Ottoman and colonial rule Suakin in 1928
In 1517, the Ottoman sultan Salim I conquered the port, and after a brief occupation by the Funj, it was thereafter the residence of the pasha of the Ottoman province of Habeş. Under the Turks, Suakin declined sharply, as the Portuguese explorers discovered and perfected the sea route around Africa: when the Ottomans were unable to stop this trade, the local merchants began to abandon the town.
Some trade was kept up with the Sultanate of Sennar, but by the 18th and 19th centuries, the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt found two-thirds of the homes in ruin.
The Khedive Ismail received Suakin from the Ottomans in 1865 and attempted to revitalize it: Egypt built new houses, mills, mosques, hospitals, even a church for immigrant Copts.
British and colonial involvement
The British Army was involved at Suakin in 1883–1885 and Lord Kitchener was there in this period leading the Egyptian Army contingent. Suakin was his headquarters and his force survived a lengthy siege there.
The Australian colonial forces of Victoria offered their torpedo boat HMVS Childers, and gunboats HMVS Victoria and HMVS Albert, which arrived in Suakin on 19 March 1884 on their delivery voyage from Britain, only to be released as fighting had moved inland. They departed on 23 March, arriving in Melbourne on 25 June 1884. An essentially civilian military force of 770 men from New South Wales, including some of the Naval Brigade, arrived in Suakin in March 1885 and served until mid-May.
After the Mahdi’s defeat, the British preferred to develop the new Port Sudan rather than engage in the extensive rebuilding and expansion that would be necessary to make Suakin comparable. By 1922, the last of the British had left.
Please tell me I didn’t get old. Anything but old. I was young! Oh… is he grey? It’s a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool. Usually called ‘The Doctor.’ Or ‘The Caretaker.’ Or ‘Get off this planet.’ Though, strictly speaking, that probably isn’t a name. I once spent a hell of a long time trying to get …Continue reading