Monday, November 30, 2009

Sudan, History (contd-8)

Dinka Model Alek Wek, Dinka author and abolitionist, Frncis Bok

Dinka is tribe in south Sudan. Southern Sudan has been described as "a large basin gently sloping northward", through which flow the Barh el Jebel River (the white Nile), the Barh el Ghazal river anditstributaries, and the Sobat, all merging into into vast barrier swamp. The Dinkas are exceptionally black and tall.
The Vast Sudanese oil areas to the south and east are part of the flood plain, a basin in the southern Sudan into which the rivers of Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia drain off from an iron stone plateau that belts the regions of Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile.
The terrain can be diveded into four land classes :
1. Highlands - higher than the surrounding plains by only a few cms.; are the sites for "permanent settlements ."Vegetation consists of open thorn woodlands and or open mixed woodland with grasses.
2. Intermediate lands : lie slightly below the highlands , commonly subject to flooding from heavy rainfall in the Ethiopian and east/central African highlands; Vegetation is mostly open perrinial grassland with some acacia woodland and other sparesly distributed trees.
3. Toic; land seasonally inundated or saturated by the main rivers and inland water courses, retaining enough moisture throuout the dry season to support cattle grazing.
4. Sudd; - permenent swampland below the level of the toic ; covers a substatial part of the floodplain in which the Dinka reside; provides good fishing but is not available for livestock; historically it has been a physical barrier to outsiders' penetration.
Ecology of large basin is unique ; until recently , wild animals and birds flourished, hunted rarely by the agro-pastoralists.
An example of rainy season temporary settlement. Note the stilts upon which the huts are builtto protect against periodic flooding of the region
The Dinkas usually migrate depending on the climate of the place, its flooding time and dryness of the area. they begin moving around may-juneat the beginning of the rainy season to their "permanent settlements " of mud and thatch housing above flood level where they plant their crops of millet and other grain products.At this time they also creat permanent structure of their cattle byers and granaries. during dryseason , Dec.-jan. every one except he aged and deceased migrate to semi-permanent dwellings in the toic for cattle grazing.
The cultivation of sorghum, millet, and other crops begins when the rains are heavy in June-Aug. Cattle are driven to the toic in Sept. and Nov. when the rainfall drops off; allowed to graze on harvested stalks of the cops.
An example of dry seasn site dwellings. Note the conical roofs that are indicative of these Dinka residences
Religious behavour:
The Dinkas have one god, Nhialic, whospeaks through spirits that take temporary possession of an individual in order to speak through him. The sacrificing of oxen by themasters of the "fishing spear " is a central component of the Dinka.
Age is an important factor . Young men being inducted into adulthood through an intiation ordeal which includes marking the forehead with a sharp object. Also during this ceremony they acquire a second cow-colour name.
Following the war most of the Dinka practice Christianity, over 75 5 and a lot during the civil war.
An example of a cattle byre. Note the immense size of the structure, indicative of a large investment in resources and labor that would only be found in a more permanent settlement

Sudan, History (contd-7)

The people along the Nile river of the kingdoms and great powers have always fought against the the people of inland Sudan for centuries Since atleast the 17th century, central Govt.s have attempted to regulate and exploit the cattle herders of southern and inland Sudan.
When the British ran Sudan as a colony they administered the northern and southern provinces separately. he south was held to be more similar to the other eastern colonies-Kenya, Tangnyika, and Uganda = while northern Sudan was more similar to Arab-speaking Egypt.Northerners were prevented from holding any official powers in the south, and trade was discouraged between the two areas.
However, in 1946, the British gave in to northern presureto integrate the two areas. Arabic was made the language of administration in the south, and northerners began to hold positions in the south. The southern elites, trained in English, resented the change as they were kept out of their own govt. After decolonisation, most power was given to the northern elites based in Khartoum causing unrest to the south.
Secondly, The northerners are Muslim and follow Arab Muslim culture where as southerners are Christians having modern English education. In 1955, due to northern Muslim Arab domination rssulted in a mutiny among southern troops in Equatoria Province. These troops were upset that the Khartoum Govt. had failed to deliver on its promises to Britain that it would create a federal system.
Thirdly, In WWII the natural resources were supplied by the southerners, as ther are significant oil fields.Oilreenues make up at least 70 % of Sudan's export earnings. Moeover due to numerous tributaries of the Nile and heavier precipitation in southern Sudan, the south has also greater access to water and is ,therefore, much more fertile.The north is on the edge of the Sahara desert.A prallel war also raged between the Nuer and Dinka in the south.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sudan, History (contd-6)

Independence and civil wars:
The continued British occupation of Sudan fuelled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash to Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determine to force Britain to recognize a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914 , Hussayn Kamal was declare Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother Fuad I who succeded him. The insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state pbut the British persisted when the sultanate was retitled the kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate these efforts. The Egyptian revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence.Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt's new leaders, Muhammad Naguib , whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abondon its sovereignty over Sudan.The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman whom they believed could resist the Egyptian to allow the Sudanese in the north and south together self determination and a free vote on Independence.
Until 1946 the British empire administered south Sudan and northSudan as separate regions. At this time, the two areas were merged into a single administrative region as part of British strategy in the Middle East.This act was taken without consultation with sutherners , who feared being subsumed by the the political power of the larger north. Southern Sudan is inhabited primarily by Christians and animists and considers itself culturally sub-Saharan, while most of the north is inhabited by Muslims who considers themselves culturally Arabic.
In 1954 the Govt. of Egypt and Britain signed a treaty guaranteering Sudanese Independence on 1 Jan., 1956, in a special ceremony held at the people's Palace where the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag composed of green , blue and white stripes, was raised in their place. Afterwards, Ismail al Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese govt.

Sudan, History (contd-5)

In 1881, Muhammad Ahmed Abdallah, a Sudanes it over the earth.e sufi and son of a boat builder, claimed descent from Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, proclaimed that he was the Mahdi. In Sunni Islam, al Mahdi al Muntazar-a messianic figure who will come at the end of the world to reform Islam and spread it over the earth. He managed to defeat the English backed Egyptian colonial authorities who had ruled since 1820 and established an Islamic state that would outlive the Mahdi himself a in 1898.nd survive for nearly 20 years until its ultimate defeat at the hands of the British army at Omdurman by Lord Kitchener. Sudan was proclaimed a condominium in 1899 under British-
Egyptian administration, the British Empire formulated policies and supplied most of the top administrator.
The Brirish were keen to reverse the process, started under Muhammad Ali Pasha , of uniting the Nile Valley under Egyptian leadership, and sought to frastrate all efforts aimed at further uniting the two countries. During WW II, Sudan was directly involved militarily in
the east during 1940 due to Italy. In 1942, SDF also also played a part in the invasion of the Italyan colony by British and commonwealth forces.From 1924 until independence in 1956 , the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories , the north (Muslim) and south (christian). The last British Governor-general was Sir Robert Howe.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sudan, History (contd-4)

Muhammad Ahmed ibn as Sayyid Abd Allah
In 1820, the Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali Pasha invaded and conquered northern Sudan. Though technically the Wali of Egypt under the Ottoman Sultan, Mohammad Ali styled himself as Khedive of a virtually independent Egypt. Seeking to add Sudan to his domain, he sent his son Ibrahim Pasha to conquer the country, and susequently incorporate it into Egypt. This policy was expanded and intensified by Ibrahim's son, Ismail I, under whose reign most of the remainder of modern day Sudanwas conquered. The Egyptian authorities madesignificant improvements to the Sudanese infrastructure (mainly in the north) specially with regard to irrigation and cottoc production.
In 1879, the great powers forced the removal of Ismail and established his son Tewfik I in his place.Tewfik's corruption and mismanagements resulted in the Orabi Revolt, which threatened the Khedives survival.Tewfik appealed for help to the British , who subsequently occupied Egypt in1882. Sudan was left in the hands of Khedival Government , and the mismanagement and corruption was serious.During the 1870s, European initiatives against the slave trade caused an economic crisis in northern Sudan, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces.
Eventually a revolt broke out in Sudan, led by Muhammad Ahmed ibn Abd Allah , the self proclaimed Mahdi who soght to end foreign presenence in Sudan. His revolt culminated in the fall of Khartoum and the death of the British governor General Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum) in 1885. The Egyptian and British subsequently withdrew forcesfrom Sudan leaving the Mahdi to form a short lived theocracy.
Suud or Swamp also called the Barh el Jebel, in southern Sudan, is a vast swamp formed by the White Nile. The area covered thereby is one of the world's largest wetlands and the largest freshwater wetland in the Nile basin. The word Suud"is derived from the Arabic word "sadd" meaning block. This term is now being usedwidely for large floatng vegetation islands and mats.
It is a thirty thousand sq.kms patch of swampand floodplain in south Sudan.

Sudan, History (contd-3)

Valley near Sinnar
A king of Sinnar in 1821:
During the 1500s, a people called the Funj, under a leader named Amara Dunqus, appeared in southern Nubia and supplanted the remnants of the old Christian kingdom of Alwa , establishing As-Saltana az-zarca (the blue Sultanate), also called the Sultanate of Sinnar. The Blue Sultanate eventually became the keystone of the Funj empire. By the mid-16t h century , Sinnar controlled Al Jazirah and commanded the allegiance of vassal states and trbal districts north to the third cataract and south to the rainforests. Rhe Government was substatiallyweakened by a series of succession arguments and coups within the royal family. In 1820 Muhammad ali of bEgypt snt 4,000 troops to invade Sudan. The Pasha's forces accepted Sinnar's surrender from the lastFunj sultan, BadiVII.
Sennar, a city on the bank of Blue nile

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sudan, History (contd-2)

The Kushite conquest of Egypt: Statue of Amenirids, who was appointed divine wife of Amon at Thebes when her father Pharao Kashata, ruled Egypt. Sphinx of shepenwepet II, representative of the Kushite royalty. The official date for the Kushite conquest of Egypt is not definitely decided. However it is known till Kush had exercised political control over Egypt as early as the 9th century BC. During this period Lower Egypt was ruled by a group of Lybian kings, who were always on the fight over power allocation. These Lybians originally immigrated to Egypt from the Lybia in the twelvth century BC. Then, due to their expertise in war, many of them ended up taking important positions in the Egyptian military forces. Starting from the 22nd dynasty, when Egypt was already weakening , many of those Lybian Militants claimed the official right over the Kingship of all of Egypt. The Kushites took advntage of the deteriorating situations in Egypt, and hence excersised political control. Evidence suggest that the eleven Libyan kings , who were ruling Egypt at thhe time , were in the hands of the Kushite state under superficial titles of Kings turning them into puppet-like agents.
During the 8th century the Kushite kings at the request of the lower Egyptian cult of Amon crushed the rebelling armies of Tefnakht and Oskorn , the strongest and most influential Libyan kings in Lower Egypt.

Sudan, History (contd-1)

Medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai that contrrolled Western Sudan had no fixed geopolitical boundaries or singular ethnic or national identities . The Islamic impact on these empires is usuallly related to the extensive trading networks and trns-Saharan commerce which was developed in the 7th century by Arab and Berbers.The Savanna region is hospitable to both agriculture and livestockbreeding as well as it is ideally situated for trade. Such properties made the region more attractive to Arab from north Africa to impose Islamic culture while seeking for a rich diversity of goods represented in gold and salt as well as searching for grazing land for their animals.
By the 6th century three states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom . Nobatia is the north , also known as Ballanah , had to capital at Faras, in what is now Egypt, the central kingdom , Makuria, was centered at Dunqulah, about 13,000 kms south of modern Dunqulah , and Alawa , in the heartland of old Meroe , which had its capital at Sawba (modern day Khartoum). After many attempts at Military conquest failed, the Arab commander in Egypt concluded in a series of treaties with the Nubians which lasted more nearly 700 years.

Attempt for establishing peace between the two regions of two relions was made even today . The peace agreement between rhe north and south of Sudan was signed in one and half years ago of Sept. 2006.

Sudan, History

Statue of a Nubian King, Sudan
The name Sudan came from the term "Bilad-al-Sudan", meaning "Land of Blacks".The term is a mere derivation of Arabic word "Saoud" which mans "Blacks" representing the skin color of the inhabitants. The Arabs travelers, geographers and historians first wrote the historyof this region.In ancient history Sudan is referred to the area lying from Ethiopia in the east where the kingdom of Iksum used to dominate , stretching to the region off the current Republic of Sudan where the Nubian Kingdom used to dominate.
The period prior to Islamic contact with this reegion, is largely unknown though archaeological remins indicate existence of inhabitants thousands of years ago.About 750 BC , a Kushite king called Kashta conquered upper Egypt and became ruler of Thebes until 740 BC . His successor reunited Egypt and founded a line of kings who ruled Kush and Thebes for about hundred years.

In 590 BC an Egyptian army sacked Napata, compelling the Kushite court to move to Meroe near the sixth cataract.The Meroitic kingdom subsequently developed independently of Egypt and then extended upto third cataract near present day Khartoum.
about AD 350 an Axumite army from Abysinia captured and destroyed Meroe city, ending the kingdom's independent existence.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sudan, Soil

Sudan's endless conflicts are rooted in decades of highly unbalanced development between the north, arab, and muslimand the south , african communities devoted to christianityand animism.Sudan's state funds are often stored in private bank accounts , while the country continuously lacks basic infrastructure. El-Gezira province, 2006.
Environmental impact and ecology degradation due to intensive agriculture have been devastating in the country , 95 % of eastern forests have disappeared to make room for agriculture, and it is estimated that by the end of the century all forests in the northeast regions will disappear compltely. As a consequence of this, thousands of nomads have been forced to migrate to the rural centers in search of work. El-Gaziraprovince, 2006.

The Sudanese Government is consantly blamed for only investing in the Khartoum area, where the ruling elite live . Those living outside the capital hardly see any investments being made into their villages or towns. For many children, the future is something not to be looking for.Northern Sudan ,2006.

Soils : The country's soil can be divided geographically into three categories. These are the sandy soils of the northern and west central areas, the clay soils of the central regions and the laterite soils of the south. Less extensive and widely separated, but of major economic importance, is a fourth group consisting of alluvial soils found along the lower reaches of the White Nile and Blue Nile rivers , along main Nile to lake Nubia, in the delta of the Qash River innthe Kassals area , and in the baraka Delta in the area tawkar near he red sea in Ash Sharqi State.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sudan, Nile (contd-3)

Water: An increasingly Scarce Resource in the Nile basin: As we move into the 21st century , attention was shifted to the question of how to best of us the 80 cubic kms of water that the Nile annually transports from equatorial Africa across the Sahara to the Mediterranean sea . The answers to these questions will most affect Egypt with its rapidly growing population of 65 million people almost totally dependent on ile. Population growth in Egypt is expected to outstrip the water ressources of the Nile early in the 21st century. This problem will be greatly complicated by population and ecnomic growth in he upstream nations of Sudan, Ethiopia and eritrea.
Religious: The Nile plays a prominent role in both the Old and New Testaments. The Hebrew captives made bricks with its mud and Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus sought refuge on its banks. Two of the most interesting Biblical stories about the Nile are Joseph's interpretation of Pharoah"s daughter found the baby Moses.

19th Century exploration: It is hard to believe in this age of satellite that a great deal of attempt waas made to discover the source of the Nile. At first the emperor Nero sent two centurians to follow the Nile to its origin. These returned to Rome and reported that they " came close to immense swamps of which not even the local people knew the end. So tangled and thick were the plants in he waters that it was impossible to proceed either by foot or by boat.The two Romans were blocked by the Sudd in southern Sudan, perhaps the largest swampn the earth.
Finding the source of the Blue Nile was an easier task than the finding of that of the White Nile. Portuguese missionaries were the first Europeansto visit lake Tana, in the early 1600s, and the Scottish explorer james Bruce in 1770 followed the Abay Wenz upstream from lake Tana to the swampy spring which may be considered to be the source of the Blue Nile.
In the early 1800s exploers again tried to penetrate the Sudd but failed. In 1857 the British explorer Burton and Speke left Zanzibaron the coast of what is now Tanzania and headed inland to search for mysterious lake in the interior of Africa. Fighting sickness all the time , Speke separated from Burton to visit a large lake reported to lie to the north. On July 30, 1858 , Speke glimpesed the body of water later to be named after Victoria, the reigning queen of England. He guessed that this was the source of White Nile and rushed back to share the good news with Burton , who argued that Speke had not seen enough of the lake to be sue. they returned to zanzibar together , and Speke returned to England alone where he claimed to have discovered the source of the White Nile and began planning for a second expedition , this time accompanied by Grant. Speke and Grant arrived in Zanzibar in August 1860 and travelled inland. They slowly worked their way around the west side of lake Victoria before glimpsing the the nile issuing from the north side of the lake in july 1862. Although arguments among explorers continued for a few more years , the source of the White nile was resolved.

Why the Nile is so Important ?
Alexander The Great asked the question, what caused the Nile to rise? Julius Caesr said that Alexander wnted to know the source of the Nile. The mystery of the source of the nile was not discovered until 1859. It took the middle part of the last century to know the source of the nile.
Egypt is and was the "Gift of the Nile". Ethiopian mud nurtured a civilisation that flourished for almost 3000 years before the Roman Empire began. Until the Aswan high dam was constructed , the Nille rose and flooded its valley every summer and ancient people wandered why the river would swell during the hottest and dryest time of the year.

Sudan, Nile (contd-2)

How does it compare with other rivers ?
Inspite of its great length and large drainage basin ( 3,000,ooo km2. or about 10 % of Africa, and affecting 9 nations), it carries relatively little water. Yearly flows over the past century ranged from a low of 42 km3 in the drought year of 1984 to a high of 120km3 for 1916. This relatively low flow for such a long river is because no water is added to it north of its confluence with Atbara river ,and much is lost by evaporation . Most other great rivers join with other large streams as they approach the sea, joining their waters into an eve-swelling stream. Instead, the Nile wanders through the largest and most arid region on earth, the Sahara Desert.
Why is it Important ?
Some think that the Nile is the most important river in the world.It certainly touches us
The Nile is the great river of northeast Africa. It begins in wellwatered regions near the equator and flows northward across the terrible Sahara Desert before it empties into the eastern Mediterrranean Sea. It is 4,145 miles long and is the longest river of the world. In 1856 the British Royal Geographical Society commissioned Richard Francis Burton and expeditions they found Lake Ukerewe in 1858 which was renamed, after the Queen, Victoria Nyanza and continuing westwards via Tabora they reached Ujiji and found lake Tanganyika.
John Hanning Speke to look for the sources of the Nile; during their expeditions they found lake Ukerewe in 1858 which was renamed , after the the Queen Victoria Nyanza and continuing westwards via Tabora they reached Ujiji and found lake Tanganyika. The Blue Nile falls fed by lake Tana near the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia forms the upstreamof the blue Nile. It is also known as Tis Issat falls after the name of the nearby village.

The Nile consists of two principal branches - the White Nile and the Blue Nile-which join at Khartoum to form the main Nile. The main Nile consists of the Egyptian Nile and the Cataract Nile. The White Nile, which is the largest segment, may be further subdivided into 1. The central Sudan Region, 2. The Sudd, 3. The lake plateau region.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sudan, Nile River (contd-1)

The word "Nile" comes from Greek word Neilos. In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile is called Iteru,meaning "great river".There are two great tributaries of the Nile, joining at Khartoum: White Nile and Blue Nile. The other tributary is Atbara.White Nile originates from the lake Tana of Ethiopia, in East Africa and is about 500 miles long.It flows only when there is rain in Ethiopiaand dries very fast. It joins the whiye Nile approximately 200 miles north of Khartoum. Its last tributary Atbara joins roughly halfway to the sea. From that point north, the nile diminishes because of evaporation.
The course of the Nile in Sudan is distinctive. It flows over six groups of cataracts, from the first at Aswan to the sixth at Sabaloka (just north of Khartoum)and then turns to flow southward for a good portion of its course , before again returning to flow to the north to the sea making an horse-shoe. this is called the "great bend of the Nile."North of Cairo , the Nile splits into two branches that feed the mediterranean : the Rosertta Branch to the west and the Damietta to the east, forming the Nile Delta.

Two questions were heard since ancient times. 1. Where does the Nile begin ?, 2. What causes the yearly floods that make the river banks so fertile?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sudan, The Nile River

Nile is the longest river in the world, stretching north for approximately 4,145 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean. Studies have shown that the river gradually changed its location and size over millions of years. It flows from the mountains in the south to the Mediterranean in the north. Three rivers flowed into the Nile from the south and thus served as its sources : the Blue Nile, the White Nile, and the Arbara.Within the southern section between Aswan and Khartoum, land which is called Nubia, the river passes through formations of hard igneous rock, resulting in a series of rapids, or cataracts, which form a natural boundary to the south.Between first and second cataracts lay Lower Nubia, and between the second and sixth cataracts lay upper Nubia.At Aswan north of the first cataract the Nile is deeper and its surface is smoother.
The southern Egypt thus being upstream , is callled upper Egypt and northern Egypt being downstream and the delta called lower Egypt In addition to the valley and the delta, the Nile also divided Egypt into the Eastern and Western Deserts. The Nile valley is a canyon running 660 miles longwith a flood plain occupying 4,250 sq.miles.The delta spans some 8,500 sq,miles
and is fringed in its coastal regions by lagoons , wetlands, lakes and sand dunes.
There were several major oeses of the western desert , which comprised about 2/3 of Egypt:and which increasingly became densely populated and agriculurally productive. The eastern Desert was esxploited in Pharaonic times for its rich minerals.The mere mention of the names of the Nile evokes for modern man images of Pyramids, great temples, fantastic tales of mummies and wondrous treasures. But Nile itself is the life to the people of Egypt. The river filled all areas of life with symbolism.

from the earliest times, the waters of the Nile swollen by monsoon rains in Ethiopia, flooded over the surrounding valley every year between June and Sept. of the modern calender.

The ancient Egyptian calender, made up of twelve months of 30 days each, was divided into three seasons, based upon the cycles of the Nile. The three seasons were : akhhet, Inundation, peret, the growing season and shemu, the drought or harvest season. During the season of the Inundation, layers of fertile soil were anually deposited on the floodplain . Chemical analysis habe shown how fertile the land due to the fertile Nile mud, which contains about 0.1p.c. of combined nitrogen, 0.2 p.c. of phosphates anhydrides, and o.6 p.c. of potassium.

Sudan includes islands located in the Nile (including Aba, Badien, Sai, and the confluence of the Blue and white Nile, Tuti islands) and in the Red Sea (including the Suakin Archipelago).

The most important geographical feature of the country is the river Nile.