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Title: The Sudan and the Mahdist Revolution of 1881-1885
Author: Shibeika, M. E.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1949
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Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi started a religious revolution in the Egyptian Sudan in 1881. The idea of a Messiah called al-Mahdi had been known among the Moslems for a long time. Social, economic and political conditions in both Egypt and the Sudan were favourable to the success of the Revolution. The rule in the Sudan was oppressive, the Egyptian Empire was too large and unwieldy, the financial policy of Khedive Ismail resulted In increasing influence of European powers, and a mutiny in the army had brought about the British occupation. Al-Mahdi won brilliant successes over the Egyptian Government in the Sudan before the British occupation, because of the religious fanaticism of his followers and the inefficiency of the Egyptian soldiers; the latter were handicapped by the fact that they were Moslems fighting against an expected Messiah. Immediately after the British occupation, the Egyptian Government fitted out an expedition composed of soldiers from the disbanded army, but they were defeated by al-Mahdi. The attitude of the British was neutral towards the question of the Sudan, but after the annihilation of the above expedition by al-Mahdi, they decided that Egypt should evacuate the Sudan, General Gordon was sent to carry out the policy of evacuation, but he was trapped in Khartum and besieged for several months. Gladstone's Government, after much hesitation, ordered an expedition for his relief. However, Khartum fell, and Gordon was killed before the relief could reach him. The British Government first decided on smashing al-Mahdi's power, in spite of Gordon's death, but finally evacuated that part of the country which they had occupied. Their decision was partly due to the fact that they had no special interests in the Sudan, and partly to their difficulties with Russia over Afghanistan.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: African History