Nubia Facts is a region along the Nile River encompassing the area between the first cataract of the Nile (just south of Aswan in southern Egypt) and the confluence of the Blue and White Niles (in Khartoum in central Sudan), or more strictly, Al Dabbah. It was the seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa, the Kerma culture, which lasted from around 2500 BC until its conquest by the New Kingdom of Egypt under Pharaoh Thutmose I around 1500 BC, whose heirs ruled most of Nubia for the next 400 years. Nubia was home to several empires, most prominently the Kingdom of Kush, which conquered Egypt in the eighth century BC during the reign of Piye and ruled the country as its 25th Dynasty (to be replaced a century later by the native Egyptian 26th Dynasty).

Geography Nubia was divided into three major regions: Upper, Middle, and Lower Nubia, in reference to their locations along the Nile. “Lower” referred to regions downstream (further north) and “upper” to regions upstream (further south). Lower Nubia lay between the First and the Second Cataracts within the current borders of Egypt, Middle Nubia lay between the Second and the Third Cataracts, and Upper Nubia lay south of the Third Cataract.

History After the Theban 17th Dynasty New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1532–1070 BC) expelled the Canaanite Hyksos from Egypt, they turned their imperial ambitions to Nubia. By the end of Thutmose I’s reign (1520 BC), all of Lower Nubia had been annexed. After a long campaign, Egypt also conquered the Kingdom of Kerma in Upper Nubia and held both areas until 1070 BC. The Egyptian empire expanded into the Fourth Cataract, and a new administrative center was built at Napata, which became a gold and incense production area. Egypt became a prime source of gold in the Middle East. The primitive working conditions for the slaves are recorded by Diodorus Siculus. One of the oldest maps known is of a gold mine in Nubia: the Turin Papyrus Map dating to about 1160 BC; it is also one of the earliest characterized road maps in existence.