Politically Western and Central Soudan are divided into eight independent and semi-independent states, which in their order from west to east are as under:


Bambarra, divided into two nearly equal sections by the Joliba, which traverses it from southwest to northeast, is ruled by the Negro Bambarras of Mandingo stock. It has recently been brought under the influence of the French penetrating eastwards from their possessions on the Senegal. The capital is Sego, on the right bank of the Joliba.

Moasmna, Gando, Sokoto, Adamawa

Moasmna, Gando, Sokoto, Adamawa, the four so-called “ Fu-lah States,” occupy the Niger basin between Bambarra and the Binue confluence, the whole of the Binue basin, and the region lying between the Niger and Bornu. Moazmna (Massina) lies on both banks of the Niger from Bambarra to Kabara, the port of Timbuktu, and is peopled by Fulahs, Bambarras, and Sonrhais; capital Hamda-Alahi, on the right bank of the Niger, below Jenne, which is its chief trading place. Timbuktu, with surrounding district constitutes a separate territory governed by a kadia, or hereditary mayor, who lately sent an envoy to Paris for the purpose of seeking French protection against the rival Tuareg and Fulah tribes. Gando, so called from its capital on an eastern tributary of the Niger, stretches along the main stream southwards to the Binue confluence, including the Nufe territory and part of Yoruba. The lower part is extremely fertile, abounding in cotton, indigo, rice and all varieties of African grains. It comes within the limits of the region over which the British protectorate has recently been extended. Besides the capital, there are several large towns, such as Bida (30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants) in the north; Rabba (40,000 to 50,000), head of the steam navigation on the Niger, and a chief station on the great trade route running from Lagos on the Guinea Coast northwards to Gando and Sokoto; Egga (8000), on the left bank of the Niger, centre of the British trade; Lokoja, facing the Binue confluence, an English factory, headquarters of an Anglican mission and seat of a Negro bishop. Sokoto, sometimes spoken of as the u empire of Sokoto,” is the largest and most powerful of all the Soudanese states, stretching from Gaudo to Bornu, and from the Binue northwards to the Sahara (see Sokoto). In it are absorbed all the former “ Haussa States,” and to it Adamawa is also tributary. The inhabitants are chieflv Fulahs and Haussas, intermixed with many aboriginal Negro peoples, especially in the south and southeast. The land is generally fertile, yielding rich crops of cereals, cotton, tobacco, indigo, sugar, yams, black pepper, gineer, melons. The capital and residence of the sultan is Sokoto, in the extreme northwest. Other large towns are—Katsena, before the Fulah invasion a place of 100.000 inhabitants, now reduced to 7000: Kano, in Barth's 100,000 inhabitants, now reduced to 7000; Kano, in Barth’s time the “ London of Soudan,” and still with 50,000 souls (Matteucci); Wornu (15,000); Gombc, in the province of Calam (20,000); Yokoba, or Garu n-Bauchi (150,000); Keffi Abd es-Senga (30,000), in Zegzeg, a great centre of the ivory trade, and converging point of the two great caravan routes from the north (Kano) and the west (Egga). Adamawa, so named from its Fulali conqueror Adainaand formerly known as Fumbina, or “Southland,” is ruled by a Fulah vassal of Sokoto, who keeps in subjection the Battas and innumerable other Negro peoples; it lies between Sokoto, Borau and Baghirmi, merging southwards in the unexplored equatorial region back of the Cameroons. The capital is Yola, at the northern foot of Mount Alantika. Adamawa appears to be one of the finest and healthiest regions in Africa, splendidly diversified with lofty highlands, fertile valleys, and grassy plains, overgrown in some places with forests of bananas, baobabs, and plantains, in. others yielding abundant harvests of cereals, cotton, and indigo. The horses and cattle introduced by the Fulahs thrive well on the rich pastures, and elephants abound in the woodlands.


Bomn with Kanem, in the north, now reduced, and the tributary state of Ij>gon in the south, completely encircles Lake Tchad, except at the southeast corner, where Baghirmi is wedged in between Logon and Wadai; it is mostly aflat,low-lying region with fertile plains yielding durrah, maize, cotton, and indigo, watered by the Komadugu, Logon, and Shari, all of which flood their banks for miles during the rainy season. The ruling race are the Kanuri, cultured but fanatical Mohammedans of mixed Tibu and Negro stock. The capital of Boron is Kuka (50,000 to 60,-000 inhabitants), near the west coast of Lake Tchad, a great centre of Soudanese trade with the Sahara and Tripolitana, and terminus ofigthe main caravan route from Murzuk [/] (Tezzan) across the desert to the Tchad basin; the capital of Logon is Logon-birui, residence of a vassal prince. Population of Bornu estimated at 5,000,000.


Baghirmi, a Negro state, since 1871 tributary to Wadai, comprises the rich and well-watered plains of the lower Shari, with undefined southern limits. Capital Masena; population about 1.500,000, of whom three-fourths Baghirmi the rest Kotokos, Fulahs, and Arabs.


Wadai, a powerful Mohammedan state occupying the whole region between Baghirmi and Kanem in the west and Dar-Fur in the east, and claiming exclusive ivory and and slave-hunting rights in the southern (upper) Shari basin. The capital is Abeshr, on a head stream of the Batha. The coantry is mainly a hilly plateau rising to 3000 feet above the sea, and yielding good crops of maize, dakhn, durrah, cotton, indigo. Population four to six millions, chiefly Mabas and other Negroes, and numerous Arab tribes, with some scattered Baghirmi, Fulah, and Kanuri settlements.

Eastern Soudan

Eastern Soudan, comprising Dar-Fur, Kordofan, Senaar, Taka, and the Negro countries on the White Nile and its southwestern tributaries, respectively called the Equatorial sod Bahr-Gazal Provinces, belonged politically to Egypt till the rebellion of the late Mahdi. Since his death in 1885 most of these provinces appear to have lapsed into a state of anarchy and barbarism, in which few vestiges remain of the peace and order introduced by the European officers of the khedive. The Equatorial Province, however, and the Suakin district have been exempt from these troubles, —the former being still held till 1886 by the governor, Emin Bey, for the khedive, while in the latter the natives themselves succeeded in the same year in putting down the “ rebels ” or party of Osman Digma. For details of Eastern Soadan, see articles Nile, Nubia, and Senaab. (a. h. k.) [22.292-93]


“Egypt.” The Encylopædia Britanica or Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Maxwell Sommervile: 1894. 25 vols. Hathi Trust Digital Library online version of a copy in the University of New York Public Library. Web. 20 August 2020.

Last modified 20 August 2020