Synopses & Reviews
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
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
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.
Mohawks on the Nile explores the absorbing history of 60 Aboriginal men who participated in a military expedition on the Nile River.
About the Author
Mohawks on the Nile explores the absorbing history of 60 Aboriginal men who left their trade in the Ottawa River timber industry to participate in a military expedition that took them far up the Nile River. They were to use their skills as boatmen to transport an Anglo-Egyptian army through the Nile"s treacherous cataracts as it attempted to reach Khartoum to relieve Sudan"s governor-general, Major-General Charles 'Chinese' Gordon, besieged by Muslim nationalists. The Mohawks formed part of the larger Canadian Voyageur Corps, which garnered considerable praise for its work, the Mohawks in particular winning great accolades.
This little-known but fascinating tale resonates with subjects of interest today, especially given the place of the Muslim world in the consciousness of Western countries and the widespread desire to understand First Nations history better. Included are memoirs of two Mohawk veterans of the campaign, Louis Jackson and James Deer, along with pertinent maps, period illustrations, and an annotated roll of the participating Mohawks.
Dr. Carl Benn is Chief Curator of the City of Toronto's Museums and Heritage Services. He has taught history and museum studies at the University of Toronto, restored historical buildings, including 1813'"15 structures at Fort York, and has produced a range of Internet resources. He lives in Toronto.