Mohawks on the Nile

Overview

Mohawks on the Nile explores the absorbing history of sixty Aboriginal men who left their occupations in the Ottawa River timber industry to participate in a military expedition on the Nile River in 1884-1885. Chosen becuase of their outstanding skills as boatmen and river pilots, they formed part of the Canadian Voyageur Contingent, which transported British troops on a fleet of whaleboats through the Nile’s treacherous cataracts in the hard campaigning of the Sudan War. Their objective was to reach Khartoum, capital of the Egyptian province of Sudan. Their mission was to save its governor general, Major-General Charles Gordon, besieged by Muslim forces inspired by the call to liberate Sudan from foreign control by Muhammad Ahmad, better known to his followers as the "the Mahdi."

In addition to Carl Benn’s historical exploration of this remarkable subject, this book includes the memoirs of two Mohawk veterans of the campaign, Louis Jackson and James Deer, who recorded the details of their adventures upon returning to Canada in 1885. It also presents readers with additional period documents, maps, historical images, and other materials to enhance appreciation of this unusual story, including an annotated roll of the Mohawks who won praise for the exceptional quality of their work in this legendary campaign in the chronicle of Britain’s expansion into Africa.

Reviews

This fascinating history is rather like a box of bits your old uncle has brought down from the back of his closet... A student of the British Imperial efforts in Africa, or of Canada's First Nations history will appreciate this book.

Record, The

Carl Benn has focused on the approximately 60 Mohawks in the contingent, confirming their value to the British expedition to save General Gordon and enriching our understanding of Canada's First Nations in the late 19th century.

Literary Review of Canada (January, 2010)

About the Author

Carl Benn

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Carl Benn

Carl Benn was born, raised and educated in Toronto. He has worked in the heritage field for about twenty years and presently is the Curator of Military and Marine History for the Toronto Historical Board. He also teaches on a part-time basis at the University of Toronto and has published a large number of historical and museological articles.