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of the Libyan desert, and the long halts at places provided with water and pasturage. From Benghazi to Aujila, oasis and town, it is 10 days of travel and 2 of rest ; to Jalo, oasis and town, i day of travel and 3 days of rest; to Battifall, a well, which is the last on the southern border of the Libyan desert, i day of travel and 2 days of rest; to Kufra or Kebabo, 12 days of travel, 3 days of rest by the way, and 15 days of rest at Kufra; to Tukru, the first well on the southern border of the Libyan desert, 17 days of travel and 4 days of rest; to Wanyanga, 3 days of travel and 6 days of rest; to Arada, a town where all caravans stop and send a courier to Abeshr to obtain the Sultan of Wadai's permission to continue their journey, 24 days of travel and 14 days of rest; to Abeshr, 4 days of travel.
4 In all there are some 121 days, 72 days of travel and 49 days of rest, between Benghazi and Abeshr.
A light caravan may manage to do it in 89 or 90 days. From Tripoli the caravan highway skirts the coast as far as Sirt, and then turns southward to Jofra or Zella and Kufra. Notwithstanding the formidable difficulties of this line of communication, there are two things that will help strongly to maintain it. One of the most enterprising tribes is the Mejabra tribe of Aujila and Jalo. They are keen traders, and have their own tribal caravan. Another tribe which conducts the trade between Benghazi and Wadai is the Zewaya of Kufra. All of these will make an effort to keep this trade along this highway. Another thing is that this highway passes through the domain of the Sanusi Order, the capital of which is now in Kufra. The Shaikh of the Sanusi has been busy improving this route by digging wells and providing ports of call. Such has been his success, it is reported that it is now possible to perform the journey without hardship.
It is most likely, however, that the highway of trade up the Nile from Alexandria to Dongola will become the chief line of communication. Dongola is some 1,100 miles from Alexandria by rail and river. With the railway facilities of
Upper Egypt and the Sudan, goods can arrive at Dongola from Alexandria or Cairo in one-half or one-third of the time which it takes them to arrive at Aujila from Benghazi, some 220 miles. Hence it seems probable that Dongola may become the depot for the Wadai trade, and become such an entrepot for the Central Sudan as Ghat is for the Western Sudan.
Besides this highway from Dongola through Kobbe, there is also the line of communication from Khartum through Kordofan and Darfur. If a railway is built from the Nile to Darfur, it will probably follow this route, and thereby develop an important artery of trade. But this line of communication is one of the old highways of the Hajj between Hausaland and the Nile for the Muslim pilgrims from Nigeria, and it seemed to many in 1898 that the Anglo-Egyptian sphere might well have comprised Wadai in order to uphold and develop the relations of the Nile Valley with Lake Chad and the Central Sudan. In the course of the negotiations Lord Salisbury recognised the feasibility of this demand, but did not persist in it when it became evident that much importance was attached in France to the unification of their African colonies by the possession of territory to the north and east of Lake Chad.
The aim of France has been “ la réunion sur les rives du lac Tchad des possessions Français du Soudan, de l'Algérie et du Congo Français.” That phrase has become historic, and now that the aim has been achieved in the person of M. Foureau, it remains to be seen what success will attend the efforts to make it effective. I have reviewed the position of Dar Banda, Dar Runga and Wadai in relation to the Ottoman claims, and in relation to Tripoli in order to show that regarded from the side of Egypt and from the side of Tripoli, those territories might well be considered as within the Ottoman sphere. With regard to Wadai, probability seems to be on the side of the Nile Valley as the most feasible line of communication, but it is necessary to keep in view the possible lines up the Niger and Binue as
well as a possible line from Kamerun. These are the several lines of communication which will compete for commercial ascendancy in the basin of Lake Chad. The old highway of trade from Tripoli and Benghazi is threatened with a loss of its traffic by the facilities that are afforded by way of the Niger and the Nile. Now that Wadai and Baghirmi have been assigned to the French sphere, will France succeed in monopolizing the trade by drawing it down to the Ubangi and Congo ? But if that is the aim the policy of France pulls in opposite directions. In the one, it seeks to penetrate the Sudan in order to draw the trade to Algeria and Tunisia ; in the other, it professes a pacific aim in approaching the Sultans of Dar Runga and Wadai to open up commercial relations with these potentates by way of the Congo. What justification is there, then, for the policy which seeks to arrive at Lake Chad from Algeria or Tunisia ? It seems a futile aim, and, possible as it is, it can hardly be deemed a feasible aim when it is viewed in relation to Tripoli.
It is the relation of Tripoli to the Sudan that most concerns the Sultan, for the importance of Tripoli practically consists in its position as the chief gateway of the Sudan. Its form fits it peculiarly for acting as a channel of trade, since it penetrates far into the continent from its maritime base. The starting-points of the caravans such as Tripoli, Khoms and Benghazi are some 250 miles nearer to the Sudan than Tunis, Philippeville, Algiers and Oran, and the railways which now connect Oran and Philippeville with Ain-sefra and Biskra cannot compete with the Tripolitan routes. Through its depots, Ghadamis, Ghat, Murzuk, and its merchant houses, which have long been familiar with the demands and tastes of the Sudanese, Tripoli is more intimately connected than any other North African territory with Central Africa. The commercial sphere of Tripoli includes the wide tracts between Lake Chad and the Niger; the Bornu lands with the towns of Kuka, Mashena, and Zinder ; the Hausa lands with the towns of Kano,
Katsena, Sokoto and the western Zinder, northern Adamawa, and Baghirmi; the Tuarik of the Sahara; Air or Ashen with Tintellust and Agades; the Tubu of Tibesti and Kawar ; Borku, Kanem and Wadai ; even the Algerian Suf, the Mzab, the Tuat oasis and Tombouctou. This caravan trade of Tripoli may be divided into three parts : that to the Western Sudan, Kano, and Sokoto, which is monopolized by the Ghadamsine merchants established in Tripoli; that to Bornu, which is engaged in by the Jewish and European merchants of Tripoli ; and that to Wadai, by Tripoli Arab traders. The most important routes are those that radiate from Ghadamis. Hence they run north-westwards through the Areg, the South Algerian sand-dunes, to Wargla and the Suf; south-westwards through El-Biodh to Insalah, the chief of the Tuat oases and Tombouctou ; south-westwards direct by Tombouctou by Temassinia, Amguid, the Egere plateau and Ideles ; southwards by Ghat, Air, and Agades to Zinder, Tessana, Kano, and Sokoto. Ghat is the great entrepot between Tripoli and the Western Sudan, and forms the real point of arrival from, and departure to, Kano. Two large caravans arrive at Ghat yearly, and the merchandise reaches Tripoli in small quantities at a time. A caravan from Tripoli to the Sudan makes a long stay at Ghat, camels are exchanged, and contracts are made with the Tuarik for the supply of camels and safe conduct at their hands through the country between Ghat and Kano. Including stoppages, the march of caravans seldom exceeds twelve miles a day, taking about eight weeks to reach Ghat from Tripoli, and ten to twelve weeks more to arrive at Kano. The monopoly of the Tripoli-Western Sudan trade which is enjoyed by the Ghadamsine merchants residing in the town of Tripoli is ascribed, by the Consul-General in his report on the vilayet of Tripoli for 1897, apart from their superior intelligence and business habits, to the geographical position of their birthplace, an oasis in Tuarik territory, giving them a knowledge of the Arabic, Hausa,
and Tuarik languages, in addition to their own language, a dialect of the Berber. The caravans for Bornu choose the road through the Hamada el Homra or through the Jofra oasis to Murzuk, and thence through Gatrun and the Kawar oasis to Barrua and Kuka on Lake Chad. The caravan highway to Wadai, which is the hardest and longest, has been already described. These caravan highways are partly determined by Nature and partly prescribed by the tribes who receive pay for the protection afforded by them to caravans in passing through their territory. For the most part they are the same to-day as in past centuries, the old directions being maintained partly by the conservativeness of the Arabs, and partly by the desire of the tribes that profit by them. It is mainly
. owing to this cause that the French have met with such formidable difficulties in opening up new caravan highways from Algeria, and in penetrating the Sudan.
Now, this caravan trade, on which the prosperity of Tripoli mainly depends, has been decreasing for many years.
There can be little doubt," said the ConsulGeneral in his report for 1897, " that the Tripoli caravan trade has seen its best days, and the facilities now offered and availed of by the waterways of the Niger and Binue will yearly militate against its prosperity, and ultimately end disastrously.” And in a special report of this year on the agriculture and natural resources of the vilayet, he says it can hardly be doubted that the caravan trade of Tripoli is doomed in the near future to diminution, and probably ultimate extinction, by reason of British, German, and French commercial enterprise in the south availing itself of the additional facilities for trade presented by the waterways of the Niger and Binue.
Only in the case of the caravan trade with Wadai is there a good report. In the case of Tripoli it is said in the Vice-Consul's report for 1899 that trade with the interior of Africa, although still unsatisfactory, is on the whole not so unpromising as it was in 1898. While it has practically