Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 April 2002
Church Missionary Society missionaries arrived in the northern Sudan in 1899 with the goal of converting Muslims. Restricted by the Anglo-Egyptian government and by local opposition to their evangelism, they gained only one Muslim convert during sixty years of work. The missionaries nevertheless provided medical and education services in urban centers and in the Nuba Mountains, and pioneered girls' schools. Yet few of their Sudanese graduates achieved functional Arabic literacy, since missionaries taught ‘romanized Arabic', a form of written colloquial Arabic, in Latin print, that lacked practical applications. Thus the history of the CMS in the northern Sudan yields insights into issues of education, power and religious identity within a colonial context.