Several roads from Kordofan converge on the Nile at this point, and near the station is the residence of the mek, or king, of the Shilluk tribe, whose designation of the post was adopted when it was decided to abandon the use of Fashoda.
The Nubas are split into many tribes, each under a mek or king, who is not uncommonly of Arab descent.
In 1822, however, Ismail and his chief followers were treacherously burnt to death at Shendi by order of the mek (ruler) of the town, in revenge for the cruelties committed by the Egyptians.
In October 1822 Ismail was, with his retinue, burnt to death by Nimr, the mek (king) of Shendi; and the defterdr, a man infamous for his cruelty, assumed the command of those provinces, and exacted terrible retribution from the innocent inhabitants.
Of the rulers who had submitted to Ismail, Nair Mimr, the mek of Shendi, had been compelled to follow in the suite of the Egyptians as a sort of hostage, and this man entertained deep hatred of the pasha.
On Ismail's return to Shendi, October 1822, he demanded of the mek r000 slaves to be supplied in two days.
The mek, promising compliance, invited Ismail and his chief officers to a feast in his house, around which he had piled heaps of straw.
Whilst the Egyptians were feasting the mek set fire to the straw and Ismail and all his companions were burnt to death.
Hearing of Ismail's murder the Defterdar marched to Shendi, defeated the forces of the mek, and took terrible revenge upon the inhabitants of Metemma and Shendi, most of the inhabitants, including women and children, being burnt alive.