March 6, 1913: Irrigation for Babylon

March 6, 1913: Engineering News article. The Reclamation of Ancient Babylonia By Irrigation. by Edgar J. Banks. “‘Egypt is the gift of the Nile,’ is a true saying and as old as the history of Herodotus; but the Nile is not the only river which has given a great and famous country to the world. The Tigris and the Euphrates, rising in the mountains of Armenia, have carried down and deposited much of the best of that country at their mouths. It was thus Babylonia came into existence.

It is estimated that the Persian Gulf is growing shorter, or that Babylonia is growing longer, at the rate of a mile every 30 years. There was a time when the Persian Gulf extended northward about 250 miles farther than it does now, or to Bagdad. There, at the city of the Caliphs, the alluvial plain of Babylonia begins, and the rolling, stony Assyria ends. The alluvial Babylonian plain is one of the most fertile lands of the world.

As far back as Babylonian history goes, and excavations in the ruins of the Mesopotamian cities have yielded a mass of records of some 6000 years ago, the fertility of Babylonia was maintained by means of an extensive and intricate system of irrigation canals. Great canals, as large as rivers, ran parallel with the Tigris and Euphrates, and scores of others intersected the valley, connecting the two streams. There was scarcely a corner of the entire country which was not well watered; and more than that, the canals served as waterways for the transportation of the crops.”

Reference: Banks, Edgar J. 1913. “The Reclamation of Ancient Babylonia By Irrigation.” Engineering News article 69:10(March 6, 1913): 468.

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