The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History

By Walter Z. Laqueur | Go to book overview

SUDANESE NATIONALISM AND SELF-DETERMINATION

by P. M. HOLT

THE MOVEMENT towards self-determination in the Sudan is a very recent development. Less than thirteen years ago there was no Sudanese representative body in existence. It was only a little over ten years ago that the British government formally envisaged Sudanese self- determination -- a possibility that the Egyptian government did not accept until after the revolution of 1952. The final stages in the accomplishment of national independence have all taken place in the period between the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement on February 12, 1953, and the termination of the Condominium on January 1, 1956. The developments which have occurred have resulted from the interaction of two factors: the appearance of a Sudanese nationalist movement and the tension existing between the two nominal partners, Great Britain and Egypt, in the Condominium.


THE MAHDIYYAH, THE SAYYIDS, AND THE SUDANESE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT

Many factors, geographical, historical, and social, have militated against the development of a national consciousness in the Sudan. In a sense the state within its present boundaries is an artificial creation, the product of nineteenth-century conquests and Great Power diplomacy. Within its frontiers are the territories of two former indigenous sultanates: the Funj Kingdom of Sennar, which fell to the forces of Muhammad ' Ali Pasha in 1821, and Darfur, which was finally absorbed only in 1916. Suakin in the east had been an Ottoman possession since the sixteenth century. The remnant of the Mamluks, fleeing from Egypt after the massacre of 1811, retained

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