The Ancient World - Egypt

 Some modern scholars maintain that seagoing ships of all kinds are derived from Egyptian prototypes. The earliest recorded voyage by sea took place under the auspices of Pharaoh Snefru about 3200 B.C., where ancient Egyptian records mention the Pharaoh bringing 40 ships from Byblos in Phoenicia. Egyptologists have also discovered hieroglyphics that tell the story of Hannu, who led an expedition from Egypt to the limits of their known world, the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea. This is the first recorded exploring expedition, taking place in 2750 B.C.

Timber was scarce in Egypt, and Egyptian interest in seafaring gradually declined. By the end of the second millennium B.C. the focus of the pharaohs turned inward, and Egyptians essentially ceased sea travel. This did not mean they discouraged trade, for it brought needed goods. It is true that about 600 B.C. an Egyptian king, Pharaoh Necho, planned the most daring of any ancient voyage. However, he felt it necessary to hire Phoenician seamen to undertake the exploration. The Pharaoh instructed the expedition to determine the size of the Kingdom of Egypt. Since they considered everything to the south to be theirs the explorers circumnavigated Africa. Other maritime accomplishments include an ancient canal between the Red Sea and the Nile River that was reopened in 275 B.C.

 

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