chapter  16
29 Pages

Egypt, Nubia, and Tropical Africa

Ancient Monopoly? Most explanations of the origin of the state focus on population growth and competition for land and natural resources. In Egypt’s case, state formation took place where population densities were still relatively low and there was plenty of vacant land, so neither of these factors played a significant role. Egyptologist Barry Kemp (2005) believes that the village farmers of 4000 b.c. had strong ties to their ancestral lands, expressed in deeply symbolic terms. At first, dozens of small communities, each with its own patchwork of farming land, competed and traded with their neighbors.