Northern Africa 1899: Anglo-French Convention on Sudan
In July 1898, while the British were fighting the Mahdists in northern Sudan, a French force crossed into southern Sudan and occupied the strategic settlement of Fashoda. After defeating the Mahdists, the British hurried south to confront the French, triggering a crisis in Europe. Eventually France backed down and the two nations signed the Anglo-French Convention on Sudan, delimiting the Sudanese border and partitioning much of Northern Africa between them.
19 Sep–3 Nov 1898 Fashoda Incident▲
In mid-September 1898 British general Sir Herbert Kitchener led five gunboats and 1,500 troops up the White Nile to Fashoda (Kodok), where he encountered the much smaller French garrison of Captain Jean-Baptiste Marchand. Although both commanders behaved with politeness and restraint, the news of this standoff over Fashoda—claimed by Britain as part of the Egyptian Sudan and by France due to both occupation and its 1894 treaty with the Congo Free State—inflamed Anglo-French rivalries and triggered an international crisis. Eventually France backed down, peacefully ending the crisis by ordering its forces to withdraw from the region in early November.
8 Jan–17 Jul 1899 Voulet–Chanoine Mission▲
In 1898 a French military expedition under captains Paul Voulet and Julien Chanoine was sent from Senegal to conquer the Chad Basin, but soon turned rogue, sacking villages even within French-controlled territory before embarking on an invasion of the Hausa kingdoms to the north of Sokoto. Alarmed by reports of murder, rape, and pillage—and concerned that the expedition had crossed into British territory—the French authorities sent Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-François Klobb to relieve the two captains of their command, only for him to be shot dead on Voulet’s orders when he reached them at Dankori in July 1899. Voulet and Chanoine then proclaimed their desire to found a new empire; this proved too much for the Senegalese troops, who, pledging loyalty to France, killed the two a few days later.
19 Jan 1899 Anglo-Egyptian Sudan▲
In the wake of their victory at Omdurman, the British, whose rule in Egypt was nominally at the behest of the Ottoman Empire, wanted to formalize their role in Sudan. At the January 1899 Anglo-Egyptian convention it was agreed that Egyptian rule would be restored in Sudan, but as part of a condominium with Britain. Accordingly Sudan was to be administered by a governor-general appointed by Egypt with British consent, effectively placing it under British rule.
23 Jan 1899 Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement▲
In 1896 Mubarak Al-Sabah overthrew his half-brother Muhammad Al-Sabah to become ruler of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait, at the time part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottomans refused to formally recognize his usurpation, Mubarak approached the British consul at Basra with an appeal for British protection. The British eventually agreed, signing the secret Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement with Mubarak in January 1899. By the terms of the treaty the Sheikh and his successors accepted British authority over Kuwait’s foreign policy in return for an annual payment and a pledge of British protection.
21 Mar 1899 Anglo-French Convention on Sudan▲
In March 1899 representatives of the British and French governments met to conclude the Anglo-French Convention of 1899 on West Africa and the Niger, completing it with Article IV on Central Africa and the Sudan to account for the recent Fashoda Crisis. Accordingly the two powers agreed to a line of delimitation running north from the Congo region, past Darfur, and then northwest to the Tropic of Cancer in the hinterland of Tripoli. The western border of Darfur was left undefined, remaining so until 1919.