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Jasmine Dispatch

Greetings, Nubian Queen!

It's been four weeks now of pyramids and pharaohs. We have seen so much-more than 5,000 years of history-but there's more!

What more could there be? Well, King Menes unified Egypt around 3100BC. And though it meant the dawn of a new Egyptian civilization, it also meant the end of the old way of life. The question is "What civilizations and what people did he unify to create a unified Egypt?" That's a question many wonder, but few have been able to answer completely.

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Jaz exploring the beauty of Nubia
One of those peoples, we found out, were the people of Aswan, which used to be called Nubia. They were the "burnt-skinned" or Black neighbors of the fair-skinned Arab Egyptians. They are thought to be related to the Africans of Sudan and Ethiopia.

Kavitha and I arrived in Aswan after a ten-hour, overnight train ride from Cairo. And from the moment we arrived we noticed something very different here: people looked more like me than the people in Cairo. The people had hair like mine, kinked and coarse and dark skin like mine.

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Jaz hanging out with friends
We met some really nice people who lived on Elephantine Island and took a ferry ride from the mainland to this island home for many of the Nubians of Egypt.

The land of Nubia is a desert divided by the River Nile. For want of water and rich soil, most of Nubia has never been able to support a large population for long periods. However, some of Africa's greatest civilizations came from here.

Because the people of this time did not write their own languages until very late in ancient times, we know them only through the investigations of archaeologists and what the Egyptians and Greeks wrote about them.

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Nubian children playing with Jaz
Unfortunately, Nubia began to pose a threat to the Egyptian throne. The Arab Egyptians defeated them in a war and that was the end of Nubia's empire. The Nubians were thought of as inferior to the Arab Egyptians, who often don't even consider themselves Africans.

Despite all that's taken place in history and today, the Nubian people remain strong and proud. They welcome all with open arms, and they taught us so much in the short time we spent with them. Above all, they answered my questions, and I hope they opened your mind to another part of Egyptian history as well!


p.s. - Please e-mail me at


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