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Fashoda Incident

Fashoda Incident (fəshōˈdə) [key], 1898, diplomatic dispute between France and Great Britain. Toward the end of the 19th cent., while Britain was seeking to establish a continuous strip of territory from Cape Town to Cairo, France desired to establish an overland route from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. To make good their claim the French dispatched (May 1, 1897) Major J. B. Marchand with a small force from Brazzaville, in the face of a British warning. After crossing over 2,000 mi (3,200 km) of almost unexplored wilderness, Marchand reached (July 10, 1898) the village of Fashoda (now Kodok) on the Nile in the S Sudan (now in NE South Sudan). Beating off a Mahdist attack, he stopped there to await an expected Franco-Ethiopian expedition from the east. Meanwhile, Lord Kitchener's Anglo-Egyptian army had defeated (Sept. 2) the Mahdists in the N Sudan. When he heard of the French activities, Kitchener led forces upriver to Fashoda and, despite Marchand's presence, claimed (Sept. 19) the town for Egypt. The French government resisted for a time, but, fearing war, ordered its mission to withdraw on Nov. 3. In Mar., 1899, France yielded its claim to the upper Nile region and accepted part of the Sahara as compensation.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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