Kordofan, a province of the Egyptian Sudan, lying between Sennaar and Darfur, was conquered by the Mahdi in 1883. After being held successively by Sennaar and Darfur, it was annexed to Egypt by Mehemet Ali in 1821. It is called the White Land, perhaps because the White Nile forms its eastern boundary. Most of the population are slaves, the rest being slave-hunters. Their chief food is millet. Water is found a little below the surface of the soil. The breeding of camels and cattle is carried on, while gums, ivory, ostrich feathers, and gold are exported. The chief town is El-Obeid.