Monuments of Predation: Turco-Egyptian Forts in Western Ethiopia

Alfredo González-Ruibal

in Slavery in Africa

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264782
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754012 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Monuments of Predation: Turco-Egyptian Forts in Western Ethiopia

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The Turco‐Egyptian conquest of Sudan in 1820–1 was a tragic turning point in the history of the peripheral regions of the Ethiopian and Sudanese states. With the commencement of Turco‐Egyptian overrule, the indigenous peoples of Benishangul, Gambela, Bahr al-Jabal, and Bahr al-Ghazal became integrated into a wider political-economic order in which they had much to lose and little to win. The panorama of social disruption that followed this integration is similar to that of other African regions, which were treated as mere reservoirs of raw materials and forced labour by neighbouring states. This chapter presents an archaeological site that is most likely related to the Turco‐Egyptian control of Benishangul (western Ethiopia). It describes the structures, proposes a chronology based on historical inferences, and interprets them in the context of the economic exploitation of the region during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finally, it addresses the issue of monumentality and its implications in a traditional African landscape.

Keywords: Turco‐Egyptian conquest; Sudan; Ethiopia; social disruption; archaeology; Benishangul

Chapter.  8156 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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