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Mahdi of Sudan (1844–1885)

Muhammad Ahmad, also known as the Mahdi of Sudan, was a 19th-century Sufi Muslim religious reformer, revivalist, and militant. The Mahdi's messianic resistance movement mobilized Northern Sudanese Muslims to fight against the Ottoman Egyptians, who had exploited Sudan for slaves and ivory since the early 1820s. The British, who occupied Egypt in the early 1880s, oversaw and participated in Egypt's expansionist project in Sudan, to protect British financial interests in the region. The Mahdi and his followers successfully ousted the British-supported Turko-Egyptian regime in 1885.

The son of a boat builder, Muhammad Ahmad was born in Labab, an island in the province of Dongola, and was raised in the Nile Valley near Khartoum. An apt student, he studied theology and Sufism (mystical Islam) and later joined ...

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