Page:Problems of Empire.djvu/257

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THE EGYPTIAN QUESTION.

taxpayer in order that half of the fruits of our victories may be reaped by others. But for the pressure of the Anglo-Egyptian forces on the Khalifa's army from the north, Major Marchand would either never have reached the Nile Valley, or would have been annihilated as soon as he got there.

Upper Nile key to irrigation in Lower Egypt.No just appreciation of the whole Egyptian question is possible without considering the value to Egypt of the possession of the Upper Nile Valley. Egypt depends absolutely for its prosperity on irrigation from the Nile. Neither the cotton crop worth—10,000,000l. annually—nor rice, nor sugar, could be grown without summer irrigation, which practically requires the whole water supply of the Nile, that water supply being derived from the great lakes and the Bahr-al-Gazal. Should any extensive system of irrigation be established in the Upper Nile Valley or in the Bahr-al-Gazal, Lower Egypt would probably be ruined. Therefore the power which is responsible for Egypt must control the sources of its prosperity.

Value of the SoudanAs to the intrinsic value of the Soudan, a few words must be said. The country more immediately to the north of Khartoum is a desert, and therefore valueless. The valuable parts of the Soudan are in the Provinces of Kordofan, Darfur, and the Bahr-al-Gazal. Of this latter district, Slatin Pasha, who was Govenor of Darfur, says: 'It is a most fertile district, extending over an enormous area, watered by a labyrinth of streams. The soil is exceptionally good, producing quantities of cotton and indiarubber. There are cattle in abundance, and I estimate the population at between five and six million.' The Province was brought under the Government of the Khedive by Gessi Pasha. He

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