An Atlas of African Affairs

By Andrew Boyd; Patrick Van Rensburg | Go to book overview

10. The Sudan

The Arabs applied the word Sudan, meaning 'blacks', to a belt of territory running right across Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal to the border of Ethiopia (B). Part of this area, long known as French Sudan (or Soudan), is now the new republic of Mali (15). The Sudan republic, independent since 1956, was previously a nominal condominium, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, with Britain the effective ruling power.

Egypt's dependence on Nile water has always made it look anxiously (or ambitiously) upstream (8), and various Egyptian governments conquered and ruled areas along the upper Nile in the past. In the 1880s the Egyptians were driven out by a revolt led by the Mahdi Mohamed Ahmed, a religious leader (4); one of the reasons for Sudanese discontent had been slave trading by expeditions from the north. Britain, already occupying Egypt itself, eventually crushed the Mahdists in 1898 and took over the Sudan.

As nationalism grew stronger in Egypt, Egyptians became less and less content with their minor role in the condominium, and in 1951 Egypt denounced the agreement, proclaiming King Farouk king of Egypt and the Sudan. But in 1953 it was agreed that the Sudan should become independent. Before and after independence, its politics were marked by rivalry between the Khatmia religious sect, whose leaders to some extent favoured union with Egypt, and the Ansar, the followers of the Mahdi's descendants, whose Umma party opposed union. The support for union with Egypt soon dwindled, but sectarian rivalry still troubled politics. In 1958 the army, led by General Abboud, seized power.

There have been outbursts of unrest in the south, whose 3 million inhabitants, mainly pagan or Christian Negroes living dispersed over a wide area with numerous rivers and much forest, have little in common with the 7 million northerners, who are Arabic-speaking Moslems mainly concentrated along the Nile. But the northerners, more advanced in many respects, dominate the Sudan, which is a member of the Arab League and generally oriented towards the Arab rather than the black African world. Khartoum, at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, is the natural centre of the country; just south of it, the Gezira ('island') area between the two rivers was greatly developed under British rule, yielding both grain and cotton from a million acres of irrigation supplied from the Sennar dam.

-66-

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An Atlas of African Affairs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • A. Population 10
  • B. Regions and Barriers 12
  • C. Languages and Peoples 14
  • D. European and Asian Settlement 20
  • E. 'Pre-European' History 22
  • F. Europeans on the Coast 24
  • G. the European 'scramble' 26
  • H. the New Political Map 28
  • I. British and French Heritages 30
  • J. United Nations Activity 32
  • K. Pan-Africanism and Regional Unity 34
  • L. Africa Overseas 36
  • M. Education 38
  • N. Health and Pests 40
  • O. Minerals 42
  • P. Transport 44
  • Q. Power, Development And Research 46
  • 1. the Maghreb 48
  • 2. Morocco and Mauritania 50
  • 3. Algeria 52
  • 4. Tunisia and Libya 54
  • 5. Egypt and Its Neighbours 57
  • 6. Suez Canal 58
  • 7. Suez-Sinai Conflict, 1956 60
  • 8. the Nile 62
  • 9. Egypt 64
  • 10. the Sudan 66
  • 11. Ethiopia 68
  • 12. the Somalis 70
  • 13. West Africa 72
  • 14. Ex-French Africa 74
  • 15. Ex-French West Africa 76
  • 16. 'Equatorial' Africa 78
  • 17. Commonwealth West Africa 80
  • 18- Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia 82
  • 19. Ghana and Its Neighbours 84
  • 20. Nigeria 86
  • 21. Cameroons 88
  • 22. Two Congos 90
  • 23. Post-Belgian Congo 92
  • 24. Lower Congo 94
  • 25. Between the Lakes 96
  • 26. Ruanda-Urundi 98
  • 27. British East and Central Africa 100
  • 28. Uganda 102
  • 29. Kenya 104
  • 30. Tanganyika and Zanzibar 106
  • 31. the Rhodesias 108
  • 32. Katanga and Copperbelt 110
  • 33. Nyasaland 112
  • 34. Angola and Mozambique 114
  • 35. Malagasy (madagascar) 116
  • 36. South Africa and Its Neighbours 118
  • 37. Protectorates and S.W. Africa 120
  • 38. Eastern South Africa 122
  • Index 125
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