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History >> Ancient Africa

Ancient Africa

Kingdom of Kush (Nubia)

Map showing the location of the Kingdom of Kush in Africa
Kingdom of Kush by Ducksters
The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient civilization in Africa. It is often referred to as Nubia and had close ties to Ancient Egypt.

Where was the Kingdom of Kush located?

The Kingdom of Kush was located in Northeast Africa just south of Ancient Egypt. The main cities of Kush were situated along the Nile River, the White Nile River, and the Blue Nile River. Today, the land of Kush is the country of Sudan.

How long did the Kingdom of Kush rule?

The Kingdom of Kush lasted for over 1400 years. It was first established around 1070 BCE when it gained its independence from Egypt. It quickly became a major power in Northeast Africa. In 727 BCE, Kush took control of Egypt and ruled until the Assyrians arrived. The empire began to weaken after Rome conquered Egypt and eventually collapsed sometime in the 300s CE.

Two Capitals

The Kingdom of Kush had two different capital cities. The first capital was Napata. Napata was located along the Nile River in Northern Kush. Napata served as the capital during the height of Kush's power. Sometime around 590 BCE, the capital moved to the city of Meroe. Meroe was further south providing a better buffer from the fighting with Egypt. It also was a center for ironworking, an important resource for the kingdom.

Similar to Ancient Egypt

The Kingdom of Kush was very similar to Ancient Egypt in many aspects including government, culture, and religion. Like the Egyptians, the Kushites built pyramids at burial sites, worshiped Egyptian gods, and mummified the dead. The ruling class of Kush likely considered themselves Egyptian in many ways.

Picture of the Nubian Pyramids of Kush
Nubian Pyramids
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Iron and Gold

Two of the most important resources of Ancient Kush were gold and iron. Gold helped Kush to become wealthy as it could be traded to the Egyptians and other nearby nations. Iron was the most important metal of the age. It was used to make the strongest tools and weapons.

Culture of Kush

Outside of the Pharaoh and the ruling class, the priests were the most important social class in Kush. They made the laws and communicated with the gods. Just below the priests were the artisans and scribes. Artisans worked the iron and gold that was such an important part of the Kushite economy. Farmers were also respected as they provided the food for the country. At the bottom were servants, laborers, and slaves.

Like the Egyptians, religion played an important role in the lives of the Kushites. They believed strongly in the afterlife. Women played an important role and could be leaders in Kush. Many of the Kushite leaders were queens.

Interesting Facts about the Kingdom of Kush Take a ten question quiz about this page.

To learn more about Ancient Africa:

Civilizations
Ancient Egypt
Kingdom of Ghana
Mali Empire
Songhai Empire
Kush
Kingdom of Aksum
Central African Kingdoms
Ancient Carthage

Culture
Art in Ancient Africa
Daily Life
Griots
Islam
Traditional African Religions
Slavery in Ancient Africa
People
Boers
Cleopatra VII
Hannibal
Pharaohs
Shaka Zulu
Sundiata

Geography
Countries and Continent
Nile River
Sahara Desert
Trade Routes

Other
Timeline of Ancient Africa
Glossary and Terms


Works Cited

History >> Ancient Africa

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