This book is a detailed and original study of the creation of the province of Equatoria, located in present-day Southern Sudan. No detailed account has previously been published on the effort to conquer and create a new Egyptian province in the 1870s in the interior of Africa, despite its importance to the history of the on-going northsouth conflict in the Sudan. The annexation of Equatoria emerged from the Khedive (viceroy) Ismails aspiration for an African empire that would control the source of the White Nile at Lake Victoria. At the time he was under pressure from the British government to suppress the lucrative slave trade in the Turco-Egyptian Sudan, and to this end the new province was to be under direct control of Cairo and not the authorities in Khartoum. The two conquering expeditions of Equatoria were led by Britons, Samuel Baker and Charles Gordon (later Governor-General of the Sudan). With them were other Europeans, Americans, Sudanese and Egyptians. Baker, Gordon and some of the others left detailed accounts of their experience in the region.
All of which contribute to our knowledge not only of the difficulties involved in the annexation of a region thousands of kilometres from Cairo, but also geographical data and a record of the complex human relations that developed between the men involved in the expeditions, and the creation of the new province. Official documents from the Egyptian state archive, Dar al-Wathaiq, provide detailed accounts of the politics of the annexation of Equatoria, and these accounts are discussed in their historical context.
Dr Alice Moore-Harell is an independent researcher, after retiring from teaching at the Department of Islam and Middle East, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She is the author of the well received Gordon and the Sudan: Prologue to the Mahdiyya 18771880 (Frank Cass, 2001).