Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Kordofan

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KORDOFAN, or THE WHITE LAND, lately a province of the Egyptian Sudan; separated from Sennaar on the E. by the White Nile, and from Dar-Fûr on the W. by a strip of desert; area estimated at 41,500 square miles; pop. about 300,000. The province is traversed by no rivers; but water is found almost everywhere at a comparatively short depth. The chief produce of the soil is millet, the principal food of the inhabitants. Gum trees, mimosas, thorny plants abound, but there is no forest timber. Gums, hides, ivory, ostrich feathers, and gold are exported. Three-fifths of the population are settled; the rest are nomadic. The aborigines belong mainly to the Nuba stock, but use a negro tongue and are mostly pagans. There is a large element of nomad and slave-hunting “Arabs,” Moslems in faith. The capital is El-Obeid. In the end of the 18th century Kordofan was conquered by the ruler of Sennaar, then by the sultan of Dar-Fûr; in 1821 it was annexed by Mehemet Ali of Egypt, but was lost to the Egyptians by the Mahdi's revolt in 1883. When the Egyptian Sudan was officially organized in 1899, Kordofan became one of its provinces.