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Darfur



Darfur, Sudan

Darfur, Sudan

Darfur, Sudan


Region of west-central Sudan, encompassing 3 provinces; North, West and South Darfur, with an estimated population of 7 million (2007 estimate), and an area of 493,000 km².
The region's name means "Home of the Fur", although the Fur people today represent a minority in the region.
The economy of Darfur is mainly subsistence agriculture, much in irrigated pockets in a barren landscape. Main produce is cereals (mainly millet), with fruits and tobacco as the few export products. Livestock is the cornerstone of the economy of the drier north, then as part of nomadic lifestyles.
The Fur people live in the centre of Darfur. To their north, lives the Tunjur, with Berti, Zaghawa, Birged, Meidob and peoples of a mixed Bedouin and Arab descent in the northwest. In the west, the Masalit people live. A group of peoples are called Baggara, who have cattle herding as a central part of their economy. These largely live in the southeast.
Peoples like the Zaghawa and Baggara also form important communities in neighbouring Chad.
Darfur is dominated by plains, low hills and vast regions of rolling sand dunes, called qoz. The north is desert, while the south receives up to 700 mm of rain annually. Seasonal rivers run through the region, heading for Lake Chad in the west.
The extensive mountain range in the centre runs about 500 km from northeast to southwest, and is named after its highest peak, the Marrah Mountain at 3,088 metres. It is largely volcanic, and in its highest regions, there is plenty of rainfall and the only permanent springs of water in Darfur.
Intrastructure of Darfur is poor, with few roads allowing modern traffic. The official main road, passing through al-Fashir, is almost unfit for use. There is a rail connection from Nyala to Khartoum, which has a train ever second week.
The main cities are Nyala (530,000), Al-Fashir (290,000) and Al-Junaynah (190,000). All 2009 estimates.
The population is, according to official figures, 100% Muslim.

History
First known civilization in Darfur was in the mountains, of the Daju people.
14th century: The Tunjur people takes hold of Darfur, introducing Islam.
Early 17th century: The Keira Dynasty is formed, which kingdom would reach as far east as Atbarah River. It would also be known as Fur Sultanate, having al-Fashir as its capital. The economy was based on slave trade, where people were abducted from the non-Muslim regions in the south, in order to be shipped off to Egypt.
18th century: Conflicts in Darfur, weaking the central power.
1875: The slaver Zubayr Pasha overthrows the Fur sultan, bringing the sultante formally under Egyptian control. In effect, it then had passed onto British administration.
1883: El Mahdi takes control over Darfur from the British, but he meets strong opposition and little cooperation.
1898: Ali Dinar is recognized as sultan of Darfur.
1916: Ali Dinar is killed by the British, in revenge of having supported the Ottomans in the World War 1. Darfur becomes part of Sudan.
1983-84: Famine in Darfur, destroying many structures in the Darfur society. About 95,000 die from the famine.
2003: Militia groups claiming Arab descendancy starts the Darfur Conflict, bringing some 2.5 million to flee their homes.




By Tore Kjeilen