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The History of The Economy in Pharaonic Times

Publish Date: 04 Apr 2021

Fun facts

 The History of The Economy in Pharaonic Times

Let's know how Pharaohs succeed in different fields!

The Pharaohs are renowned for their extensive knowledge. Ancient Egypt is one of the first civilizations to offer an educational system in different sciences. In addition, the Pharaohs were among the first individuals to unify a method of payment in currencies using gold and copper coins to barter. We continue to discover and learn about more and more aspects of ancient life that we still use today. 



The Pharaonic Taxation System


The economy in pharaonic times relied heavily on agriculture, and thus, this made the Nile River indispensable. Accordingly, the two main items in which taxes were imposed were the mines and farms. All agricultural lands were owned by the king, senior officials, and feudal lords. As peasants were not considered not to have ownership of any land, the responsibility of taxes fell on the feudal lords, who were required to collect and deliver the lands’ return to the royal treasury. If any individual felt at any point  that the taxation amount was too much and seemingly unfair, they then had the opportunity to make an appeal in court. If the appeal was successful, the amount could be significantly reduced.


All taxes were collected in state coffers and correspondingly spent on building and construction projects, such as the construction of royal tombs and the holding of funeral rites. However, this was not the main source of funding because taxation amounts were relatively small, in comparison to the projects.



Ancient Egypt is one of the first civilizations to offer an educational system in different sciences.



Trade In The Era Of The Pharaohs


The importance of the Nile was two-fold; a necessity for farmers, as well as a key pathway for merchants, helping them transport heavy goods such as gold and timber. Any individual could become a merchant, with the opportunity to sell unwanted goods in the markets in exchange for other items. This is quite similar to the concept of a garage sale whereby homeowners sell off unwanted furniture, toys, clothes, etc. Every city in Egypt had a market, and merchants used to move between each, using the Nile or by land to sell their products.



Pharaonic Foreign Trade


As for foreign trade, it first began with the Nubian countries, followed by Palestine and the rest of the Levant, Libya, and Afghanistan, where Egypt imported the Blue Lapis Lazuli Stone. In addition, Egypt imported tin from Anatolia (a part of Turkey today). Trading eventually reached Greece and Crete via the Mediterranean, whereby many products were purchased, including olive oil.


As for trade with African countries, the most famous were the caravans from Puntland (part of Somalia today), where ivory and ebony were exported to Egypt. Egypt did not only purchase goods; it also exported items during this period, the main products being grain, gold, linen, and papyrus.



The Canal Of The Pharaohs 


The Pharaohs understood the importance of linking the Red and Mediterranean Seas and their respective impact on trade. This was the reason behind the digging of the Sesostris Canal, which facilitated their trade with Puntland, Greece, Crete, and Anatolia. This canal is the original idea behind the digging of the current Suez Canal.

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