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5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive History of Darfur, 12 Oct. 2013
By 
Muna Zaki (Khartoum, Sudan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Darfur Sultanate: A History (Hardcover)
This book builds on R S O'Fahey's earlier work on the Keira Sultanate of Darfur of which he is clearly an expert. The main part of the book ends with the demise of Sultan Ali Dinar after the British invasion of 1916 but there are some reflections on the circumstances that led up to the recent crisis in Darfur. The reader can not help sharing the writer's feeling that the destruction of local archives at El Fasher in the 1980s were an enormous loss to understanding the history of Darfur both before and during the colonial period. O'fahey touches on the neglect of the province during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium and points to the complexities of the current conflict.

The author's professional training as a historian is evident and the book includes comprehensive footnotes which explain in full the sources he has used and how he came to his conclusions. Much of the book is organised around themes such as the power structure of the sultan's clan in relation to the rest of the community and the role of Islam. But there are also chronological chapters that describe the fractious nature of the sultanate down the centuries leading up to its invasion in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Much of the book is so detailed and includes so many references to people and places that I sometimes felt overawed. But the general theme of each section is never lost. I suspect that this book will be studied long after journalistic attempts to describe this region have been forgotten. O'Fahey is a historian par excellence!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Darfur History, 21 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Darfur Sultanate: A History (Hardcover)
The history of governance in Darfur dates back to the Daju era in c.1050 to 1350 when their capital Semna was destroyed by the Nubian king. A new capital was established in Jebel Marra where the Daju introduced a new system of administration never known before in this part of the world. The Daju sultanate first established in Jebel Marra then moved to Um-Kurdoos then the story of the antelope took place in which the well-known sultan of Darfur, Omar Kasifrogé, rode the antelope and disappeared into the jungles until found dead in Gozbeida now in eastern Chad where a new Daju sultanate was established known as Dar Sila sultanate from then until destroyed by the French troops in 1916.

The Daju sultanate in Darfur was replaced peacefully by the Tunjur sultanate about 1351 to 1444 and its capital was in Uri. Though confusing, the story of the Hilali legend, Ahmad al-Ma'aqur, who had been found injured and brought to the Sultan of the Tunjur shade foggier boundaries in the relationships between the Tunjur and the Fur. Al-Ma'aqur married Kheira, the daughter of the sultan, Shau Dorshet, and begot Sulyman who enthroned in c.1445. The long era of the Fur sultanate had continued until invaded by Zubeir Pasha, during the Turko-Egyptian condominium. The sultanate was restored again by Ali Dinar in 1898 during the rise of the Mahadya Revolution and continued until colonized and adjoined to Sudan by the British administration in 1916.

Darfur humanitarian crisis took place in 2003 and still continuing as a result of ignorance or negligence or misunderstanding of the nature and the component of the traditional ethnic and hereditary system of governance currently practiced in the region. The problem is worsening as there are no documents depicting the history of the people who originally live in the region and those who recently immigrated to share power and resources with the indigenous groups. However, O'Fahey is the best author to contribute to solving such problems by adding this remarkable book to the human knowledge.
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The Darfur Sultanate: A History
The Darfur Sultanate: A History by R.S. O'Fahey (Hardcover - 4 Jun. 2008)
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