypt would also trade with one country and use the merchandise to barter with another country. For instance, it would purchase hardwood from some East African countries and trade these products with Lebanon for other lumber such as pine. Egypt needed materials for building ships but its local production did not meet all its needs. It also needed material for making furniture. It would also exchange papyrus and other local produce such as wheat for ebony, lumber and ivory from Sudan (Ruiz, 2001). These trading activities used copper, gold, and other precious stones as the currency. This complemented the barter system that was more popular and widely accepted across the regions (David, 1998, p.266).
How Egyptian Trade Influenced the Mediterranean Region
Egypt’s influence on her trading partners went beyond the economic variable. Even though the main purpose of trade was getting a market for the surplus that Egyptians did not need, the trade activities enabled the countries to extend their influence beyond buying and selling. For instance, Egypt had a major influence on Sudan’s civilization. Even though this country had sufficient gold ores, it sourced more from Sudan (Ruiz, 2001). Since Egypt had a stronger force in the trade, it got the breakthrough to penetrate into the inner kingdoms of Sudan. The effect was a significant Egyptian control over the economic, social, and political growth of Sudan (Bulliet et al, 2012, 45-46), and the Nubian community moved from a nomadic lifestyle into agriculture. They wanted control over the gold mines, and when they eventually got it, Nubians became the workforce.
The Egyptian expeditions of Sudan also involved the search for slaves and wildlife animals they could take back home. Road travel allowed these merchants to enter Sudan easily and traverse all the sections that would provide what they needed. However, Egypt was not always concerned with political conquests when searching for trade partners. For instance, Hatshepsut did not go beyond the economic relation relations her country engaged with Punt (Podany, 2010, p.148). Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) grew economically because of trade relations with Egypt. It was the main source of lumber for Egypt, and their relationship grew when Egypt hired skilled locals in building of ships because the building of boats in Egypt was essential to its trade activities It also required them to aid trade miss...
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