What Did Egypt Trade in Ancient Times?

Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, was known for its rich resources and trade. The country’s location made it a center for trade between Asia, Europe, and Africa. The ancient Egyptians traded a variety of goods, including precious metals, oils, perfumes, textiles, and food items.

Precious Metals:

Egypt was rich in gold and silver mines. Gold was considered to be a symbol of immortality and was used to decorate tombs and temples.

Silver was also highly valued but not as much as gold. These precious metals were exported to other countries in exchange for other goods.


Egyptian cotton was known for its quality and durability. It was used to make clothing and bed sheets.

The country’s linen industry was also famous. Linen is made from flax plants that grew along the Nile River banks.

Oils and Perfumes:

Egyptians were experts in making cosmetics such as oils and perfumes. They used natural ingredients like flowers, fruits, spices, and resins to make these products. These cosmetics were exported to other countries in exchange for goods like timber.

Food Items:

The Nile River provided an abundance of fish which was a significant source of food for Egyptians. They also produced crops like wheat, barley, beans, lentils that were traded with neighboring countries like Greece and Rome.


Egypt lacked forests due to its arid climate; thus it had to import wood from other countries like Lebanon or Syria where timber was abundant.


Egypt had a rich source of gemstones such as turquoise which were popular among the royalty Egyptians also imported gemstones like lapis lazuli from Afghanistan or carnelian from India.

The Trade Routes

The Nile River played an essential role in the country’s trade. It served as a transportation route for goods from the southern parts of Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile’s delta area was a hub for trading centers like Alexandria, which became a significant center for trade with other countries.


Egypt was one of the wealthiest countries in ancient times because of its resources and trade. Its location made it a vital center for trade between Asia, Europe, and Africa.

From precious metals to textiles, food items to gemstones, Egypt traded an array of goods with other countries. The country’s contribution to global trade is still felt today.