Odds and quads

February 25, 2010

When General Charles Gordon was sent to evacuate Egyptian troops from Sudan in the face of a revolt in 1884, he decided instead to march to Khartoum and go on the offensive.

Since the British Government refused to provide reinforcements, he was soon cut off, besieged and under pressure to feed both his army and the local civilian population.

Caught in a trap, and without other resources, General Gordon issued around 90,000 bank notes like this one.

The Arabic text says it can be redeemed in Cairo six months hence, and over half of the notes bear the general's personal signature.

Yet none of this could prevent defeat, with a relief expedition arriving two days too late to prevent Khartoum falling to the Islamic Mahdist uprising in January 1885.

The currency forms part of the major Sudan Archive, established in 1957, which is held at Durham University Library.

Send suggestions for this series on the sector's treasures, oddities and curiosities to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns