The story of Anglo-French rivalry to be the first to take possession of the upper Nile region, in particular the source of the White Nile, which was believed to have bearing on influence in Egypt. The challenges were unimaginable via the route taken by the French under Marchand. Timescales were in months and years rather than days or weeks. Peace had to be made with tribal leaders and emperors who may be inclined to play one European nation against the other at a whim or be adverse to any white man at all. A party hundred or so required thousands of porters each carrying up to 30 kilos, kilos of glass beads for currency, steam boats weighing tons able to be dismantled into hundreds of parts for carrying or dragging along when there was no water. Sometimes they made only a couple of miles a day in territory occupied by cannibalistic tribes, pygmies with poison darts, and tribal leaders hundreds of wives. Boats were subjected to hippo attacks. But what is most surprising to the layman is the fact that this all took place almost into the twentieth century – the time of our fathers and grandfathers. In contrast to the 2 years it took for the French expedition to reach Fashoda (now Kodok), it only took 16 days for one of the party to reach Paris via Egypt from where the Brits arrived second, but with greater resources, at Fashoda. In the end Paris gave way, leading to the entente cordiale but leaving a permanent chip on the shoulder of many.
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