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Location of Bahr el Ghazal in Sudan.
Towns in the region.

The Bahr el Ghazal (Arabic: بحر الغزال‎) is a region of southwestern Sudan. Its name comes from the river Bahr el Ghazal.

The region consists of the states of North Bahr al Ghazal, West Bahr al Ghazal, Lakes, and Warab. It borders Central African Republic to the west. It is an area of swamps and ironstone plateaus inhabited mainly by the Dinka people, who make their living through subsistence farming and cattle herding. It was historically subject to raids by the Fur and Arab slave traders from the neighboring region of Darfur. The slave trade was suppressed in 1864 by the khedive of Egypt but soon re-emerged under powerful native merchants, who set themselves up as princes complete with armies. The most powerful of them, Sebehr Rahma, fought and defeated a joint Turkish/Egyptian force sent to Bahr el Ghazal in 1873. The khedive conceded defeat and made Bahr el Ghazal a nominal province of Egypt, with al-Zubayr as its governor.

The region was visited by the anthropologist Edward Evans-Pritchard in 1929.

The region was later incorporated into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and became the ninth province after being split from Equatoria in 1948, and later a province, and then state, under the Republic of Sudan. In 1996, the region was divided into the four current districts as part of an administrative reorganisation of the country. During the condominium period of joint British-Egyptian rule, the area was administered by British district officers; because of annual flooding and difficult travelling conditions, the area became part of what was known colloquially in the British Sudan Service as "The Bog", with British District Officers known as "Bog Barons" (Wyndham, 1937).

The region has been affected by civil war for many years. It was a scene of fighting in the First Sudanese Civil War. In 1982, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was formed there by John Garang to fight the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. This was the beginning of what quickly became known as the Second Sudanese Civil War. The subsequent conflict lasted until 2003 and killed more than two million people. A substantial fraction of the population of the region is internally displaced or refugees in neighboring countries. See also North Bahr al Ghazal for further details of one part of the province severely affected by the conflict.


See also


  • Wyndham, R, 1936, The Gentle Savage, A Journey in the Province of Bahr El Ghazal, commonly known as 'The Bog', (New York: William Morrow and Company).


External links

Coordinates: 8°00′N 28°00′E / 8°N 28°E / 8; 28


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1911 encyclopedia

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