The Old Kingdom and Nubia c. 2250–2200 BCE

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Map Code: Ax00037

Although hostile nomadic tribes were making Red Sea trade difficult for Egypt, the Wawat region in Nubia was beginning to pose a more serious threat to its economic interests. The corridor to sub-Saharan Africa depended on a compliant Nubia and now the Nile trade route from Elephantine to Yam was threatened by a confederacy of tribal chiefs who wished to evict the Egyptian subjugators. King Menere sent Harkhuf, an official whose job was to secure the movement of goods from Nubia to Egypt, to gather intelligence and investigate alternative trade routes. Alarmed by the danger he encountered while returning through the Wawat region, Harkhuf’s third return to Yam was along the tortuous Oasis Road. His caravan came back laden with exotic goods, including a pygmy for the new child king. The unrest in Nubia continued and in 2200 BCE Pepi II launched a moderately successful campaign to control the confederacy.

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