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Badi III, or Badi el Ahmar, (1692 – 1716)[1] was a ruler of the Kingdom of Sennar. James Bruce includes in his account of Ethiopia the translation of a letter the Ethiopian Emperor Tewolfos sent him dated 21 January 1706, wherein he addresses him as "king Badi, son of king Unsa".[2]

According to a manuscript history known as The History of Nuba (British Museum Arabic MS. 2345), Badi was confronted with a pretender, Awkal, whom he defeated.[3]

C. J. Poncet, who passed through Sennar in 1699, left this description of his interview with King Badi:

When we had almost past over the court, they oblig'd us to stop short before a stone, which is near to an open hall, where the King usually gives audience to embassadors. There we saluted the king according to the custom of the country, falling upon our knees and thrice kissing the ground. That prince is nineteen years of age, black, but well shap'd and of a majestick presence; not having thick lips nor flat nose, like the rest of his subjects. He was seated upon a rich bed under a canopy, with his legs across, after the oriental fashion; and round him twenty old men, seated after the same manner, but somewhat lower. He was cloath'd with a long vest of silk, embroider'd with gold, and girt with a kind of scarf made of fine calico. He had a white turban on his head. The old men were clad much after the same manner.[4]

Poncet's departure from Sennar was delayed at the border for 19 days until 11 June 1699, due to the death of King Badi's mother. A Jesuit residing at Port Said, Jean Verzaeu, wrote on 20 October 1700 that the kingdom and Ethiopia were at war over the assassination of a Sennar national in Ethiopia, and that the trade route between the two countries was closed.[5]

Because of the success of Poncet's visit to Ethiopia, Charles de Maillet, the French consul at Cairo, ordered Lenoir de Roule to visit the Ethiopian Emperor on behalf of Louis XIV. Due to the hostility of the natives of the lands he travelled through, de Roule was unable to get any further than Sennar, where he was murdered with his five companions before the royal palace on November 10, 1705. Although King Badi was seen by many as being responsible for this act, the Scots traveller James Bruce, who travelled through Sennar later in the eighteenth century, accused the Franciscans of having manipulated the events that led to these deaths.[6]


  1. ^ H. Weld Blundell states that the years of his reign were 1688-1715; The Royal chronicle of Abyssinia, 1769-1840 (Cambridge: University Press, 1922), p. 532
  2. ^ Bruce, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile (1805 edition), vol. 4 p. 3
  3. ^ Weld Blundell, Royal chronicle, p. 532
  4. ^ An anonymous English translation from 1709, reprinted with notes by William Foster, The Red Sea and Adjacent Countries at the Close of the Seventeenth Century (London: Hakluyt Society, 1949), p. 103.
  5. ^ Richard Pankhurst, An Introduction to the Economic History of Ethiopia (London: Lalibela House, 1961), p. 320.
  6. ^ E. A. Wallis Budge, A History of Ethiopia: Nubia and Abyssinia, 1928 (Oosterhout, the Netherlands: Anthropological Publications, 1970), pp. 426-434
Preceded by
Unsa II
King of Sennar Succeeded by
Unsa III