Tuesday, October 18, 2005

History of Sudan

History of Sudan. This is brief history of the troubled African nation of Sudan. In recent years, it is best known for a civil war and the continued practice of slavery.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of the Sudan, or Republic of Sudan (in recent years the definite article has increasingly been dropped in common usage) is the largest country by area in Africa, situated in Northeast Africa. The capital is Khartoum. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest."

From the site:

Sudan was a collection of small, independent kingdoms and principalities from the beginning of the Christian era until 1820-21, when Egypt conquered and unified the northern portion of the country. Historically, the pestilential swamps of the Suud discouraged expansion into the deeper south of the country. Although Egypt claimed all of the present Sudan during most of the 19th century, it was unable to establish effective control over southern Sudan, which remained an area of fragmented tribes subject to frequent attacks by slave raiders.

In 1881, a religious leader named Muhammad ibn Abdalla proclaimed himself the Mahdi, or the “expected one,” and began a religious crusade to unify the tribes in western and central Sudan. His followers took on the name “Ansars” (the followers), which they continue to use today; they are associated with the single largest political grouping, the Umma Party, led by the descendant of the Mahdi, Sadiq al-Mahdi. Taking advantage of conditions resulting from Ottoman-Egyptian exploitation and maladministration, the Mahdi led a nationalist revolt culminating in the fall of Khartoum in 1885. The Mahdi died shortly thereafter, but his state survived until overwhelmed by an Ango-Egyptian force under Lord Kitchener in 1898. Sudan was proclaimed a condominium in 1899 under British-Egyptian administration. While maintaining the appearance of joint administration, the British Empire formulated policies and supplied most of the top administrators.

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