Darfur Sultanate

Darfur Sultanate was an African sultanate occupying present day western Sudan, in the region of the province
that retains the name . The name Darfur means land of the Fur. The nucleus of the kingdom, included the Marra Mountains and regions west. Before the sultanate, the region was dominated by two kingdoms, Daju and Tunjur. The Fur later became dominant in the region. At its peak, it ruled over an area of 300,000 square miles, with a diversity of peoples. al-Fashir was the capital, in the latter part of its history.


The region seems to have been trading with Ancient Egypt since 2500 B.C. Egyptian records relates an organize state in the region trading copper and slaves for Egyptian spices, cloth, and luxuries. 

Darfur enters the historical record with Suleiman Solong in 1596, who founded the Keira Dynasty, by unifying all rival tribes in the region. He made Islam the official state religion. Islam did not take root until the latter 1600s, under Ahmad Bakr, who invited Islamic teachers into the kingdom, built mosque, and aggressively push for the adoption of Islam by his subject. 

The sultanate also took an expansive path. This expansion brought it into conflict with another powerful sultanate Wadai. Between 1720 and 1750, Darfur fought several wars with Wadai Sultanate to her west. Wadai halted Darfur's western expansion. Her expansion took an eastern orientation, with the culmination of the conquest of Kordofan between 1785-1786. Darfur reached its peak in the latter part of the 1700s.

Turkish Egypt was always a threat to Dafur and this threat was made real in 1821, with the taking of Kordofan. In 1874, Turkish Egypt conquered the region to later be taken over by the Sudanese Madhi State in 1883. Anglo Egypt took over the region and re-instated the keira Dynasty, under Ali Dinar. Dinar was bent on removing the British yoke. He organize military units for that very purpose and in 1916 declared war on Britain. The British manned a punitive expedition, which defeated Ali Dinar. Dinar died in combat.


The economic well being of  Darfur depended on slavery. They monopolized the slave trade between the kingdom and Egypt. The kingdom taxed traders in the kingdom and levied duties on slaves shipped to Egypt. They exported also camels. They utilized the "Forty Days Road"(darb al-arbain) in the desert to Egypt.

List of Sultans/Governors

Dates  Monarch/King Descriptions 
1603-1637  Suleiman Solong   
1637-1682  Musa Ibn Suleiman   
1682-1722  Ahmad Bakr ibn Musa   
1722-1732  Muhammad I Dawra   
1732-1739  Umar Lele   
1739-1756  Abu'l Qasim   
1756-1787  Muhammad II Tairab   
1787-1801  Abdarrahman ar-Rashid   
1801-1839  Muhammad III al-Fadhl   
1839-1873  Muhammad IV Hussain   
1873-1874  Ibrahim   
  Governor  Became province of Egyptian ruled Sudan
1874-1881  Hassan Bey Hilmi   
1881-1883  Rudolph Karl Slatin   
  Sultan  Sultan re-instated 
1899-1916  Ali Dinar Ibn Zakariyya  Sultanate abolished under Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Darfur became province 

Work Cited

TubianaL, M. J. and Tubiana, J(2003). Dar Fur: Charters and Related Documents from the Dar Fur Sultanate. Cambridge University Press,  ISBN 0521545633, 9780521545631