Every major empire has one thing in common: trade. Yes, trade relations are of vital importance for the growth and development of Ancient Egypt. This ancient empire had established trade relations from countless countries, from their next-door neighbors to far-away Eastern lands. Here are just some of Ancient Egypt’s former trade partners.
Lebanon is one of the countries that has been part of Ancient Egypt’s maritime trade. Trade relations between these countries have started as early as 5th century BCE. In the fifth dynasty, Pharaoh Sahure has sent trade ships to import cedar wood from this country. Excavations in Memphis and Amarna reveal that Ancient Egypt also imported amphoras from Lebanon. These amphoras were used to transport oil.
Similar to Lebanon, Nubia is another one of Ancient Egypt’s first trade partners. Ancient Egypt has been conducting trade with Nubia since 5th century BCE. Nubia has been a place for gold and incense imports for Ancient Egypt. Nubia’s rich deposits of minerals, building stones, ebony, ivory, and livestock have been an interest for Ancient Egypt as well. Slaves were also bought from Nubia.
Nubia has also housed one of Ancient Egypt’s vital land routes, Darb el-Arbain. This route was used to transport gold, ivory, spices, animals, and others to Ancient Egypt.
During the olden times, Afghanistan was known as Badakshan. Although Afghanistan wasn’t much of strategic importance for Ancient Egypt like Nubia, Afghanistan housed interesting natural resources. One of those resources was lapis lazuli, which Ancient Egypt seemed to have been fond of. Ancient Egypt also imported vegetable oil, eye paints, and cosmetics from Afghanistan.
Ancient Egypt attained great profits from their trade in Africa. In fact, Ancient Egypt had attempted to rule Libya because of these profits. Why was Africa so profitable? What did Ancient Egypt import from Africa?
Africa was situated in a strategic trade location for Ancient Egypt. This is because major trade routes run through Northeast Africa and the Middle East. One example is the maritime trade route connecting Ancient Egypt from Africa. Seafarers can cross the River Nile and the Red Sea to transport goods.
Ancient Egypt had imported different natural resources from Africa, though the most frequent would be wood. Hardwood, like ebony and fragrant lumber, was a popular import of Ancient Egypt at that time.
Punt is another one of Ancient Egypt’s early trading partners. Similar to Lebanon and Nubia, Punt has been trading with Ancient Egypt ever since the 5th century BCE. Historians found that Ancient Egyptians built ships as early as 3000 BCE to trade with Punt and Lebanon.
Punt had been a significant source of myrrh, frankincense and fragrant woods for Ancient Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut had been known to send ships to retrieve myrrh from this country. Queen Hatshepsut had also attempted to produce frankincense, but these efforts ultimately failed.
Aside from fragrances, a shipwrecked sailor foretold of Punt’s other resources. The “Prince of the Land of Punt” had given him perfumes, cassia, ivory tusks, baboons, and other precious things.
Ancient Egypt has been known to trade gold with Asiatic kingdoms. However, instead of asking for natural resources in return, Ancient Egypt asked for political support from these countries. During the Late Period, Ancient Egyptians shipped horses and other domesticated animals to Syria and Asiatic countries.
Interestingly, merchants from Asiatic countries traveled to Egypt to trade. These merchants imported goods from Iran and traded these goods in Egypt. To the Egyptians, the Asiatic merchants were known as Mantu and Amu. These merchants paid tributes in forms of carnelian, lapis lazuli, silver, gold, and other Iranian goods.