Cotton from a Wilderness: The Early Negotiations

  • Maurits W. Ertsen


The year 1904 was an excellent year for new initiatives in Sudan. Hunt established his Sudan Experimental Plantations Syndicate, Garstin published about irrigating the Gezira, and the Egyptian Public Works Ministry created its Sudan Irrigation Branch. Charles Edward Dupuis became the first Inspector General of Irrigation in Sudan.1 In 1908, he presented plans for irrigating the Gezira Plain from the Blue Nile, building on Gars tin’s ideas.2 Dupuis showed that a canal reaching the Gezira Plain close to Wad Medani could command some three million feddans. Much was to be done, however, before such an area, “vastly in excess of possible requirements of the Sudan for many years to come,” could be irrigated. The population on the plain would require “a good deal of education” too.3


Winter Crop Main Canal High Commissioner Nile Water Egyptian Government 
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  1. 24.
    NA, F0141/578/1: Letter from Stark to “Dear Clive,” dated 27/1/1911. Pumping for cotton was not uncommon in Sudan, see Central Research Farm (1915) Pump irrigation in the northern Sudan: With special reference to the cotton crop (Khartoum: Central Research Farm).Google Scholar
  2. Serels S. (2013) Starvation and the State: Famine, slavery, and power in Sudan, 1883–1956 (New York: Palgrave Alacmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Tvedt T. (2004) The river Nile in the age of the British: Political ecology and the quest for economic power (London: I. B. Taurus).Google Scholar

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© Maurits W. Ertsen 2016

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  • Maurits W. Ertsen

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