Khartoom, a town of Sennaar, Africa, the centre of government of Egyptian Soudan, situated on the banks of the Bahr el-Azrek or Blue Nile, nearly at its junction with the White Nile; lat. 15° 36' N., lon. 32° 38' E.; pop. about 20,000. It is about 1,450 ft. above the sea, but the inundations of the White Nile frequently reach the earthen wall by which it is surrounded. The houses are mostly constructed of millet stalks, and scattered over a wide area; but the town has recently been much altered. Dr. Schweinfurth, on his return from his expedition into the heart of Africa in 1871, saw in it "a large number of new brick buildings, a spacious quay on the banks of the Blue Nile, and some still more imposing erections on the other side of the river." There are extensive gardens and rows of date palms planted nearly half a century ago. The defective drainage of the portion of the town built below high-water level renders it very unhealthy. The inhabitants are a mixture of Egyptians, Berbers, Arabs, Turks, Jews, Europeans, and negroes. They have a Coptic church, and a Catholic mission.
Khartoom carries on an extensive ivory trade, mostly in the hands of six of the larger merchants, which facilitates also the operations of the regular slave traders, who pour into the negro countries annually by thousands, on the roads over Kordofan and Darfoor. The merchants of Khartoom maintain a great number of settlements in districts as near as possible to the present ivory countries, and among peaceful races devoted to agriculture. They have apportioned the surrounding territory among themselves, and have brought the natives to a condition of vassalage. They are represented by agents who command the armed men of the country, determine what products the natives shall pay as tribute, appoint and displace the local managers, carry on war or make alliances with the chiefs, and once a year remit the collected stores to Khartoom. Vessels are built of Sunt acacia, a wood harder and heavier than oak, but from want of skill and proper tools they are exceedingly clumsy.