Political map of Northern Africa 21 March 1899 (Anglo-French Convention on Sudan): In July 1898, while the British were fighting the Mahdists in northern Sudan (Mahdist War), a French force crossed into southern Sudan and occupied the strategic settlement of Fashoda (Marchand Mission). After defeating the Mahdists (Battle of Omdurman), 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 (Anglo-French Convention of 1898), delimiting the Sudanese border and partitioning much of Northern Africa between them.