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جمهورية السودان
Jumhūrīyat al Sūdān
Republic of the Sudan
Flag Coat of arms
Mottoالنصر لنا  (Arabic)
"Victory is Ours"
Anthemنحن جند لله جند الوطن  (Arabic)
We are the Army of God and of Our Land

Capital Khartoum
15°37.983′N 32°31.983′E / 15.63305°N 32.53305°E / 15.63305; 32.53305
Largest city Omdurman
Official language(s) Arabic and English
Demonym Sudanese
Government Federal presidential democratic republic
 -  President Omar al-Bashir (NCP)
 -  Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (SPLM)
 -  Vice President Ali Osman Taha (NCP)
 -  Constitutional Advisor Minni Minnawi (SLA)
Legislature The Majlis
 -  Upper House Council of States
 -  Lower House National Assembly
 -  Kingdoms of Nubia 2000 BC 
 -  Sennar dynasty 1504 
 -  Unification with Egypt 1821 
 -  Independence from Egypt, and the United Kingdom 1 January 1956 
 -  current constitution 9 January 2005 
 -  Total 2,505,813 km2 (10th)
967,495 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 6
 -  2009 estimate 42,272,000[1] (33rd)
 -  Density 16.9/km2 (194th)
43.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2009 estimate
 -  Total $92.037 billion[2] (69th)
 -  Per capita $2,309[2] (137th)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $58.029 billion[2] (66th)
 -  Per capita $1,522[2] (125th)
HDI (2007) 0.531[3] (medium) (150th)
Currency Sudanese pound (SDG)
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .sd
Calling code 249

Sudan (pronounced /suˈdæn/ soo-DAN; officially the Republic of the Sudan) (Arabic: السودان ‎As Sūdān)[4] is a country in northeastern Africa. It is the largest country in Africa, and the Arab World,[5] and tenth largest in the world by area. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world's longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.[6].

Sudan is home to one of the world's oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 3000 BC.[7][8][9] The people of Sudan have a long history extending from antiquity, which is intertwined with the history of Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods. After gaining independence from Egypt, and the United Kingdom in 1956, Sudan suffered a civil war, lasting 17 years, subsequently followed by ethnic, religious, and economic conflicts between the Northern Sudanese (with Arab and Nubian roots), and the Christian and animist Nilotes of Southern Sudan.[10][11] This led to a second civil war in 1983, and due to continuing political and military struggles, Sudan was seized in a bloodless coup d'état by colonel Omar al-Bashir in 1989, who thereafter proclaimed himself President of Sudan.[12]

Sudan then achieved great economic growth by implementing macroeconomic reforms and finally ended the civil war by adopting a new constitution in 2005 with rebel groups in the south, granting them limited autonomy to be followed by a referendum about independence in 2011.[13] Rich in natural resources such as petroleum and crude oil, Sudan's economy is currently amongst the fastest growing economies in the world.[14] The People's Republic of China and Japan are the largest trading partners of Sudan.[15]

However, after an Islamic legal code was introduced on a national level, the ruling National Congress (NCP) established themselves as the sole political party in the state and has since supported the use of recruited Arab militias in guerrilla warfare, such as in the ongoing conflict in Darfur.[16][17] Because of thousands of people being displaced and killed, the need for humanitarian care in Darfur has attracted worldwide attention, and the conflict has been described as a genocide.[18] Officially a federal presidential representative democratic republic, the politics of Sudan are widely considered by the international community to take place within an authoritarian dictatorship due to the influence of the NCP.[19] These factors led to the termination of diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad, obstructed humanitarian assistance to the civilian population and has even led to war crimes charges being issued against members of the Sudanese government.[20] On 4 March 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC.[21][21] Sudan has also been the subject of severe sanctions due to alleged ties with Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.[22][23] Sudan has scored low in human development in the last few years,[24] ranking #150 in 2009, between Haiti and Tanzania. Statistics indicate that about 17% of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.[25]

A member of the United Nations, Sudan also maintains membership with the AU, LAS, OIC and NAM, as well as serving as an observer in WTO.[20] Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial center of the nation, while Omdurman remains the largest city. Among Sudan's population of 42 million people, Sunni islam is the official and largest religion, while Arabic and English are the official languages.[26][27]



Early history (3000 BC – 543 AD)

Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the area in the north of Sudan, Nubia, was inhabited at least 60,000 years ago. A settled culture appeared around 8,000 B.C. They subsided on hunting, fishing and grain foraging and kept cattle and sheep.[28].

The area was known to the Egyptians as the Kush and had strong cultural and religious ties to Egypt. In the 8th century BC, however, Kush came under the rule of an aggressive line of monarchs, ruling from the capital city, Napata, who gradually extended their influence into Egypt. About 750 BC, a Kushite king called Kashta conquered Upper Egypt and became ruler of Thebes until approximately 740 BC. His successor, Piankhy, subdued the delta, reunited Egypt under the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and founded a line of kings who ruled Kush and Thebes for about a hundred years. The dynasty's intervention in the area of modern Syria caused a confrontation between Egypt and Assyria. When the Assyrians in retaliation invaded Egypt, Taharqa (688–663 BC), the last Kushite pharaoh, withdrew and returned the dynasty to Napata, where it continued to rule Kush and extended its dominions to the south and east.

Statue of a Nubian king, Sudan.

In 590 BC, an Egyptian army sacked Napata, compelling the Kushite court to move to Meroe near the Sixth Cataract. The Meroitic kingdom subsequently developed independently of Egypt, and during the height of its power in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, Meroe extended over a region from the Third Cataract in the north to Sawba, near present-day Khartoum (the modern capital of Sudan).

The pharaonic tradition persisted among Meroe's rulers, who raised stelae to record the achievements of their reigns and erected pyramids to contain their tombs. These objects and the ruins at palaces, temples and baths at Meroe attest to a centralised political system that employed artisans' skills and commanded the labour of a large workforce. A well-managed irrigation system allowed the area to support a higher population density than was possible during later periods. By the 1st century BC, the use of hieroglyphs gave way to a Meroitic script that adapted the Egyptian writing system to an indigenous, Nubian-related language spoken later by the region's people.

In the 6th century AD, the people known as the Nobatae occupied the Nile's west bank in northern Kush. Eventually they intermarried and established themselves among the Meroitic people as a military aristocracy. Until nearly the 5th century, Rome subsidised the Nobatae and used Meroe as a buffer between Egypt and the Blemmyes. About AD 350, an Axumite army from Abyssinia captured and destroyed Meroe city, ending the kingdom's independent existence.

Christianity and Islam (543-1821)

By the 6th century, three states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom. Nobatia in the north, also known as Ballanah, had its capital at Faras, in what is now Egypt; the central kingdom, Muqurra (Makuria), was centred at Dunqulah, about 13 kilometers south of modern Dunqulah; and Alawa (Alodia), in the heartland of old Meroe, which had its capital at Sawba (now a suburb of modern-day Khartoum). In all three kingdoms, warrior aristocracies ruled Meroitic populations from royal courts where functionaries bore Greek titles in emulation of the Byzantine court. A missionary sent by Byzantine empress Theodora arrived in Nobatia and started preaching Christianity about AD 540. The Nubian kings became Monophysite Christians. However, Makuria was of the Melkite Christian faith, unlike Nobatia and Alodia.

After many attempts at military conquest failed, the Arab commander in Egypt concluded the first in a series of regularly renewed treaties known as Albaqut (pactum) with the Nubians that governed relations between the two peoples for more than 678 years. Islam progressed in the area over a long period of time through intermarriage and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers, particularly the Sufi nobles of Arabia. In 1093, a Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood ascended the throne of Dunqulah as king. The two most important Arab tribes to emerge in Nubia were the Jaali and the Juhayna. Both showed physical continuity with the indigenous pre-Islamic population. Today's northern Sudanese culture combines Nubian and Arabic elements.

During the 1500s, a people called the Funj, under a leader named Amara Dunqus, appeared in southern Nubia and supplanted the remnants of the old Christian kingdom of Alwa, establishing As-Saltana az-Zarqa (the Blue Sultanate), also called the Sultanate of Sennar. The Blue Sultanate eventually became the keystone of the Funj Empire. By the mid 16th century, Sinnar controlled Al Jazirah and commanded the allegiance of vassal states and tribal districts north to the Third Cataract and south to the rainforests. The government was substantially weakened by a series of succession arguments and coups within the royal family. In 1820 Muhammad Ali of Egypt sent 4,000 troops to invade Sudan. The pasha's forces accepted Sinnar's surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII.

Modern Egyptian union (1821-1885)

In 1820, the Albanian-Ottoman ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali Pasha invaded and conquered northern Sudan. Though technically the Wāli of Egypt under the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad Ali styled himself as Khedive of a virtually independent Egypt. Seeking to add Sudan to his domains, he sent his third son Ismail (not to be confused with Ismail the Magnificent mentioned later) to conquer the country, and subsequently incorporate it into Egypt. This policy was expanded and intensified by Ibrahim's son, Ismail I, under whose reign most of the remainder of modern-day Sudan was conquered. The Egyptian authorities made significant improvements to the Sudanese infrastructure (mainly in the north), especially with regard to irrigation and cotton production.

In 1879, the Great Powers forced the removal of Ismail and established his son Tewfik I in his place. Tewfik's corruption and mismanagement resulted in the Orabi Revolt, which threatened the Khedive's survival. Tewfik appealed for help to the British, who subsequently occupied Egypt in 1882. Sudan was left in the hands of the Khedivial government, and the mismanagement and corruption of its officials became notorious.[29] During the 1870s, European initiatives against the slave trade caused an economic crisis in northern Sudan, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces.[30][31]

Eventually, a revolt broke out in Sudan, led by Muhammad Ahmad ibn Abd Allah, the Mahdi (Guided One), who sought to end foreign presence in Sudan. His revolt culminated in the fall of Khartoum and the death of the British governor General Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum) in 1885. The Egyptian and British subsequently withdrew forces from Sudan leaving the Mahdi to form a short-lived theocracy.

The Mahdist rule (1885-1899)

The Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) did not impose Islamic laws. The new ruler's aim was more political than anything else. This was evident in the animosity he showed towards existing Muslims and locals who did not show loyalty to his system and rule. He authorised the burning of lists of pedigrees and books of law and theology as well as destruction of Mosques in the north and east of Sudan. The Mahdi maintained that his movement was not a religious order that could be accepted or rejected at will, but that it was a universal regime, which challenged man to join or to be destroyed.

Originally, the Mahdiyah was a jihad state, run like a military camp. Courts enforced the regime's grip on power and the Mahdi's precepts, which had the force of law. Six months after the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi died of typhus, and after a power struggle amongst his deputies, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, with the help primarily of the Baqqara Arabs of western Sudan, overcame the opposition of the others and emerged as unchallenged leader of the Mahdiyah. After consolidating his power, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad assumed the title of Khalifa (successor) of the Mahdi, instituted an administration, and appointed Ansar (who were usually Baqqara) as emirs over each of the several provinces.

The Mahdist State (1881–98), inside the border of modern Sudan.

Regional relations remained tense throughout much of the Mahdiyah period, largely because of the Khalifa's brutal methods to extend his rule throughout the country. In 1887, a 60,000-man Ansar army invaded Ethiopia, penetrating as far as Gondar. In March 1889, king Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, marched on Metemma; however, after Yohannes fell in battle, the Ethiopian forces withdrew. Abd ar Rahman an Nujumi, the Khalifa's general, attempted an invasion of Egypt in 1889, but British-led Egyptian troops defeated the Ansar at Tushkah. The failure of the Egyptian invasion broke the spell of the Ansar's invincibility. The Belgians prevented the Mahdi's men from conquering Equatoria, and in 1893, the Italians repelled an Ansar attack at Akordat (in Eritrea) and forced the Ansar to withdraw from Ethiopia.

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899-1956)

In the 1891s, the British sought to re-establish their control over Sudan, once more officially in the name of the Egyptian Khedive, but in actuality treating the country as British imperial territory. By the early 1890s, British, French and Belgian claims had converged at the Nile headwaters. Britain feared that the other imperial powers would take advantage of Sudan's instability to acquire territory previously annexed to Egypt. Apart from these political considerations, Britain wanted to establish control over the Nile to safeguard a planned irrigation dam at Aswan.

"The War in the Soudan." A U.S. poster depicting British and Mahdist armies in battle, produced to advertise a Barnum & Bailey circus show titled "The Mahdi, or, For the Victoria Cross", 1897.

Lord Kitchener led military campaigns from 1896 to 1898. Kitchener's campaigns culminated in the Battle of Omdurman. Following defeat of the Mahdists at Omdurman, an agreement was reached in 1899 establishing Anglo-Egyptian rule, under which Sudan was run by a governor-general appointed by Egypt with British consent. In reality, much to the revulsion of Egyptian and Sudanese nationalists, Sudan was effectively administered as a British colony. The British were keen to reverse the process, started under Muhammad Ali Pasha, of uniting the Nile Valley under Egyptian leadership, and sought to frustrate all efforts aimed at further uniting the two countries. During World War II, Sudan was directly involved militarily in the East African Campaign. Formed in 1925, the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) played an active part in responding to the early incursions (occupation by Italian troops of Kassala and other border areas) into the Sudan from Italian East Africa during 1940. In 1942, the SDF also played a part in the invasion of the Italian colony by British and Commonwealth forces. From 1924 until independence in 1956, the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories, the north (Muslim) and south (Christian). The last British Governor-General was Sir Robert Howe.

Independence and civil wars (1956-1989)

The continued British occupation of Sudan fueled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash in Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognize a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother Fuad I who succeeded him. The insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state persisted when the Sultanate was retitled the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate these efforts. The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence. Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt's new leaders, Muhammad Naguib, whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abandon its sovereignty over Sudan. The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman whom they believed could resist the Egyptian presence in Sudan. However they realised his political inability and diminishing support in northern and central Sudan, both Britain and Egypt with no option but to allow the Sudanese in the north and south together self determination and a free vote on independence. In 1954 the governments of Egypt and Britain signed a treaty guaranteeing Sudanese independence on 1 January 1956, in a special ceremony held at the People's Palace where the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag, composed of green, blue and white stripes, was raised in their place. Afterwards, Ismail Al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government.[32]

In 1955, the year before independence, a civil war began between Northern and Southern Sudan. The southerners, anticipating independence, feared the new nation would be dominated by the north. Historically, the north of Sudan had closer ties with Egypt and was predominantly Arab and Muslim while the south was predominantly a mixture of Christianity and Animism. These divisions had been further emphasized by the British policy of ruling the north and south under separate administrations. From 1924, it was illegal for people living north of the 10th parallel to go further south and for people south of the 8th parallel to go further north. The law was ostensibly enacted to prevent the spread of malaria and other tropical diseases that had ravaged British troops, as well as to facilitate spreading Christianity among the predominantly Animist population while stopping the Arabic and Islamic influence from advancing south. The result was increased isolation between the already distinct north and south and arguably laid the seeds of conflict in the years to come.

The resulting conflict lasted from 1955 to 1972. The 1955 war began when Southern army officers mutinied and then formed the Anya-Nya guerilla movement. A few years later the first Sudanese military regime took power under Major-General Abboud. Military regimes continued into 1969 when General Gaafar Nimeiry led a successful coup.[33] In 1972, a cessation of the north-south conflict was agreed upon under the terms of the Addis Ababa Agreement, following talks which were sponsored by the World Council of Churches. This led to a ten-year hiatus in the national conflict.

In 1983, the civil war was reignited following President Gaafar Nimeiry's decision to circumvent the Addis Ababa Agreement. President Gaafar Nimeiry attempted to create a federated Sudan including states in southern Sudan, which violated the Addis Ababa Agreement that had granted the south considerable autonomy. He appointed a committee to undertake “a substantial review of the Addis Ababa Agreement, especially in the areas of security arrangements, border trade, language, culture and religion”.[34] Mansour Khalid a former foreign minister wrote, “Nimeiri had never been genuinely committed to the principles of the Addis Ababa Agreement".[35] In September 1983, the civil war was reignited when President Gaafar Nimeiry's culminated the 1977 revisions by imposing new Islamic laws on all of Sudan, including the non-Muslim south. When asked about revisions he stated “The Addis Ababa agreement is myself and Joseph Lagu and we want it that way… I am 300 percent the constitution. I do not know of any plebiscite because I am mandated by the people as the President”.[36] Southern troops rebelled against the northern political offensive, and launched attacks in June 1983. In 1995, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiated the longest ceasefire in the history of the war to allow humanitarian aid to enter Southern Sudan which had been inaccessible owing to violence.[37] This ceasefire, which lasted almost six months, has since been called the "Guinea Worm Ceasefire."[37] Since 1983, a combination of civil war and famine has taken the lives of nearly 2 million people in Sudan.[38]

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), based in southern Sudan, was formed in May 1983. Finally, in June 1983, the Sudanese government under President Gaafar Nimeiry abrogated the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement (A.A.A.).[39] The situation was exacerbated after President Gaafar Nimeiry went on to implement Sharia Law in September of the same year.[40]

The war continued even after Nimeiry was ousted and a democratic government was elected with Al Sadig Al Mahdi's Umma Party having the majority in the parliament. The leader of the SPLA John Garang refused to recognize the government and to negotiate with it as representative of Sudan but agreed to negotiate with government officials as representative of their political parties.

Recent history (1989-present)

On 30 June 1989, colonel Omar al-Bashir led a group of army officers in ousting the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless military coup.[12] Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level.[41] He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces, and minister of defense.[42] Subsequent to al-Bashir's promotion to the Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, he allied himself with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front (NIF), who along with al-Bashir began institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of Sudan. Further on, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.[43]

The Sudanese army advanced successfully in the south, reaching the southern borders with neighbouring Kenya and Uganda. The campaign started in 1989 and ended in 1994. During the fight the situation worsened in the tribal south causing casualties among the Christian and animist minority.[44] Rebel leader Riek Mashar subsequently signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government and became Vice President of Sudan. His troops took part in the fight against the SPLA during the government offensive in the 1990s. After the Sudanese army took control of the entire south with the help of Riek Mashar, the situation improved. In time, however, the SPLA sought support in the West by using the northern Sudanese government's religious propaganda to portray the war as a campaign by the Arab Islamic government to impose Islam and the Arabic language on the Christian south.

The war went on for more than 20 years, including the use of Russian-made combat helicopters and military cargo planes which were used as bombers to devastating effect on villages and tribal rebels alike. "Sudan's independent history has been dominated by chronic, exceptionally cruel warfare that has starkly divided the country on racial, religious, and regional grounds; displaced an estimated four million people (of a total estimated population of thirty-two million); and killed an estimated two million people."[45] It damaged Sudan's economy and led to food shortages, resulting in starvation and malnutrition. The lack of investment during this time, particularly in the south, meant a generation lost access to basic health services, education, and jobs.

On 16 October 1993, al-Bashir's powers increased when he appointed himself President of the country, after which he disbanded the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation and all other rival political parties. The executive and legislative powers of the council were later given to al-Bashir completely.[46] In the 1996 national election, where he was the only candidate by law to run for election,[47] al-Bashir transformed Sudan into an Islamic totalitarian single-party state and created the National Congress Party (NCP) with a new parliament and government obtained solely by members of the NCP.[48] During the 1990s, Hassan al-Turabi, then Speaker of the National Assembly, reached out to Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as allowing them to operate out of Sudan, even personally inviting Osama bin Laden to the country.[49] The United States subsequently listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism[23] and U.S. firms were been barred from doing business in Sudan.[50] Further on, al-Turabi's influence and that of his party's "'internationalist' and ideological wing" waned "in favor of the 'nationalist' or more pragmatic leaders who focus on trying to recover from Sudan's disastrous international isolation and economic damage that resulted from ideological adventurism."[51] At the same time Sudan worked to appease the United States and other international critics by expelling members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and encouraging bin Laden to leave.[52] Prior to the 2000 presidential election, al-Turabi introduced a bill to reduce the President's powers, prompting al-Bashir to dissolve parliament and declare a state of emergency. After he urged a boycott of the President's re-election campaign and signed an agreement with Sudan People's Liberation Army, Omar al-Bashir suspected that they were plotting to overthrow him and the government,[53] thus jailing Hassan al-Turabi that same year.[54]

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004. The peace was consolidated with the official signing by both sides of the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement 9 January 2005, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence. It created a co-vice president position and allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. John Garang, the south's peace agreement appointed co-vice president died in a helicopter crash on 1 August 2005, three weeks after being sworn in. This resulted in riots, but the peace was eventually able to continue. The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was established under the UN Security Council Resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005. Its mandate is to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and to perform functions relating to humanitarian assistance, and protection and promotion of human rights. In October 2007 the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) withdrew from government in protest over slow implementation of a landmark 2005 peace deal which ended the civil war. Due to significant cultural, social, political, ethnic and economic changes in short amounts of time, conflicts were evolved in western and eastern provinces of Sudan in addition to an escalating conflict in Southern Sudan. Since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur, Red Sea and Equatoria regions have occurred, which has resulted in death tolls between 200,000[16] and 400,000,[20][55][56] over 2.5 million people being displaced[57] and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level.[58]

Darfur conflict

Map of Northeast Africa highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

Just as the long north-south civil war was reaching a resolution, some clashes occurred in the western region of Darfur in the early 1970s between the pastoral tribes. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region economically, although there is uncertainty regarding the objectives of the rebels and whether they merely seek an improved position for Darfur within Sudan or outright secession. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of atrocities in this war, although most of the blame has fallen on Arab militias known as the Janjaweed, which are armed men appointed by the Al Saddiq Al Mahdi administration to stop the longstanding chaotic disputes between Darfur tribes. According to declarations by the United States Government, these militias have been engaging in genocide; the fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of them seeking refuge in neighbouring Chad. The government claimed victory over the rebels after capturing a town on the border with Chad in early 1994. However, the fighting resumed in 2003.

On 9 September 2004, the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the Darfur conflict a genocide, claiming it as the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.[59] There have been reports that the Janjawid has been launching raids, bombings, and attacks on villages, killing civilians based on ethnicity, raping women, stealing land, goods, and herds of livestock. So far, over 2.5 million civilians have been displaced and the death toll is variously estimated from 200,000[60] to 400,000 killed.[61] These figures have remained stagnant since initial UN reports of the conflict hinted at genocide in 2003/2004. Genocide has been considered a criminal offense under international humanitarial law since the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide[62].

On 5 May 2006, the Sudanese government and Darfur's largest rebel group, the SLM (Sudanese Liberation Movement), signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, which aimed at ending the three-year-long conflict.[63] The agreement specified the disarmament of the Janjawid and the disbandment of the rebel forces, and aimed at establishing a temporal government in which the rebels could take part.[64] The agreement, which was brokered by the African Union, however, was not signed by all of the rebel groups.[64] Only one rebel group, the SLA, led by Minni Arko Minnawi, signed the DPA.[65]

A mother with her sick child at Abu Shouk IDP camp in North Darfur.

Since the agreement was signed, however, there have been reports of widespread violence throughout the region. A new rebel group has emerged called the National Redemption Front, which is made up of the four main rebel groups that refused to sign the May peace agreement.[66] Recently, both the Sudanese government and government-sponsored Muslim militias have launched large offensives against the rebel groups, resulting in more deaths and more displacements. Clashes among the rebel groups have also contributed to the violence.[66] Recent fighting along the Chad border has left hundreds of soldiers and rebel forces dead and nearly a quarter of a million refugees cut off from aid.[67] In addition, villages have been bombed and more civilians have been killed. UNICEF recently reported that around 80 infants die each day in Darfur as a result of malnutrition.

The people in Darfur are predominantly Black Africans of Muslim belief. While the Janjawid militia is made up of Arabized Black African (Black Arabs); the majority of Arab groups in Darfur remain uninvolved in the conflict. Darfurians—Arab and non-Arab alike—profoundly distrust a government in Khartoum that has brought them nothing but trouble.[68]

The International Criminal Court has indicted State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and alleged Muslim Janjawid militia leader Ali Mohammed Ali, also known as Ali Kosheib, in relation to the atrocities in the region. Ahmed Haroun belongs to the Bargou tribe, one of the non-Arab tribes of Darfur, and is alleged to have incited attacks on specific non-Arab ethnic groups. Ali Kosheib is a former soldier and a leader of the popular defense forces, and is alleged to be one of the key leaders responsible for attacks on villages in west Darfur.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, announced on 14 July 2008, ten criminal charges against President Bashir, accusing him of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity.[69] The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity.[69] The ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir.[69]

The Arab League, African Union, and even France support Sudan’s efforts to suspend the ICC investigation.[70] They are willing to consider Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which states ICC investigations can be suspended for one year if the investigation endangers the peace process.[71]

Chad-Sudan conflict

The Chad-Sudan conflict officially started on 23 December 2005, when the government of Chad declared a state of war with Sudan and called for the citizens of Chad to mobilize themselves against the "common enemy"[72]—the United Front for Democratic Change, a coalition of rebel factions dedicated to overthrowing Chadian President Idriss Déby (and who the Chadians believe are backed by the Sudanese government), and Sudanese janjawid, who have been raiding refugee camps and certain tribes in eastern Chad. Déby accuses Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir of trying to "destabilize our country, to drive our people into misery, to create disorder and export the war from Darfur to Chad."

The problem prompting the declaration of war was an attack on the Chadian town of Adré near the Sudanese border that led to the deaths of either one hundred rebels (as most news sources reported) or three hundred rebels. The Sudanese government was blamed for the attack, which was the second in the region in three days,[73] but Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Jamal Mohammed Ibrahim denied any Sudanese involvement, "We are not for any escalation with Chad. We technically deny involvement in Chadian internal affairs." The Battle of Adré led to the declaration of war by Chad and the alleged deployment of the Chadian air force into Sudanese airspace, which the Chadian government denies.[74]

The leaders of Sudan and Chad signed an agreement in Saudi Arabia on 3 May 2007 to stop fighting from the Darfur conflict along their countries' 1,000-kilometre (600 mi) border.[75]

Eastern Front

The Eastern Front is a coalition of rebel groups operating in eastern Sudan along the border with Eritrea, particularly the states of Red Sea and Kassala. The Eastern Front's Chairman is Musa Mohamed Ahmed. While the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was the primary member of the Eastern Front, the SPLA was obliged to leave by the January 2005 agreement that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War. Their place was taken in February 2004 after the merger of the larger Beja Congress with the smaller Rashaida Free Lions, two tribal based groups of the Beja and Rashaida people, respectively.[76] The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a rebel group from Darfur in the west, then joined.

Both the Free Lions and the Beja Congress stated that government inequity in the distribution of oil profits was the cause of their rebellion. They demanded to have a greater say in the composition of the national government, which has been seen as a destabilizing influence on the agreement ending the conflict in Southern Sudan.

The Eastern Front had threatened to block the flow of crude oil, which travels from the oil fields of the south-central regions to outside markets through Port Sudan. A government plan to build a second oil refinery near Port Sudan was also threatened. The government was reported to have three times as many soldiers in the east to suppress the rebellion and protect vital infrastructure as in the more widely reported Darfur region.

The Eritrean government in mid-2006 dramatically changed their position on the conflict. From being the main supporter of the Eastern Front they decided that bringing the Sudanese government around the negotiating table for a possible agreement with the rebels would be in their best interests.

They were successful in their attempts and on the 19 June 2006, the two sides signed an agreement on declaration of principles.[77] This was the start of four months of Eritrean-mediated negotiations for a comprehensive peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front, which culminated in signing of a peace agreement on 14 October 2006, in Asmara. The agreement covers security issues, power sharing at a federal and regional level, and wealth sharing in regards to the three Eastern states Kassala, Red Sea and Al Qadarif.

In July 2007, many areas of the country were devastated by flooding, prompting an immediate humanitarian response by the United Nations and partners, under the leadership of acting United Nations Resident Coordinators David Gressly and Oluseyi Bajulaiye.[78] Over 400,000 people were directly affected, with over 3.5 million at risk of epidemics.[79] The United Nations have allocated US$ 13.5 million for the response from its pooled funds, but will launch an appeal to the international community to cover the gap.[80] The humanitarian crisis is in danger of worsening. Following attacks in Darfur, the U.N. World Food Program announced it could stop food aid to some parts of Darfur.[81] Banditry against truck convoys is one of the biggest problems, as it impedes the delivery of food assistance to war-stricken areas and forces a cut in monthly rations.[82] In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Scott Gration as his envoy to Sudan.

Autonomy, separation and conflicts

     North Sudan      Darfur      Eastern Front      South Sudan      Abyei      Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile
  • Abyei is to hold a referendum in 2011 on whether to join South Sudan or not.
  • Southern Sudan is an autonomous region intermediate between the states and the national government. Southern Sudan is scheduled to have a referendum on independence in 2011.[83] As agreed in the peace agreement a new currency, the Sudan Pound was launched throughout the country on 10 January 2007, and will replace the Sudanese Dinar. But this agreement has come under dispute owing to poor communication. The Southern Sudanese government tried to launch a new currency, but stopped after the central Sudanese government declared that such a move constituted a breach of the peace agreement.
  • Darfur, a region of three western states, is plagued by a violent conflict between the Sudanese government and a group of rebelling peoples of the region. (see Darfur conflict, Transitional Darfur Regional Authority).
  • There was also an insurgency in the east led by the Eastern Front. On 14 October 2006, both the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front signed a power-sharing agreement ending the insurgency.

Government and politics

Omar al-Bashir, current President of Sudan

Officially, the politics of Sudan takes place, in the framework of a federal presidential representative democratic republic, where the President of Sudan is Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudanese Armed Forces in a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in both the government and in the two chambers, the National Assembly (lower) and the Council of States (upper), of the bicameral National Legislature. The judiciary is independent and obtained by the Constitutional Court.[20]

However, following a deadly civil war and the now low scale war in Darfur, Sudan is widely recognized as an authoritarian state where all effective political power is obtained by President Omar al-Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). The political system of the Republic of Sudan was restructured following a military coup on 30 June 1989, when Omar al-Bashir, then a colonel in the Sudanese Army, led a group of officers and ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level.[84]

He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces, and minister of defense.[85] Further on, after institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of the country along with Hassan al-Turabi, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.[86].

In 1993, Sudan was transformed into an Islamic authoritarian single-party state as al-Bashir abolished the Revolutionary Command Council and created the National Islamic Front (NIF) with a new parliament and government obtained solely by members of the NIF. At the same time, the structure of regional administration was replaced by the creation of twenty-six states, each headed by a governor, thus making Sudan a federal republic. As a result, the civil war with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) would only escalate in the following years.[54][53]

Sudanese Presidential Palace

Following the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government of Omar al-Bashir and the SPLA, a Government of National Unity was installed in Sudan in accordance with the Interim Constitution whereby a co-Vice President position representing the south was created in addition to the northern Sudanese Vice President. This allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. Following the Darfur Peace Agreement, the office of senior Presidential advisor was allocated to Minni Minnawi, a Zaghawa of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), and this thus became the fourth highest constitutional post.

Executive posts are divided between the National Congress Party (NCP), the Sudan People's Liberation Army, Eastern Front and factions of the Umma Party and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This peace agreement with the rebel group Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) granted Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence in 2011.

According to the new 2005 constitution, the bicameral National Legislature is the official Sudanese parliament, and is divided between two chambers; the National Assembly, a lower house with 450 seats, and the Council of States, an upper house with 50 seats. Thus the parliament consists of 500 appointed members altogether, where all are indirectly elected by state legislatures to serve six-year terms.[20]

Despite his international arrest warrant, Omar al-Bashir is a candidate in the upcoming 2010 Sudanese presidential election, the first democratic election with multiple political parties participating in nine years.[87][88] His political rival is Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit, leader of the SPLA and current President of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan.[89]

Foreign relations

Sudan has had a troubled relationship with many of its neighbors and much of the international community owing to what is viewed as its aggressively Islamic stance. For much of the 1990s, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia formed an ad-hoc alliance called the "Front Line States" with support from the United States to check the influence of the National Islamic Front government. The Sudanese Government supported anti-Uganda rebel groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army.

Beginning from the mid-1990s Sudan gradually began to moderate its positions as a result of increased US pressure following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and the new development of oil fields previously in rebel hands. Sudan also has a territorial dispute with Egypt over the Hala'ib Triangle. Since 2003, the foreign relations of Sudan have centered on the support for ending the Second Sudanese Civil War and condemnation of government support for militias in the Darfur conflict.

The United States has listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993.[23] U.S. firms have been barred from doing business in Sudan since 1997.[90] In 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was destroyed by a US cruise missile strike because of its alleged production of chemical weapons and links to al-Qaeda. Sudan has extensive economic relations with China. China gets 1/10 of its oil from Sudan, and according to a former Sudanese government minister, China is Sudan’s largest supplier of arms.[91]

On 23 December 2005, Chad, Sudan's neighbour to the west, declared war on Sudan and accused the country of being the "common enemy of the nation [Chad]." This happened after the 18 December attack on Adré, which left about 100 people dead. A statement issued by Chadian government on 23 December, accused Sudanese militias of making daily incursions into Chad, stealing cattle, killing people and burning villages on the Chadian border. The statement went on to call for Chadians to form a patriotic front against Sudan.[72]

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have called on Sudan and Chad to exercise self-restraint to defuse growing tensions between the two countries.[92] On 11 May 2008 Sudan announced it was cutting diplomatic relations with Chad, claiming that it was helping rebels in Darfur to attack the Sudanese capital Khartoum.[93] On 27 December 2005, Sudan became one of the few states to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.[94]

On 20 June 2006 President Omar al-Bashir told reporters that he would not allow any UN peacekeeping force into Sudan. President al-Bashir denounced any such mission as "colonial forces."[95] On 17 November 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that "Sudan has agreed in principle to allow the establishment of a joint African Union and UN peacekeeping force in an effort to solve the crisis in Darfur" – but had stopped short of setting the number of troops involved. Annan speculated that this force could number 17,000.[96]

Despite this claim, no additional troops have been deployed as of late December 2006. On 31 July 2007 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of UN forces.[97] Violence continues in the region and on 15 December 2006, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated they would be proceeding with cases of human rights violations against members of the Sudan government.[98] A Sudanese legislator was quoted as saying that Khartoum may permit UN peacekeepers to patrol Darfur in exchange for immunity from prosecution for officials charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.


The Sudanese People's Armed Forces is the regular forces of the Republic of Sudan and is divided into five branches; the Sudanese Army, Sudanese Navy (including the Marine Corps), Sudanese Air Force, Border Patrol and the Popular Defense Force, totalling about 200,000 troops. The military of Sudan has become very well equipped fighting force, thanks to increasing local production of heavy and advanced arms. These forces are under the sole command of President Omar al-Bashir and its strategic principles include defending Sudan’s external borders and preserve internal security.[20]

However, since the Darfur crisis in 2004, safe-keeping the central government from the armed resistance and rebellion of paramilitary rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have been important priorities. While not official, the Sudanese military also uses Arab militias, the most prominent being the Janjaweed, in executing a counter-insurgency war. [99] Something between 200,000[16] and 400,000[20][100][101] have died in the violent struggles.

Legal system

The legal system in Sudan is based on Islamic sharia. Islamic law was implemented in all of the north as of 20 January 1991, by the now-defunct Revolutionary Command Council; this applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion. The 2005 Naivasha Agreement, ending the civil war between North and South Sudan, established some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum. International Court of Justice jurisdiction is accepted, though with reservations. Under the terms of the Naivasha Agreement, Islamic law does not apply in the south; the legal system there is still developing.[102]

The judicial branch of the northern government consists of a Constitutional Court of nine justices, the National Supreme Court and National Courts of Appeal, and other national courts; the National Judicial Service Commission provides overall management for the judiciary.

Human rights

The United States government's Sudan Peace Act of 21 October 2002 accused Sudan of genocide in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) which has cost more than 2 million lives and has displaced more than 4 million people.[103][104] It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people had been taken into slavery during the Second Sudanese Civil War.[105][106] The slaves are mostly Dinka people.[107]

Slavery in Sudan has been documented since ancient Egypt being taken over by the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent institutionalizing of Sharia law in the north, and with the French and British empires colonizing Southern Sudan, the Arabs began abducting large groups of black Africans in the south in form of Arab slave trade for centuries. However, the amount of war prisoners being forced into slavery increased significantly during and after the Second Sudanese Civil War, as Omar al-Bashir seized power in 1989 and created a totalitarian federal government supporting Arab militias terrorizing the southern regions, such as raiding non-Afro Arab villages and looting them both for property and for slaves.[108][109][110] Since 1995, international rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and CASMAS have reported that slavery in Sudan is a common fate of captives in the Second Sudanese Civil War and rebels fighting in the Sudan People's Liberation Army in connections to the Darfur conflict, while the 2002 report issued by the International Eminent Persons Group, acting with the encouragement of the United States State Department, found the SPLA and pro-government militias guilty of abduction of civilians as well.[111]

While the government of the Republic of Sudan denies the allegations of slavery in the country, claiming that these reports are attempts to shed a bad light on Muslims and Arabs, and that slave redemption programs are fraudulent attempts to make money, the Rift Valley Institute's Sudan Abductee Database claim over 11,000 people were abducted in 20 years of slave-raiding in the southern regions,[112] while mentions that hundreds of thousands have been abducted into slavery, fled, or are otherwise unaccounted for in a second genocide in southern Sudan.[113]

A letter dated 14 August 2006, from the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch found that the Sudanese government is both incapable of protecting its own citizens in Darfur and unwilling to do so, and that its militias are guilty of crimes against humanity. The letter added that these human rights abuses have existed since 2004.[114] Some reports attribute part of the violations to the rebels as well as the government and the Janjaweed. The US State Department's human rights report issued in March 2007 claims that "All parties to the conflagration committed serious abuses, including widespread killing of civilians, rape as a tool of war, systematic torture, robbery and recruitment of child soldiers."[115]

Both government forces and militias allied with the government are known to attack not only civilians in Darfur, but also humanitarian workers. Sympathizers of rebel groups are arbitrarily detained, as are foreign journalists, human rights defenders, student activists, and displaced people in and around Khartoum, some of whom face torture. The rebel groups have also been accused in a report issued by the American government of attacking humanitarian workers and of killing innocent civilians.[116]

States, districts, and counties

Political map of Sudan. Hala'ib Triangle has been under Egyptian administration since 2000.

Sudan is divided into twenty-five states (wilayat, sing. wilayah) which in turn are subdivided into 133 districts. The ten states in Southern Sudan have been divided into 84 counties. The states are:


Sudan is situated in northern Africa, with a 853 km coastline bordering the Red Sea.[117] With an area of 2,505,810 km2 (967,499 sq mi), it is the largest country on the continent and the tenth largest in the world. The terrain is generally flat plains, broken by several mountain ranges; in the west the Jebel Marra is the highest range; in the south is the highest mountain Mount Kinyeti Imatong (3,187 m./10,456 ft), near the border with Uganda; in the east are the Red Sea Hills.[118]

The Blue and White Niles meet in Khartoum to form the River Nile, which flows northwards through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Blue Nile's course through Sudan is nearly 800 km long and is joined by the rivers Dinder and Rahad between Sennar and Khartoum. The White Nile within Sudan has no significant tributaries.

The amount of rainfall increases towards the south. In the north there is the very dry Nubian Desert; in the south there are swamps and rainforest. Sudan’s rainy season lasts for about three months (July to September) in the north, and up to six months (June to November) in the south. The dry regions are plagued by sandstorms, known as haboob, which can completely block out the sun. In the northern and western semi-desert areas, people rely on the scant rainfall for basic agriculture and many are nomadic, travelling with their herds of sheep and camels. Nearer the River Nile, there are well-irrigated farms growing cash crops.[119]

There are several dams on the Blue and White Niles. Among them are the Sennar and Roseires on the Blue Nile, and Jebel Aulia dam on the White Nile. There is also Lake Nubia on the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

Rich mineral resources are available in Sudan including: petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, chromite, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt, granite, nickel and tin.[120]

Desertification is a serious problem in Sudan.[121] There is also concern over soil erosion. Agricultural expansion, both public and private, has proceeded without conservation measures. The consequences have manifested themselves in the form of deforestation, soil desiccation, and the lowering of soil fertility and the water table.[122]

The nation's wildlife is threatened by hunting. As of 2001, twenty-one mammal species and nine bird species are endangered, as well as two species of plants. Endangered species include: the waldrapp, northern white rhinoceros, tora hartebeest, slender-horned gazelle, and hawksbill turtle. The Sahara oryx has become extinct in the wild.[123]

In May 2007, it was announced that hundreds of wild elephants had been located on a previously unknown, treeless island in the Sudd swampland region of southern Sudan. The exact location was being kept secret to protect the animals from poachers.[124][125]


Despite being the 17th fastest growing economy in the world with new economic policies and infrastructure investments, Sudan still faces formidable economic problems, as it must rise from a very low level of per capita output. Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing the macroeconomic reforms recommended by the IMF.

In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999, recorded its first trade surplus. Increased oil production (the current production is about 520,000 barrels per day (83,000 m3/d)) revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones helped sustain GDP growth at 6.1% in 2003. These gains, along with improvements to monetary policy, have stabilized the exchange rate.

Currently oil is Sudan's main export, and the production is increasing dramatically. With rising oil revenues the Sudanese economy is booming, with a growth rate of about 9% in 2007. Sustained growth was expected the next year due to not only increasing oil production, but also to the boost of hydroelectricity (annual electricity yield of 5.5 TWh) provided by the Merowe Dam.

Satellite image of Sudan

Rich mineral resources are available in Sudan including: petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, chrome, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt, granite, nickel and tin.

Agriculture production remains Sudan's most important sector, employing 80% of the workforce and contributing 39% of GDP, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Chronic instability—including the long-standing civil war (now over) between the Muslim north and the Christian–animist south, adverse weather, and weak world agricultural prices—ensures that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.

The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large construction project in northern Sudan, about 350 km north of the capital Khartoum. It is situated on the river Nile, close to the Fourth Cataract where the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between. Merowe is a city about 40 km downstream from the construction site at Hamdab.

The main purpose of the dam will be the generation of electricity. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydro power project in Africa. The construction of the dam was to be finished by mid 2008, supplying more than 90% of the population with electricity. Other gas-powered generating stations are under construction in Khartoum state; these were also due to be completed by 2008.

Despite the American sanctions, the Sudanese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world according to a New York Times report of October 2006.[126]


A Nubian wedding.
Beja nomads.
Acholi children
Bedouin in north
Rashaida in the east
Sudan population density (person per Km2).

In Sudan's 1993 census, the population was recorded to be 25 million. No comprehensive census has been carried out since then owing to the continuation of the civil war. A 2006 United Nations estimate put the population at about 37 million. The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and is estimated at about 5 to 7 million, including around 2 million displaced persons from the southern war zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.

Despite being a refugee-generating country, Sudan also hosts a refugee population. According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers lived in Sudan in 2007. The majority of this population came from Eritrea (240,400 persons), Chad (45,000), Ethiopia (19,300) and the Central African Republic (2,500).[127] The Sudanese government was reportedly uncooperative with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2007, and the government forcibly deported at least 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers during the year. Sudan is a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.[127]

Ethnic groups

Sudan has 597 tribes that speak over 400 different languages and dialects [128] split into two major Ethnic groups: Arabs of the largely Muslim Northern Sudan versus the largely Christian and animist Nilote Southern Sudan of the south.[10][11] These two groups consist of hundreds of smaller ethnic and tribal divisions, and in the latter case, language groups.

As with Moroccans, Algerians and most other non-Arabian Peninsula Arabs, most Sudanese Arabs are "Arabs" in linguistic, cultural and ethnic association. They descended primarily from the pre-existing indigenous populations; that is, the ancient Nubians. The Nubians share a common history with Egypt. In common with much of the rest of the Arab World, the gradual process of Arabisation in northern Sudan led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture,[129] leading to the shift among a majority of northern Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was furthered both by the spread of Islam and an emigration to Sudan of genealogical Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, and their intermarriage with the Arabized indigenous peoples of the country.

The northern states cover most of Sudan and include most of the urban centers. Most of the 22 million Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic-speaking Muslims, though the majority also use a traditional non-Arabic mother tongue (e.g. Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc) as education is in Arabic language. Among these are several distinct tribal groups: the camel-raising Kababish of northern Kordofan; the Dongolawiyin (الدنقلاويين); the Ga’aliyin (الجعلين); the Rubatab (الرباطاب); the Manasir (المناصير); the Shaiqiyah (الشايقيّة); the Bideiria ; the semi-nomadic Baggara of Kurdufan and Darfur; the Beja and Hausa people in the Red Sea area and who extend into Eritrea; and the Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River.

Shokrya in the Butana land, Bataheen bordering the Ga’alin and Shokrya in the southwest of Butana. Rufaa, Halaween,Fulani (فولاني) and many other tribes have settled in the Gazeera region and on the banks of the Blue Nile, Damazine and the Dindir region. The Nuba of southern Kurdufan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.

The Southern region has a population of around six million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been affected by war for all but 10 years since the country's independence in 1956, resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than two million people have died, and more than four million are internally displaced or have become refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts.

Here a majority of the population practices traditional indigenous beliefs, although some practice Christianity, a result of Christian missionary efforts. The south also contains many tribal groups and many more languages are used than in the north. The Dinka, whose population is estimated at more than one million, are the largest of the many ethnic groups of Sudan. Along with the Shilluk, also the Nuer and the Bari who consist of five other tribes, Pojulu, Mundari, Kuku, Kakaw and Ngangwara are Nilotic tribes.

The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the Acholi and Lotuhu live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda. Unlike northern Sudan, Arabisation and Islamisation have been limited in the south as the region's permanent merger with the north is relatively recent, dating back to the union with Egypt in the 19th Century. As a result, Arab self-identification amongst people in the south is almost exclusively limited to those of northern Sudanese origin, with the vast majority of southern Sudanese rejecting Arab identity.


The most used languages are:

  1. Arabic in the North, East, West and Middle regions, along with the tribal languages ( if they have another language apart from Arabic).
  2. Tribal languages in all Sudan with some educated people speaking English.

The lingua franca in Southern Sudan is a variant of Arabic called "Juba Arabic"; the English language is used by the educated elite.

Some western African tribes like the Fallata, also known as Fulani and Hausa, have migrated to Sudan at various times, settling in various regions, mainly in the north, with most speaking Arabic in addition to their native languages.


Religion in Sudan[130]
religion percent
Sunni Islam

An estimated 70% of the population adheres to Islam.[131][132] The remainder of the population follows either animist and indigenous beliefs (25%) or Christianity (5%).[130][131] but these CIA Factbook figures appear dated as about 70% of southern Sudanese are now affiliated with Christian churches, and about 16-20% of the overall population of Sudan. Sudan's largest Christian denominations are the following: the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, the Presbyterian Church in the Sudan, and the Coptic Orthodox Church.[133] Southern Sudan has one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the whole world, new churches in the South are being built very frequently.

Islam predominates in the North, while traditional indigenous beliefs (animism) and Christianity are prevalent in the South. Some Muslim leaders estimate the Muslim population to be more than 32 million, or above 80 percent of the total population, this is very debatable, as before Egyptian colonization, the majority or almost all of the population of Sudan were Christians. Almost all Muslims are Sunni, although there are significant distinctions between followers of different Sunni traditions. Two popular divisions, the Ansar and the Khatmia, are associated with the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist Parties, respectively. There is a small Shi'a community.

Christians are now the second largest group. The Roman Catholic Church estimates the number of baptized Catholics at six million, including small Melkite and Maronite communities in the north. Anglicans estimate five million followers in the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the recently formed Reformed Episcopal Church. The Presbyterians are mainly in the Nuer and Chollo tribes. There are significant but long established groups of Orthodox Christians in Khartoum and other northern cities, including Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christians.

There are also Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox communities in Khartoum and eastern Sudan, largely made up of refugees and migrants. Other Christian groups with smaller followings in the country include the Africa Inland Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Sudan Church of Christ, the Sudan Interior Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (in the North), and the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Sudan. In January 2010, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained its first official presence in Sudan, opening its first branch in the south of the country.[134]

Foreign missionary groups operate in both North and South, although Christian missionary activity is limited in the North owing to Shari'a, strong social pressure against proselytizing, and existing laws against apostasy.

Traditionalists are believed to be the third largest religious division in the country having declined from perhaps 90% of the southern population in 1960 to 30% today as a result of major growth of Christianity fuelled by war and anti-Arab sentiment.

Many Christians in the North are descended from pre-Islamic era communities or are trading families that immigrated from Egypt or the Near East before independence (1956). Many Muslims in the South are shopkeepers or small business owners who sought economic opportunities during the civil war. Political tensions have created not only a sense of ethnic and religious marginalization among the minority religious group in each region but also a feeling among the majority that the minority groups control a disproportionate share of the wealth.

Religious identity plays a role in the country's political divisions. Northern Muslims have dominated the country's political and economic system since independence. The NCP draws much of its support from Islamists, Salafis/Wahhabis, and other conservative Arab Muslims in the North. The Umma Party has traditionally attracted Arab followers of the Ansar Sect of Sufism as well as non-Arab Muslims from Darfur and Kordofan.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) includes both Arab and non-Arab Muslims in the North and East, especially those in the Khatmia Sufi brotherhood, as well as some northern Arabic-speaking Christians. Southern Christians generally support the SPLM or one of the smaller southern parties.[135]

People of Sudan

People Location
Anuak south central
Bari Juba
Didinga east
Fula (Fulani) Blue Nile, East and Tulus
Kakwa southwest
Lotuko east
Mahas north
Nyangwara "Rokon, south sudan"
Pari east
Pojulu Juba, Yei and Lainya
Shilluk east


According to the first authoritative Ethnologue, the total number of languages used or spoken in Sudan is 142. Possibly less.[136] Of those, 133 are currently spoken and lived languages and 9 languages are extinct.

In the 2005 constitution, Sudan's official languages are Arabic and English:[137]

Article 8:

  1. All indigenous languages of Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.
  2. Arabic is a widely spoken national language in Sudan.
  3. Arabic, as a major language at the national level and English shall be the official working languages of the national government and the languages of instruction for higher education.
  4. In addition to Arabic and English, the legislature of any sub-national level of government may adopt any other national language as an additional official working language at its level.
  5. There shall be no discrimination against the use of either Arabic or English at any level of government or stage of education.

Besides the two official languages, there are speakers of Nubian, Hausa spoken in all Sudanese States, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic and Paranilotic, as well as speakers of the Dinka and Nuer languages.



Institutions of higher education in Sudan include:

See also


  • Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence by Jok Madut Jok Oneworld Publications ISBN 1851683666
  • Sudan: The City Trail Guide by Blake Evans-Pritchard and Violetta Polese ISBN 0955927409
  • Sudan: The Bradt Travel Guide by Paul Clammer ISBN 1841621145
  • Short History Of Sudan, iUniverse (30 April 2004), ISBN 978-0595314256.
  • The Problem of Dar Fur, iUniverse, Inc. (21 July 2005), ISBN 978-0595365029
  • UN Intervention in Dar Fur, iUniverse, Inc. (9 February 2007), ISBN 978-0595429790
  • Quo Vadis bilad as-Sudan? The Contemporary Framework for a National Interim Constitution, in: Law in Africa Vol. 8, (Cologne 2005), pp.63–82. ISSN 1435-0963
  • The River War, Winston Churchill. An account of the Anglo-Egyptian reconquest of the Sudan in which he participated.
  • Karari:The Sudanese Account of the Battle of Omdurman, 'Ismat Hasan Zulfo, translated by Peter Clark, Frederick Warne, London 1980
  • The Medieval Kingdoms of Nubia, D. A. Welsby, The British Muuseum Press, 2002
  • Kingdoms of the Sudan, R. S. O'Fahey and J. L. Spauling, Methuen, London 1974. Covers Sinnar and Dar.
  • Darfur; The Ambiguous Genocide, Gérard Prunier, Cornell University Press, New York 2007.
  • Slavery in Mauritania and Sudan: The State Against Blacks, in The Modern African State: Quest for Transformation, Godfrey Mwakikagile, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., Huntington, New York, 2001.


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  46. ^ Profile: Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan | World news |
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  51. ^ Fuller, The Future of Political Islam, (2003), p.111
  52. ^ Wright, The Looming Tower, (2006), p.221–3
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  54. ^ a b Wasil Ali, "Sudanese Islamist opposition leader denies link with Darfur rebels", Sudan Tribune, 13 May 2008.
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  59. ^ - Powell accuses Sudan of genocide
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  64. ^ a b BBC NEWS Africa Main parties sign Darfur accord
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  68. ^ "Darfur's deep grievances defy all hopes for an easy solution"
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  70. ^ Charbonneau, Louis. France might be open to deal on Sudan’s Bashir., Reuters, 18 September 2008
  71. ^ Statute of the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Court, 1 July 2002.
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  84. ^ Bekele, Yilma (2008-07-12). "Chickens are coming home to roost!". Ethiopian Review. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  85. ^ Cowell, Alan (1989-07-01). "Military Coup In Sudan Ousts Civilian Regime". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  86. ^ Kepel, Jihad (2002), p.181
  87. ^ SudanTribune article : SPLM Kiir to run for president in Sudan 2009 elections
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  137. ^ text of the 2005 constitution in EnglishPDF (492 KiB)

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Republic of Sudan

Sudan (or The Sudan; officially the Republic of the Sudan or Republic of Sudan) is the largest African country by area. The country is situated at a crossroads between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It is the tenth largest country in the world by area.


External links

sudan is a great country

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Quick Facts
Capital Khartoum
Government Authoritarian regime
Currency Sudanese Pound (SDG)
Area total: 2,505,810 km2
water: 129,810 km2
land: 2.376 million km2
Population 37,090,298 (July 2002 est.)
Language Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English (official)
note: program of "Arabization" in process
Religion Islam 70% (in north), indigenous beliefs 25%, Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum)
Calling Code +249
Time Zone GMT+3
Travel Warning

WARNING: Travel in Sudan outside Khartoum, Omdurman and the Northern State is considered dangerous. Two borderline civil wars continue to see violence, in Southern Sudan and particularly in Darfur, while extremist groups target foreign visitors for attacks and kidnapping, particularly in the Upper Nile regions and near the Ethiopian border. The U.S. State Department has renewed its annual travel advisory for Sudan, and continues to recommend against all non-essential travel to the country. Also, keep in mind that the first elections in 26 years are set for April 2010 and there is a reasonable chance of violence around that time as well as extra 'security' measures taken by Sudanese authorities.

Sudan (Arabic: السودان Al-Sudan) is the largest country in Africa, bordering Egypt, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya and Uganda. Getting a visa for Sudan is an expensive hit-and-miss affair, but if you do manage to get in, and you stick to the safe areas, you will probably have a fantastic experience. The Sudanese people are very hospitable, and you can visit some awesome tourist attractions without even seeing another tourist.


Sudan is afflicted by civil wars which have been raging, on and off, for more than 40 years. When the colonial map-makers divided up Africa, they included in Sudan the predominantly muslim people of the north (including Nubians and Arabs), who share much of their history and culture with Egyptians, and the largely Christian and pagan Bantu people of the south, who have more in common with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa than with their northern countryfolk. Nowadays, an Islamic state, operating Shariah law in the north. Many in the south want independence or autonomy from the northern-influenced rule of Khartoum. Although autonomy was briefly granted in an effort to still the civil war, it was later rescinded and the war flared up again. The situation changes frequently but many areas in the West are currently very dangerous to visit. South Sudan has officially signed a peace accord with the government in Khartoum and has had many refugees return home. Hopefully this spells a better and safer future for Southern Sudan.

Outside of conflict areas, however, the country is extremely safe to travel in; the Sudanese place great value on respect and honesty and this makes theft a rare occurrence. Begging is unheard of outside Khartoum; the only hassle a traveller is likely to come across is from officialdom, in the form of bureaucracy.

Much of the Middle East and Africa has a reputation for warmth and hospitality but Sudan is in a league of its own, making it a joy to travel in. It is common to be invited to stay at someone's home and most rural Sudanese would never dream of eating in front of you without inviting you to join them. Talking the afternoon away over a glass or five of tea is a serious national ritual, which extends to dealings with officials.

Sudan is as geographically diverse as it is culturally; in the north, the Nile cuts through the eastern edge of the Sahara: the Nubian desert, the site of the Ancient Kingdoms of Cush and Meroe, and the land of the Seti. Here, some modest farming and husbandry supplements the staple crop of date palms. The East and West are mountainous regions, and much of the rest of the country comprises of savannahs typical of much of central sub-Saharan Africa.

People in Sudan are actually extremely friendly to all the few travellers who get there. People treat you as friendly as in any other African country, so be prepared to get spontaneously invited to lunch or dinner. Most of the time people are very interested in you and they are often proud to show you their country and their hospitality. As in any foreign country, you should avoid political discussion unless someone else brings up the topic in a discussion.

Regions of Sudan
Regions of Sudan
Central Sudan
Eastern Sudan
Northern Sudan
Southern Sudan
Map of Sudan
Refugee camp near Nyala in South Darfur
Refugee camp near Nyala in South Darfur


Sudanese travel visas are expensive and difficult to acquire for some nationalities in some countries or for people with an Israeli stamp in their passport. It is advisable to obtain a Sudanese visa in your home country if possible.

From Egypt - if you are abroad, however, Cairo is one of the easiest places to get one (usually a couple of hours after application), although for a lot of nationalities it costs US$100 (not payable in Egyptian pounds). You will almost definitely need a letter of invitation/introduction from your embassy, and the time this takes varies from embassy to embassy, e.g. the Canadian Embassy takes 24 hours, the British 15 minutes. The British Embassy charges 315 Egyptian pounds (just under £30) for theirs and is situated only 200m from the Sudanese one. It is possible to obtain a sponsorship for the Visa from the Cairo embassy and skip the letter from your own embassy, though this depends on who you are dealing with at the embassy. If you are American, bringing up President Obama is a great way to break the ice with the employees and you may find yourself skipping a lot of hassle.

From Ethiopia - getting a visa from the Sudanese Embassy in Addis Ababa is extremely unpredictable, although it is cheaper (around US$60). Your name is first sent to Khartoum merely for approval. An official has stated, "It could take two weeks, it could take two months." Once your name has been approved, the visa itself only takes a couple of days. Britons and Americans are generally given more of a run around, but no nationality is guaranteed swift receipt of a visa. Expect to wait a minimum of two weeks for approval. If your trip continues from Sudan to Egypt and you already have your Egyptian visa you may be given a one-week transit visa for Sudan in only a day, which can be extended in Khartoum (at a hefty cost, though). The British Embassy in Addis Ababa charges a steep 740 birr (over £40) for their letter of invitation/introduction.

From Kenya - as in Addis Ababa, the Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi sends your name to Khartoum for approval. Note: in July 2009 applicant from Sierra Leone received visa in 24 hours from Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi. The time it takes is similarly ambiguous, although the embassy is far more professional and efficiently-run than Addis Ababa's.

Hours-long waits for customs clearance are not unheard of, and landing in Khartoum can be tricky. Entering or exiting by land usually goes smoothly. Alcohol is forbidden in Sudan, and attempting to import it could bring strict penalties.

  • Registration is obligatory within 3 days of arrival. It costs over US$33 and if in Khartoum it could take you a full day. Registration is also possible in Wadi Halfa, but shouldn't take more than an hour. Here, you may be approached (particularly if you're in a group) by an English-speaking man who will offer to take your passports and do everything while you wait outside. This is easier than doing it yourself (it is a ping pong procedure between offices/counters/desks etc.) but you'll find the fee he's added to each person's registration cost is 2 to 3 US dollars. It's not really that difficult. Do not be tempted to skip registration, as it is very likely to cause problems when you leave the country - you might not be allowed to board your flight!
  • Visitors are technically required to obtain a permit for photography of any kind. Apply at the government office near the British Council. Passport-sized photos are needed and the permit makes a nice souvenir. The permit will stipulate where you can or cannot take photos.

By plane

Khartoum Airport (KRT) is the main gateway into Sudan by air. There are also some international flights which use Juba and Port Sudan airports.

Khartoum Airport is served by various European, Middle Eastern and African airlines. Among the cities with direct air links with Khartoum are Abu Dhabi (Etihad, Sudan Airways), Addis Ababa (Ethiopian Airlines), Amman (Royal Jordanian, Sudan Airways), Amsterdam (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines), Bahrain (Gulf Air), Cairo (EgyptAir, Sudan Airways, Ethiopian Airlines), Damascus (Syrian Airlines, Sudan Airways), Doha (Qatar Airways), Dubai (Emirates, Sudan Airways), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), London (British Airways, British Midlands, Sudan Airways) and Nairobi (Kenya Airways, Sudan Airways),Sharjah (Air Arabia "low cost airline from KRT")

Port Sudan airport handles flights to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Cairo, while Juba has flights to and from Nairobi. These flights usually begin/end at Khartoum.

By train

There are no international trains from neighbouring countries into Sudan.

By land

One way to get in from Ethiopia is via the border village of Gallabat. The road crossing from Egypt periodically closes, depending on diplomatic and trading relations between the two countries. Check for information before trying this route.

There are land routes to Kenya and Uganda from southern Sudan, as well as to Chad and the Central African Republic from Western Sudan (i.e. Darfur), but these routes are tough and potentially dangerous.

By bus

There are minibuses and Landcriuisers from Lokichoggio,Kenya that go direct to Juba,Sudan with an overnight stay in Torit travel time 11-12 hours and costing Ksh 3500-4000 and in late summer/early autumn of 2005, there will be bus service starting up from Kampala in Uganda to southern Sudan. For now, this route is off limits for tourists because it passes through an area of extreme insecurity where the rebel Lords Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda operates. As of late 2005 Vehicles are being ambushed by the LRA along this route and great care should be taken on any road journeys in this region. Even when open, there is no public transport via the road crossing from Egypt.

By boat

The most reliable way to enter Sudan from Egypt is via the weekly ferry from Aswan in Egypt to Wadi Halfa. Currently it runs on Mondays to Sudan and back on Wednesdays. Prices recently went up to 33 US. The boat is old and crowded with people and goods (the best place to sleep is on deck amongst the cargo) but it takes in some magnificent views (including that of Abu Simbel). Food and drink are available on-board. There are frequent ferries from Saudi Arabia. If traveling from the south, ferry tickets can be purchased at Khartoum's main train terminal in North Khartoum. offers safaris from their base in Uganda, up the Nile River to Nimule game Reserve. The company uses fast Swamp Airboats.

  • Independent travellers in Sudan (definitely those with their own vehicles and possibly those using public transport) require a Permit To Travel if going to any places the Government deems unstable. Obtaining one is an arduous ordeal, costing US$15 and taking around a day (in Wadi Halfa). Travel permits are not required for the Northern State, nor on the road to Ethiopia. They are required if going near Eriteria, toward Darfur or southern Kordofan. The recent attack on Omdurman (May 2008) has increased security and hence this information may be out of date.
  • Independent travellers also need to register with police on arrival in any town or city. This is fairly quick and painless, once the police point has been located - and often the police will hear about your arrival and find you before you find them.


The United Nations Joint Logistics Centre have a good range of maps hosted on their website [1]. Google Earth is also a great resource, especially for cities. Tracks4Africa have also kindy added some GPS routes to Google Earth. Another excellent Google Earth addin are the pointers the Italian Tourism Company have put together, listing the coordinates of pretty much every sight you are likely to want to visit in (northern) Sudan [2].


There are two guidebooks widely available about Sudan. The Bradt [3] guide is worth buying; the second edition was released in Oct 2009 to update Khartoum and Southern Sudan. An alternative guidebook was published by City Trail Publishing [4] in July 2008, and is part of a brand new guidebook series for the discerning traveller.

With a bit of searching you can find other information sources - VirtualTourist has a good Khartoum section [5], the British Embassy has a good guide on its site [6], and to get an idea of life in the South there are many blogging aid workers giving a flavour of local conditions.

By plane

Apart from Khartoum, there are small airports in Wadi Halfa, El Debba, Dongola, Port Sudan, El Fasher, Juba, Wau, Wad Madani, Merowe and El Obeid, all served by Sudan Airways [7]. Most flights operate from Khartoum. Be prepared for changing timetables and cancelled flights.

By train

There is a weekly train from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum, which leaves some time after the weekly ferry from Aswan arrives. "Some time" can mean anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days but word usually spreads around town before the train leaves. There are a few different options for accommodation, and plenty of nice and simple restaurants. The journey is scheduled for roughly 50 hours, but can vary greatly. To be on the safe side you shouldn't make any other plans for your next 75 hours. You might not be able to find fresh water until you get to Khartoum, so it is advisable to stock up on water supplies before leaving Wadi Halfa. The train makes quite a few stops. Some more planned than others. At the more planned stops you should be able to buy a snack, and if you are lucky take a quick shower in a communal bathroom. There is also a train between Khartoum and Port Sudan, via Atbara, and from Nyala to Er-Rahad in the West. From Khartoum, trains to Wadi Halfa and Port Sudan depart from the main terminal in Khartoum North (Bahri).

By car

Driving in Sudan is chaotic but not especially dangerous by African standards. Visitors to the area who are inexperienced at international driving are advised to hire a taxi or a driver. In most of the country, a 4WD is essential; Sudan's main highway is sealed for much of the way but most of the roads in the country are dirt or sand tracks. If going south from Wadi Halfa, the first several hundred kilometres are a sand track, and even this often disappears (although it is hard to get lost). Conditions can be especially difficult after the rains.

By bus

While buses do run frequently in the better traveled areas, in remoter areas people tend to use trucks or "boxes" (Toyota Hiluxes) - they're usually just as crowded as the buses but have fewer people sitting on top and get stuck in the sand less often. They tend to go whenever they fill up, which can take half a day or so. If you have money to spare, you can hire a whole one to yourself

By bicycle

It is possible to cycle around Sudan, legally speaking, although it might be advisable to forget to mention your mode of transport when getting your permit to travel. "Cycling" will often consist of pushing the bike through sand or rattling along corrugations but the scenery and the incredible warmth of the Sudanese people more than compensate for the physical and bureaucratic hassles. Water is frequently available from communal clay pots at the roadside, cafes, people's homes, passing trucks or, if desperate, the Nile (NB There is a 145km stretch between Wadi Halfa and Akasha without water - the only place to refuel is just a few kilometres before Akasha). Theft is not a problem; it is generally safe to leave bicycles unattended in villages and towns. Flies, puncture-generous thorn trees and, in the far north, lack of shade, are the only real annoyances.


The official languages in Sudan are Arabic and English, according to the 2005 constitution. English is not widely spoken except by officials and hospitality workers. In contrast to many places in the world, it is the older generations that tend to speak the better English.



In January 2007, the government introduced a new currency - the Sudanese pound (Arabic: جنية jeneh, SDG - the 'G' actually stands for Guinea) - which will replace the Sudanese dinar (Arabic: دينار dinar, SDD). The new pound is worth 100 dinars (basically, lob two zeros off the dinar amount and you get the pound equivalent). The new pound will be divided into 100 piastres (coins), though not immediately .

Unfortunately, things are not so simple when it comes to price quoting. Instead of new pounds (which are hardly used for quoting) and dinars (more commonly used, especially when quoting in English), most people still talk in terms of the OLD pound, although there are no more old pound notes in circulation. One dinar is worth 10 old pounds. Hence, when a person asks for 10,000 pounds, they actually want 1,000 dinars from you. And just to add to the confusion further, people usually do away with the thousands when quoting in pounds. So, your taxi driver may ask you for 10 pounds, which actually means 10,000 old pounds, which is equivalent to 1,000 dinars, which, by the end of this year, should be referred to once again as just 10 pounds! To clear any confusion, you could try saying "new pound" or جنيةالجديد jeneh al-jedid.

Easy summary: 1 new pound = 100 dinars = 1000 old pounds (long out of use)

Also easy (February 2008): 1 US dollar = 2 new pounds = 200 dinars (most banks/changers/hotels etc. exchange at exactly this rate)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: the dinar will be in circulation along with the new pound until July 1, 2007, when it will be illegal to circulate or exchange the dinar. If you still have any dinars after that, they may still be substituted for new pounds at banks, but the Central Bank of Sudan will stop doing this on September 1, 2007.

Bring only foreign CASH into Sudan, preferably US Dollars (often accepted in hotels), British Pounds and to a lesser extent Euros are also fairly easy to exchange at banks in big cities. Travellers cheques, credit cards and foreign bank automatic teller machine cards are NOT accepted in Sudan, partly because of the US embargo.

There are many banks in Khartoum and throughout Sudan but not all of them have foreign exchange facilities. There are several money changers in Khartoum, especially in Afra Mall. There are also several Western Union agents in Khartoum which will do payouts for money transferred from overseas. Although the currency is not fully convertible, the Central Bank sets the exchange rate in line with market forces, hence there isn't really a parallel black market in forex. The Sudanese dinar and pound are closed currencies, so be sure to change them back before you leave the country.

Credit cards

Because of the US embargo, no credit cards can be used in Sudan. The only exception is Diners Club which is accepted by the Khartoum Hilton. All transactions have to be in cash making it unsafe as you will be carrying large sums of money with you. Carrying out on-line transactions while you are in Sudan can cause problems, as some merchants (especially American ones) will pick up your Sudanese IP address, and refuse to do business with you. If you attempt to use an American Express card for any on-line transaction while in Sudan, you are likely to have the card summarily cancelled.


Sudan is not renowned for its culinary prowess. Fool, made from fava beans, is a common dish, eaten from a communal bowl sopped up with unleavened bread. Fresh fruit and vegetables are thankfully very common. Lamb is the main meat.


Islam is in charge here , so the only thing that's frequently drunk in Sudan is tea; usually sweet and black. Hibiscus tea called Karkadeyh (red) is a delicious alternative. Sudanese coffee is available in most souks and is similar to Turkish style coffee; thick and strong, sometimes flavoured with cardamom or ginger with a powerful kick and altogether delicious. Not to be taken before bed though if you want an undisturbed night's sleep! The general advice is not to drink tap water; in most rural areas you will not be able to, as there are no taps... Where there are no bore holes (which often yield water that is fine to drink), water is often taken directly from the Nile. However while Alcohol is strictly illegal in the Muslim north (but not in the semi-autonomous non-Muslim south) locally brewed alcohol is widely available in various forms and at various degrees of potency. A local beer (merissa) brewed from sorghum or millet is cloudy, sour and heavy and likely to be brewed with untreated water and will almost certainly lead to the 'Mahdis' revenge' (the Sudanese version of 'Delhi belly'). Aragi is a pure spirit distilled from sorghum or in its purest form, dates. Potent and powerful it should be treated with respect and is sometimes contaminated with the likes of methanol or embalming fluid (!) to add flavour and potency. Be aware though that all these brews are illegal and being caught in possession can result in the full implementation of Islamic law punishments. In the towns of south Sudan such as Rumbek and Juba, Kenyan and Ugandan beers are starting to appear in bars at inflated cross-border prices. Fresh fruit juices are available throughout Sudan. One of the local juices is "aradeab".


I) Larger Towns and Cities

Most larger towns and cities have affordable hotels, although not as cheap as you might imagine. Quality is generally consistent within the price range.

Basic hotels provide a bed and a fan with shared bathroom/toilet facilities. There may be more than one bed in the room but you are usually expected to pay for the whole room. The bigger the group of travellers, the more economical these rooms are, as more beds are often put in a room (within reason) to accommodate everybody without the price being changed. Some hotels have cheaper beds outside in the open as in smaller towns and cities. These hotels are not very clean but are cheap and perfectly acceptable for short stays.

Lower mid-range hotels - more likely to be found in Khartoum - offer the worst value for money. They may have en suite bathrooms, (mostly evaporative) air conditioning and satellite television, but for what you're paying (two or three times that of basic hotels depending on your bargaining skills) the rooms are extremely tatty and hotel owners will almost always subscribe to the philosophy of: 'Only fix something if the guest complains'. There will sometimes be rooms minus the bathroom/air conditioning/television for prices a little above those in basic hotels.

Upper mid-range hotels are the next step up, with spotless rooms of a far higher quality but prices (usually quoted in dollars) closer to what you'd expect in the West. You'll have little to find fault with, though.

Top-end hotels are commonly of the Five Star variety, and include the Hilton. The few are found mostly in Khartoum. They are much more expensive than the upper mid-range hotels.

II) Outside Larger Towns and Cities

Outside larger towns and cities hotels don't normally go above basic. That means bedframes with either simply a string mesh or with thin mattresses; that is not to say they are uncomfortable. They are offered (generally in fours or fives) in rooms where there is often a ceiling fan to keep things cool. The beds are usually cheaper - and more fun to sleep in - out in the courtyard under the stars, although there is obviously less privacy and security. As with the basic hotels in larger towns and cities, it is more often than not impossible to rent one bed in a room as you might in a dormitory. Hotel owners insist that you rent the whole room. Rooms become unavailable quickly at certain times (weekends, for example). Showers may be bucket showers, with water straight out of the Nile if your route follows that river.

Camping in the wild is easy in rural areas outside the south as long as the usual precautions are taken.


A bit of Arabic, including how to read and write numbers.

Stay safe

Armed conflict

Sudan is recovering from a 40-year civil war between the Arab-dominated central government and non-Muslim separatist groups from the South. Although a truce has been signed by both groups, the situation can still be unpredictable and can making traveling in the south a bit dangerous. The situation however is improving all the time and visitors are starting to make their way to places like Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.

The well-publicised conflict in Darfur is still taking place, making traveling to the western parts of Sudan not advisable.

Sudan is one of four countries worldwide not to comply with international flight safety protocol (the others being Iran, Cuba, and North Korea). The official state airline, Sudan-Airs fleet is mainly composed of 1950's era Soviet manufactured aircraft. Some planes have no navigation, lighting, or are missing critical pieces of landing gear. The President of Sudan claims his country doesn't recognize these laws because they are "evidence of the American and Zionist conspiracy to destroy Islam". There is also no documented test to become a certified pilot, with the only requirement being a primary school diploma. Over 27 fatal crashes occurred last year in the Northern region alone, making Sudan the most dangerous country for internal air travel besides Cuba. Because of these issues, over 100 countries have banned Sudanese aircraft from operating within their borders, severely hampering Sudan's already tense relationship with various Western powers.

Entering Sudan via personal car is also challenging. Sudan has a highly militarized border with its neighbor Egypt and Westerners are increasing running into problems at the border if they wish to cross.

Bus travel is also not without its issues. There is a bus that runs from Alexandria, Egypt to Khartoum everyday and costs around $34 USD. However the trip takes around 18 hours due to the extremely poor quality of the roads within both Chad and Sudan. At one time, a bus carrying passengers was tipped over and subsequently detonated by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, a militant Marxist group operating in South Sudan. In addition, the drivers on these buses are sometimes young don't have any license to operate such a large vehicle. Be careful and board the bus tired, because there is nothing worse than sitting in a hot bus(did I mention no A/C?) with jabbering Egyptian tourists for nearly an entire day.

Personal safety

There is almost no likelihood of being physically attacked (i.e., mugged) for your possessions, but keep an eye on your things in public places, e.g., street cafes. Sometimes thieves operate in pairs: one distracts you while the other makes off with your stuff. Nothing too much to worry about if you're sensible.

Women travellers

Travel for solo women is relatively safe (in areas unaffected by civil war), if you dress and act appropriately for an Islamic country. You will raise a few eyebrows but will generally be treated with great respect.

In general, it is best for women to travel in groups, and even better, with men. In this case, the men should walk together ahead of the women, i.e., the women a pace or two behind the men.

Police and army

You will see armed policemen and military personnel everywhere but you will not have any problems with them unless you have infringed some rule, e.g., taking photographs or filming in prohibited areas. Sudanese police/army are not known to target travellers for bribes.

Taking pictures

Sudan has very strict rules about taking pictures. First and foremost, you need a permit to take pictures (see "Get in" section above for details) which will tell you where you can and cannot take pictures. Photographing or filming military personnel or installations is a quick way to get into trouble. People have been arrested for taking pictures at the confluence of the Blue and White Niles in Khartoum.

Other rules

Sudan is an Islamic country and consumption of alcohol is illegal. Homosexuality is punishable by death.

Stay healthy

Sudan is a malarial region, so be especially cautious during the rainy season. Poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions are common to the southern areas. The drinking water is only unsafe if you're particularly prone to stomach problems; if you're not sure, purify it. Bottled water is available, but most Sudanese drink water offered in restaurants, outside shops, in markets etc.

Also, avoid any fruit drinks, as they are obviously, made with the local water. And remember, that any ice cubes ( for example, in sodas) are only frozen local water.

On long trips (particularly during the hot season) on public transport it is often impossible - or would be expensive - to carry the amount of bottled water you need, and it may be scarce at certain remote stops. Therefore, keep plenty of your chosen means of purification close at hand (not in your luggage strapped to the roof!). Sanitation in some areas is nonexistent, so wash your hands frequently. Food from streetside vendors is generally fine if it is being prepared and served frequently. Empty restaurants and street cafes often indicate that food is standing uncovered and unrefrigerated for hours at a time. Sudanese currency is notoriously dirty, and even the Sudanese handle small bills as little as possible. A hint would be to carry antibacterial wipes or gel in your luggage to treat your hands after handling filthy currency notes or shaking too many unwashed hands. Sudan has reported ebola outbreaks in 2004 and it is not advised to take local hospital treatments unless there is a real urgency. If you have malaria-like symptoms, seek medical assistance when possible, medical treatment is also available in many private clinics with high standards and reasonable price here are some of these private clinics: (Doctors clinic, Africa St, Fidail medical center, Hospital road Downtown, Yastabshiron medical center, Riyadh area, Modern medical center, Africa St, International Hospital, Khartoum north-Alazhary St)

Schistosomiasis/Bilharzia - Avoid bathing or walking through slow-flowing fresh waterways. If you have been in contact with such water or develop an itchy rash or fevers after your return, seek medical attention. Doctors in the West may only think to test you for malaria - you may need to see a tropical medicine specialist.


Religious sensitivities

Sudan is an Islamic nation, and the government has imposed a relaxed form of Sharia law that is more prevalent in the Muslim-dominated north. Alcohol and drugs are forbidden, though many people dip a kind of snuff, and a few make moonshine. Sudanese women tend to wear very conservative clothing and cover their heads, so foreign women would be wise to do the same, even if they observe other tourists who do not respect this custom. Men should wear long trousers, not shorts. Non-Muslim Arabs and Christians are more numerous in the South, so you may experience different degrees of religious tolerance. If in doubt, play it safe and cover up.

The Sudanese do not expect foreigners to adhere to Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, but it would be tactless to eat, drink or smoke in public. (Many people, e.g., diabetics and those traveling more than a certain distance, are exempt from Ramadan, so it is possible to find open restaurants during the day but they are not well advertised so you have to ask where they are.)

Be assured that any foreigner will be treated as a local, and dealt with accordingly, in many cases, given a jail sentence of several months and a whipping, the minimum being forty lashes ( it may be more, according to the discretion of the local cleric). Distances between towns or villages being far, and news may travel very slow because of the political unrest, so your government, if it even knows or cares to interfere, may not be willing or able to help you.

Do not in any circumstances, show images/statues/figures etc. of the prophet Muhammad (more particularly, a teddy bear). A recent controversy of a British schoolteacher in Sudan had allowed one of her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad" that sparked angry protests in Sudan. Although the British school teacher is safe in her home country and no fatalities were reported, other related controversies such as the Pope Benedict XVI and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad had led to violence in the Islamic world. One of the strict beliefs in Islam is forbidding imagery of Muhammad fearing it would lead to idolatry. Keep in mind that this doesn't apply only to Sudan but many Muslim majority countries (more particularly, Saudi Arabia and Iran).

Local customs

To show the bottom of your foot is an insulting gesture, as is the touching of the thumb to the index finger while extending the rest of the fingers (the North American sign for "O-kay"). Although Sudan is a moderate Muslim culture, foreigners are still discouraged from speaking directly to local women unless spoken to, and even then it would be polite to ask permission from the man accompanying her before responding. Try to avoid physical contact with women if at all possible.


During conversation, avoid asking direct questions about people's political opinions unless you know the person quite well and sense that they would be comfortable; repercussions could be serious for them. Tact is a necessity in a country that has suffered the trauma of more than 40 years of civil war and refugees from affected areas are spread around the country, especially Khartoum.



Sudan's international direct dialing code is 249. Its international direct dialing access code is 00 although mobile phone users in Sudan will be able to dial overseas numbers by putting "+" in front of the international direct dialing code.

Prepaid mobile phone packages are easily available in Sudan. The two telecommunications companies in Sudan are ZAIN [8] (Tel: +249-(0)-91-230000) and MTN [9] (Tel: +249-(0)-92-1111111). Zain has a cheaper prepaid package (SDG 10) than Mtn (SDG 20). Note that the customer service line for MTN, should you need to call them for any problems, can be difficult to get through.

Coverage maps

  • Malaysia: Street 3, Block 2, Al-Amarat, P.O. Box 11668, Khartoum. Tel: +249-183-482763, +249-183-482764. Fax: +249-183-482762. Email: or
  • U.S.: The embassy is located at Sharia Ali Abdul Latif, Khartoum; tel. (249-183)774-700/1/2/3 (outside Sudan); tel (0183) 774-700/1/2/3 (inside Sudan). Americans may call between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or email: For after-hours emergencies, please call 0-183-774-700 and ask to be connected to the duty officer.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SUDAN (Arabic Bilad-es-Sudan, country of the blacks), that region of Africa which stretches, south of the Sahara and Egypt, from Cape Verde on the Atlantic to Massawa on the Red Sea. It is bounded S. (I) by the maritime countries of the west coast of Africa, (2) by the basin of the Congo, and (3) by the equatorial lakes, and E. by the Abyssinian and Galla highlands. The name is often used in Great Britain in a restricted sense to designate only the eastern part of this vast territory, but it is properly applied to the whole area indicated, which corresponds roughly to that portion of negro Africa north of the equator under Mahommedan influence. The terms Nigritia and Negroland, at one time current, referred to the same region.

The Sudan has an ethnological rather than a physical unity, and politically it is divided into a large number of states, all now under the control of European powers. These countries being separately described, brief notice only is required of the Sudan as a whole.

Within the limits assigned it has a length of about 4000 m., extending southwards at some points 1000 m., with a total area of over 2,000,000 sq. m., and a population, approximately, of 40,000,000. Between the arid and sandy northern wastes and the well-watered and arable Sudanese lands there is a transitional zone of level grassy steppes (partly covered with mimosas and acacias) with a mean breadth of about 60 m. The zone lies between 17° and 18° N., but towards the centre reaches as far south as i N. Excluding this transitional zone, the Sudan may be described as a moderately elevated region, with extensive open or rolling plains, level plateaus, and abutting at its eastern and western ends on mountainous country. Crystalline rocks, g ranites, gneisses and schists, of the Central Xxvi. I a African type, occupy the greater of the country. Towards the south-east, slates, quartzites and iron-bearing schists occur, but their age is not known. The Congo sandstones do not appear to extend as far north. The Nubian sandstone borders the Libyan desert on the south and south-west, but it is doubtful if this sandstone is of Cretaceous or earlier date.

The Sudan contains the basin of the Senegal and parts of three other hydrographic systems, namely: the Niger, draining southwards to the Atlantic; the central depression of Lake Chad; and the Nile, flowing northwards to the Mediterranean. Lying within the tropics and with an average elevation of not more than 1500 to 2000 ft. above the sea, the climate of the Sudan is hot and in the river valleys very unhealthy. Few parts are suitable for the residence of Europeans. Cut off from North Africa by the Saharan desert, the inhabitants, who belong in the main to the negro family proper, are thought to have received their earliest civilization from the East. Arab influence and the Moslem religion began to be felt in the western Sudan as early as the 9th century and had taken deep root by the end of the i ith. The existence of native Christian states in Nubia hindered for some centuries the spread of Islam in the eastern Sudan, and throughout the country some tribes have remained pagan. It was not until the last quarter of the igth century that the European nations became the ruling force.

The terms western, central and eastern Sudan are indicative of geographical position merely. The various states are politically divisible into four groups: (1) those west of the Niger; (2) those between the Niger and Lake Chad; (3) those between Lake Chad and the basin of the Nile; (4) those in the upper Nile valley.

The first group includes the native states of Bondu, Futa Jallon, Masina, Mossi and all the tribes within the great bend of the Niger. In the last quarter of the igth century they fell under the control of France, the region being styled officially the French Sudan. In 1900 this title was abandoned. The greater part of what was the French Sudan is now known as rthe Upper Senegal and Niger Colony (see Senegal, French West Africa, &C.).

The second group of Sudanese states Em,YYWatker sc is almost entirely within the British protectorate of Northern Nigeria. It includes the sultanate of Sokoto and its dependent emirates of Kano, Bida, Zaria, &c., and the ancient sultanate of Bornu, which, with Adamawa, is partly within the German colony of Cameroon (see Nigeria and Cameroon).

The third or central group of Sudanese states is formed of the sultanates of Bagirmi with Kanem and Wadai. Wadai was the last state of the Sudan to come under European influence, its conquest being effected in 1909. This third group is included in French Congo.

The fourth group consists of the states conquered during the igth century by the Egyptians and now under the joint control of Great Britain and Egypt. These countries are known collectively as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (see below).

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For the regions west of Lake Chad the standard historical work is the Travels of Dr Heinrich Barth (5 vols., London, 1857-1858). Consult also P. C. Meyer, Erforschungsgeschichte and Staatenbildungen des Westsudan (Gotha, 1897), an admirable summary with bibliography and maps; Karl Kumm, The Sudan (London, 1907); Lady Lugard, A Tropical Dependency (London, 1905); and the bibliographies given under the various countries named. For sources and history see Timbuktu. For the central Sudan the most important work is that of Gustav Nachtigal, Sahara and Sudan (3 vols., Berlin 1879-1889). See also Boyd Alexander, From the Niger to the Nile (2 vols., London, 1907); Karl Kumm, From Haussaland to Egypt (London, 1910). For the eastern Sudan see the bibliographies under the following section. A good general work is P. Paulitschke's Die Suddnleinder (Freiburg, 1885).

THE Anglo-Egyptian Sudan The region which before the revolt of the Arabized tribes under the Mandi Mahommed Ahmed in 1881-84 was known as the Egyptian Sudan has, since its reconquest by the Anglo-Egyptian ex editions of 18969 8, been Area. P under the joint sovereignty of Great Britain and Egypt. The limits of this condominium differ slightly from those of the Egyptian Sudan of the pre-Mandi period. It is bounded N. by Egypt (the 22nd parallel of N. lat. being the dividing line), E. by the Red Sea, Eritrea and Abyssinia, S. by the Uganda Protectorate and Belgian Congo, W. by French Congo. North of Darfur is the Libyan Desert, in which the western and northern frcntiers meet. Here the boundary is undefined.' As thus constituted the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan forms a compact territory which, being joined southwards by the Uganda Protectorate, brings the whole of the Nile valley from the equatorial lakes to the Mediterranean under the control of Great Britain. The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan extends north to south about 1200 m. in a direct line, and west to east about loco m. also in a direct line. It covers 950,000 sq. m., being about onefourth the area of Europe. In what follows the term Sudan is used to indicate the Anglo-Egyptian condominium only.

Table of contents

Physical Features

The Sudan presents - many diversified features. It may be divided broadly into two zones. The northern portion, from about 16° N., is practically the south-eastern continuation of the Saharan desert; the southern region is fertile, abundantly watered, and in places densely forested. West of the Nile there is a distinctly marked intermediate zone of steppes. In the southern district, between 5° and 10° N., huge swamps extend on either side of the Nile and along the Bahr-el-Ghazal.

From south to north the Sudan is traversed by the Nile (q.v.), and all the great tributaries of that river are either partly or entirely within its borders. The most elevated district is a range of mountains running parallel to the Red Sea. These mountains, which to the south join the Abyssinian highlands, present their steepest face eastward, attaining heights within the Sudan of 4000 to over 7000 ft. Jebel Erba, 7480 ft., and Jebel Soturba, 6889 ft. (both between 21° and 22° N.), the highest peaks, face the Red Sea about 20 m. inland. Westward the mountains slope gradually to the Nile valley, which occupies the greater part of the country and has a general level of from 600 to 1600 ft. In places, as between Suakin and Berber and above Roseires on the Blue Nile, the mountains approach close to the river. Beyond the Nile westward extend vast plains, which in Kordofan and Dar Nuba (between 10° and 15° N.) are broken by hills reaching 2000 ft. Farther west, in Darfur, the country is more elevated, the Jebel Marra range being from 5000 to 6000 ft. high. In the south-west, beyond the valley of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, the country gradually rises to a ridge of hills, perhaps 2000 ft. high, which running south-east and north-west form the water-parting between the Nile and the Congo.

Apart from the Nile system, fully described elsewhere, the Sudan has two other rivers, the Gash and the Baraka. These are intermittent streams rising in the eastern chain of mountains in Eritrea and flowing in a general northerly direction. The Gash enters the Sudan near Kassala and north of that town turns west towards the Atbara, but its waters are dissipated before that river is reached. The Gash nevertheless fertilizes a considerable tract of country. The Khor Baraka lies east of the Gash. It flows towards the Red Sea in the neighbourhood of Trinkitat (some 50 m. south of Suakin), but about 30 m. from the coast forms an inland delta. Except in seasons of great rain its waters do not reach the sea.

The Coast Region

The coast extends along the Red Sea north to south from 22° N. to 18° N., a distance following the indentations of the shore of over 400 m. These indentations are numerous but not deep, the general trend of the coast being S.S.E. The most prominent headland is Ras Rawaya (21° N.) which forms the northern shore of Dokhana Bay. There are few good harbours, Port 1 It was supposed to be indicated by the line which, according to the Turkish firman of 1841, describes a semicircle from the Siwa Oasis to Wadai, approaching the Nile between the Second and Third Cataracts. This line is disregarded by the Sudan government.

Sudan and Suakin being the chief ports. South of Suakin is the shallow bay of Trinkitat. A large number of small islands lie off the coast. A belt of sandy land covered with low scrub stretches inland ten to twenty miles, and is traversed by khors (generally dry) with ill-defined shifting channels. Beyond this plain rise the mountain ranges already mentioned. Their seaward slopes often bear a considerable amount of vegetation.

The Desert Zone

The greater part of the region between the coast and the Nile is known as the Nubian Desert. It is a rugged, rocky, barren waste, scored with khors or wadis, along whose beds there is scanty vegetation. The desert character of the country increases as the river is neared, but along either bank of the Nile is a narrow strip of cultivable land. West of the Nile there are a few oases-- those of Selima, Zaghawa and El Kab - but this district, part of the Libyan Desert, is even more desolate than the Nubian Desert.

The Intermediate Zone and the Fertile Districts

East of the Nile the region of absolute desert ceases about the point of the Atbara confluence. The country enclosed by the Nile, the Atbara and the Blue Nile, the so-called Island of Mero, consists of very fertile soil, and along the eastern frontier, by the upper courses of the rivers named, is a district of rich land alternating with prairies and open forests. The fork between the White and Blue Niles, the Gezira, is also fertile land. South of the Gezira is Sennar, a wellwatered country of arable and grazing land.

West of the Nile the desert zone extends farther south than on the east, and Kordofan, which comes between the desert and the plains of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, is largely barren and steppe land. South of 10° N. there is everywhere abundance of water. Darfur is mainly open, steppe-like country with extensive tracts of cultivable land and a central mountain massif, the Jebel Marra (see Sennar Kordofan, Darfur).


The country lies wholly within the tropics, and as the greater part of it is far removed from the ocean and less than 1500 ft. above the sea it is extremely hot. The heat is greatest in the central regions, least in the desert zone, where the difference between summer and winter is marked. Even in winter, however, the day temperatures are high. Of this region the Arabs say " the soil is like fire and the wind like a flame." Nevertheless, the dryness of the air renders the climate healthy. The steppe countries, Kordofan and Darfur, are also healthy except after the autumn rains. At Khartum, centrally situated, the minimum temperature is about 40° F., the maximum 113 °, the mean annual temperature being 80°. January is the coldest and June the hottest month. Violent sandstorms are frequent from June to August. Four rain zones may be distinguished. The northern (desert) region is one of little or no rain. There are perhaps a few rainy days in winter and an. occasional storm in the summer. In the central belt, where " the rainy season " is from mid-June to September, there are some to in. of rain during the year. The number of days on which rain falls rarely exceeds, however, fifteen. The rainfall increases to about 20 in. per annum in the eastern and south-eastern regions. In the swamp district and throughout the Bahr-el-Ghazal heavy rains (40 in. or more a year) are experienced. The season of heaviest rain is from April to September. In the maritime district there are occasional heavy rains between August and January. In the sudd region thunderstorms are frequent. Here the temperature averages about 85° F., the air is always. damp and fever is endemic.


In the deserts north of Khartum vegetation is almost confined to stunted mimosa and, in the less arid districts, scanty herbage. Between the desert and the cultivated Nile lands is an open growth of samr, hashab (Acacia verek) and other acacia trees. Between Khartum and 12° N. forest belts line the banks of the rivers and khors, in which the most noteworthy tree is the sant or sunt (Acacia arabica). Farther from the rivers are open woods of heglig (Balanites aegyptiaca), hashab, &c., and dense thickets of laot (Acacia nubica) and kittr (Acacia mellifera). These open woods cover a considerable part of Kordofan, the hashab and talh trees being the chief producers of gum arabic. South of 12° N. the forest lands of the White Nile as far south as the sudd region are of similar character to that described. On the Blue Nile the forest trees alter, the most abundant being the babanus (Sudan ebony) and the silag (Anogeissus leiocarpus), while gigantic baobabs, called tebeldi in the Sudan, and tarfa (Sterculia cinerea) are numerous. In southern Kordofan and in the higher parts of the Bahr-el-Ghazal the silag and ebony are also common, as well as African mahogany (homraya, Khaya senegalensis) and other timber trees. In the Ghazal province also are many rubber-producing lianas, among them the Landolphia owariensis. There are also forest regions in the Bahr-el-Jebel, in the Mongalla mudiria and along the AbyssinianEritrean frontier. East of the Bahr-el-Jebel and north of the Bahr-el-Ghazal are vast prairies covered with tall coarse grass. Cotton is indigenous in the valley of the Blue Nile, and in some districts bamboos are plentiful. The castor-oil plant grows in almost ever y province. (See also § Agriculture, and, for the vegetation of the swamp region, Nile.) Fauna. - Wild animals and birds are numerous. Elephants are abundant in the Bahr-el-Ghazal and Bahr-el-Jebel forests, and are found in fewer numbers in the upper valle y of the Blue Nile.

The hippopotamus and crocodile abound in the swamp regions, which also shelter many kinds of water-fowl. The lion, leopard, giraffe and various kinds of antelope are found in the prairies and in the open woods. In the forests are numerous bright-plumaged birds and many species of monkeys, mostly ground monkeys - the trees being too prickly for climbing. Snakes are also plentiful, many poisonous kinds being found. In the steppe regions of Kordofan, Darfur, &c., and in the Nubian Desert ostriches are fairly plentiful. Insect life is very abundant, especially south of 12° N., the northern limit of the tsetse fly. The chief pests are mosquitoes, termites and the serut, a brown fly about the size of a wasp, with a sharp stab, which chiefly attacks cattle. Locusts are less common, but, especially in the eastern districts, occasionally cause great destruction. For domestic animals see § Agriculture. Inhabitants. - The population, always sparse in the desert and steppe regions, was never dense even in the more fertile southern districts. During the Mandia the country suffered severely from war and disease. Excluding Darfur the population before the Mandist rule was estimated at 8,500,000. In 1905 an estimate made by the Sudan government put the population at 1,853,000 only, including i i,000 foreigners, of whom 2800 were Europeans. Since that year there has been a considerable natural increase and in 1910 the population was officially estimated at 2,400,000. There has also been a slight immigration of Abyssinians, Egyptians, Syrians and Europeans - the last named chiefly Greeks.

The term " Bilad-es-Sudan " (" country of the blacks ") is not altogether applicable to the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, the northern portion being occupied by Hamitic and Semitic tribes, chiefly nomads, and classed as Arabs. In the Nile valley north of Khartum the inhabitants are of very mixed origin. This applies particularly to the so-called Nubians who inhabit the Dongola mudiria (see Nubia). Elsewhere the inhabitants north of 12° N. are of mixed Arab descent. In the Nubian Desert the chief tribes are the Ababda and Bisharin, the last named grazing their camels in the mountainous districts towards the Red Sea. In the region south of Berber and Suakin are the Hadendoa. The Jaalin, Hassania and Shukria inhabit the country between the Atbara and Blue Nile; the Hassania and Hassanat are found chiefly in the Gezira. The Kabbabish occupy the desert country north of Kordofan, which is the home of the Baggara tribes. In Darfur the inhabitants are of mixed Arab and negro blood..

Of negro Nilotic tribes there are three or four main divisions. The Shilluks occupy the country along the west side of the Nile northward from about Lake No. The country east of the Nile is divided between the Bari, Nuer and Dinka tribes. The Dinkas are also widely spread over the Bahr-el-Ghazal province. South of Kordofan and west of the Shilluk territory are the Nubas, apparently the original stock of the Nubians. In the south-west of the Bahr-el-Ghazal are the Bongos and other tribes, and along the Nile-Congo water-parting are the A-Zande or Niam-Niam, a comparatively light-coloured race. (All the tribes mentioned are separately noticed.) Social Conditions. - In contrast with the Egyptians, a most industrious race, the Sudanese tribes, both Arab and negro, are as a general rule indolent. Where wants are few and simple, where houses need not be built nor clothes worn to keep out the cold, there is little stimulus to exertion. Many Arabs " clothed in rags, with only a mat for a house, prefer to lead the life of the free-born sons of the desert, no matter how large their herds or how numerous their followings" (Egypt, No. 1 [ 1904], p. 147). Following the establishment of British control slave-raiding and the slave trade were stopped, but domestic slavery continues. A genuine desire for education is manifest among the Arabicspeaking peoples and slow but distinct moral improvement is visible among them. Among the riverain " Arabs " some were found to supply labour for public works, and with the money thus obtained cattle were bought and farms started. The Dongolese are the keenest traders in the country. The Arab tribes are all. Mahommedans, credulous and singularly liable to fits of religious excitement. Most of the negro tribes are pagan, but some of them who live in the northern regions have embraced Islam.

Divisions and Chief Towns. - Darfur is under native rule. The rest of the Sudan is divided into mudirias (provinces) and these are subdivided into mamuria. The mudirias are Haifa, Red Sea, Dongola and Berber in the north (these include practically all the region known as Nubia); Khartum, Blue Nile and White Nile in the centre; Kassala and Sennar in the east; Kordofan in the west; and Bahrel-Ghazal, Upper Nile (formerly Fashoda) and Mongalla in the south. The mudirias vary considerably in size.

The capital, Khartum (q.v.), pop. with suburbs about 70,0 0, is built in the fork formed by the junction of the White and Blue Niles. Opposite Khartum, on the west bank of the White Nile, is Omdurman, pop. about 43,000, the capital of the Sudan during the Mandia. On the Nile north of Khartum at the towns of Berber, Abu Hamed, Merawi (Merowe), Dongola and Wadi Haifa. On the Red Sea are Port Sudan and Suakin. Kassala is on the river Gash east of the Atbara and near the Eritrean frontier. (These towns are separately noticed.) On the Blue Nile are Kamlin, Sennar, Wad Medani, pop. about 20,000 a thriving business centre and capital of the Blue Nile mudiria, and Roseires, which marks the limit of navigability by steamers of the river. Gallabat is a town in the Kassala mudiria close to the Abyssinian frontier, ,and Gedaref lies between the Blue Nile and Atbara a little north of 14° N. El Obeid, the chief town of Kordofan, is 230 m. southwest by south of Khartum. Duiem, capital of the White Nile mudiria, is the river port for Kordofan. El Fasher, the capital of Darfur, is 500 m. W.S.W. of Khartum. All the towns named, except Roseires, are situated north of 13° N. In the south of the Sudan there are no towns properly so called. The native villages are composed of straw or palm huts; the places occupied by Europeans or Egyptians are merely " posts " where the administrative business of the district is carried on. Fashoda, renamed Kodok, is the headquarters of the Upper Nile mudiria.


North of Khartum the chief means of communication is by railway; south of that city by steamer. There are two trunk railways, one connecting the Sudan with Egypt, the other affording access to the Red Sea. The first line runs from the Nile at Wadi Haifa across the desert in a direct line to Abu Hamed, and from that point follows more or less closely the right (east) bank of the Nile to Khartum. At Khartum the Blue Nile is bridged and the railway is continued south through the Gezira to Sennar. Thence it turns west, crosses the White Nile near Abba Island, and is continued to El Obeid. The length of the line from Halfa to Khartum is 575 m.; from Khartum to Obeid 350 m. The railway from the Nile to the Red Sea starts from the Halfa-Khartum line at Atbara Junction, a mile north of the Atbara confluence. It runs somewhat south of the Berber-Suakin caravan route. At Sallom, 278 m. from Atbara Junction, the line divides, one branch going north to Port Sudan, the other south to Suakin. The total distance to Port Sudan from Khartum is 493 m., the line to Suakin being 4 m. longer. Besides these main lines a railway, 138 m. long, runs from Abu Hamed on the right bank of the Nile to Kareima (opposite Merawi) in the Dongola mudiria below the Fourth Cataract. (The railway which started from Haifa and followed the right bank of the Nile to Kerma, 201 m. from Haifa, was abandoned in 1903.) The railways are owned and worked by the state.

In connexion with the Khartum-Halfa railway steamers ply on the Nile between Haifa and Shellal (Assuan) where the railway from Alexandria ends. The distance by rail and steamer between Khartum and Alexandria is about 1490 m. Steamers run on the Nile between Kerma and Kareima, and above Khartum the government maintains a regular service of steamers as far south as Gondokoro in the Uganda Protectorate. During flood season there is also a steamship service on the Blue Nile. Powerful dredgers and sudd-cutting machines are used to keep open communications in the upper Nile and Bahr-el-Ghazal.

The ancient caravan routes Korosko-Abu Hamed and BerberSuakin have been superseded by the railways, but elsewhere wells and rest-houses are maintained along the main routes between the towns and the Nile. On some of these roads a motor car service is maintained.

From Port Sudan and Suakin there is a regular steamship service to Europe via the Suez Canal. There are also services to Alexandria, the Red Sea ports of Arabia, Aden and India.

There is an extensive telegraphic system. Khartum is connected by land lines with Egypt and Uganda, thus affording direct telegraphic connexion between Alexandria and Mombasa (2500 m.). From Khartum other lines go to Kassala and the Red Sea ports. In some places the telegraph wires are placed 16 ft. 6 in. above the ground to protect them from damage by giraffes.

Agriculture and other Industries

North of Khartum agricultural land is confined to a narrow strip on either side of the Nile and to the few oases in the Libyan Desert. In the Gezira and in the plains of Gedaref between the Blue Nile and the Atbara there are wide areas of arable land, as also in the neighbourhood of Kassala along the banks of the Gash. In Kordofan and Darfur cultivation is confined to the khors or valleys. The chief grain crop is durra, the staple food of the Sudanese. Two crops are obtained yearly in several districts. On lands near the rivers the durra is sown after the flood has gone down and also at the beginning of the rainy season. Considerable quantities of wheat and barley are also grown. Other foodstuffs raised are lentils, beans, onions and melons. The date-palm is cultivated along the Nile valley below Khartum, especially on the west bank in the Dongola mudiria and in the neighbouring oases. Dates are also a staple produce in Darfur and Kordofan. Ground-nuts and sesame are grown in large quantities for the oil they yield, and cotton of quality equal to that grown in the Delta is produced. The Sudan was indeed the original home of Egyptian cotton.

For watering the land by the river banks sakias (water-wheels) are used, oxen being employed to turn them There are also a few irrigation canals. In 1910, apart from the date plantations, about 1,500,000 acres were under cultivation. In 1910 a system of basin irrigation was begun in Dongola mudiria.

Gum and rubber are the chief forest products. The gum is obtained from eastern Kordofan and in the forests in the upper valley of the Blue Nile, the best gum coming from Kordofan. It is of two kinds, hashab (white) and talh (red), the white being the most valuable. Rubber is obtained from the Bahr-el-Ghazalwhere there are Para and Ceara rubber plantations - and in the Sobat district. The wood of the sunt tree is used largely for boatbuilding and for fuel, and the mahogany tree yields excellent timber. Fibre is made from several trees and plants. Elephants are hunted for the sake of their ivory. The wealth of the Arab tribes consists largely in their herds of camels, horses and cattle. They also keep ostrich farms, the feathers being of good quality. The Dongola breed of horses is noted for its strength and hardness. The camels are bred in the desert north of Berber, between the Nile and Red Sea, in southern Dongola, in the Hadendoa country and in northern Kordofan. The Sudanese camel is lighter, faster and better bred than the camel of Egypt. The camel, horse and ostrich are not found south of Kordofan and Sennar. The negro tribes living south of those countries possess large herds of cattle, sheep and goats. The cattle are generally small and the sheep yield little wool. The Arabs use the cattle as draught-animals as well as for their milk and flesh; the negro tribes as a rule do not eat their oxen. Fowls are plentiful, but of poor quality. Donkeys are much used in the central regions; they make excellent transport animals.

Mineral Wealth

In ancient times Nubia, i.e. the region between the Red Sea and the Nile south of Egypt and north of the SuakinBerber line, was worked for gold. Ruins of an extensive goldmine exist near Jebel Erba at a short distance from the sea. In 1905 gold mining recommenced in Nubia, in the district of Urn Nabardi, which is in the desert, about midway between Wadi Halfa and Abu Hamed. A light railway, 30 m. long, opened in June 1905, connects Um Nabardi with the government railway system. The producing stage was reached in 1908, and between September 1908 and August 1909 the mines yielded 4500 oz. of gold. Small quantities of gold-dust are obtained from Kordofan, and gold is found in the Beni-Shangul country south-west of Sennar, but this region is within the Abyssinian frontier (agreement of the 15th of May 1902). There is lignite in the Dongola mudiria and iron ore is found in Darfur, southern Kordofan and in the Bahr-el-Ghazal. In the last-named mudiria iron is worked by the natives. The district of Hofrat-el-Nahas (the copper mine) is rich in copper, the mines having been worked intermittently from remote times.


The chief products of the Sudan for export are gum, ivory, ostrich feathers, dates and rubber. Cotton, cotton-seed and grain (durra, wheat, barley) sesame, livestock, hides and skins, beeswax, mother-of-pearl, senna and gold are also exported. Before the opening (1906) of the railway to the Red Sea the trade was chiefly with Egypt via the Nile, and the great cost of carriage hindered its development. Since the completion of the railway named goods can be put on the world's markets at a much cheaper rate. Besides the Egyptian and Red Sea routes there is considerable trade between the eastern mudirias and Abyssinia and Eritrea, and also some trade south and west with Uganda and the Congo countries. The Red Sea ports trade largely with Arabia and engage in pearl fishery. The principal imports are cotton goods, food-stuffs (flour, rice, sugar, provisions), timber, tobacco, spirits (in large quantities), iron and machinery, candles, cement and perfumery. The value of the trade, which during the Mandist rule (1884-1898) was a few thousands only, had increased in 1905 to over £1,500,000. In 1908 the exports of Sudan produce were valued at £E515,000 1; the total imports at £E1,892,000.


The administration is based on the provisions of a convention signed on the 19th of January 1899 between the British and Egyptian governments. The authority of the sovereign powers is represented by a governor-general appointed by Egypt on the recommendation of Great Britain. In 1910 a council consisting of four ex officio members and from two to four non-official nominated members was created to advise the governor-general in the exercise of his executive and legislative functions. Subject to the power of veto retained by the governorgeneral all questions are decided by a majority of the council.

A £E(pound Egyptian) is equal to £I, os. 6d. British currency.

Each of the mudirias into which the country is divided is presided over by a mudir (governor) responsible to the central govern ment at Khartum. The governor-general, the chiefs of the various departments of state and the mudirs are all Europeans, the majority being British military officers The minor officials are nearly all Egyptians or Sudanese. Revenue is derived as to about 60% from the customs and revenue-earning departments (i.e. steamers, railways, posts and telegraphs), and as to the rest from taxes on land, date-trees and animals, from royalties on gum, ivory and ostrich feathers, from licences to sell spirits, carry arms, &c., and from fees paid for the shooting of game. Expenditure is largely on public works, education, justice and the army. Financial affairs are managed from Khartum, but control over expenditure is exercised by the Egyptian financial department. The revenue, which in 1898 was £E35,000, for the first time exceeded a million in 1909, when the amount realized was £E1,040,200. The expenditure in 1909 was £E 1,153 ,000. Financially the government had been, up to 1910, largely dependent upon Egypt. In the years 1901-1909 £E4,378,000 was advanced from Cairo for public works in the Sudan; in the same period a further sum of about £E2,750,000 had been found by Egypt to meet annual deficits in the Sudan budgets (see Egypt, No. 1 [1910], pp. 5-6).


The Sudan judicial codes, based in part on those of India and in part on the principles of English law and of Egyptian commercial law, provide for the recognition of " customary law " so far as applicable and " not repugnant to good conscience." In each mudiria criminal justice is administered by a court, consisting of the mudir (or a judge) and two magistrates, which has general competence. The magistrates are members of the administrative staff, who try minor cases without the help of the mudir (or judge). The governor-general possesses revising powers in all cases. Civil cases of importance are heard by a judge (or where no judge is available by the mudir or his representative); minor civil cases are tried by magistrates. From the decision of the judges an appeal lies to the legal secretary of the government, in his capacity of judicial commissioner. Jurisdiction in all legal matters as regards personal status of Mahommedans is administered by a grand cadi and a staff of subordinate cadis. The police force of each mudiria is independently organized under the control of the mudirs.


Education is in charge of the department of public instruction. Elementary education, the medium of instruction being Arabic, is given in kuttabs or village schools. There are primary schools in the chief towns where English, Arabic, mathematics, and in some cases land-measuring is taught. There are also government industrial workshops, and a few schools for girls. The Gordon College at Khartum trains teachers and judges in the Mahommedan courts and has annexed to it a secondary school. The college also contains the Wellcome laboratories for scientific research. Among the pagan negro tribes Protestant and Roman Catholic missions are established. These missions carry on educational work,. special attention being given to industrial training.


The defence of the country is entrusted to the Egyptian army, of which several regiments are stationed in the Sudan. The governor-general is sirdar (commander-in-chief) of the army. A small force of British troops is also stationed in the Sudan - chiefly at Khartum. They are under the command of the governor-general in virtue of an arrangement made in 1905, having previously been part of the Egyptian command.

For topography, &c., see The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, a compendium prepared by officers of the Sudan government and edited by Count Gleichen (2 vols., London, 1905); for administration, finance and trade the annual Reports [by the British agent at Cairo] on Egypt and the Sudan, since 1898; and the special report (Blue Book Egypt, No. ii., 1883) by Colonel D. H. Stewart. Consult also J. Petherick, Travels in Central Africa (2 vols., London, 1862); W. Junker, Travels in Africa, 1875-1886 (3 vols., London, 1890-1892); G. Schweinfurth The Heart of Africa (2 vols., London, 1873); J. Baumgarten, Ostafrika, der Sudan and das Seengebiet (Gotha, 1890); E. D. Schoenfeld, Erythraa and der dgyptische Sudan (Berlin, 1904); C. E. Muriel, Report on the Forests of the Sudan (Cairo, 1901); H. F. Witherby, Bird Hunting on the White Nile (London, 1902). For ethnology, &c., see A. H. Keane, Ethnology of the Egyptian Sudan (London, 1884); H. Frobenius, Die Heiden-Neger des agyptischen Sudan (Berlin, 1893). Scientific and medical subjects are dealt with in the Reports of the Wellcome Research Laboratories, Gordon College, Khartum. The Sudan Almanac is a valuable official publication. (F. R. C.) Archaeology. - Archaeological study in the Sudan was retarded for many years by political conditions. The work which had been begun by Cailliaud, Champollion, Lepsius and others was interrupted by the rise of the Mandist power; and with the frontiers of Egypt itself menaced by dervishes, the country south of Aswan (Assuan) was necessarily closed to the student of antiquity. Even after the dervishes had been overthrown at the battle of Omdurman (1898) it was some time before archaeologists awoke to a sense of the historical importance of the regions thus made accessible to them. Dr Wallis Budge visited several of the far southern sites and made some tentative excavations, but no extensive explorations were undertaken until an unexpected event produced a sudden outburst of activity. This was the resolution adopted by the Egyptian government to extend the great reservoir at the First Cataract by raising the height of the Aswan dam. As a result of this measure all sites bordering the river. banks from Aswan to Abu Simbel were threatened with inundation and the scientific world took alarm. A large sum of money was assigned by the government, partly for the preservation of the visible temples in the area to be submerged, partly for an official expedition under the charge of Dr G. A. Reisner which was to search for all remains of antiquity hidden beneath the ground. At the same time the university of Pennsylvania despatched the Eckley B. Coxe, jun., expedition, which devoted its attention to the southern half of Lower Nubia from Haifa to Korosko, while the government excavators explored from Korosko to Aswan. Thus in the five years1907-1911inclusive an immense mass of new material was acquired which throws a flood of light on the archaeology at once of Egypt and the Sudan. For it must be clearly appreciated that though all except the southern twenty miles of Lower Nubia has been attached for purposes of administration of Egypt proper, yet this political boundary is purely artificial. The natural geographical and ethnical southern frontier of Egypt is the First Cataract; Egyptian scribes of the Old Empire recognized this truth no less clearly than Diocletian, and Juvenal anticipates the verdict of every modern observer when he describes the " porta Syenes " as the gate of Africa. It is the more necessary to emphasize this fact as the present article must unavoidably be concerned principally with the most northern regions of the country of the Blacks - for since the days of Lepsius there has been little new investigation south of Haifa. The hasty reconnaissances of Dr Wallis Budge, Professor A. H. Sayce, Mr Somers Clarke and Professor J. Garstang must be followed by more thorough and intensive study before it can be possible to write in more than very general terms of anything but the well-known monuments left by Egyptian kings whose history is already tolerably familiar from other sources. The inscriptions of these kings and their officials have been collected by Professor J. H. Breasted and some account of the temples and fortresses from Halfa to Khartum will be found in the following section, Ancient Monuments south of Haifa, while the history of the early and medieval Christian kingdoms is outlined in the articles Ethiopia and Dongola. The central and southern Sudan is therefore almost a virgin field for the archaeologist, but the exploration of Lower Nubia has made it possible to write a tentative preface to the new chapters still unrevealed.

The Sudan was well named by the medieval Arab historians, for it is primarily and above all the country of the black races, of those Nilotic negroes whose birthplace may be supposed to have been near the Great Lakes. But upon this aboriginal stock were grafted in very early times fresh shoots of more vigorous and intellectual races coming probably from the East (cf. Africa: Ethnology). Lower Nubia was one of the crucibles in which several times was formed a mixed nation which defied or actually dominated Egypt. There. is some scientific ground for dating the earliest example of such a fusion to the exact period of the Egyptian Old Empire. It is certain in any case that the process was constantly repeated &t different dates and in different parts of the country from Aswan to Axum, and to the stimulation which resulted from it must be ascribed the principal political and intellectual movements of the Sudanese nations. Thus the Ethiopians who usurped the crown of the Pharaohs from 740-660 B.C. were of a mixed stock akin to the modern Barabra; the northern Nubians who successfully defied the Roman emperors were under the lordship of the Blemyes (Blemmyes), an East African tribe, and the empire of the Candace dynasty, no less than the Christian kingdoms which succeeded it, included many heterogeneous racial elements (see also Nubia). The real history of the Sudan will therefore be concerned with the evolution of what may be called East African or East Central African civilizations.

Up to the present, however, this aspect has been obscured, for until 1907 scholars had little opportunity of studying ancient Ethiopia except as a colonial extension of Egypt. From the purely Egyptological standpoint there is much of value to be learned from the Sudan. The Egyptian penetration of the country began, according to the evidence of inscriptions, as early as the Old Empire. Under the XIIth Dynasty colonies were planted and fortresses established down to the Batn-el-Hagar. During the XVIIIth Dynasty the political subjugation was completed and the newly won territories were studded with cities and temples as far south as the Fourth Cataract. Some two hundred years later the priests of Amen (Ammon), flying from Thebes, founded a quasi-Egyptian capital at Napata. But after this date Egypt played no part in the evolution of Ethiopia. Politically moribund, it succumbed to the attacks of its virile southern neighbours, who, having emerged from foreign tutelage, developed according to the natural laws of their own genius and environment. The history of Ethiopia therefore as an independent civilization may be said to date from the 8th century B.C., though future researches may be able to carry its infant origins to a remoter past.

Of the thousand years or more of effective Egyptian occupation many monuments exist, but on a broad general view it must be pronounced that they owe their fame more to the accident of survival than to any special intrinsic value. For excepting Philae, which belongs as much to Egypt as to Ethiopia, Abu Simbel is the only temple which can be ranked among first rate products of Egyptian genius. The other temples, attractive as they are, possess rather a local than a universal interest. Similarly while the exploration of the Egyptian colonies south of the First Cataract has added many details to our knowledge of political history, of local cults and provincial organization, yet with one exception it has not affected the known outlines of the history of civilization. This exception is the discovery made by Dr G. A. Reisner that the archaic culture first detected at Nagada and Abydos and then at many points as far north as Giza extended southwards into Nubia at least as far as Gerf Husein. This was wholly unexpected, and if, as seems probable, the evidence stands the test of criticism, it is a new historical fact of great importance. The government expedition found traces between Aswan and Korosko of all the principal periods from this early date down to the Christian era. The specimens obtained are kept in a separate room of the Cairo Museum, where they form a collection of great value.


The work of the Pennsylvanian expedition, however, while adding only a few details to the archaeology of the Egyptian periods, has opened a new chapter in the history of the African races. No records indeed were discovered of the founders of the first great Ethiopian kingdom from Piankhi to Tirhakah, nor has any fresh light been thrown upon the relations which that remarkable king Ergamenes maintained with the Egyptian Ptolemies. But the exploration of sites in the southern half of Lower Nubia has revealed the existence of a wholly unsuspected independent civilization which grew up during the first six centuries after Christ. The history of the succeeding periods, moreover, has been partially recovered and the study of architecture enriched by the excavation of numerous churches dating from the time of Justinian, when Nubia was first Christianized, down to the late medieval period when Christianity was extirpated by Mahommedanism.

The civilization of the first six centuries A.D. may be called " Romano-Nubian," a term which indicates its date and suggests something of its character. It is the product of a people living on the borders of the Roman Empire who inherited much of the Hellenistic tradition in minor arts but combined it with a remarkable power of independent origination. The sites on which it has been observed range from Dakka to Halfa, that is to say within the precise limits which late Latin and Greek writers assign to the Blemyes, and there is good reason to identify the people that evolved it with this hitherto almost unknown barbarian nation. Apart from this, however, the greatest value of the new discoveries will consist in the fact that they may lay the foundations for a new documentary record of past ages. For the graves yielded not only new types of statues, bronzes, ivory carvings and painted pottery - all of the highest artistic value - but also a large number of stone stelae inscribed with funerary formulae in the Meroitic script.

In the course of sixty years the small collection of Meroitic inscriptions made by Lepsius had not been enlarged and no progress had been made towards decipherment. But the cemeteries of Shablul and Karanog alone yielded 170 inscriptions on stone, besides some inscribed ostraka. This mass of material brought the task of decipherment within the range of possibility, and even without any bilingual record to assist him, Mr F. Ll. Griffith rapidly succeeded in the first stages of translation. As further explorations bring more inscriptions to light the records of Ethiopia will gradually be placed on a firm documentary basis and the names and achievements of its greatest monarchs will take their place on the roll of history.

Bibliography. - C.R.Lepsius, Denkmdler aus Aegypten and A ethiopien (1849), Abh. vi., Briefe aus Aegypten, Aethiopien, &c. (1852), Nubische Grammatik (1880); H. Brugsch, Zeitschrift far aegyptische Sprache (1887); F. Cailliaud, Voyage a Meroe et au Fleuve Blanc (1826); E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Sudan (1907); G. A. Reisner and C. M. Firth, Reports on The Archaeological Survey of Nubia; G. Elliott Smith and F. Wood Jones, ibid. vol. ii. "The Human Remains" (1910); J. H. Breasted, Ancient' Records of Egypt (1906-1907), A History of Egypt (1905), Temples of Lower;Nubia (1906), Monuments of Sudanese Nubia (1908); D. Randall-Maelver and C. L. Woolley, Reports of the Eckley B. Coxe, jun. expedition, viz. vol. i. Areika (1909), vols. iii., iv., v. Karanog (vol.. iii. "The Romano-Nubian Cemetery," text, vol. iv. ibid., plates, 1910), vol. vii. Behen; G. S. Mileham, Reports of the Eckley B. Coxe, jun., expedition, vol. ii. Churches in Lower Nubia (Iwo); F. Ll. Griffith, Reports on the Eckley B. Coxe, jun., expedition, vol. vi. Meroitic Inscriptions from Shablul and Karanog, Meroitic Inscriptions, and 2 vols. on Tombs off El Amarna; and the " Archaeological Survey " of the Egypt Exploration Fund. (D. R.-M.) Ancient Monuments south of Halfa. - Ruins of pyramids, temples, churches and other monuments are found along both banks of the Nile almost as far south as the Fourth Cataract, and again in the " Island of Meroe." In the following list the ruins are named as met with on the journey south from Wadi Halfa. Opposite that town on the east bank are the remains of Bohon, where was found the stele, now at Florence, commemorating the conquest of the region by Senwosri (Usertesen) I. of Egypt (c. 2750 B.C.). Forty-three miles farther south are the ruins of the twin fortresses of Kumma and Semna. Here the Nile narrows and passes the Semna cataract, and graven on the rocks are ancient records of " high Nile." At Amara, some 80 m. above Semna, are the ruins of a temple with Meroitic hieroglyphics. At Sai Island, 130 m. above Halfa, are remains of a town and of a Christian church. Thirteen miles south of Sai at Soleb are the ruins of a fine temple commemorating Amenophis (Amenhotep) III. (c. 1414 B.C.) to whose queen Taia was dedicated a temple at Sedeinga, a few miles to the north. At Sesebi, 40 m. higher up the Nile, is a temple of the heretic king Akhenaton re-worked by Seti I. (c. 1327 B.C.). Opposite Hannek at the Third Cataract on Tombos Island are extensive ancient granite quarries, in one of which lies an unfinished colossus. On the east side of the river near Kerma are the remains of an Egyptian city. Argo Island, a short distance higher up, abounds in ruins, and those at Old Dongola, 320 m. from Halfa, afford evidence of the town having been of considerable size during the time of the Christian kingdom of Dongola. From Old Dongola to Merawi (a distance of too m. by the river) are numerous ruins of monasteries, churches and fortresses of the Christian era in Nubia - notably at Jebel Deka and Magal. In the immediate neighbourhood of Jebel Barkal (the " holy mountain " of the ancient Egyptians), a flat-topped hill which rises abruptly from the desert on the right bank of the Nile a mile or two above the existing village of Merawi (Merowe), are many pyramids and six temples, the pyramids having a height of from 35 to 60 ft. Pyramids are also found at Zuma and Kurru on the right bank, and at Tangassi on the left bank of the river, these places being about 20 m. below Merawi. That village is identified by some archaeologists with the ancient Napata, which is known to have been situated near the " holy mountain." On the left bank of the Nile opposite Merawi are the pyramids of Nuri, and a few miles distant in the Wadi Ghazal are the ruins of a great Christian monastery, where were found gravestones with inscriptions in Greek and Coptic. Ruins of various ages extend from Merawi to the Fourth Cataract. Leaving the Nile at this point and striking direct across the Bayuda Desert, the river is regained at a point above the Atbara confluence. Thirty miles north of the town of Shendi are the pyramids of Meroe (or Assur) in three distinct groups. From one of these pyramids was taken " the treasure of Queen Candace," now in the Berlin Museum. Many of the pyramids have a small shrine on the eastern side inscribed with debased Egyptian or Meroite hieroglyphics. These pyramids are on the right bank of the Nile, that is in the " Island of Meroe." Portions (including a harbour) of the site of the city of Meroe, at Begerawia, not far from the pyramids named, were excavated in1909-1910(see Mero?.). In this region, and distant from the river, are the remains of several cities, notably Naga, where are ruins of four temples, one in the Classic style. On the east bank of the Blue Nile, about 13 m. above Khartum at Soba, are ruins of a Christian basilica. Farther south still, at Ceteina on the White Nile (in 1904), and at Wad el-Hadad, some miles north of Sennar, on the Blue Nile (in 1908), Christian remains have been observed.

Between the Nile at Wadi Halfa and the Red Sea are the remains of towns inhabited by the ancient miners who worked the district. The most striking of these towns is Deraheib (Castle Beautiful), so named from the picturesque situation of the castle, a large square building with pointed arches. The walls of some goo houses still stand.

For a popular account (with many illustrations) of these ruins see J. Ward, Our Sudan: Its Pyramids and Progress (London, 1905). (F. R. C.) History A. From the Earliest Time to the Egyptian Conquest. - The southern regions of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan are without recorded history until the era of the Egyptian conquest in the 9th century. In the northern regions, known as Ethiopia or Nubia, Egyptian influence made itself felt as early as the Old Empire. In process of time powerful states grew up with capitals at Napata and Meroe (see ante § Archaeology and Ethiopia and Egypt). The Nubians - that is the dwellers in the Nile valley between Egypt and Abyssinia - did not embrace Christianity until the 6th century, considerably later than their Abyssinian neighbours. The Arab invasion of North Africa in the 7th century, which turned Egypt into a Mahommedan country, had not the same effect in Nubia, the Moslems, though they frequently raided the country, being unable to hold it. On the ruins of the ancient Ethiopian states arose the Christian kingdoms of Dongola and Aloa, with capitals at Dongola and Soba (corresponding roughly to Napata and Meroe). These kingdoms continued to exist until the middle of the 14th century or later (see Dongola: Mudiria). Meanwhile Arabs of the Beni Omayya tribe, under pressure from the Beni Abbas, had begun to cross the Red Sea as early as the 8th century and to settle in the district around Sennar on the Blue Nile, a region which probab]y marked the southern limits of the kingdom of Aloa. The Omayya, who during the following centuries were reinforced by further immigrants from Arabia, intermarried with the negroid races, and gradually Arab influence became predominant and Islam the nominal faith of all the inhabitants of Sennar. In this way a barrier was erected between the Christians of Nubia and those of Abyssinia. By the 15th century the Arabized negro races of the Blue Nile had grown into a powerful nation known as the Funj, and during that century they extended their conquests north to the borders of Egypt. The kingdom of Dongola had already been reduced to a condition of anarchy by Moslem invasions from the north. Christianity was still professed by some of the Nubians as late as the 16th century, but the whole Sudan north of the lands of the pagan negroes (roughly 12° N.) was then under Moslem sway. At that time the sultans of Darfur (q.v.) in the west and the sultans or kings of Sennar (the Funj rulers) in the east were the most powerful of the Mahommedan potentates.

The first of the Funj monarchs acknowledged king of the whole of the allied tribes, of which the Hameg were next in importance to the Funj, was Amara Dunkas, who c. 1596-1603, the fame of Sennar attracted learned men to his court from such distant places as Cairo and Bagdad. Adlan's great-grandson Badi Abu Daku attacked the Shilluk negroes and raided Kordofan. This monarch built the great mosque at Sennar, almost the only building in the town to survive the ravages of the dervishes in the 19th century. In the early part of the 18th century there was war between the Sennari and the Abyssinians, in which the last named were defeated with great slaughter. It is said that the cause of quarrel was the seizure by the king of Sennar of presents sent by the king of France to the Negus. The victory over the " infidel " Abyssinians became celebrated throughout the Mahommedan world, and Sennar was visited by many learned and celebrated men from Egypt, Arabia and India. Towards the end of the 18th century the Hameg wrested power from the Funj and the kingdom fell into decay, many of the tributary princes refusing to acknowledge the king of Sennar. These disorders continued up to the time of the conquest of the country by the Egyptians.

B. From the Egyptian Conquest to the Rise of the Mandi. - The conquest of Nubia was undertaken in 1820 by order of Mehemet Ali, the pasha of Egypt, and was accomplished in s the. two years following. In its consequences this proved one of the most important events in the history of Africa. Mehemet Ali never stated the reasons which led him to order the occupation of the country, but his leading motive was, probably, the desire to obtain possession of the mines of gold and precious stones which he believed the Sudan contained. He also saw that the revenue of Egypt was falling through the diversion, since about 1800, of the caravan routes from the Nile to the Red Sea ports, and may have wished to recapture the trade, as well as to secure a country whence thousands of slaves could be brought annually. Mehemet Ali also wished to crush the remnant of the Mamelukes who in 1812 had established themselves at Dongola, and at the same time to find employment for the numerous Albanians and Turks in his army, of whose fidelity he was doubtful.

Mehemet Ali gave the command of the army sent to Nubia to his son Ismail, who at the head of some 4000 men left Wadi Halfa in October 1820. Following the Nile route he occupied Dongola without opposition, the Mamelukes fleeing before him. (Some of them went to Darfur and Wadai, others made their way to the Red Sea. This was the final dispersal of the Ma melukes.) With the nomad Shagia, who dominated the district, Various lists and dates of reign of the rulers of Sennar are given; reference may be made in Stokvis's Manuel d'histoire vol. i. (Leiden, 1888), and to The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, vol. i. (London, 1905).

Ismail had two sharp encounters, one near Korti, the other higher up the river, and in both fights Ismail was successful. Thereafter the Shagia furnished useful auxiliary cavalry to the Egyptians. Ismail remained in the Dongola province till February 1821, when he crossed the Bayuda Desert and received the submission of the meks (kings) of Berber, Shendi and Halfaya, nominal vassals of the king of Sennar. Continuing his march south Ismail reached the confluence of the White and Blue Niles and established a camp at Ras Khartum. (This camp developed into the city of Khartum.) At this time Badi, the king of Sennar, from whom all real power had been wrested by his leading councillors, determined to submit to the Egyptians, and as Ismail advanced up the Blue Nile he was met at Wad Medani by Badi who declared that he recognized Mehemet Ali as master of his kingdom. Ismail and Badi entered the town of Sennar together on the 12th of June 1821, and in this peaceable manner the Egyptians became rulers of the ancient empire of the Funj. In search of the gold-mines reported to exist farther south Ismail penetrated into the mountainous region of Fazokl, where the negroes offered a stout resistance. In February 1822 he set out on his return to Sennar and Dongola, having received reports of risings against Egyptian authority. The Egyptian soldiery had behaved throughout with the utmost barbarity, and their passage up the Nile was marked by rapine, murder, mutilation and fire. 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.

Ismail's death was speedily avenged. A second Egyptian army, also about 4000 strong, had followed that of Ismail's up the Nile, and striking south-west from Debba had wrested, after a sharp campaign, the province of Kordofan (1821) from the sultan of Darfur. This army was commanded by Mahommed Bey, the Defterdar, son-in-law of Mehemet Ali. 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. Nair Mimr escaped to the Abyssinian frontier, where he maintained his independence. Having conquered Nubia, Sennar and Kordofan the Egyptians set up a civil government, placing at the head of the administration a governor-general with practically unlimited power.2 About this period Mehemet Ali leased from the sultan of Turkey the Red Sea ports of Suakin and Massawa, and by this means got into his hands all the trade routes of the eastern Sudan. The pasha of Egypt practically monopolized the trade of the country except that in slaves, which became a vast " industry," the lands inhabited by negro tribes on the borders of the conquered territories being raided annually for the purpose. From the negro population the army was so largely recruited that in a few years the only non-Sudanese in it were officers. The Egyptian rule proved harmful to the country. The governorsgeneral and the leading officials were nearly all Turks, Albanians or Circassians, and, with rare exceptions, the welfare of the people formed no part of their conception of government.3 Numerous efforts were made to extend the authority of Egypt. In 1840 - previous attempts having been unsuccessful - the fertile district of Taka, watered by the Atbara and Gash and near the Abyssinian frontier, was conquered and the town of 2 For a list of the governors-general see The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, i. p. 280 (London, 1905).

3 Khurshid Pasha, governor-general for 13 years (1826-1839), was one of these exceptions. He gained a great reputation both for rectitude and vigour. He led expeditions up the White Nile against the Dinkas as far as Fashoda; defeated the Abyssinians on the Sennar frontier, and taught the natives of Khartum to build houses of brick.

reigned c. 1484-1526.1 During the reign of Adlan, Kassala founded. In 1837 the pasha himself visited the Sudan, going as far as Fazokl, where he inspected the goldfields.

In 1849 Abd-el-Latif Pasha became governor-general and attempted to remedy some of the evils which disfigured the administration. He remained in office, however, little more than a year, too short a period to effect reforms. The Sudan was costing Egypt more money than its revenue yielded, though it must not be forgotten that large sums found their way illicitly into the hands of the pashas. The successors of Mehemet Ali, in an endeavour to make the country more profitable, extended their conquests to the south, and in 1853 and subsequent years trading posts were established on the Upper Nile, the pioneer European merchant being John Petherick, British consular agent at Khartum.' Petherick sought for ivory only, but those who followed him soon found that slave-raiding was more profitable than elephant hunting. The viceroy Said, who made a rapid tour through the Sudan in 1857, found it in a deplorable condition. The viceroy ordered many reforms to be executed and proclaimed the abolition of slavery. The reforms were mainly inoperative and slavery continued. The project which Said also conceived of linking the Sudan to Egypt by railway remained unfulfilled. The Sudan at this time (c. 1862) is described by Sir Samuel Baker as utterly ruined by Egyptian methods of government and the retention of the country only to be accounted for by the traffic in slaves. The European merchants above Khartum had sold their posts to Arab agents, who oppressed the natives in every conceivable fashion. Ismail Pasha, who became viceroy of Egypt in 1863, gave orders for the suppression of the slave trade, and to check the operations of the Arab traders a military force was stationed at Fashoda (1865), this being the most southerly point then held by the Egyptians. Ismail's efforts to put an end to the slave trade, if sincere, were ineffective, and, moreover, south of Kordofan the authority of the government did not extend beyond the posts occupied by their troops. Ismail, however, was ambitious to extend his dominions and to develop the Sudan on the lines he had conceived for the development of Egypt. He obtained (1865) from the sultan of Turkey a firman assigning to him the administration of Suakin and Massawa; the lease which Mehemet Ali had of these ports having lapsed after the death cf that pasha. Ismail subsequently (1870-1875) extended his sway over the whole coast from Suez to Cape Guardafui and garrisoned the towns of Berbera, Zaila, &c., while in 1874 the important town of Harrar, the entrepot for southern Abyssinia, was seized by Egyptian troops. The khedive had also seized Bogos, in the hinterland of Massawa, a province claimed by Abyssinia. This action led to wars with Abyssinia, in which the Egyptians were generally beaten. Egyptian authority was withdrawn from the coast regions south of Suakin in 1884 (see below and also Abyssinia; Eritrea and Somaliland).

At the same time that Ismail annexed the seaboard he was extending his sway along the Nile valley to the equatorial lakes, and conceived the idea of annexing all the country between the Nile and the Indian Ocean. An expedition was sent (1875) to the Juba River with that object, but it was withdrawn at the request of the British government, as it infringed the rights of the sultan of Zanzibar. 2 The control of all territories south of Gondokoro had been given (April 1, 1869) to Sir Samuel Baker, who, however, only left Khartum to take up his governor ship in February 1870. Reaching Gondokoro on the 26th of May following, he formally annexed that station, which he named Ismailia, to the khedival Darfur domains. Baker remained as governor of the Equa to n al Provinces until August 1873, and in March 1874 Colonel C. G. Gordon took up the same post. Both Baker and ' The government monopoly in trade ceased after the death of Mehemet Ali in 3849.

a The Juba was quite unsuitable as a means of communication between the Indian Ocean and the Nile. The proposal made to Ismail by Gordon was to send an expedition to Mombasa and thence up the Tana River, but for some unexplained reason, or perhaps by mistake, the expedition was ordered to the Juba (see Col. Gordon in Central Africa, 4th ed., 1885, pp. 65, 66, 150 and 151, and Geog. Journ., Feb. I, 1909, p. 150).

Gordon made strenuous efforts towards crushing the slave trade, but their endeavours were largely thwarted by the inaction of the authorities at Khartum. Under Gordon the Upper Nile region as far as the borders of Uganda came effectively under Egyptian control, though the power of the government extended on the east little beyond the banks of the rivers. On the west the Bahr-el-Ghazal had been overrun by Arab or semi-Arab slave-dealers. Nominally subjects of the khedive, they acted as free agents, reducing the country over which they terrorized to a state of abject misery. The most powerful of the slave traders was Zobeir Pasha, who, having defeated a force sent from Khartum to reduce him to obedience, invaded Darfur (1874). The khedive, fearing the power of Zobeir, also sent an expedition to Darfur, and that country, after a stout resistance, was conquered. Zobeir claimed to be made governorgeneral of the new province; his request being refused, he went to Cairo to urge his claim. At Cairo he was detained by the Egyptian authorities.

Though spasmodic efforts were made to promote agriculture and open up communications the Sudan continued to be a constant drain on the Egyptian exchequer. The khedive Ismail revived Said's project of a railway, and a survey for a line from Wadi Halfa to Khartum was made (1871), while a branch line to Massawa was also contemplated. As with Said's project these schemes came to naught. 3 In October 1876 Gordon left the Equatorial Provinces and gave up his appointment. In February 1877, under pressure from the British and Egyptian governments, he went to Cairo, where Gordon he. was, given the governorship of the whole of the Egyptian territories outside Egypt; namely, the Sudan provinces proper, the Equatorial Provinces, Darfur, and the Red Sea and Somali coasts. He replaced at Khartum Ismail Pasha Eyoub, a Turk made governor-general in 1873, who had thwarted as much as he dared all Gordon's efforts to reform. Gordon remained in the Sudan until August 1879. During his tenure of office he did much to give the Sudanese the benefit of a just and considerate government. In 1877 Gordon suppressed a revolt in Darfur and received the submission of Suliman Zobeir (a son of Zobeir Pasha), who was at the head of a gang of slave-traders on the Bahr-el-Ghazal frontier. In 1878 there was further trouble in Darfur and also in Kordofan, and Gordon visited both these provinces, breaking up many companies of slave-hunters. Meantime Suliman (acting on the instructions of his father, who was still at Cairo) had broken out into open revolt against the Egyptians in the Bahr-eIGhazal. The crushing of Suliman was entrusted by Gordon to Romolo Gessi (1831-1881), an Italian who had previously served under Gordon. on the Upper Nile. Gessi, after a most arduous campaign (1878-79), in which he displayed great military skill, defeated and captured Suliman, whom, with other ringleaders, he executed. The slave-raiders were completely broken up and over Io,000 captives released. A remnant of Zobeir's troops under a chief named Rabah succeeded in escaping westward, (see Rabah). Having conquered the province Gessi was made governor of the Bahr-el-Ghazal and given the rank of pasha.

When Gordon left the Sudan he was succeeded at Khartum by Raouf Pasha, under whom all the old abuses of the Egyptian administration were revived. At this time the high European officials in the Sudan, besides Gessi, included Emin Pasha - then a bey only - governor of the Equatorial Province since 1878, and Slatin Pasha - then also a bey - governor of Darfur. Gessi, who had most successfully governed his province, found his position under Raouf intolerable, resigned his post in September 1880 and was succeeded by Frank Lupton, an Englishman, and formerly captain of a Red Sea merchant steamer, who was given the rank of bey. At this period (1880-1882) schemes for the reorganization and better administration of the Sudan were elaborated on paper, but the revolt in Egypt under Arabi (see Egypt: History) and the appearance in the Sudan of a Mandi prevented these schemes from being put into s Up to 1877, when the work was abandoned, some 50 m. of rails had been laid from Wadi Halfa at a cost of some £450,000.

execution (assuming that the Egyptian authorities were sincere in proposing reforms).

C. The Rise and Power of Mandism. - The Mandist movement, which was utterly to overthrow Egyptian rule, derived its strength from two different causes: the oppression under which the people suffered,' and the measures taken to prevent the Baggara (cattle-owning Arabs) from slave trading. Venality and the extortion of the tax-gatherer flourished anew after the departure of Gordon, while the feebleness of his successors inspired in the Baggara a contempt for the authority which prohibited them pursuing their most lucrative traffic. When Mahommed Ahmed (q.v.), a Dongolese, proclaimed himself the long-looked-for Mandi (guide) of Islam, he found most of his original followers among the grossly superstitious villagers of Kordofan, to whom he preached universal equality and a community of goods, while denouncing the Turks 2 as unworthy Moslems on whom God would execute judgment. The Baggara perceived in this Mandi one who could be used to shake off Egyptian rule, and their adhesion to him first gave importance to his " mission." Mahommed Ahmed became at once the leader and the agent of the Baggara. He married the daughters of their sheikhs and found in Abdullah, a member of the Taaisha section of the tribe, his chief supporter. The first armed conflict between the Egyptian troops and the Mandi's followers occurred in August 1881. In June 1882 Hicks the Mandi gained his first considerable success.

The capture of El Obeid on the 17th of January Army. 1883 and the annihilation in the November following of an army of over io,000 men commanded by Hicks Pasha (Colonel William Hicks [q.v.] formerly of the Bombay army) made the Mandi undisputed master of Kordofan and Sennar. The next month, December 1883, saw the surrender' of Slatin in Darfur, whilst in February 1884 Osman Digna, his amir in the Red Sea regions, inflicted a crushing defeat on some 4000 Egyptians at El Teb near Suakin. In April following Lupton Bey, governor of Bahr-el-Ghazal, whose troops and officials had embraced the Mandist cause, surrendered and was sent captive to Omdurman, where he died on the 8th of May 1888.

On learning of the disaster to Hicks Pasha's army, the British government (Great Britain having been since 1882 in military occupation of. Egypt) insisted that the Egyptian government should evacuate such parts of the Sudan as they still held, and General. Gordon was despatched, with Lieut.-Colonel Donald H. Stewart, 3 to Khartum to arrange the withdrawal of the Egyptian civil and military population. Gordon's instructions, based largely on his own suggestions, were not wholly consistent; they contemplated vaguely the establishment of some form of stable government on the surrender of Egyptian authority, and among the documents with which he was furnished was a firman creating him governorgeneral of the Sudan. 4 Gordon reached Khartum on the 18th of February 1884 and at first his mission, which had aroused great enthusiasm in England, promised success. To smooth the way for the retreat of the Egyptian garrisons and civilians he issued proclamations announcing that the suppression of the slave trade was abandoned, that the Mandi was sultan of Kordofan, and that the Sudan was independent of Egypt. He enabled some thousands of refugees to make their escape to ' Writing from Darfur in April 1879 Gordon said: " The government of the Egyptians in these far-off countries is nothing else but one of brigandage of the very worst description. It is so bad that all hope of ameliorating it is hopeless." 2 The Sudanese spoke of all foreigners as " Turks." This arose from the fact that most of the higher Egyptian officials were of Turkish nationality and that the army was officered mainly by Turks, Albanians, Circassians, &c., and included in the ranks many Bashi-Bazuks (irregulars) of non-Sudanese origin.

Colonel Stewart had been sent to Khartum in 1882 on a mission of inquiry, and he drew up a valuable report, Egypt, No. 11 (1883).

4 It is unnecessary here to enter upon a discussion of the precise nature of Gordon's instructions or of the measure in which he carried them out. The material for forming a judgment will be found in Gordon's Journals (1885), Morley's Life of Gladstone (1903), Fitzrnaurice's Life of Granville (1905),(1905), and Cromer's Modern Egypt (1908). (See also Gordon, Charles George.) Assuan and collected at Khartum troops from some of the outlying stations. By this time the situation had altered for the worse and Mandism was gaining strength among tribes in the Nile valley at first hostile to its propaganda. As the only means of preserving authority at Khartum (and thus securing the peaceful withdrawal of the garrison) Gordon repeatedly telegraphed to Cairo asking that Zobeir Pasha might be sent to him, his intention being to hand over to Zobeir the government of the country. Zobeir (q.v.), a Sudanese Arab, was probably the one man who could have withstood successfully the Mandi_ Owing to Zobeir's notoriety as a slave-raider Gordon's request was refused. All hope of a peaceful retreat of the Egyptians was thus rendered impossible. The Mandist movement now swept northward and on the 20th of May Berber was captured by the dervishes and Khartum isolated. From this time the energies of Gordon were devoted to the defence of that town. After months of delay due to the vacillation of the British government a relief expedition was sent up the Nile under the command of Lord Wolseley. It started too late to achieve its object, and on the 25th of January 1885 Khartum was captured by the Mandi and Gordon killed. Colonel Stewart,. Frank Power (British consul at Khartum) and M. Herbin (French consul), who (accompanied by nineteen Greeks) had been sent down the Nile by Gordon in the previous September to give news to the relief force, had been decoyed ashore and murdered (Sept. 18, 1884). The fall of Khartum was followed by the withdrawal of the British expedition, Dongola being evacuated in June 1885. In the same month Kassala capitulated, but just as the Mandi had practically completed the destruction of the Egyptian power he died, in this same month of June 1885. He was at once succeeded by the khalifa Abdullah, whose rule continued until the 2nd of September 1898, 6 when his army was completely overthrown by an Anglo-Egyptian force under Sir H. (afterwards Lord) Kitchener. The military operations are described elsewhere (see Egypt: Military Operations), and here it is only necessary to consider the internal situation and the character of the khalifa's governThe ment. The Mandi had been regarded by his adhe- Khalifa's rents as the only true commander of the faithful, Rule. endued with divine power to conquer the whole world. He had at first styled his followers dervishes (i.e. religious mendicants) and given them the jibba as their characteristic garment or uniform. Later on he commanded the faithful to call themselves ansar- (helpers), a reference to the part they were to play in his career of conquest, and at the time of his death he was planning an invasion of Egypt. He had liberated the Sudanese from the extortions of the Egyptians, but the people soon found that the Mandi's rule was even more oppressive than had been that of their former masters, and after the Mandi's death the situation of the peasantry in particular grew rapidly worse, neither life nor property being safe. Abdullah set himself steadily to crush all opposition to his own power. Mahommed Ahmed had, in accordance with the traditions which required the Mandi to have four khalif as (lieutenants), nominated, besides Abdullah, Ali wad Helu, a sheikh of the Degheim and Kenana Arabs, and Mahommed esh Sherif, his son-in-law, as khalifas. (The other khalifaship was vacant having been declined by the sheikh es Senussi [q.v.]). Wad Helu and Sherif were stripped of their power and gradually all chiefs and amirs not of the Baggara tribe were got rid of except Osman Digna, whose sphere of operations was on the Red Sea coast. Abdullah's rule was a pure military despotism which brought the country to a state of almost complete agricultural and commercial ruin. He was also almost constantly in conflict either with the Shilluks, Nuers and other negro tribes of the south; with the peoples of Darfur, where at one time an anti-Mandi gained a great following; with the Abyssinians; with the Kabbabish and other Arab tribes who 5 Sennar town held out until the 19th of August, while the Red Sea ports of Suakin and Massawa never fell into the hands of the Mandists. The garrisons of some other towns were rescued by the Abyssinians.

s This period in the history of the Sudan is known as the Mandia..

had never embraced Mandism, or with the Italians, Egyptians and British. Notwithstanding all this opposition the khalifa found in his own tribesmen and in his black troops devoted adherents and successfully maintained his position. The attempt to conquer Egypt ended in the total defeat of the dervish army at Toski (Aug. 3, 1889). The attempts to subdue the Equatorial Provinces were but partly successful. Emin Pasha, to whose relief H. M. Stanley had gone, evacuated Wadelai in April 1889. The greater part of the region and also most of the Bahr-el-Ghazal relapsed into a state of complete savagery.

In the country under his dominion the khalifa's government was carried on after the manner of other Mahommedan states, but pilgrimages to the Mandi's tomb at Omdurman were substituted for pilgrimages to Mecca. The arsenal and dockyard and the printing-press at Khartum were kept busy (the workmen being Egyptians who had escaped massacre). Otherwise Khartum was deserted, the khalifa making Omdurman his capital and compelling disaffected tribes to dwell in it so as to be under better control. While Omdurman grew to a huge size the population of the country generally dwindled enormously from constant warfare and the ravages of disease, small-pox being endemic. The Europeans in the country were kept prisoners at Omdurman. Besides ex-officials like Slatin and Lupton, they included several Roman Catholic priests and sisters, and numbers of Greek merchants established at Khartum. Although several were closely imprisoned, loaded with chains and repeatedly flogged, it is a noteworthy fact that none was put to death. From time to time a prisoner made his escape, and from the accounts of these ex-prisoners knowledge of the character of Dervish rule is derived in large measure. The fanaticism with which the Mandi had inspired his followers remained almost unbroken to the end. The khalifa after the fatal day of Omdurman fled to Kordofan where he was killed in battle in November 1899. In January 1900 Osman Digna, a wandering fugitive for months, was captured. In 1902 the last surviving dervish amir of importance surrendered to the sultan of Darfur. Mandism as a vital force in the old Egyptian Sudan ceased, however, with the Anglo-Egyptian victory at Omdurman.' D. The Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. - Of the causes which led to the reconquest of the Sudan - the natural desire of the Egyptian government to recover lost territory, the equally natural desire in Great Britain to " avenge " the death of Gordon were among them - the most weighty was the necessity of securing for Egypt the control of the Upper Nile, Egypt being wholly dependent on the waters of the river for its prosperity. That control would have been lost had a European power other than Great Britain obtained possession of any part of the Nile valley; and at the time the Sudan was reconquered (1896-98) France was endeavouring to establish her authority on the river between Khartum and Gondokoro, as the Marchand expedition from the Congo to Fashoda demonstrated. The Nile constitutes, in the words of Lord Cromer, the true justification of the policy of re-occupation, and makes the Sudan a priceless possession for Egypt .2 The Sudan having been reconquered by " the joint military and financial efforts" of Great Britain and Egypt, the British government claimed " by right of conquest " to share in the settlement of the administration and legislation of the country. To meet these claims an agreement (which has been aptly called the constitutional charter of the Sudan) between Great Britain and Egypt, was signed on the 19th of January 1899, establishing the joint sovereignty of the two states throughout 1 In the autumn of 1903 Mahommed-el-Amin, a native of Tunis, proclaimed himself the Mandi and got together a following in Kordofan. He was captured by the governor of Kordofan and publicly executed at El Obeid. In April 1908 Abd-el-Kader, a Halowin Arab and ex-dervish, rebelled in the Blue Nile province, claiming to be the prophet Issa (Jesus). On the 29th of that month he murdered Mr C. C. Scott-Moncrieff, deputy inspector of the province, and the Egyptian mamur. The rising was promptly suppressed, Abd-elKader was captured and was hanged on the 17th of May.

2 Egypt, No. I (1905), p. 119.

the Sudan. 3 The reorganization of the country had already begun, supreme power being centred in one official termed the " governor-general of the Sudan." To this post was appointed Lord Kitchener, the sirdar (commander-in-chief) of the Egyptian army, under whom the Sudan had been reconquered. On Lord Kitchener going to South Africa at the close of 1899 he was succeeded as sirdar and governor-general by Major-General Sir F. R. Wingate, who had served with the Egyptian army since 1883. Under a just and firm administration, which from the first was essentially civil, though the principal officials were officers of the British army, the Sudan recovered in a surprising manner from the woes it suffered during the Mandia. At the head of every mudiria (province) was placed a British official, though many of the subordinate posts were filled by Egyptians. An exception was made in the case of Darfur, which before the battle of Omdurman had thrown off the khalifa's rule and was again under a native sovereign. This potentate, the sultan Ali Dinar, was recognized by the Sudan government, on condition of the payment of an annual tribute.

The first duty of the new administration, the restoration of public order, met with comparatively feeble opposition, though tribes such as the Nuba mountaineers, accustomed from time immemorial to raid their weaker neighbours, gave some trouble. In 1906, in 1908, and again in 1910 expeditions had to be sent against the Nubas. In the Bahr-el-Ghazal the Niam-Niams at first disputed the authority of the government, but Sultan Yambio, the recalcitrant chief, was mortally wounded in a fight in February 1905 and no further disturbance occurred. The delimitation (1903-1904) of the frontier between the Sudan and Abyssinia enabled order to be restored in a particularly lawless region, and slave-raiding on a large scale ended in that quarter with the capture and execution of a notorious offender in 1904. In Kordofan, Darfur and the Bahr-el-Ghazal the slave trade continued however for some years later.

With good administration and public security the population increased steadily. The history of the country became one of peaceful progress marked by the growing contentment of the people. The Sudan government devoted much attention to the revival of agriculture and commerce, to the creation of an educated class of natives, and to the establishment of an adequate judicial system. Their task, though one of immense difficulty, was however (in virtue of the agreement of the 19th of January 1899) free from all the international fetters that bound the administration of Egypt. It was moreover rendered easier by the decision to govern, as far as possible, in accordance with native law and custom, no attempt being made to Egyptianize or Anglicize the Sudanese. The results were eminently satisfactory. The Arab-speaking and Mahommedan population found their religion and language respected, and from the first showed a marked desire to profit by the new order. To the negroes of the southern Sudan, who were exceedingly suspicious of all strangers - whom hitherto they had known almost exclusively as slave-raiders - the very elements of civilization had, in most cases, to be taught. In these pagan regions the Sudan government encouraged the work of missionary societies; both Protestant and Roman Catholic, while discouraging propaganda work among the Moslems.

In their general policy the Sudan government adopted a system of very light taxation; low taxation being in countries such as Egypt and the Sudan the keystone of the political arch. This policy was amply justified by results. In 1899 the revenue derived from the country was E126,000, in 1909 it had risen to E1,040,000, despite slight reductions in taxation, a proof of the growing prosperity of the land. This prosperity was brought about largely by improving the water-supply, and thus bringing more land under cultivation, by the creation of new industries, and by the improvement of means of communication. A shorter route to the sea than that through Egypt being essential for the 3 At first Suakin was excepted from some of the provisions of this agreement, but these exceptions were done away with by a supplementary agreement of the 10th of July 1899.

commercial development of the country, a railway from the Nile near Berber to the Red Sea was built (1904-1906). This line shortened the distance from Khartum to the nearest seaport by nearly r000 m., and by reducing the cost of carriage of merchandise enabled Sudan produce to find a profitable outlet in the markets of the world. At the same time river communications were improved and the numbers of wells on caravan roads increased. Steps were furthermore taken by means of irrigation works to regulate the Nile floods, and those of the river Gash.

To the promotion of education and sanitation, and in the administration of justice, the government devoted much energy with satisfactory results. Indeed the regenerative work of Great Britain in the Sudan has been fully as successful and even more remarkable than that of Great Britain in Egypt. A large part of this work has been accomplished by officers of the British army. Some of the most valuable suggestions about such matters as land settlement, agricultural loans, &c., emanated from officers who a short time before were performing purely military duties.

Nevertheless civil servants gradually replaced military officers in the work of administration, army officers being liable to be suddenly removed for war or other service, often at times when the presence of officials possessed of local experience was most important. In efficiency and devotion to duty the Egyptian officials under the new regime also earned high praise.

The relations of the Sudan government with its Italian, Abyssinian and French neighbours was marked by cordiality, but with the Congo Free State difficulties arose over claims made by that state to the Bahr-el-Ghazal Lado. (see AFRICA, § 5). Congo State troops were in 1904 stationed in Sudanese territory. The difficulty was adjusted in 1906 when the Congo State abandoned all claims to the Ghazal province (whence its troops were withdrawn during 1907), and it was agreed to transfer the Lado enclave to the Sudan six months after the death of the king of the Belgians. Under the terms of this agreement the Lado enclave was incorporated in the Sudan in 1910. As to the general state of the country Sir Eldon Gorst after a tour of inspection declared in his report for 1909, " I do not suppose that there is any part of the world in which the mass of the population have fewer unsatisfied wants." AUTHORITIEs.--Summaries of ancient and medieval history will be found in E. A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Sudan (2 vols., 1907) and The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1095), edited by Count Gleichen. The story of the Egyptian conquest and events up to 1850 are summarized in H. Deherain's Le Soudan egyptien sous Mehemet Ali (Paris, 1898). For the middle period of Egyptian rule see Sir Samuel Baker's Ismailia (1874); Col. Gordon in Central Africa, edited by G. Birkbeck Hill (4th ed., 1885), being extracts from Gordon's diary, 1874-1880; Seven Years in the Soudan, by Romolo Gessi Pasha (1892); and Der Sudan unter dgyptischer Herrschaft, by R. Buchta (Leipzig, 1888). The rise of Mandism and events down to 1900 are set forth in (Sir) F. R. Wingate's Mandiism and the Egyptian Sudan (1891). This book contains translations of letters and proclamations of the Mandi and Khalifa. For this period the Journals of Major General Gordon at Khartoum (1885); F. Power's Letters from Khartoum during the Siege (1885), and the following four books written by prisoners of the dervishes are specially valuable: Slatin Pasha, Fire and Sword in the Sudan (1896); Father J. Ohrwalder (from the MSS. of, by F. R. Wingate), Ten Years' Captivity in the Mandi's Camp (1882-1892) (1892); Father Paolo Rosignoli, I miei dodici anni di prigionia in mezzo ai dervice del Sudan (Mondovi, 1898); C. Neufeldt, A Prisoner of the Khaleefa (1899). See also G. Dujarric, L'Etat mandiste du Soudan (Paris, 1901). For the " Gordon Relief " campaign, &c., see the British official History of the Sudan Campaign (1890); for the campaigns of 1896-98, H. S. L. Alford and W. D. Sword, The Egyptian Soudan, its Loss and Recovery (1898); G. W. Steevens, With Kitchener to Khartum (Edinburgh, 1898); Winston S. Churchill, The River War (revised ed., 1902). The story of the Fashoda incident is told mainly in British and French official despatches; consult also for this period G. Hanotaux, Fachoda (Paris, 1910); A. Lebon, La Politique de la France 1896-1898 (Paris, 1901); and R. de Caix, Fachoda, la France et l'Angleterre (Paris, 1899). Lord Cromer's Modern Egypt (1908) covers Sudanese history for the years 1881-1907. Consult also the authorities cited under EGYPT): Modern History, and H. Pensa, L'Egypte et le Soudan egyptien (Paris, 1895). Unless otherwise stated the place of publication is London. (F. R. C.)

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



From Arabic اسود (’aswad, "black man"), plural سودان (sudá:n),


Proper noun




  1. Country in Northeast Africa. Official name: Republic of Sudan.
    Often used with the definite article "the".
  2. A climatic zone characterized by savannas and mosaic forests running in a belt just south of the Sahel in West and East Africa
  3. Former name for the present day country of Mali when it was under French colonial rule (Soudan)

Derived terms


See also


Proper noun

Sudan m.

  1. Sudan


Proper noun

Sudan f.

  1. Sudan


Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Sudan



German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Sudan m.

  1. Sudan

Derived terms


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Sudan m.

  1. Sudan

Derived terms


Proper noun


  1. Sudan

Related terms



  • IPA: /ˈsudan/

Proper noun

Sudan m.

  1. Sudan


Singular only
Nominative Sudan
Genitive Sudanu
Dative Sudanowi
Accusative Sudan
Instrumental Sudanem
Locative Sudanie
Vocative Sudanie

Derived terms

  • Sudańczyk m., Sudanka f.
  • adjective: sudański


Proper noun

Sudan m.

  1. Sudan

See also

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