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History of Sudan (1821–1885)


The History of Sudan under Muhammad Ali and his successors traces the period from Muhammad Ali Pasha's invasion of Sudan in 1820 until the fall of Khartoum in 1885 to Muhammad Ahmad, the self-proclaimed Mahdi. This era of Ottoman control is commonly known as the Turkiyah.

Although a part of present-day northern Sudan was nominally an Egyptian dependency during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, previous Egyptian rulers had demanded little more from the Sudanese Kashif than the regular remittance of tribute. After Muhammad Ali crushed the Mamluks in Egypt, a party of them escaped and fled south. In 1811 these Mamluks established a state at Dunqulah as a base for their slave trading.

In 1820 the Sultan of Sennar informed Muhammad Ali that he was unable to comply with the demand to expel the Mamluks. In response Muhammad Ali sent 4,000 troops to invade Sudan, clear it of Mamluks, and incorporate it into Egypt. His forces received the submission of the Kashif, dispersed the Dunqulah Mamluks, conquered Kurdufan, and accepted Sannar's surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII. However, the Arab Ja'alin tribes offered stiff resistance.


'At-Turkiyyah' (Arabic: تركية‎‎) was the general Sudanese term for the period of Egyptian and Anglo-Egyptian rule, from the conquest in 1820 until the Mahdist takeover in the 1880s. Meaning both 'Turkish rule' and 'the period of Turkish rule' it designated rule by notionally Turkish-speaking elites or by those they appointed. At the top levels of the army and administration this usually meant Turkish-speaking Egyptians, but it also included Albanians, Greeks, Levantine Arabs and others with positions within the Egyptian state of Muhammad Ali and his descendants. The term also included Europeans such as Emin Pasha and Charles George Gordon, who were employed in the service of the Khedives of Egypt. The 'Turkish connection' was that the Khedives of Egypt were nominal vassals of the Ottoman Empire, so all acts were done, notionally, in the name of the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul. The Egyptian elite may be described as 'notionally' Turkish speaking because while Ismail Pasha, who conquered Egypt, spoke Turkish and could not speak Arabic, Arabic rapidly became widely-used in the army and administration in the following decades, until under the Khedive Ismail Arabic was made the official language of government, with Turkish being confined only to correspondence with the Sublime Porte. The term at-turkiyyah ath-thaniya (Arabic: التركية الثانية‎‎) meaning 'second Turkiyyah' was used in Sudan to denote the period of Anglo-Egyptian rule (1899-1956).


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