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The side of a levee in Sacramento, California

A levee, or levée, is a raised bank of a river. A levee (European name: dike) offers protection against floods. There are two types of levee: Riverdikes and seadikes. The seadike was invented in Holland in 1277.

The first dikes were built in ancient Mesopotamia. The levees they used were earth walls and gave protection against the meltwater. 3000 years ago levees were used in ancient Egypt for irrigation systems.

'Levée' comes from the French verb lever, "to raise". Other names are 'floodbank' or 'stopbank'. It is a natural or artificial wall, usually earthen, and often parallels the course of a river.[1] The term "levee" came into English use in New Orleans circa 1672. The word dike comes from the Dutch verb dijk.

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References[change | change source]

  1. Henry Petroski (2006), Levees and other raised ground, vol. 94, American Scientist, pp. 7–11