The Nile River Delta is the northern area of Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. It got its name from early geographers who thought the triangular shape of the area resembled the Greek letter "delta."
The Nile Delta is about 100 miles in length and covers over 149 miles of coastline. According to the World Resources Institute, the Delta only covers about 2.5 per cent of Egypt's total land area, yet over one third of Egypt's total population lives there.
Annual flooding of the Nile River brought fertile soil to the region. Extended periods of high water and periods of drought, however, would destroy crops. In 1970, the Aswan Dam was built to regulate the flooding.
The Nile Delta was once known for an abundance of papyrus reeds along its banks. The ancient Egyptians used papyrus as writing paper. Unfortunately, due to ecological changes in the Delta region, papyrus isn't as abundant as it once was.
The Nile Delta is an important stop for migratory birds. According to the World Wildlife Federation, waterbirds such as the little gull (Larus minutus) and whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybrida) spend the winter there.
In 1799, the famous Rosetta Stone was discovered in the Nile Delta's small village of Rosetta. This engraved stone was the key to unlocking ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.