1899-1918 1939-1956

Sudan, 1919-1939

In the years following the end to World War I, the British administration in Cairo faced an Egyptian populace unwilling to accept the status quo and resentful of British rule; the unilateral British deposition of the Khedive in 1914 had not been accepted by the public. In 1914, the British Government formally recognized Egyptian independence, under Sultan (King) Fuad.
These events had an immediate impact on the Sudan, as, formally, the latter was an Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. However, the British made it clear that they would not give up their hold on the Sudanese administration; Egyptians were effectively barred from serving in leading positions.
Newly independent Egypt held on to the country's old claims over the Sudan. There was dissatisfaction among the Sudanese, too; political organizations such as the WHITE FLAG LEAGUE were founded which envisioned an independent Sudanese nation. In 1924 demonstrations were held, after which White Flag League leader ALI ABD AL-LATIF was arrested. On Nov. 19th, while on a visit to Cairo, Governor-General LEE STACK was assassinated. Egypt then found herself confronted with the ultimative demand to withdraw her officials and forces from the Sudan; while Egypt complied, a Sudanese battalion mutinied; the mutineers, refusing to surrender, all died fighting. The Sudan formally remained a condominium, but in 1924 de facto became a separate unit. Relations with Egypt, especially the question of the Nile water (on which Egypt depends) were regulated in international treaties (1929).
In the aftermath of World War I, the Sudanese-Libyan border was redrawn at Sudanese expense, a British attempt to compensate Italy for Dalmatia.
Irrigation projects were undertaken in the Gazira, in order to extend the grain and cotton production. The Sennar Dam was constructed (1921-1925). The Gezira was connected with the Red Sea by rail. While area where cotton and grain was grown was extended, in the late 1920es and early 1930es, diseases and locusts severely damaged the harvest, in addition to lower prices due to the Great Depression causing a significant fall in state revenues. The administration, in order to reduce costs, reduced her British personnel and hired Sudanese to take their place (SUDANIZATION). Further, salaries paid to officials were cut; a cut which affected Sudanese officials (graduates from Gordon Memorial College) stronger than their British colleagues, much to the dismay of the former. They went on strike, returning to work after the administration conceded to apply a lesser cut in their salaries.
From 1934 onward, the economic situation improved. In 1936 (Italy just had conquered Abyssinia) a treaty with Egypt was signed. Among the Sudanese educated elite, nationalism was the prevailing political view. In 1938 the GRADUATE'S GENERAL CONGRESS was founded (that is graduates of Gordon Memorial College); it was to become a prominent organization in the Sudanese movement for independence.

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
Assassinations of Britons in Egypt 1920-1924, from ACED
British Policy and Mission Education in the Southern Sudan, 1928-1946, by David Sconyers
The Nile Waters Agreement, from Transboundarywaters
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Sudan, by Ben Cahoon
Memoranda on Southern Policy, 1929, 1930, posted by David Sconyers
REFERENCE P.M. Holt, A Modern History of the Sudan, NY : Grove Press 1961, esp. pp.109-124 [G]
Article : Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1919 pp.262-268, 1924 pp.253-258, 1925 pp.259-264, 1926 pp.260-265, 1928 pp.259-265, 1929 pp.262-268, 1932 pp.264-270, 1937 pp.287-293 [G]
Article : Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.809-810, 1928 p.738, 1930 p.730, 1931 pp.720-721, 1932 pp.673-674, 1933 pp.726-727, 1934 pp.558-559, 1935 pp.676-677, 1936 pp.686-687, 1937 pp.660-661, 1938 pp.654-655, 1939 pp.717-718 [G]
Article : Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian, in : New International Year Book 1919 p.652, 1920 p.658, 1921 p.682, 1923 p.722, 1925 p.673, 1928 p.720, 1930 p.739 [G]
Article : Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, in : New International Year Book 1932 p.34, 1933 pp.33-34, 1934 p.33, 1935 p.30, 1938 pp.31-32, 1939 pp.30-31 [G]
Article : Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 p.488, 1933 p.483, 1934 p.489, 1935 p.488, 1936 p.472, 1937 p.474, 1938 p.474, 1939 pp.488, 493 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 8th 2003, last revised on August 23rd 2007

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