Trade has always been a vital aspect of any civilization. The Ancient Egyptians were wonderful traders. Ancient Egypt was a country rich in many natural resources but still was not self – sufficient and so they had to rely on trade for necessary goods and luxuries. The Natural resources and raw materials of Ancient Egypt enabled them to become a rich and powerful civilization.
In Egypt, trade began in the Predynastic Period (c. 6000 – c.3150 BCE) and continued through the Roman Egypt ( 30 BCE – 646 CE). The trade which initiated during the Old kingdom of Egypt helped them fund the pyramids of Giza and countless other monuments. Trade began between Upper and Lower Egypt and the different districts of those regions. By the First dynasty of Egypt trade was already established with Mesopotamia. The Egyptians traded Gold, Papyrus, Linen, Grain and decorative Artifacts. The Egyptians traded with Lebanon, Africa, Afghanistan, Punt and Nubia.
They received (cedar wood – Lebanon), ( ebony and ivory – Africa), ( lapis lazuli – Afghanistan ), ( incense, myrrh and oils – Punt) , ( gold – Nubia) and ( copper and iron – best allies). The Egyptians also received timber, bronze, pottery, olive oil, skins of animals and slaves. The ancient Egyptians had access to the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Nile river. The natural resources of ancient Egypt enabled them to become one of the richest and most powerful civilization of the ancient world. The ancient Egyptians economy ran on a barter system without cash. It was not until the Persian invasion of 525 BCE that a cash economy was instituted , until then trade flourished through exchange of goods. The goods and services were known on a unit known as deben.
The deben functioned like a dollar in North America. A deben was approximately 90 grams of copper. The egyptians had fixed prices on their goods so they could know what the goods were worth and what the Egyptians could trade the goods for. The boats and ships which carried the cargo sailed up and down the Nile river, bringing goods to the ports. The earliest ancient Egyptian boats were made of papyrus reeds and propelled by poles or oars.The typical boat was thin and long and the ends came to a point which stuck out of the water. Then the Egyptians eventually began to make boats from wood.The boats were not built with nails, the boats were often made from a number of short planks that were hooked together tied with ropes. They also began to use a giant sail in the middle of the boat so they could catch the wind.
Then the Ancient Egyptians learned how to build large and bulky cargo ships. These boats sailed up and down the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile river. These ships could hold a lot of cargo. Some ships could carry up to 500 tons of rock quarry. The ancient Egyptians become masters at building boats and navigating rivers.