This article presents documents relating to the embassy sent by Sultan ʿAbd al-Raḥmān of Darfur to the Ottoman Sultan Selim III in 1791. These include an original Arabic letter which is an unusually early surviving example of sultanic correspondence from the Sahel. The documents permit a new interpretation of the purposes of the embassy, as well as an examination of chancery practice in Darfur, and offer an insight into Darfuri views of the outside world. To aid the analysis, the article compares this letter with a second surviving letter from ʿAbd al-Raḥmān addressed to Napoleon Bonaparte around 1800, of which the Arabic text has not previously been published.
- Ottoman Empire