The Sudan Handbook by John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo, Jok Madut Jok

By John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo, Jok Madut Jok

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The official might well need to know who lived in a place, the name for a river, or the time of year when people planted certain crops. The Sudan Handbook, edited by John Ryle, Justin Willis, Suliman Baldo and Jok Madut Jok. net). 36 the sudan handbook And they took copious notes on such things. But the nature of the project was decided by the superior knowledge brought by the state and its experts, just as the defining elements of the map – the need for borders, unambiguous names, points and lines – were ordained elsewhere.

For hundreds of years, the belt of Africa south of the Twentieth Parallel North had been known generally as Bilad al-Sudan, ‘Land of the Blacks’, but on the largely empty spaces of the maps which showed the territories south of Egypt there were multiple names – Nubia, Kordofan, Sennar, Darfur. For want of any other general term to describe the realm over which Muhammad Ali and his descendants gradually, and erratic­ ally, asserted their control from the 1820s to the 1870s – a realm that included the ancient centres of civilization in the Nile valley, the deserts of the north, the forests of Equatoria and the swamps and savannahs in between, and whose inhabitants included Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims, city dwellers and nomads and sedentary farmers – in the absence of a term to signify this vast realm, the word ‘Sudan’ crept into use, first in Egypt, then in Europe.

It is also possible that the waters of the Nile may become a source of international conflict. Sudan is one of nine countries involved in the Nile Basin initiative (an independent south Sudan would make this ten), which has attempted to renegotiate the international agreements that regulate the use of water by riparian states. The agreements give Egypt and Sudan the right to the lion’s share in the use of the Nile waters. 5 billion cubic metres. 5 billion cubic metres, the claims of the two northernmost riverain countries account for almost 90 per cent of the annual flow of the Nile.

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