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Thayer Watkins
Silicon Valley
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The Timeline of the
Economic History of Cairo, Egypt

In ancient times the culture of Egypt was one of the technically most advanced in the world. Its economy benefitted greatly from the availability of the Nile River as a transportation system. It was not only a transportation system within Egypt but linked Egypt to the international economy of the Mediterranean Sea. However the Egyptians were aware of another trading world around the Red Sea and beyond. The Egyptian pharaoh Senwosret III, who ruled from 1845-1837 BCE: considered building a canal linking the Nile River Valley to the Red Sea, but decided not to do so out of fear that the Red Sea might flood Egypt with salt water through the canal. Circa 650 BCE: the Egyptian pharaoh Neccho II started building such a canal, but gave up to focus his resources on a war in the Levant. Herodotus said that 120,000 people died in the canal-building effort. •c. 500 BCE: The Persian emperor Darius the Great who conquered Egypt had a canal Circa 500 BCE the Persian emperor Darius the Great who had conquered Egypt had a canal built linking a tributary branch of the Nile River to the Red Sea. It was about 25 meters width. Herodotus rode on a barge on the canal and reported that it was a four day journey from its start in Egypt to the Red Sea.

Circa 100 CE the Roman emperor Trajan extended the canal of Darius upstream on the Nile to where a fortress existed. The location where this canal connected with the Nile developed into a settlement that eventually became the city of Cairo.

Timeline of the History of Cairo

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