In the 6th century BCE, the Kushites were forced south by the Assyrians and settled in the Butana region of the Nile. Here they built the city of Meroe, which rapidly grew to become a wealthy trading centre. Meroe accommodated traders from sub-Saharan Africa and countries such as India and China. Towns grew up around the trading routes and had their own temples and statues, such as the stone lions at Basa. The kingdom also had mineral resources, such as gold and ore, and became well known for its metal-working. Over time, the Kushites became more ‘Africanized’ and created a hybrid culture, with their local gods a mixture of Nubian and Egyptian deities. They used the old necropolis at Kurru as a royal cemetery, having being driven out of Napata. Their empire, which lay at the confluence of major trade routes, acting as an entrepot between Egypt and the African interior, flourished until 350 CE.
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