The Fung Chronicle

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[pp. 786-796]


(final redaction about 1870)

Arab MS written in Sudan about 1870, based on earlier chronologies.

EI (q.v. Fung)

Engl. transl.: H. MacMichael, A History of the Arab in the Sudan, 2 vols., Cambridge 1922, pp. 354 - 430.

T.: MacMichael

Chapter I. - In the name of God the Compassionate and Merciful. Praise be to God...

Now this is a history of the lands of the Nūba and relates to whom ruled them, beginning with the kings of the Fung, and what happened in their time [and] until this present day, and who succeeded them, and how their kingdom came to an end; but God Almighty best knows and judges of that which is hidden.

It is related in the histories which I have seen that the first of the kings of the Fung who was invested with the royal power was King 'Omāra Dūnqas, who founded the city of Sennār in 910 H. [1504 A.D.].

Previously to this date the Fung had overthrown the Nūba and made the city of Sōba [sic!] their metropolis; and in that city were beautiful buildings and gardens and a hostel occupied by the Muhammadans. Its site was on the east of the Nile, near to the confluence of that river with the White Nile; and the chief food of its inhabitants was the white dhurra known as el-qassabī. Their religion was Christianity, and they had a bishop appointed by the prelate of Alexandria, as had the Nūba before them. Their books were in Greek (Rūmiyya) but they used to commentate upon them in their own language.

[p. 787] Chapter II. - These people were overthrown in the ninth century, and in those days there were no schools of the Muhammadans who lived among them and no observance of the Muhammadan law, so that it is even said that a woman might be divorced by her husband and married by another man on the same day without any purificatory period. This state continued until the coming among them of Maḥmūd el-Araki from Egypt. He taught them some of the elements of the Muhammadan law...

Chapter IV. - Islam first entered the land of the Nūba in the khaliphate of Hārūn el Rashīd el-'Abbāsī, but, as we mentioned, there was no real observance of the law (el-sharī'a).

Chapter V. - The commencement of the reign of ‘Omāra Dūnqas was at the beginning of ... [a line of the text has been omitted] ... the people collected round him and ceased not visiting him where he lay at Gebel Moya, which is east (?) of Sennār; and finally there came to him 'Abdulla Gema'a (Jammāʿ) of the Kawasma (Qawāsima) Arabs, the father of Sheikh Agib (ʿAjīb) el-Kafūta the ancestor of the Awlād Agib (ʿAjīb); and they determined to make war upon the 'Anag, the kings of Sōba and el-Qerri (al-Qarrī, Gerri).

Chapter VI. - So 'Omāra and 'Abdulla Gema'a with their men went and made war upon the kings of Sōba and el-Qerri and defeated them and slew them.

Chapter VII. - Then their people agreed that 'Omāra should be king in place of the king of 'Aloa, that is Sōba, because he was the more powerful [= "elder"?], and that Abdullah Gema'a should take the place of the king of Qerri.

[p. 788] Chapter VIII. - So [Abdulla] went and founded the town of Qerri, which is by Gebel el-Royyān (Jabal ar-Rauwiyān) on the east bank, and made it the seat of his kingdom; and likewise 'Omāra founded the town of Sennār, [so called because] previously a woman called Sennār lived there, and made it his capital. This was in 910 H. [1504 A.D.].

Chapter IX. - Now 'Omāra and 'Abdulla lived like brethren, but 'Omāra's rank had precedence over that of ‘Abdulla if they were together in the same place; but if 'Omāra were absent, 'Abdulla had exactly the same powers as were vested in 'Omāra; and this system remained in force among their respective descendants until the end of their rule.

Chapter X. - After the victory of the Fung over the Nūba, the latter scattered and fled to Fāzoghli and Kordofān, with the exception of a few of them who were converted to Islam and mixed with the Arabs settled in their country. These at present are few in number and live in the neighbourhood of Shendi and Gerayf (Gireif) Qumr; and not many people know these men are by origin Nūba, for their language has become Arabic and their complexion assimilated to that of the Arabs as a result of cross-breeding with them.

Chapter XI. - And indeed the immigration of Arabs to the Sudan increased greatly, most of them belonging to the tribes of Himyar, Rabi'a, Beni 'Āmir, Qahtān, Guhayna, Beni Yashkur, Beni Kāhil, Beni Dhubiān, Beni 'Abs [viz. the Kabābīsh], Fezara and Beni Selīm.

[p. 789] Chapter XXIX. - After him [el-Rubat, + 1642 A.D.] reigned his son King Bādī Abū Duqn. He was a man of bravery and generosity and high purpose. He raided the White Nile and attacked its inhabitants, who are called Shilluk, and he invaded the mountains of Teqali that lie west of the White Nile some two days’ march. The reason of his invading Teqali was that the king of Teqali had attacked one of his friends who journeyed thither, and plundered his goods, and when told that the victim was a friend of the king of Sennār, had replied: "If the king of Sennār wants me on his account and crosses the wastes of Um Lama'a, then let him do what he will."

Chapter XXX. - Now the desert spoken of by the king of Teqali is difficult to cross owing to lack of water, but must be crossed by one going from Sennār to Teqali. And when the man returned to his friend the Mek Bādī, he told him how his possessions had been plundered and what the king of Teqali had said, and [Bādī] at once equipped his troops and said to his friend: "When we reach the wastes of Um Lama'a, let me know." And when they arrived there the man told him, and the king and all his men dismounted from their horses and reached the hills of the Nūba; and there they slew many and took numerous prisoners and so proceeded until they came to Teqali and laid siege to it.

Chapter XXXI. - And the king of Teqali had fortified it against them, and he used to come out to meet them by day, and send those provisions by night; and when the king of Sennār saw the generosity of his spirit he made terms with him on the basis of a fixed tribute payable yearly by the king of Teqali.

[p. 790] Chapter XXXII. - Then he returned to Sennār with the prisoners taken from the Nūba and Teqali, and on arriving there built a village for each different race of prisoners; and these villages surrounded Sennār like a wall to the east and west, and the inhabitants acted as troops for the aid and protection of the realm, and they bred and multiplied until the fall of the Fung kingdom. Now each village was named after the race inhabiting it, for instance "Teqali" and "el-Kadero" and "el-Kanak" and "el-Kārku".

Chapter XLVII. - He [Ounsa] was succeeded by King Nul, a connection of the Ounsab family or; the mother's side. He did not belong to the stock of the kings who preceded him, but his appointment was merely agreed upon because he was a sensible man and an orthodox follower of the Faith. And indeed the common opinion of him was justified, for he showed himself just and steady in his conduct, and in his days the people had complete rest, so that they called him "El-Nom” (Nom = sleep) because he was so just. He reigned until his death in the eighth month of 1135 H. [1723 A.D.].

Chapter XLVIII. - After him ruled his son King Bādī "Abū Shelūkh", and he was the last of the kings who were powerful, for at the close of his reign the Shaykhs of the Hamag overcame him, and the constitutional appointment of kings became a farce, and all power, whether of loosing or of binding, passed into the hands of the Hamag.

Chapter XLIX. - Now the Hamag are a section of those Arabs who are descended from the Anwāb [i.e. Nūba], or, as another account says, a branch of the Ga'aliyyūn el-[p. 791]-'Awadia, who are of the seed of our lord el-Abbas ibn 'Abd el-Muttalib, but God knows best.

Chapter LVII. - And King Bādī reigned for a long time, and in the early and middle years of his reign he had a good and devout vizier who managed the affairs of state excellently until death overtook him, but then the king undertook the ruling of affairs, and his first act was to slay the remainder of the Ounsab; and he changed many of the laws and the established customs, and invoked the aid of the Nūba, and appointed them chieftains in place of the old nobility and consented to an evil policy of plunder and slaughter, even going so far as to connive at the murder of [?] the well-known man of learning el-Khatīb 'Abd el-Latīf. And, not content with the wrongs he inflicted himself, he let his sons also commit deeds of injustice and malice. So in general the atrocities which he committed alienated the hearts of his people, and especially those of the Fung nobility and others.

Chapter LVIII. - While things were thus he made ready a great army to fight the Musaba'āt, and in command was his vizier Walad Tōma, and among the chiefs was 'Abdulla Walad 'Agīb (Ajīb), and among the famous warriors was Sheikh Muhammad Abū el-Kaylak. Thus he set forth with his army until he reached the Musaba'āt, and a battle took place at a place called Qihayf in the year 1160 H. [1747 A.D.], and the commander in chief Walad Tōma and 'Abdulla Walad Agīb were killed and the army took to flight. But Sheikh Muḥammad Abu el-Kaylak rallied them and exhorted them and put strength into their hearts, and they returned and met the Musaba'āt a second time, and a furious struggle ensued, and Shammām Walad Agīb and el-Agayl his son were slain.

[p. 792] Chapter LIX. - Then the king was informed of all that had taken place in both encounters and of the determination and patience of Sheikh Muḥammad Abū el-Kaylak and how he had rallied the soldiers, and he sent word appointing him commander-in-chief in Walad Tōma's stead.

Chapter LX. - And when he had learnt of his appointment, Abū el-Kaylak returned to war against the Musaba'āt and used all his endeavours until God gave him the victory over them and suffered him to turn them out of Kordofān; and this was in the early part of the year.

Chapter LXI. - Now there were with Abū el-Kaylak a number of the Fung nobles, and news reached them that during their absence the king had ill-treated their defendants, so they came before Sheikh Muhammad and voiced their grievance against the king and asked for his consent to their deposing Bādī and appointing another. And after discussion he consented to their plan and took up the matter in complete accord with them.

Chapter LXII. - The same day he struck camp and set out for Sennār with such troops and great men of the Fung, that is slaves of the king, as were with him. This was in 1174 H. [1760 A.D.]. And after he had crossed the White Nile he camped at el-Is (al-Ais) and sent to Nāsir, the son of the Mek Bādī, saying that if he came to him he would appoint him king.

Chapter LXIII. - And Nāsir came secretly to Sheikh Muḥammad at el-Is, and they took the [usual] oath and assurance from him, and set out for Sennār taking him with them.

[p. 793] Chapter LXIV. - On arriving there they besieged the Mek, and [finally] granted him immunity for his person and safe-conduct to Soba; and he left Sennār in abasement.

Chapter LXV. - And when they knew he had left, they entered Sennār unopposed and fulfilled their promise to the Mek Nāṣir and made him king. This was in 1175 H. [1761 A.D.].

Chapter LXVI. - In these days the power of the Fung dissolved and the power, whether of loosing or binding, passed to the Hamag, and Sheikh Muḥammad Abū el-Kaylak subdued the king and put to death numbers of the great men of the Fung. (MacMichael II, pp. 358 - 367 passim).


[About the Origin of the Fung from a Sudanese Manuscript. MacMichael MS A2, II, p. 104, nr. XXX]

Chapter XXX. - The ’Amriyyūn are the family of Sulaymān son of 'Abd el-Malik son of Marwān the Ommawi [Omayyad]. It is said that they ruled the blacks in the Sūdān and the country of the Hamag, and finally they became assimilated to them in every respect and came to be known as "the Fung". The reason of their migration [from Arabia] was thus. Sulaymān fled to the Sūdān in the time of the Khalifate of Abū 'Abdulla Muḥammad el-Saffāḥ, who was the first of the Beni 'Abbās to hold that position, and who wrested the power from Marwān, who is said to have been the last of the Beni Ommayya dynasty. Abū 'Abdulla continued slaughtering the Beni Ommayya and subjecting them until he had taken their place throughout the country. So Sulaymān fled to Abyssinia and settled there for a time. Then news reached him that el-Saffāḥ [p. 794] had pursued [?] the Beni Ommayya after their dispersion into [various] countries and had finally overtaken Muḥammad ibn el-Walīd ibn Hāshim in Spain (el-Andalus) and slain him. Sulaymān therefore fled from Abyssinia to the Sūdān arid settled there and married the daughter of one of the kings of the Sūdān. By her he had two sons, the one named Dāūd and the other Ans. Then [Sulaymān] died, and the names [of his sons] got altered, and Dāūd was called Oudūn, and Ans was called Ouns. Ouns was ancestor of the Ounṣāb, and Dāūd of the Oudūnāb. These [descendants] multiplied among the blacks and finally they became fused with them in every respect, and their power flourished and they became those rulers of the Sūdān who are known from history. The first king of this stock in Sennār was the Sultan ‘Omāra, and the power passed from Sultan to Sultan till the time of the Sultan Bādī whose rule ended with the Turkish conquest of Sennār in the Sūdān. Ends. That was what we found.

[Original inhabitants of the Sudan. MacMichael MS DI, XI, p. 197 s. - From the Third Part of Muḥammad Walad Dolīb, 18th century]

The original autochthonous peoples of the Sūdān were the Nūba and the Abyssinians (el-Ḥabsha) and the Zing (Zanj). The first people who subsequently joined them were the Berber.

Every [tribe] that is derived from the Hamag belongs to the Zing (Zanj) group, and every [tribe] that is derived from the Fung belongs to the Nūba group.

The tribes of the Arabs who are in the Sūdān, other than these, are foreigners, and have merely mixed .with the tribes mentioned above and multiplied with them. Some of them have retained the characteristics of the Arabs, [p. 795] and the element of Nūba and Zing that is interspersed among them has adopted the Arab characteristics; and on the other hand there have been some Arabs who have become fused with the Nūba and the Zing and adopted their characteristics; but in each case they know their origin.

The original [home] of the Zing is a mountain inhabited by blacks on the equator and south [of it]. Beyond them there are no other peoples; and their country stretches from West Africa to the neighbourhood of Abyssinia, and part of it is on the Nile of Egypt.

Sennār was a famous city of Abyssinia, containing tribes of Zing and Nūba who were subject to Abyssinia. Subsequently, when they became powerful, they broke away from their allegiance and appointed kings of their own and defended themselves against Abyssinia and protected their lands (Chapters CLXXVIII - CLXXXIII; MacMichael, pp. 197 - 198).

... The people of the Sūdān are the Nūba and the Abyssinians (el-Ḥabsha), as has been stated. (Chapter CLXXXVIII; ibid., p. 198).

... Now all the Sūdān used to be in fear of the king of Abyssinia and court him with flattery, in some cases obeying him and in some [merely] flattering him. Finally they broke away from their allegiance to him and each mountain became independent, and his rule was restricted to the mountains of the Abyssinians. (Chapter CCVII; ibid., p. 200).

... Subsequently the Hamag conquered the banks of the White Nile, and the nations of the Zing were divided into [p. 796] numerous sections, of whom some found leaders among their own number, and others were subjected by the tribes of the Arabs who conquered their land. (Chapter CCVIII; ibid., p. 200).

... The Turks took Kordofān from the Kungāra (kunjāra) in the year 1233 H. [= 1818 A.D.], having one year previously taken the dominion of the White Nile from the Meks of the Ga'aliyyūn and the remnants of the Hamag. (Chapter CCX; ibid., p. 200).