Flashpoint for Conflict
Darfur remained an independent Sultanate until 1916. Like the Baggara of Kordofan, the Fur people of Darfur regarded the non-Muslim peoples of the south as potential slaves - even the Fertit, originally kinsmen of the Fur who had fled southwards.
In the old Fur Sultanate, the ruling elite owned slaves as domestic servants, as labourers for "weeding, harvesting and the local herding and watering of animals", and as soldiers.
They supplied slaves to merchants from Egypt and Khartoum, and gave them as gifts to royal guests.
As well as the Baggara, freemen from the Fur led horseback raids into Bahr al-Ghazal to capture slaves, who were often taken to market in Kobbei, a day's journey north-west of the Darfur capital al-Fashir.
Anglo-Egyptian forces re-conquered Sudan
in 1898. Slave raiding and trading were virtually ended, but existing cases
of slavery and exploitation of slave labour continued into the early 20th
century. It is reported that many of the men who fought in General Kitchener's
army in 1898 were slaves.
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