Dyplomacja Teophile'a Delcasségo w konflikcie francusko-brytyjskim o Faszodę (1898-1899)
The Franco-British Fachoda Crisis in Theophile Delcassé’s diplomacy (1898-1899)
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At the end of 19th century French colonialist attempted to reopen the Egyptian question. Since 1882 the British had established an informal protectorate in nominally Ottoman Egypt but France was adamant in its refusal to accept this state. French politicians decided to gain an advantage by the occupation of small village on the Nile in Sudan, called Fachoda. Sudan was officially under Egyptian supervision, but in fact since 1882 it was controlled by the Mahdists. In 1989 the expedition led by Jean Baptiste Marchand reached their destination. However, while the mission was struggling his way toward the Nile, the situation in Sudan changed entirely, as British troops led by Horatio Kitchener defeated the Mahdists. Fachoda ceased to be just a swamp in noman’s-land. The appearance of the French in Sudan caused therefore one of the biggest conflicts in diplomacy over the colonial question and brought France and England to the verge of war. The new French Minister of Foreign affairs, Théophile Delcassé, was forced to face up to this crisis almost instantly after taking his position. His situation was extremely difficult as he was partially responsible for sending the mission in the first place. It was the choice between saving the honour of France, of whom he was very fond, and the danger of naval war with the biggest naval power. He started the negotiations with the British and made an effort to find the way to withdraw without humiliation. However, his attempts to persuade the British to let the French retain the access to navigable Nile turned out to be unsuccessful. When it became obvious that Great Britain had decided not to pull out, the minister was sensible enough to choose dishonour rather than war Marchand left Fachoda without France getting any compensation. The French and British agreement was signed on 21 III 1899 but it did not respect French aspiration of getting access to the Nile.
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