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Elizabeth Heath

Rabih al-Zubayr was born in Sudan, probably near Khartoum, though the details of his early life are uncertain. Some believe that he was originally a slave freed by his master, Zubayr Rahma Mansur, while others think he was born free and joined the Turkic-Egyptian army before working for Zubayr, the largest slave-trader in southern Sudan. He joined Zubayr’s company in 1850 and had become a competent military leader by 1875, when the British declared slavery illegal.

When the British forcibly shut down Zubayr s operations four years later Rabih gathered what was left of Zubayr s slave army and established a raiding stronghold in the Azande region to the west During the 1880s Rabih and his army attacked and pillaged groups such as the Banda and Sara In the early 1890s Rabih defeated a French expedition and conquered the Bagirmi state in present day Chad from which he staged ...

Article

Sudanese warlord and politician, was born to an Arab family in Halfaya Al-Muluk, a village located close to Khartoum. His father came from the Sudanese kingdom of Sennar that the Egyptian forces of Muhammad ʿAli had conquered in 1821 and he served in the Egyptian military before creating his own business manufacturing bricks Rabih served in the Egyptian army like his father after attending qurʾanic school According to some accounts he first met his future patron Al Zubayr Rahma through a game of chess At this point sometime in the mid 1860s Al Zubayr was simply an ordinary merchant who purchased slaves and ivory in the southern Sudanese region of Bahr al Ghazal like so many other Khartoum based traders Al Zubayr later told English friends that the lure of the southern Sudan and points further south drew him like the American West had attracted so many pioneers in ...