July 21, 1970 – Aswan High Dam completed

July 21, 1970 – Aswan High Dam completed

After 10 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt is completed on July 21, 1970. The dam’s 12 Soviet-built turbines were designed to provide enough power to make Egypt self-sufficient. It was hoped that in controlling the waters of the Nile, the massive dam would protect against drought and flooding.

However, by decreasing flooding the dam actually hurt agriculture, because the Nile’s rich fertilizing silt no longer was periodically deposited on farmlands. Nevertheless, the Aswan High Dam has been a tremendous boon to the Egyptian economy, producing as much as 10 billion kilowatt-hours annually. Lake Nasser, the reservoir created by the dam, was named in honor of Egyptian president Gamal Abdal Nasser and is 300 miles long and 10 miles wide.