1882-1898 1919-1939

Sudan, 1899-1918

In 1898/1899 Britain sent armed forces into the Sudan and ended the Mahdist regime. By taking this action, British policy aimed at forestalling French, Belgian (Congo Free State) and Italian attempts to establish their influence over parts of Sudanese territory. Formally Britain accepted the Egyptian claim over the Sudan, where an ANGLO-EGYPTIAN PROTECTORATE was declared.
The Italians withdrew from Kassala (late 1897), which they had occupied, in return for the Anglo-Egyptian recognition of the Italian possession of Massaua (ERITREA); with the CONGO FREE STATE an agreement was reached, according to which the LADO ENCLAVE, formally remaining part of the Sudan, was leased to the Free State; it "returned" to Sudanese administration in 1908 - quotation marks, because the area had never before been under effective Sudanese administration. A French column under Colonel Marchand in 1898 had taken up position at FASHODA on the Nile (where the lines Cape-to-Cairo and Dakar-Djibouti, representing the British and French imperialist ideological aims) crossed. General Lord Kitchener approached with a British force and demanded the French to withdraw; the affair was negotiated between Paris and London, the French giving in after tense negotiations. Thus, Anglo-Egyptian rule over the Sudan was generally recognized, uncontested in the Nile valley, while the Sultanate of Darfur retained a significant degree of autonomy.
The foundation of the new administration was established in the ANGLO-EGYPTIAN CONVENTIONS of 1899, which formally established an Anglo-Egyptian CONDOMINIUM in the Sudan. Ehypt herself being a British protectorate, the British called the shots; all governors general during the duration of the condominium (until independence was granted in 1956) were Britons, the first being LORD KITCHENER, who, when ordered to take command of the British forces in the BOER WAR (1899), was succeeded by REGINALD WINGATE. The seat of the administration was at KHARTOUM.
While the British forces had destroyed the last remnants of the Mahdist forces (1899), many Sudanese expected further mahdies to come, and persons claiming to be 'expected ones' appeared (1903, 1908, 1912); they were arrested and executed. Measures were undertaken to establish or consolidate Anglo-Egyptian rule over areas in the southern Sudan inhabited by non-Muslim African tribes.
In international agreements the borderlines with French Central Africa (1899), with Italian Eritrea (1898, 1902), with Abyssinia (1902) were established. The border with Uganda, a British protectorate, was delimited in 1913, and then altered in 1914 when Sudan ceded parts of the Lado Enclave to Uganda in return for a stretch of territory of northern Uganda.
The British introduced a new administrative body which used English language (in contrast to the previous Arabic). Steps were undertaken to improve the infrastructure; Gordon Memorial College in Kartoum (present Khartoum University) was opened in 1902; a railway connecting the Nile Valley with Suakin (Port Sudan) on the Red Sea was constructed, a modern port constructed at Port Sudan (1906). The railway later was extented into Kordofan (1911). The administration also attempted to promote economic development; between 1900 and 1913 the state revenue grew tenfold. The main export product was Egyptian cotton, grown in the gezira south of Khartoum.

When World War I broke out in 1914, SLATIN PASHA (Rudolf von Slatin, an Austrian national), as inspector general a high-ranking member of the Sudanese administration, had to retire. British officers were withdrawn, civilians permitted to quit their posts if they wanted to enrol in the armed forces.
In November 1914 the OTTOMAN EMPIRE entered the war on the side of the CENTRAL POWERS; Britain responded by deposing the Egyptian Khedive (formally an Ottoman official). The Sudanese administration long had regarded the autonomy of Darfur an obstacle; in 1916 the Sultan of Darfur declared his loyalty to the Ottoman Emperor and called for Holy War against the British. His sultanate quickly was occupied, he deposed (1916). The Sudan experienced a significant raise in her revenue due to rising exports ad good prices.

Timeline, from BBC News; from timelines.ws; Chronology of Sudanese History, from African-American Studies 112A, at UCB; another timeline by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Sudan
Encyclopedia of the Orient : Sudan
History of the Sudan, from Sudan Home, 11 chapters; from Country and People of Sudan, concise; from Sudan Net
Article Sudan, from EB 1911; from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition
Biography of Reginald Wingate, from EB 1911
Slatin Pasha, from Virtual Vienna (Brigitte Hilgner); from EB 1911
Article Lado Enclave, from EB 1911; Coat of Arms of Lado Enclave, from International Civic Arms; Flag of Lado Enclave from FOTW
History of Khartoum University, from Khartoum University
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Sudan, by Ben Cahoon
From British Military Medals : Khedive's Sudan Medal, 1896-1908
REFERENCE P.M. Holt, A Modern History of the Sudan, NY : Grove Press 1961, esp. pp.109-124
Article : Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 pp.990-991 [G]
Article : Sudan, in : New International Year Book 1907 p.751, 1908 pp.673-674, 1909 p.678, 1913 p.666, 1914 p.674, 1916 p.665, 1918 p.625 [G]
Article : Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, in : Statesman's Year Book 1910 pp.1303-1306, 1918 pp.257-263 [G]
News from the Sudan, from "The Great Round World and What is Going on in it", Vol.III No.14, April 1899, pp.466-469, 472-473 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 8th 2003, last revised on September 15th 2008

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