The Lado Enclave was an exclave of the Congo Free State and later of Belgian Congo that existed from 1894 until 1910, situated on the west bank of the Upper Nile in what is now South Sudan and northwest Uganda.
Previously a part of the Ottoman-Egyptian province of Equatoria, Lado came under the control of the British and in 1869 Sir Samuel Baker created an administration in the area, suppressed the slave trade and opened up the area to commerce.
Under the stipulations of the 1894 British-Congolese Treaty, signed on 12 May, the British leased the area to King Leopold II of the Belgians for the period of his lifetime. In exchange, Leopold agreed to cede a strip of land in eastern Congo when construction of the Cape to Cairo railway was to begin. The enclave had an area of about 15,000 square miles (39,000 km2), a population of about 250,000 and had its capital at the town of Lado.
Similarly, the 1894 Franco-Congolese Treaty, signed on 14 August, ensured that the French accepted Leopold's ownership of Lado, but it was not until 1897 that Leopold II had the resources to marshall troops of the Congo Free State under Louis Napoléon Chaltin to physically take control of the enclave. Chaltin's forces reached the Nile at the town of Bedden in the enclave in February 1897 and defeated the Mahdists there in the Battle of Rejaf. This consolidated Léopold's claim to the Upper Nile, but Chaltin did not have the forces to do more, although he had been instructed to continue on towards Khartoum.
The northernmost post was Kiro, on the west bank of the Nile a short distance above the British post at Mongalla. Edward Fothergill visited the Sudan around 1901, basing himself at Mongalla between Lado to the south and Kiro to the north, but on the east shore of the river. By his account "Kiro, the most northern station of the Congo on the Nile, is very pretty and clean. Lado, the second station, is prettier still". However, he said that although the buildings were well made, they were too closely crowded together.
The Lado Enclave was important to the Congo Free State as it included Rejaf, which was the terminus for boats on the Nile. Rejaf was the seat of the Commander, the only European colonial official within the enclave, who were in place from 1897 to June 1910. Efforts were made to properly defend Lado against any possible incursion by another colonial power, with twelve heavy Krupp fort guns installed in November 1906.
On 10 June 1910, following Leopold’s death, the district became a province of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and in 1912 the southern half was ceded to Uganda, then a British protectorate. Later Gondokoro, Kiro, Lado and Rejaf were abandoned by the Sudanese government, and no longer appear on modern maps.
The Lado Enclave in popular culture
Although the Lado Enclave was a small, remote area in central Africa, the Enclave captured the imagination of world leaders and writers. Lord Kitchener travelled to Lado for hunting, and shot a large white rhinoceros considered a "splendid trophy", with the horn being "some twenty seven inches long" and the rhinoceros standing six feet tall.
Congo Free State and Belgian Commandants of the enclave
|17 February 1897||November 1897||Louis Napoléon Chaltin|
|November 1897||15 December 1898||Léon Charles Edouard Hanolet|
|15 December 1898||1 May 1900||Jean Baptiste Josué Henry de la Lindi|
|1 May 1900||March 1902||Louis Napoléon Chaltin (Second time)|
|March 1902||January 1903||Léon Charles Edouard Hanolet (Second time)|
|January 1903||24 March 1904||Georges François Wtterwulghe|
|24 March 1904||1904||Florian Alexandre François Wacquez||Acting for Wtterwulghe to 8 May 1904|
|1904||May 1907||Ferdinand, baron de Rennette de Villers-Perwin||Acting to August 1906|
Commandants of the Lado Enclave
1900 - Jan 1903 Gustave Ferdinand Joseph Renier (s.a.)
Jan 1903 - Aug 1903 Albéric Constantin Édouard Bruneel
Aug 1903 - Mar 1905 Henri Laurent Serexhe
Mar 1905 - Jan 1908 Guillaume Léopold Olaerts
Jan 1908 - Apr 1909 Léon Néstor Preud'homme
Apr 1909 - 1910 Alexis Bertrand
1910 - Jun 1910 Charles Eugène Édouard de Meulenaer
- "Sir Samuel White Baker" (2013), Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.
- Taylor, p. 53.
- Collins, p. 193.
- Degefu, p. 39.
- Edward Fothergill (1910). "Five years in the Sudan". Hurst & Blackett.
- "The Lado Enclave", The Mercury, 30 November 1906, p. 5.
- Ascherson, N. The King Incorporated: Leopold II in the Age of Trusts, Granta Books, 2001. ISBN 1-86207-290-6.
- W. Robert Foran (April 1958). "Edwardian Ivory Poachers over the Nile". African Affairs 57 (227). JSTOR 719309.
- "The Jungle in London", The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 3 June 1914, p. 1.
- Ascherson, N. (2001) The King Incorporated: Leopold II in the Age of Trusts, Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-290-6.
- Collins, R.O. (1960) "The transfer of the Lado Enclave to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1910", Zaïre: revue congolaise, Vol. 14, Issues 2-3.
- Degefu, G.T. (2003) The Nile: Historical, Legal and Developmental Perspectives, Trafford Publishing: Victoria. ISBN 1-4120-0056-4.
- Hochschild, A. (1999) King Leopold's Ghost, Mariner Books. ISBN 0-618-00190-5
- Pakenham, T. (1991) Scramble For Africa, Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-380-71999-1
- Taylor, A.J.P. (1950) "Prelude to Fashoda: The Question of the Upper Nile, 1894-5", The English Historical Review, Vol. 65, No. 254, Oxford University Press: Oxford.