Darfoor, a country of central Africa, forming a large oasis in the S. E. corner of the great desert, bounded W. by Waday, S. by Roonga and Fertit, and E. by a narrow strip of country inhabited by wandering Arabs, which separates it from Kordofan. It lies between lat. 10° and 16° K, and lon. 22° and 28° E.; area about 140,000 sq. m.; pop. estimated by Browne at the close of the last century at 200,000, by Mohammed ibn Omar el-Tounsy at 3,000,000 or 4,000,-000, and by Behm in 1872 at 5,000,000. The S. part is hilly, and embraces many well watered valleys; the N. consists chiefly of arid plains. The products of the soil are millet, rice, maize, sesamum, legumes, tobacco, medicinal plants, dyestuflfs, and fruit. Cattle form the principal wealth of the people; camels, small elephants, and goats are numerous, and their flesh is used as food; horses and sheep are few and poor. The wild animals embrace the lion, leopard, hysena," wolf, jackal, rhinoceros, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodile, and buffalo. Vultures, Guinea fowl, turtle doves, and chameleons are abundant. Among the mineral products are iron, copper, alabaster, marble, and nitre. The climate is excessively hot, and during the dry season the country is almost stripped of vegetation.
The periodical rains last from the middle of June to the middle of September. The inhabitants are Arabs and negroes, professing the Mohammedan religion, but paying little regard to its stricter precepts; in morals and manners they are very degraded. They practise polygamy, and every species of labor except bearing arms is exacted of the women. The sovereign is a despotic sultan, whose court is encumbered with an absurdity of ceremonial seldom paralleled. He never speaks but through the mouth of an interpreter; when he spits, the spittle is gathered by the hands of his attendants; if his horse stumbles while riding, or he loses his seat, every one of his retinue must do the same; and when the sultan sneezes everybody present must sneeze likewise. The royal body guard is composed of old women. Darfoor carries on some trade with Upper Egypt in slaves, ivory, horn, ostrich feathers, gum, hides, drugs, copper, pimento, tamarinds, leathern sacks for water, parroquets, Guinea hens, and monkeys; in exchange for which it receives cotton cloths, glass ware, various trinkets and ornaments, coffee, spices, sugar, Indian merchandise, nails, metals, fruit, grain, firearms, other weapons, shoes, etc.
The chief commercial town is Kobbeh, the former residence of the sultan, from which a caravan goes to Cairo. The new residence is Tendelty.