Invasion of Nubia
© Angus McBride

Invasion of Nubia

Rashidun Caliphate

Invasion of Nubia
Invasion of Nubia ©Angus McBride
642 Jun 1

Invasion of Nubia

Nubian Desert

In the summer of 642, 'Amr ibn al-'As sent an expedition to the Christian kingdom of Nubia, which bordered Egypt to the south, under the command of his cousin 'Uqbah ibn Nafi as a pre-emptive raid to announce the arrival of new rulers in Egypt. 'Uqbah ibn Nafi, who later made a great name for himself as the conqueror of Africa and led his horse to the Atlantic, had an unhappy experience in Nubia. No pitched battle was fought, but there were only skirmishes and haphazard engagements, the type of warfare in which the Nubians excelled. They were skilful archers and subjected the Muslims to a merciless barrage of arrows, resulting in 250 Muslims losing their eyes in the engagement.


The Nubian cavalry displayed remarkable speed,even more so than the Muslim cavalry. The Nubians would strike hard and then vanish before the Muslims could recover and counterattack. The hit-and-run raids took their toll on the Muslim expedition. 'Uqbah reported that to 'Amr, who ordered 'Uqbah to withdraw from Nubia, terminating the expedition.

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