Waday, Or Wadai, a kingdom of central Africa, in Soodan, between lat. 8° and 17° N., and lon. 16° and 22° 30' E., bounded N. by the Sahara, E. by Darfoor, S. by Dar Banda, and W. by Baghirmi and Bornoo; length from N. to S. about 600 m., breadth from E. to W. about 400 m.; pop. estimated at 2,500,000. The natives generally call it Dar-Saleyh, and in Darfoor, Kordofan, and Bornoo it is called Borgoo. Its surface is generally level, and from 1,000 to 1,500 ft. above the sea, with a westward slope from a mountain range near the frontier of Darfoor. The country is also mountainous in the southwest, adjoining Baghirmi, and there are many isolated groups of hills. In the north are extensive desert tracts, but the south is better watered and more fertile. The kingdom comprises numerous tribes of negroes and Arabs, and is governed by a sultan who resides at Abeshr, and under whom there are seven provincial governors. Although Waday is mainly a pastoral country, rich in horses and flocks, it has a considerable commerce, which, is subject to a large tax. The principal articles of trade are salt, copper, fine cloths, harnesses, coats of mail, beads, calico, paper, needles, ivory (mainly from Dar Runga, a vassal state which forms the S. E. corner of the sultan's dominions), and tobacco.
It appears that the large bargains are usually made in cattle, and the smaller in strips of cotton cloth. There are few manufactures, and these generally of the rudest kind; but the people are said to be skilful workers in iron. The army consists of 46,000 troops, of whom 6,000 are cavalry. The country has long been subject to civil war. The religion is Mohammedanism. - It is asserted that the foundation of what is now the kingdom of Waday was laid by Abd-el-Kerim as long ago as 1020. He established his seat in a mountainous district near the town of Wara. This town was long the capital, but was destroyed prior to Nachtigal's visit to the country in 1873, and he found the seat of government at Abeshr. The kingdom, according to the accepted accounts, has thus existed for more than 800 years, with a regular succession of sovereigns. Waday has been seldom and slightly explored by Europeans. The German traveller Vogel was killed there in 1856, but in 1873-4 Nachtigal traversed the country from the vicinity of Lake Tchad to Darfoor, and our knowledge of it is principally derived from him.