Question 1: What is the longest river in Africa?
Answer: Nile River
The Nile River is the longest river in the world, stretching
4,160 miles. It flows northward from its headstream in central
Africa to its delta on the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile runs through
parts of Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi,
and Zaire. At six places along the Nile, crystalline rocks form
cataracts, or stretches of rapids and waterfalls that are not navigable.
According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, Egypt was "the
gift of the Nile" because its waters supported large-scale
agriculture, made transportation easier, and provided a variety
of edible plants and animals.
Question 2: What ocean lies east of Africa?
Answer: Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third-largest ocean in the world,
extending from south Asia to Antarctica, and from east Africa
to west Australia. The average depth of the oceans
floor is 11,000 feet. Little trade took place across the
Indian Ocean until approximately 200 B.C.E., when Arabs learned
how to propel their ships using the seasonal winds in the
Question 3: What is the large body of water that separates
Africa from Europe?
The Mediterranean Sea is the worlds largest inland
sea. Surrounded by Europe, Africa, and Asia, it covers an
area of approximately 965,000 square miles. The Mediterranean
Sea connects with the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea via
the Aegean Sea. The shores of the sea are mainly mountainous.
Fish (close to 400 species), sponges, and corals are abundant
in the sea. The ancient Egyptians were afraid to sail on
the Mediterranean, and so they relied on traders from other
lands to bring them goods from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey)
Question 4: What is the sea south of the Sinai Peninsula
that is linked to the Indian Ocean?
Answer: Red Sea
The Red Sea is a long, narrow sea that sits between Africa
and the Arabian Peninsula. The Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf
of Suez are the seas northern arms; between them sits
the Sinai Peninsula. The Red Sea is linked with the Indian
Ocean by the Gulf of Aden. Because it is surrounded by excessively
hot and dry deserts and steppes, summer water temperatures
often exceed 85º F. According to the Hebrew Bible, Moses
parted the Red Sea so that the ancient Israelites could escape
from the pursuing Egyptian army, and put an end to their
captivity in Egypt under the Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Question 5: What chain of mountains is located in the
southern part of modern Turkey?
Answer: Taurus Mountains
The Taurus Mountains are a chain of mountains in southern
Turkey that extend approximately 350 miles, roughly parallel
to the Mediterranean coast of southern Asia Minor. These
mountains form the southern border of the Anatolian plateau.
The highest peak of the Taurus, at the ranges eastern
end, rises 12,251 feet. The range contains important mineral
deposits, such as copper and tin, over which various groups
in ancient Mesopotamia sought to gain control.
Question 6: What body of water lies between the Arabian
Peninsula and modern Iran?
Answer: Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf lies between the Arabian Peninsula and
Iran. It is an arm of the Arabian Sea, which is a branch
of the Indian Ocean. The Gulf is approximately 200 miles
wide, is very shallow, and contains many islands. In ancient
times, the Persian Gulf was an important transportation route,
but most transport declined with the fall of Mesopotamia
in the fourth century B.C.E.
Question 7: What river flows southeast across modern Iraq,
near the city of Baghdad?
Answer: Tigris River
The Tigris River originates in the Taurus Mountains in
Turkey and flows 1,180 miles southeast through Iraq, where
it meets the Euphrates River. The Tigris is subject to sudden
flooding, but is navigable in most places. In ancient times,
some of the great cities of Mesopotamia stood on the banks
of the Tigris, depending on its water for survival and using
it as an important transportation route.
Question 8: What river is located southwest of the Tigris
River and flows southeast to the Persian Gulf?
Answer: Euphrates River
The Euphrates River originates in central Turkey and
flows 2,235 miles south into Syria, then southeast through
Iraq, where it meets the Tigris River. When joined, the two
rivers form the Shatt al Arab River, which flows to the Persian
Gulf. The Euphrates is shallow and largely unnavigable.
Question 9: What mountain range is located east of the
Tigris River, in the southwestern part of Iran?
Answer: Zagros Mountains
The Zagros Mountains originate in western Iran, extending
approximately 1,100 miles southeast. The Zagros are rugged,
forested, and snowcapped mountains in the northwest, but
in the southwest they are low, rolling hills covered with
bare rock and sand dunes. The northern portion of the chain
is home to fertile valleys that support agriculture and a
heavy population. In the oases of the southeastern Zagros,
dates and cereals are grown. In ancient times, nomads such
as the Medes often swept down from the central Zagros into
Mesopotamia to try to conquer new territory and obtain goods
that they could not produce.
Question 10: What desert lies west of the Nile River and
covers parts of modern Egypt, Libya, and Sudan?
Answer: Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert is the northeastern part of Africas
Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world. The Libyan
Desert covers parts of southwestern Egypt, eastern Libya,
and northwestern Sudan. The region consists primarily of
sand dunes; coarse, stony plains; and plateaus of bare rock.
Although its hot, dry climate is harsher and more forbidding
than that of Egypts eastern deserts, the oases of this
region were famed in ancient times for their wines and agricultural
Question 11: What desert lies in modern Egypt between
the Nile River and the Red Sea?
Answer: Arabian Desert
The Arabian Desert is the eastern desert of Egypt. It
runs from the Nile River in the west to the Red Sea and Gulf
of Suez in the east. The desert is mountainous and rutted
by deep, dry riverbeds. The ancient Egyptians used its abundant
quarries of granite, feldspar, and other materials for many
of their building projects.
Question 12: What triangular area, bordered by water on
three sides, connects the continents of Africa and Asia?
Answer: Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula, which is approximately 23,000 square
miles, lies in northeastern Egypt. The peninsula extends
north into a broad isthmusa strip of land with water
on both sides that connects two larger land masses connecting
Asia and Africa. The Sinais climate is hot and dry
and the land is sparsely vegetated, but rich in minerals.
In ancient times, copper, turquoise, and other stones were
mined in the south. There, too, Egyptian pharaohs of the
New Kingdom left rock inscriptions marking the eastern boundary
of Egypts empire. Mount Sinai, located on the southeastern
side of the peninsula, is said to be the site where Moses
received the Ten Commandments.
Question 13: What body of water is fed by the Jordan River
and lies south of the Sea of Galilee?
Answer: Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is actually a salt lake and covers approximately
400 square miles. It is located on the Israel-Jordan border.
It has the lowest altitude of any point on earth, being 1,292
feet below sea level. The lake is fed by a series of small
streams and the Jordan River, and sits between steep, rocky
cliffs that are over one-half mile high in places. The Dead
Sea is one of the saltiest lakes in the world. In ancient
times, the salt was mined and then traded through Africa
and the Near East.
Question 14: What river flows through the Sea of Galilee
and into the Dead Sea?
Answer: Jordan River
The Jordan River is over 200 miles long. Originating
in Israels Hula Basin in the north, it meanders south
through the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. While the river
is turbulent and deep during the rainy season, it turns into
a slow-moving, shallow stream in the summer. In ancient times,
the Jordan River provided a natural barrier, protecting the
Israelites from invaders who were deterred from crossing
Question 15: What mountain range runs parallel to the
Mediterranean Sea from Lebanon into Syria?
Answer: Lebanon Mountains
The Lebanon Mountain range, approximately 100 miles long,
runs parallel to the Mediterranean Sea from southern Lebanon
into Syria. This range was renowned in ancient times for
the enormous old cedars that extended in a narrow strip for
85 miles along its western slope. In ancient times, years
of harvesting the trees for building material and fuel depleted
all but a small number of the cedar groves.
Question 16: What desert is located between the Sinai
Peninsula and the Dead Sea?
Answer: Negev Desert
This hilly, arid desert region, also called the Negeb
Desert, lies in southern Israel. Covering approximately 5,140
square feet, the Negev Desert typically receives only 2 to
4 inches of rainfall each year. It was in the Negev that
the ancient Israelites lived as nomads, tending flocks of
sheep, herds of goats, and donkeys, until they settled in
Question 17: What term is used to refer to the northernmost
region of the Nile River, which is roughly shaped like a
Answer: Nile Delta
The delta of the Nile River is a triangle-shaped region
located north of Cairo, in northeastern Egypt. Originally,
as many as seven branches of the Nile wound through the delta.
The delta contains 60 percent of Egypts cultivated
land, large areas of marshy wetlands, and shallow lakes.
During ancient times, the Egyptians took advantage of the
regions rich soil, gentle winds, and level landscape
to develop an extremely productive agricultural system.
Question 18: What desert lies mostly south of Egypt between
the Nile River and the Red Sea?
Answer: Nubian Desert
The Nubian Desert is located in northeast Africa, between
the Nile River and the Red Sea. It is an approximately 97,000-square-mile
region of the Sahara Desert. Primarily a sandstone plateau,
this arid region has numerous wadis, or dry watercourses,
which fill with water that flows to the Nile during periods
of heavy rainfall. The ancient Kushites mined copper and
gold from the desert, and traded these metals to Egypt for
linen and grain.
Question 19: What large body of land is bordered on the
northeast by the Persian Gulf, on the southeast by the Indian
Ocean, and on the west by the Red Sea?
Answer: Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is located south of Mesopotamia
and covers 1,000,000 square miles. It is bordered on the
northeast by the Persian Gulf, on the southeast by the Indian
Ocean, and on the west by the Red Sea. It is made of a large
plateau, or raised level land, composed of limestone and
sandstone. The interior is mostly arid desert, while the
coastal regions have a much more humid climate. In ancient
times, the vast stretches of desert on the Arabian Peninsula
prevented complete military conquests of the land.
Question 20: What desert lies west of the Euphrates River
and north of the Arabian Peninsula?
Answer: Syrian Desert
The Syrian Desert lies between the eastern coast of the
Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River valley. It stretches
from southeast Syria to the northern part of the Arabian
Peninsula. In ancient times, nomadic tribes crossed this
vast, arid desert along the trade routes from Mesopotamia
to the Mediterranean coast