Barge traffic on the Mississippi near New Orleans, Louisiana

Barge traffic on the Mississippi near New Orleans, Louisiana

Traditional wind boats sail on the Nile river near the Giza Pyramids, in Cairo, Egypt.

Traditional wind boats sail on the Nile river near the Giza Pyramids, in Cairo, Egypt.

River To Ride: Trade & Travel

Posted: November 3, 2014

Imagine you just discovered a new country. Where would you build your first town? Did you say, “Near a river”? That’s exactly right! People have long traded and traveled on rivers. Rivers connect people to cities and towns. Let’s take a look a couple of these historic “connectors.”

Long ago, Native Americans lived along the Mississippi. They got fish from the river. They used its water for their thirsty crops. The river was also their passageway. Native Americans sailed up and down river. They traded with other tribes.

People still use the Mississippi. They ship grain, paper, wood, coal, and other goods. Where do those products go next? Anywhere in the world!

The Nile is halfway around the world from the Mississippi. But it has stories to tell too. Some of those stories are very, very old.

The Nile is the longest river in the world. It winds through 11 countries. Ancient Ethiopians and Egyptians used the river to trade. Ethiopians shipped gold, ivory, and ostrich feathers up the Nile. Egyptian traders sent wheat and papyrus down the river in exchange. The Queen of Sheba traveled the Nile to bring gifts to King Solomon. (1 Kings 10)

Tourists flock to the Nile River today. It no longer transports precious jewels and exotic animals. But many people still rely on the Nile to water crops.