The Colonial Round: The Opening Scene of Utilizing the Nile Waters Outside Egypt

  • Mina Michel Samaan


The colonial round in the Nile game started with the longstanding configuration shaped by the natural and climatic characteristics (Appendix A) that made Egypt the only actual user of the Nile waters with no considerable competition. However, such a situation, which had persisted for many centuries, was changed gradually by the British occupation of Egypt in 1882. During the 1890s, France’s desire to threaten British interests in Egypt, though unsuccessful, led to the first real attempt to build a dam to alter the water flow to Egypt. Britain then sought to control the entire Nile Basin, either under its direct administration or through concluding agreements with other colonial powers and with Ethiopia. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain’s dominating position on the Nile led to the comprehensive development of cotton cultivation in its colonies across the basin. This was associated with the commencement of the first large irrigation scheme and regulator dams in Sudan, the attempt to build a storage reservoir at Lake Tana, and the generation of hydropower at the outlet of Lake Victoria in Uganda. As a result, the colonial round comprised different scenes of conflict and cooperation over the Nile waters, ranging from the exchange of threats to the conclusion of agreements.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mina Michel Samaan
    • 1
  1. 1.Braunschweig University of TechnologyBraunschweigGermany

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