The date of their arrival in the Sudan is uncertain: they appear to have drifted up the Nile valley and to have dispossessed the original Nuba population.
The first duty of the new administration, the restoration of public order, met with comparatively feeble opposition, though tribes such as the Nuba mountaineers, accustomed from time immemorial to raid their weaker neighbours, gave some trouble.
Dar Nuba is well-watered, the scenery is diversified and pretty, affording a welcome contrast to that of the rest of the country.
Of the Nilotic as distinguished from the Kordofan branch of the Nuba language there are three principal dialects current from Assuan along the Nile southwards to Meroc, as under: I.
As an ethnical expression the term Nuba or Nubian has little value.
This is due to the large number of slaves drawn by Arab dealers from the Nuba negroes of Kordofan, who appear to constitute the original stock of the Nubian races (but see Hamitic Races).
They claim to rule the Kasu'or Meroitic Ethiopians; and the fifth inscription records an expedition along the Atbara and the Nile to punish the Nuba and Kasu, and a fragment of a Greek inscription from Meroe was recognized by Sayce as commemorating a king of Axum.
In August he defeated another force sent to Abba Island to arrest him, but thereafter deemed it prudent to retire to Jebel Gedir, in the Nuba country south of Kordofan, where he was soon at the head of a powerful force; and 6000 Egyptian troops under Yusef Pasha, advancing from Fashoda, were nearly annihilated in June 1882.