ATBARA (Bahr-el-Aswad, or Black River), the most northern
affluent of the river Nile, N.E. Africa. It rises in Abyssinia to
the N.W. of Lake Tsana, unites its waters with a number of
other rivers which also rise in the Abyssinian highlands, and
flows north-west 800 m. till its junction at Ed Damer with the
Nile (q.v.). The battle of the Atbara, fought near Nakheila,
a place on the north bank of the river about 30 m. above Ed
Damer, on the 8th of April 1898, between the khalifa’s forces
under Mahmud and Sir Herbert (afterwards Lord) Kitchener’s
Anglo-Egyptian army, resulted in the complete defeat of the
Mahdists and the capture of their leader, and paved the way for
the decisive battle of Omdurman on the 2nd of September
following (see Egypt: Military Operations).
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