“The alluvial deposits of the Nile, during the past thirty centuries, have completely altered the area of the Delta, so that it is continually growing seaward, and adding to the territory of the Khedive. In ancient times, the principal mouth of the river was called Pelusian; and the canal cut by one of the kings – – – the canal of Necho – – – led from Suez to this branch.
After the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra, at Actium, it was proposed that a portion of the fleet should pass through the canal to the Red Sea, which shows the depth of water that those early engineers had secured. Settlers in Colorado and Arizona have recently reclaimed large tracts of barren land by a system of irrigation; receiving from the journals of the day no little praise for their ingenuity.
But, for a distance of 500 miles above Cairo, there stretches a strip of land reclaimed from the desert, and made, according to Professor Carpenter, “the most fertile on the face of the earth.” He says, “for thousands of years these branch canals have conveyed fresh water from the Nile, to fertilize the land of this long narrow strip, as well as of the Delta.” He describes “the network of canals over the Delta, which dates from an early period of the Egyptian monarchs.”
The French province of Artois has given its name to the Artesian well, as though that form of engineering had been first applied in that district; but, if we consult the Chinese records, we find such wells to have been in common use ages before the Christian era.”
H. P. Blavatsky