How did the Sudanese Mahdists’ success in ousting the British from mode

Research Question: How did the Sudanese Mahdists’ success in ousting the British from modern day Sudan in 1885 play a role in reshaping British colonial policy towards anti-Islamist movements and co-optation of the Sokoto Caliphate leadership?

The British failure in 1885 to suppress the Mahdist revolution strengthened colonial intelligence cooperation between the colonial powers (British, French) in the wake of scramble for Africa
Britain’s prestige had been damaged as Britain’s top general, General Gordon, was killed in the battle of Khartoum – British saw reconquering Sudan as instrumental in projecting power and quelling Islamist movements throughout the Sahelian Caliphates as the Sudanese Mahdist state sought
Led to the British wanting to reconquest Sudan in 1897 – After reconquesting Sudan they co-opted the leader of the Mahdist movement (Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi) and other leaders within the Anglo-Egyptian colonial system – learned from their prior mistakes to co-opt leaders in their colonies
British wanted to consolidate their power by experimenting with indirect rule in the Sokoto Caliphate, as they did in India, Burma and Sudan, through the Caliphate emirs
British wanted to do this to ensure that rebellious Sufi orders like the Mahdist movement led by Muhammad al-Mahdi in Sudan, and other neo-Mahdist movements, lacked influence to cross-class mobilize against the British
Leveraged already hierarchical power structure in the Sokoto Caliphate to ensure that rulers’ power would also increase if they supported the colonial regime
By 1903, the British had co-opted the leadership in Sokoto Caliphate and were met with little resistance, but a neo-Mahdist movement led by Muhammad Attahiru I, (the former sultan of the Sokoto Caliphate who was ousted by the British and replaced by his son Muhammad Attahiru II) threatned British control (via Muhammad Attahiru II) over the radical sufi movements
The British and Muhammad Attahiru II killed Muhammad Attahiru and his followers in the Battle of Burmi near Gombe, Nigeria – Permanently consolidating British rule and ending the Mahdist insurgencies throughout its colonies (Sudan and Nigeria)
Muhammad Attahiru’s son and followers fled to Sudan but the British had completely consolidated their power in Sudan (via the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium) and Northern Nigeria (via co-opting the Sokoto Caliphate Emirs)

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Sources: – Revolutionary Mahdism (neo-Mahdism) and Resistance to Colonial Rule in the Sokoto Caliphate, 1905-6 (Article)
Lugard-dual mandate.pdf – The British Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, 1926 (Primary Document)
(Religious Cultures of African and African Diaspora People) Olufemi Vaughan – Religion and the Making of Nigeria-Duke University Press (2016).pdf – Chapter 2 (Islam and Colonial Rule in Northern Nigeria) – Colonialism and Class Struggle in Sudan (Article) – Context to the Mahdist insurgency (Article) – Good and Bad Muslims: Islam and Indirect Rule in Northern Nigeria (Article) – Mahdist Triumph and British Revenge in Northern Nigeria: Satiru 1906 (Article) – The Mahdiyyah in Nigeria (Article) – The Role of the British Administration in the Appointment of the Emirs of Northern Nigeria, 1903-1931: The Case of Sokoto Province (Article)

Footnote 90: “90 In the early 1880s the Sudanese Mahdi appointed Sa’id’s father, Shaikh Hayatu, as his agent in Western Sudan and recognized him as the ruler of the Sokoto Caliphate. On Hayatu’s relationship with the Sudanese Mahdi see, Adeleye, Power, 103-9; P. M. Holt, ‘The Sudanese Mahdia and the outside world, i88i-89’, B.S.O.A.S., XXL (1958), 276-90; and S. Biobaku and M. A. Al-Hajj, ‘The Sudanese Mahdiyya and the Niger-Chad region’, in I. M. Lewis (ed) Islam in Tropical Africa, 2nd ed., (London, I980), 235-6. On the history of the Mahdist State in the Sudan see P. M. Holt, The Mahdist State in the Sudan, I88I-98: A Study of its Origins, Development and Overthrow, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1970).”

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