As a result of British imperialism of the Sudan following the Islamic leadership of a succession of Mahdist rulers in 1899, the Sudan, its people, and their descendants became a part of a society in which the implementation of Anglo-Egyptian administration and officials would negatively impact the progress, freedom, and unity of the entire Sudanese nation for years to come. With the rule of both an Egyptian Khedive and the British Crown, the Sudanese people until their liberation in 1956 lived under this oppressive indirect colonial rule in which their political liberties, national freedoms, and voice within the government were disregarded not only the local governors by the Anglo-Egyptian combined forces as a whole. Similarly, with British control over not only the administrative structures but the economic framework of the Sudan, the Anglo-Egyptian condominium forces established an economy solely based on the production and trade of cotton that was entirely dependent on British economic relationships, market access, and the demand for textiles within Europe. Most importantly, the British forces within the internal workings of the Sudanese social structure were able to successfully establish a sense of ethnically and religiously based division between the northern and southern regions of Sudan that led to further conflicts, tension, and instability in establishing a sense of national unity. This absolute Anglo- Egyptian control over the Sudan during its colonial era proved to be detrimental to the overall national development and stability within Sudan due to further political oppression and corruption, economic instability and underdevelopment, and ethnic and regional tensions between northern Arab Muslims and southern non-Arab Christian and Animist sudani seen after the independence of the Sudan in 1956.
Detrimental Impact of the Establishment of a Oppressive Political Regime
Following the oppressive and deceptive Anglo-Egyptian Condominium during Sudan’s imperial era, the Sudanese people were left with a government that only knew how to operate under the destructive and oppressive policies of their former imperial masters. Before and after the departure of the Anglo-Egyptian forces, the Southern non-Arab Christian and Animist population’s rights and political opinions were not represented or regarded within the internal structure of the new Sudanese government. Through the institution of General Nimeri’s “socialist” government, the suppression of the rights of the South were further institutionalized by policies that forbade freedom of speech, religion, and protest similar to the suppression of rights by the Anglo-Egyptian regime.
Detrimental Impact of an Underdeveloped and British-dependent Economy
From the initial imperialization of the Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces, a common goal existed in which British specific imperialists sought to gain further access to the abundance of cotton in Sudan. From there, the British established an underdeveloped Sudanese economy based solely on the production and trade of cotton and its instantaneous profitable benefits to the British textile industry. Following the independence of the Sudan in 1956, the economy suffered a severe blow with the fact that the Sudanese economy, in basic terms, was in a state of collapse and heavy dysfunction while under the rule of both General Neguib and General Ibrahim Abboud. In terms of economic collapse, the Sudanese economy experienced a period where there was economic recession and a lack of wealth and income in the nation due to the fact that the Sudanese cotton industry relied on British trading relationships and access to consumer markets in order to gain profit from the supply and demand sale of cotton. Most importantly, the Sudanese suffered economic dysfunction and collapse as a result of the underdeveloped of their economy which lacked a variance of industries in which the Sudan could gain wealth to support its widespread national economic needs. Here, one begins to understand the true detriment the Anglo-Egyptian administration had on the Sudanese economy in which these administrative powers did not seek to establish a fully developed economy with multiple thriving industries. Instead, they focused on creating an agricultural supply economy that existed solely to supply and increase the wealth of the British textile industry. To conclude, this lack of industrial diversification, resulted in the economic weakness, recession, and lack of wealth in the Sudan following it independence.
Detrimental Impact of British Instilled Ethno-Religious Social Division
As a result of the establishment of social division in the Sudan at the behest of British rulers, Sudanese national unification was completely suppressed. This “divide and conquer” policy effectively kept the Northern and Southern regions of the Sudan focused on the perceived ethno-religious inequalities between each other rather than the focusing on British oppression. Immediately after independence of the Sudan in 1956, Northern political officials of Arab Muslim descent such as General Muhammad Naguib dominated all aspects of Sudanese politics and government administration. As a result, the resentment of northern Arab Muslims by the southern non-Arab Christians and animists greatly increased in intensity which fed southern rebel separatists actions. Southern Christian resentment intensified under the forceful pressure of the North to convert to Islam. This was seen by the Southern Sudanese as a direct attack upon their cultural identity and customs. These tensions continued until the 1972 Addis Ababa agreement was instituted by Jaafar Nimeri which established Southern Sudan as an autonomous region with freedom of beliefs and cultural practices. This period of relative peace was destroyed in 1985 by Nimeri’s revocation of the Addis Ababa agreement and the institution of harsh Islamic legal code under Sharia law. The British establishment of a social hierarchy in which Northern Arab Muslims were allowed to suppress and discriminate against the Southern Christians and Animists continued to reverberate in the Sudan for many years following its independence. This oppressive system of inequality and ethno-religious discrimination led to the continued lack of national unity; furthermore, the absence of national cohesion and identity led to further conflict and disorganization within the government, the economy, and lives of the population.
To conclude, the 1956 departure of Anglo-Egyptian forces from the Sudan left a power vacuum that was truly detrimental to the nationwide development of the Sudanese population in political, economic, and social terms. The corruption within the political administration, economic inconsistency, and continued cultural division between the northern and southern Sudanese regions were a direct result of the vestiges of British-Egyptian imperial rule.