From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about a region in Africa, for the city located in Watonwan County, Minnesota, USA, see Darfur, Minnesota.
Darfur (Arabic دار فور, meaning "home of the Fur") is a region of the far western Sudan, bordering the Central African Republic and Chad. It is divided into three federal states within Sudan, Gharb Darfur, Janub Darfur, and Shamal Darfur.
Table of contents [showhide]
2 Economy and Demography
3.1 The Darfur crisis
4 External links
Darfur covers an area of some 196,555 km² (75,890 miles²), with an estimated population of around 3.1 million people. It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3,000 m (10,100 ft), in the centre of the region. The north comprises a sandy desert, while bush forest exists in the south. The region's main towns are Al Fashir and Geneina.
Economy and Demography
Darfur's economy is primarily based on subsistence agriculture, producing cereals, fruit and tobacco as well as livestock in the drier north. The main ethnic groups are the Fur (after whom the region is named), an ethnically African people, and the Arab Baggara. Others include the African Zaghawa, Masalit, and Midob. The Baggara are divided into several tribes. Some of them, such as the Misseiria, speak languages other than Arabic natively. Many of these ethnic groups also have significant populations in neighboring Chad, particularly the Zaghawa and Baggara.
During much of Darfur's history, relations between the African and Arab inhabitants of the region have been tense. Formerly, it was a centre of the slave trade, with the Fur kingdom exporting Africans from other parts of Sudan as slaves to the Arab world. The Arab and African inhabitants of the region have differing economic needs, which has led to clashes: the African peoples are primarily sedentary farmers, while the Arabs are nomadic herdsmen, which has brought them into conflict over access to land and water resources.
The Daju, inhabitants of Jebel Marra, appear to have been the dominant group in Darfur in the earliest period recorded. How long they ruled is uncertain, little being known of them save a list of kings. According to tradition the Daju dynasty was displaced, and Islam introduced, about the 14th century, by the Tunjur (of uncertain, possibly Arab origins (http://www.uni-bayreuth.de/afrikanistik/mega-tchad/Bulletin/bulletin2000/ouvrages/rouaud.html)), who reached Darfur by way of Bornu and Wadai. The first Tunjur king was Ahmed el-Makur, who married the daughter of the last Daju monarch. Ahmed reduced many chiefs to submission, and under him the country prospered.
His great-grandson, the sultan Dali, a celebrated figure in Darfur histories, was on his mother's side a Fur, and thus brought the dynasty closer to the people it ruled. Dali divided the country into provinces, and established a penal code, which, under the title of Kitab Dali or Dali's Book, is still preserved, and differs in some respects from Quranic law. His grandson Soleiman (usually distinguished by the Fur epithet Solon, the Arab or the Red) reigned from 1596 to 1637, and was a great warrior and a devoted Muslim; he is considered as the founder of the Keira dynasty. Soleiman's grandson, Ahmed Bahr (1682-1722), made Islam the religion of the state, and increased the prosperity of the country by encouraging immigration from Bornu and Bagirmi. His rule extended east of the Nile as far as the banks of the Atbara. Under succeeding monarchs the country, involved in wars with Sennar and Wadai, declined in importance.
Towards the end of the 18th century a sultan named Mohammed Terab led an army against the Funj, but got no further than Omdurman. Here he was stopped by the Nile, and found no means of getting his army across the river. Unwilling to give up his project, Terab remained at Omdurman for months. He was poisoned by his wife at the instigation of disaffected chiefs, and the army returned to Darfur. The next monarch was Abd-er-Rahman, surnamed el-Rashid or the Just. It was during his reign that Napoleon Bonaparte was campaigning in Egypt; and in 1799 Abd-er-Rahman wrote to congratulate the French general on his defeat of the Mamelukes. To this Bonaparte replied by asking the sultan to send him by the next caravan 2000 black slaves upwards of sixteen years old, strong and vigorous. To Abd-er-Rahman likewise is due the present situation of Al Fashir, the royal township, which he established as capital in 1791/2. The capital had formerly been at a place called Kobb.
Mohammed-el-Fadhl, his son, was for some time under the control of an energetic eunuch, Mohammed Kurra, but he ultimately made himself independent, and his reign lasted till 1839, when he died of leprosy. He devoted himself largely to the subjection of the semi-independent Arab tribes who lived in the country, notably the Rizeigat, thousands of whom he slew. In 1821 he lost the province of Kordofan, which in that year was conquered by the Egyptians. Of his forty sons, the third, Mohammed Hassan, was appointed his successor. Hassan is described as a religious but avaricious man. In the later part of his reign he became involved in trouble with the Arab slave raiders who had seized the Bahr el Ghazal, looked upon by the Darfurians as their especial slave preserve. The natives of Bahr el Ghazal paid tribute of ivory and slaves to Darfur, and these were the chief articles of merchandise sold by the Darfurians to the Egyptian traders along the road to Asyut. The loss of the Bahr el Ghazal caused therefore much annoyance to the people of Darfur.
Hassan died in 1873, blind and advanced in years, and the succession passed to his youngest son Ibrahim, who soon found himself engaged in a conflict with Zubayr, the chief of the Bahr el Ghazal slave traders, and with an Egyptian force from Khartoum. The war resulted in the destruction of the kingdom. Ibrahim was slain in battle in the autumn of 1874, and his uncle Hassab Alla, who sought to maintain the independence of his country, was captured in 1875 by the troops of the khedive, and removed to Cairo with his family.
The Darfurians were restive under Egyptian rule. Various revolts were suppressed, but in 1879 the British General Gordon (then governor-general of the Sudan) suggested the reinstatement of the ancient royal family. This was not done, and in 1881 Slatin Bey (Sir Rudolf von Slatin) was made governor of the province. Slatin defended the province against the forces of the self-proclaimed Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad, who were led by a Rizeigat sheik named Madibbo, but was obliged to surrender (December 1883), and Darfur was incorporated in the Mahdi's dominions. The Darfurians found his rule as irksome as that of the Egyptians had been, and a state of almost constant warfare ended in the gradual retirement of the Mahdi's forces from Darfur. Following the overthrow of the Mahdi's successor at Omdurman in 1898, the new (Anglo-Egyptian) Sudan government recognized (1899) Ali Dinar, a grandson of Mohammed-el-Fadhl, as sultan of Darfur, on the payment by that chief of an annual tribute of 5o0. Under Ali Dinar, who during the Mahdi's era had been kept a prisoner in Omdurman, Darfur enjoyed a period of peace.
He led a revolt against the British Empire in 1916, declaring allegiance to the Ottoman Empire. This was put down, the sultan was killed and Darfur was incorporated into British-ruled Sudan. It became part of the Republic of Sudan on the country's independence in 1956. After independence, it became a major power base for the Umma Party, led by Sadiq al-Mahdi. In 1994, Darfur was divided into three federal states within Sudan: Northern (Shamal), Southern (Janub), and Western (Gharb) Darfur. Northern Darfur's capital is Al Fashir; Southern Darfur's is Nyala; and Wester Darfur's is Al Junaynah.
The Darfur crisis
The region became the scene of a bloody rebellion in 2003 against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government, with two local rebel groups - the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) and the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) - accusing the government of oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs. In response, the government mounted a campaign of aerial bombardment supporting ground attacks by an Arab militia, the Janjaweed. It was accused of committing serious human rights violations, including mass killing, looting, and rapes of the non-Arab population of Darfur. By the spring of 2004, several thousand people had been killed and hundreds of thousands more had been driven from their homes, causing a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
See Darfur conflict for a more detailed article on the crisis.
Darfur Info (http://www.darfurinfo.org/)
Ideas on the Background of the Present Conflict in Darfur (http://www.afrikafreundeskreis.de/docs/darfur_prof_ibrahim_5_04.pdf) (PDF)
Darfur King List (http://www.hf.uib.no/smi/sa/06/6darfur.pdf)
Gender Dynamics in Darfur (http://www.jendajournal.com/jenda/vol2.1/muhammad.html) (has a lot of background on other matters)
Darfur: The inversion of ethnicity (http://www.ifaanet.org/The%20Inversion%20of%20Ethnicity.htm) (lots of background on ethnic classification)
Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support (http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/07/19/darfur9096.htm) Human Rights Watch