Egypt and the Sudan


Followers of the Mahdi (Arabic, helper or follower)

ardeb A unit of capacity in many Islamic countries. In the Sudan about 5 1/2 bushels.
ashraf A name given to relatives of the Mahdi
asida Sorghum mixed with water into a paste onto which was poured a strong sauce of spices and peppers. Eaten with meat and milk in the Sudan.


Tail of turban hung behind left ear as a mark of being a Madhist.

Baggara Cattle owning Arab tribes living south of Darfur and Kordafan
beia The oath of allegiance to the Mahdi


Major in the Egyptian army

curbash Whip made from rhino hide
dem Mahdhist camp
Dervishes Soldiers of the Mahdhi (Arabic, poor men)
dragoman An interpreter or guide who  speaks Arabic, Turkish, or Persian used especially in the Near East (Aramaic, turgemana)
durra A kind of millet eaten in the Sudan
effendi A man of property, authority, or education in an eastern Mediterranean country (Turkish efendi master)
farda A cotton or woollen shawl


Common soldiers in the Egyptian Army, also Arabic or Egyptian peasant  (Arabic fallah)


Plural of fellah

felucca A sharp-prowed, three-masted, lateen-rigged coasting vessel of north Africa (Italian feluca)
gellabas (or jellaba) West African pilgrims working their way across the Sudan heading for Mecca
Haddendowa Sudanese tribe, the famous Fuzzy-Wuzzys, due to their large hair style
hamattan Dry, Sahara wind



jebel Hill or mountain


Rough Sudanese robe


Mahdist rifle units pre-1892

kadi A judge during the Mahdiya


Lieutenant colonel in the Egyptian army


Straw belt


Turkish ruler of Egypt 1867-1914 (Turkish hidiv)

Mahdi Sudanese messiah (Arabic mahdIy, one rightly guided)
Mahdiya The years 1885-98 when the Sudan was ruled by the Mahdi and Khalifa
mudiria Building in which the district governor lived or worked 
mulazem Servent/bodyguards who served the Mahdi and Khlifa, plural mulazemin


Madhist rifle units post-1892

muslimaniya Christians who converted to Islam
ombeya Horn made from an elephant tusk
pasha A man of high rank or office in Turkey or North Africa (Turkish pasa)
ras Ethiopian prince
ratib The book of sayings of the Mahdi


Flag, used to designate Mahdist military groupings, as in the Black Flag force or the Green Flag force, etc.

rekuba A light hut



shebba ( shaybe) A forked pole fastened to the necks of slave to prevent escape
ship of the desert Camel


White trousers

sirdar Commander of the Anglo-Egyptian army ((Hindi sardar, from Persian)


Land of the blacks (Arabic)


Skull cap


Fez-like hat (Arabic tarbush)

Turkiya The era when the Sudan was ruled by Egypt, 1821-85


French-Canadian boatmen imported for the Nile expedition.

xebec, zebec A north African coasting vessel having three masts and a combination of lateen and square sails. (modification of French chebec, from Arabic shabbak)


Improvised enclosure of thorn bushes (Arabic zaribah enclosure)

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