THE KINGDOM OF KUSH
At the confluence of the Blue Nile, White Nile and River Atbara in north Sudan, there existed a mysterious ancient kingdom believed to be an extension of the Egyptian civilisation spread along the Nile valley. It was known as the Kingdom of Kush, and its people were the Nubians. In the 8th century King Kashta invaded Egypt and ruled it for almost a century. The Kushite imperial capital was located at Meroë, on the east bank of the Nile. And as the first pharaohs of an ancient civilisation extending from the north-east of Sudan to Alexandria, they built thousands of pyramids and tombs during their 5,000 year long history. The Nubian pharaohs also preserved valuable cultural heritage throughout the Nile valley including the temples of Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, and Jebel Barkal. It is a mesmerising and sophisticated history documented through architecture, crafts, pottery and the tale of a courageous army skilled in the discipline of archery. Remarkable archaeological discovery has uncovered a 2,000 year old Nubian city. The discovery is important in showing the extent of trade this African civilisation had with the outside world.
The Kushite traded in gold, ivory, textiles animal skin and highly decorative crafts, with all the civilisations of classical antiquity including the Greeks and Romans. Hence, the powerful Kushite emperors of the 25th dynasty of Egypt, remained until they were finally expelled by the Assyrians under the rule of Esarhaddon. Known as masters of war, these ancient warriors of Mesopotamia were undefeatable because they were brutal savages on the battlefield. Assyrian armies had been the best in the world since the 14th century BC, and thus were able to conquer the vast Kushite territory with surprising speed. They also had a large fleet of chariots which were the supreme military weapon. At the time the Kingdom of Kush was ruled by King Taharqa who was chased out of Egypt back south. But it has been suggested that the Nubians were tempted to meddle in the internal affairs of other nearby civilisations, in their ambition to conquer more land. That’s why they became a target in the ancient world. Subsequently, the Kushite empire continued to exist as an influential power along the banks of lower Egypt for several centuries after that. But eventually, internal disputes weakened the kingdom and began its slow decline.