26 May 2020


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The Name | Demography and Geography | Environment, Economy and Natural Resources | Mythology and History | The Language | Society: Social Events, Attitudes, Customs and Traditions | Marriage | Birth | Naming | Divorce | Relationships | Death | Social and Political Organisation, Traditional Authority, etc. | Spirituality, Belief and Customs | Culture: Arts, Music, Literature, Handicraft | Neighbours and Relationships | Latest Developments | Diaspora

The Name

The people refer to themselves as Kara. It is not clear whether this name, due to its Arabic connotation, was given to them by the slave raiders.

Demography and Geography

The Kara form the bulk of the population in eastern Dar Kouti, thus called 'Dar Kara' in Raga district, western Bahr el Ghazal. Due to mixing, movement of the population, it is difficult to quantify the numbers of Kara.

Mythology and History

The Kara are believed to have originated from the east and lived between 1600 and 1700 in Sennar, near the Ethiopian border. Around 1750, they left their cradle-land under the leadership of a certain 'Jukudu', otherwise called Koko, and settled at Jebel Mara from where they finally migrated to Jebel Senghon, to the west of the River Yata, about 40 kilometres from Birao, gradually occupying the land that lay uninhabited before them.

The Kara were under the high suzerainty of the Sultan of Dar Fur until Hussein was defeated and killed by Zubeir. Zubeir’s representative, the ill-famed Nur Angara, founded his station at Jebel Gounga where he collected taxes, consisting mainly of animal skins, ivory, young men and girls.

Djerkomo showed such zeal in fulfilling this duty, that his subjects began to hate him and eventually murdered him in 1878. At this time, Nur Angara was called by Zubeir to el Fasher and never returned, thus giving the Kara the opportunity to resettle in their old sites, from which they had been gathered around the slave trader’s residence.

In the meantime, a number of tribesmen who had dispersed during the previous wars and Djerkomo’s cruel rule, had gathered near Dara, where Sabun, a Kara man, had gained a high rank in the army of the Mahdist governor Mohammed Zughal.

However, sometime after 1885 Sabun fled with his Kara and other followers to his native country, which he occupied, unopposed, with his 400 Remingtons. Zughal sent troops in his pursuit and in the fights that ensued Sabun and one of Zughal’s two captains were killed. After this encounter and defeat the Mahdists returned to Dara with the foreigners leaving the Kara in their home.

During the subsequent period up to 1899, the moral head of the tribe was a certain Rebouka but Abdullah Ndaka, Sabun’s aide-de-camp, secured for himself the power with the help of the Daju of Dar Sila, who waged a bloody war against Abdullah’s opponents.

In 1899 a powerful enemy Arabi Dafa Allah appeared at Mandoa on Sudan – Chad border. Arabi who had fled from Rejaf with some 3,000 men, mostly Taaisha, after having been defeated by the Belgians (1897-98) refused to surrender to the Condominium government.

He therefore established himself as the absolute lord of Dar Runga, raiding and plundering the weak neighbouring tribes. After a time, probably for strategic reasons, be moved his head-quarters to Durdur in the heart of Dar Kara, who prompted by their hatred against their chief and the Daju, readily surrendered to Arabi.

In 1902 Arabi Dafa Allah surrendered to Sultan Ali Dinar, and in 1904 Sanusi undertook the conquest of Dar Kara. The tribesmen who were not killed were all convoyed to Ndele, Sanusi’s residence, where they remained up to his defeat and death. Thereafter, thy resettled in their old homes.

The information about the Kara is very sketchy, more research needs to be undertaken.

People who hail from this nationality are kindly requested to contribute to building a more comprehensive socio-political work on the nationality.


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