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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atbarah is located in Sudan
Location in Sudan
Coordinates: 17°43′N 33°59′E / 17.717°N 33.983°E / 17.717; 33.983
Country Flag of Sudan.svg Sudan
Admin. division River Nile State
Population (1993)
 - Total 87,878

Atbarah (sometimes Atbara) (Arabic: عطبرة‎) is a town of 87,878 (1993) located in River Nile State in northeastern Sudan. [1] It is located at the junction of the Nile and Atbarah rivers. It is an important railway junction and railroad manufacturing centre, and most employment in Atbarah is related to the rail lines.



The confluence of the Nile and its most northern tributary, the Atbarah (Bahr-el-Aswad, or Black River) was a strategic location for military operations. In the Battle of Atbara, fought on the 8 April 1898 near Nakheila, on the north bank of the river, Lord Kitchener's Anglo-Egyptian army defeated the Mahdist forces, commanded by Amir Mahmud Ahmad. Kitchener's strengthened position led to a decisive victory at the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898[2], giving the British control over the Sudan[3].

The first trade union in Sudan formed in 1946 among railroad workers in Atbarah. The city also is home to one of Sudan's largest cement factories (Atbara Cement Corporation). The town was the centre of the Sudanese railway industry. Few trains are made here now and rail traffic is much reduced. The original station and unusual dome-shaped houses of railway workers remain.

Perhaps because of the influence of the railway unions, Atbara is also considered by many to be the home of Sudanese communism. Jaafar Nimeiri, Sudan's president throughout the 1970s, alternated between communism, rabid capitalism and Islamic fundamentalism - depending on who he was trying to get on his side and extract money from - and the communist phase had its stronghold around Atbara.

Atbara is made up of several districts including Umbukole district which has the First Higher School in Atbara. Other districts include the railway district, Almurabaat, Alsawdana and Almatar.

Umbukole was originally the name given to a capital city in a northern state in Kurti county. It is now mostly remembered as the name of a small district in Atbara. A well-known resident is Mandour Almahdi who wrote about the History of the Sudan.

Like Khartoum further upstream, Atbara is also at the confluence of two major rivers.

Location of Atbarah within Sudan


Year Population[4]
1956 36.300
1973 66.116
1983 73.009
1993 87.878
2007 (Estimate) 111.399

One of the major districts of Atbara is Al-Dakhla (الداخلة)in Arabic. Some still use the name Al-Dakhla referring to Atbara.

See also

Atbarah Railway Station


  1. ^ "'Atbarah, or Atbara (The Sudan)" (description), Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007, webpage: EB-Atbara.
  2. ^ "Atbara", Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911
  3. ^ Winston Churchill, The River War, 2 vols. (1899); abridged ed. Project Gutenberg (1902)
  4. ^


  • "'Atbarah, or Atbara (The Sudan)" (description), Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007, webpage: EB-Atbara.

External links

Wikisource-logo.svg "Atbara". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  

Coordinates: 17°41′50″N 33°58′42″E / 17.69722°N 33.97833°E / 17.69722; 33.97833


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ATBARA (Bahr-el-Aswad, or Black River), the most northern affluent of the river Nile, N.E. Africa. It rises in Abyssinia to the N.W. of Lake Tsana, unites its waters with a number of other rivers which also rise in the Abyssinian highlands, and flows north-west Boo m. till its junction at Ed Darner with the Nile. The battle of the Atbara, fought near Nakheila, a place on the north bank of the river about 30 m. above Ed Darner, on the 8th of April 1898, between the khalifa's forces under Mahmud and Sir Herbert (afterwards Lord) Kitchener's Anglo-Egyptian army, resulted in the complete defeat of the Mandists and the capture of their leader, and paved the way for the decisive battle of Omdurman on the 2nd of September following (see EGYPT: Military Operations).

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