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Sudan (English: /sˈdɑːn/ or /sˈdæn/; Arabic: السودان‎), officially the Republic of Sudan (Arabic: جمهورية السودان‎), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, Egypt to the north, Eritrea to the northeast, Ethiopia to the southeast, Libya to the northwest, South Sudan to the south, and the Red Sea. It has a population of 45.7 million people as of 2022[12] and occupies 1,886,068 square kilometres (728,215 square miles), making it Africa's third-largest country by area and the third-largest by area in the Arab League. It was the largest country by area in Africa and the Arab League until the secession of South Sudan in 2011.[13] Its capital city is Khartoum, and its most populous city is Omdurman (part of the metropolitan area of Khartoum).

There were the Kingdoms of Kerma (c. 2500–1500 BC), New (c. 1500 BC–1070 BC), and Kush (c. 785 BC–350 AD), the Nubians who formed three Christian kingdoms, Arab nomads who settled between the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Funj and Darfur sultanates and the Ottomans from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Under Turco-Egyptian rule after the 1820s, the practice of trading slaves was entrenched along a north–south axis.[14] From the 19th century, the entirety of Sudan was conquered by the Egyptians under the Muhammad Ali dynasty. In 1899, under British pressure, Egypt agreed to share sovereignty over Sudan with the United Kingdom as a condominium.[15] The Egyptian revolution of 1952 led to the United Kingdom agreed to Egypt's demand for both governments to terminate their shared sovereignty over Sudan. During Jaafar Nimeiry regime's Islamist rule after Sudan became independent,[16] a civil war erupted between government forces, and the southern rebels, led to the independence of South Sudan in 2011.[17] Between 1989 and 2019, Omar al-Bashir led a military dictatorship which committed persecution of minorities, alleged sponsorship global terrorism, and ethnic genocide in Darfur. Protests in 2018 resulted in a coup d'état in 2019 and Bashir's imprisonment.[18]

Islam was the state religion and Islamic laws were applied from 1983 until 2020 when the country became a secular state.[16] Sudan is one of the least developed countries and ranks 172nd on the Human Development Index as of 2022. Its economy relies on agriculture due to international sanctions and isolation. Sudan is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, African Union, COMESA, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.


The name derives from the Arabic Template:Transliteration (بلاد السودان), or "The Land of the Blacks".[19]


Prehistoric (before c. 8000 BC)[edit]

The mud brick temple, known as the Western Deffufa, in the city of Kerma
Fortress of Buhen, of the Middle Kingdom, reconstructed under the New Kingdom (about 1200 BC)

By the eighth millennium BC, people of a Neolithic culture had settled into a sedentary way of life there in fortified mudbrick villages, where they supplemented hunting and fishing on the Nile with grain gathering and cattle herding.[20]

The population that resulted from this cultural and genetic mixing developed a social hierarchy over the next centuries which became the Kingdom of Kush (with the capital at Kerma) at 1700 BC. Anthropological and archaeological research indicates that during the predynastic period Nubia and Nagadan Upper Egypt were ethnically and culturally nearly identical, and thus, simultaneously evolved systems of pharaonic kingship by 3300 BC.[21]

Kingdom of Kush (c. 1070 BC–350 AD)[edit]

Nubian pyramids in Meroë
Kušiya soldier of the Achaemenid army, c. 480 BCE. Xerxes I tomb relief.

The Kingdom of Kush was a Nubian state centered on the confluences of the Blue Nile and White Nile, and the Atbarah River and the Nile River. It was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt; it was centered at Napata in its initial phase.[22]

After King Kashta ("the Kushite") invaded Egypt in the eighth century BC, the Kushite kings ruled as pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt for nearly a century before being defeated and driven out by the Assyrians.[23]

Between 800 BCE and 100 AD were built the Nubian pyramids, among them can be named El-Kurru, Kashta, Piye, Tantamani, Shabaka, Pyramids of Gebel Barkal, Pyramids of Meroe (Begarawiyah), the Sedeinga pyramids, and Pyramids of Nuri.[24]

The Kingdom of Kush is mentioned in the Bible as having saved the Israelites from the wrath of the Assyrians, while disease among the besiegers might have been one of the reasons for the failure to take the city.[25][page needed] The war that took place between Pharaoh Taharqa and the Assyrian king Sennacherib was a decisive event in western history, with the Nubians being defeated in their attempts to gain a foothold in the Near East by Assyria. Sennacherib's successor Esarhaddon went further and invaded Egypt itself to secure his control of the Levant. This succeeded, as he managed to expel Taharqa from Lower Egypt. Taharqa fled back to Upper Egypt and Nubia, where he died two years later. Lower Egypt came under Assyrian vassalage and proved unruly, unsuccessfully rebelling against the Assyrians. Then, the king Tantamani, a successor of Taharqa, made a final determined attempt to regain Lower Egypt from the reinstated Assyrian vassal Necho I. He managed to retake Memphis killing Necho in the process and besieged cities in the Nile Delta. Ashurbanipal, who had succeeded Esarhaddon, sent an army in Egypt to regain control. He routed Tantamani near Memphis and, pursuing him, sacked Thebes. While the Assyrians departed Upper Egypt after these events, weakened, Thebes peacefully submitted itself to Necho's son Psamtik I less than a decade later. This ended hopes of a revival of the Nubian Empire, which rather continued in the form of a smaller kingdom centered on Napata. The city was raided by the Egyptian c. 590 BC, and sometime after to the 3rd century BC, the Kushite resettled in Meroë.[23][26][27]

Medieval Christian Nubian kingdoms (c. 350–1500)[edit]

The three Christian Nubian kingdoms. The northern border of Alodia might have been located further north, between the fourth and fifth Nile cataract.[28]

On the turn of the fifth century the Blemmyes established a state in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia, probably centered around Talmis (Kalabsha), and before 450 they were already driven out of the Nile Valley by the Nobatians. The latter eventually founded a kingdom on their own, Nobatia.[29] By the sixth century there were in total three Nubian kingdoms: Nobatia in the north, which had its capital at Pachoras (Faras); the central kingdom, Makuria centred at Tungul (Old Dongola), about 13 kilometres (8 miles) south of modern Dongola; and Alodia, in the heartland of the old Kushitic kingdom, which had its capital at Soba (later a suburb of Khartoum).[30] Still in the sixth century they converted to Christianity.[31] In the seventh century, probably at some point between 628 and 642, Nobatia was incorporated into Makuria.[32]

Between 639 and 641 the Muslim Arabs of the Rashidun Caliphate conquered Byzantine Egypt. In 641 or 642 and again in 652 they invaded Nubia and were repelled. Afterward the Makurian king and the Arabs agreed on a non-aggression pact that included an annual exchange of gifts, thus acknowledging Makuria's independence.[33] While the Arabs failed to conquer Nubia they began to settle east of the Nile, where they eventually founded port towns[34] and intermarried with the local Beja.[35]

Moses George, king of Makuria and Alodia

From the mid eighth to mid eleventh century the political power and cultural development of Christian Nubia peaked.[36] In 747 Makuria invaded Egypt, which at this time belonged to the Umayyads,[37] and it did so again in the 960s, when it pushed as far north as Akhmim.[38] Makuria maintained dynastic ties with Alodia, perhaps resulting in the temporary unification of the two kingdoms into one state.[39] The culture of the medieval Nubians has been described as "Afro-Byzantine",[40] and was increasingly influenced by Arab culture.[41] The state organisation was centralised,[42] being based on the Byzantine bureaucracy of the sixth and seventh centuries.[43] Arts flourished in the form of pottery paintings[44] and especially wall paintings.[45] The Nubians developed an alphabet for their language, Old Nobiin, basing it on the Coptic alphabet, while using Greek, Coptic and Arabic.[46] Women had access to education, could own, buy and sell land and used their wealth to endow churches and church paintings.[47] The royal succession was matrilineal, with the son of the king's sister being the rightful heir.[48]

From the 11th/12th century, Makuria's capital Dongola was in decline, and Alodia's capital declined in the 12th century.[49] In the 14th and 15th centuries Bedouin tribes overran most of Sudan,[50] migrating to the Butana, the Gezira, Kordofan and Darfur.[51] In 1365 a civil war forced the Makurian court to flee to Gebel Adda in Lower Nubia, while Dongola was destroyed and left to the Arabs. Afterwards Makuria continued to exist only as a petty kingdom.[52] After the[53] reign of king Joel (Template:Flourished 1463–1484) Makuria collapsed.[54] Coastal areas from southern Sudan up to the port city of Suakin was succeeded by the Adal Sultanate in the fifteenth century.[55][56] To the south, the kingdom of Alodia fell to either the Arabs, commanded by tribal leader Abdallah Jamma, or the Funj, an African people originating from the south.[57] Datings range from the 9th century after the Hijra (c. 1396–1494),[58] the 15th century,[59] 1504[60] to 1509.[61] An alodian rump state might have survived in the form of the kingdom of Fazughli, lasting until 1685.[62]

Islamic kingdoms of Sennar and Darfur (c. 1500–1821)[edit]

The mosque of Sennar, built in the 17th century[63]

In 1504 the Funj are recorded to have founded the Kingdom of Sennar, in which Abdallah Jamma's realm was incorporated.[64] By 1523, when Jewish traveler David Reubeni visited Sudan, the Funj state already extended as far north as Dongola.[65] Meanwhile, Islam began to be preached on the Nile by Sufi holy men who settled there in the 15th and 16th centuries[66] and by David Reubeni's visit king Amara Dunqas, previously a Pagan or nominal Christian, was recorded to be Muslim.[67] The Funj would retain un-Islamic customs like the divine kingship or the consumption of alcohol until the 18th century.[68] Sudanese folk Islam preserved rituals stemming from Christian traditions.[69]

The Funj came in conflict with the Ottomans, who had occupied Suakin c. 1526[70] and eventually pushed south along the Nile, reaching the third Nile cataract area in 1583/1584. A subsequent Ottoman attempt to capture Dongola was repelled by the Funj in 1585.[71] Afterwards, Hannik, located south of the third cataract, would mark the border between the two states.[72] The aftermath of the Ottoman invasion saw the attempted usurpation of Ajib, a king of northern Nubia. While the Funj eventually killed him in 1611/1612 his successors, the Abdallab, were granted to govern everything north of the confluence of Blue and White Niles with autonomy.[73]

During the 17th century the Funj state reached its widest extent,[74] and in the following century it began to decline.[75] A coup in 1718 brought a dynastic change,[76] while another one in 1761–1762[77] resulted in the Hamaj Regency, where the Hamaj (a people from the Ethiopian borderlands) effectively ruled while the Funj sultans were their mere puppets.[78] Afterwards the sultanate began to fragment;[79] by the 19th century it was essentially restricted to the Gezira.[80]

Southern Sudan in c. 1800. Later boundaries are shown.

The coup of 1718 kicked off a policy of pursuing a more orthodox Islam, which in turn promoted the Arabisation of the state.[81] To legitimise their rule over their Arab subjects the Funj began to propagate an Umayyad descend.[82] North of the confluence of the Blue and White Niles, as far downstream as Al Dabbah, the Nubians adopted the tribal identity of the Arab Jaalin.[83] Until the 19th century Arabic had succeeded in becoming the dominant language of central riverine Sudan[84][85][86] and most of Kordofan.[87]

West of the Nile, in Darfur, the Islamic period saw at first the rise of the Tunjur kingdom, which replaced the old Daju kingdom in the 15th century[88] and extended as far west as Wadai.[89] The Tunjur people were probably Arabised Berbers and, their ruling elite at least, Muslims.[90] In the 17th century the Tunjur were driven from power by the Fur Keira sultanate.[89] The Keira state, nominally Muslim since the reign of Sulayman Solong (r. c. 1660–1680),[91] was a kingdom in northern Jebel Marra,[92] and expanded west- and northwards in the 18th century[93] and eastwards under the rule of Muhammad Tayrab (r. 1751–1786),[94] peaking in the conquest of Kordofan in 1785.[95] The apogee of this empire, roughly the size of Nigeria,[95] would last until 1821.[94]

Turkiyah and Mahdist (1821–1899)[edit]

In 1821, the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali of Egypt, had invaded and conquered northern Sudan. While technically the Vali of Egypt under the Ottoman Empire, Muhammad Ali styled himself as Khedive of a virtually independent Egypt. Seeking to add Sudan to his domains, he sent his third son Ismail to conquer the country, and subsequently incorporate it into Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities made improvements to the 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 Pasha in his place. Tewfik's corruption and mismanagement resulted in the 'Urabi 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.[96][97]

During the Khedivial period, dissent had spread due to taxes imposed on activities. Taxation on irrigation wells and farming lands were so high most farmers abandoned their farms and livestock. During the 1870s, European initiatives against the slave trade had an adverse impact on the economy of northern Sudan, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces.[98]

The flight of the Khalifa after his defeat at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898

Anglo-Egyptian (1899–1956)[edit]

The Mahdist War was fought between a group of Muslim dervishes, called Mahdists, who had over-run most of Sudan, and the British forces.

In 1899, Britain and Egypt reached an agreement under which Sudan was run by a governor-general appointed by Egypt with British consent.[99]

Under the Delimitation, Sudan's border with Abyssinia was contested by raiding tribesmen trading slaves, breaching boundaries of the law. In 1905 Local chieftain Sultan Yambio reluctant to the end gave up the struggle with British forces that had occupied the Kordofan region, finally ending the lawlessness. The continued British administration of Sudan fuelled a nationalist backlash, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognise a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With a formal end to Ottoman rule in 1914, Sir Reginald Wingate was sent that December to occupy Sudan as the new Military Governor. Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother and successor, Fuad I. They continued upon their insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state even when the Sultanate of Egypt was retitled as the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, and it was Saad Zaghloul who continued to be frustrated in the ambitions until his death in 1927.[100]

A camel soldier of the native forces of the British army, 20th century

From 1924 until independence in 1956, the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories; the north and south. The assassination of a Governor-General of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in Cairo was the causative factor; it brought demands of the newly elected Wafd government from colonial forces. A permanent establishment of two battalions in Khartoum was renamed the Sudan Defence Force acting as under the government, replacing the former garrison of Egyptian army soldiers, saw action afterward during the Walwal Incident.[101] The Wafdist parliamentary majority had rejected Sarwat Pasha's accommodation plan with Austen Chamberlain in London; yet Cairo still needed the money. The Sudanese Government's revenue had reached a peak in 1928 at £6.6 million, thereafter the Wafdist disruptions, and Italian borders incursions from Somaliland, London decided to reduce expenditure during the Great Depression. Cotton and gum exports were dwarfed by the necessity to import almost everything from Britain leading to a balance of payments deficit at Khartoum.[102]

In July 1936 the Liberal Constitutional leader, Muhammed Mahmoud was persuaded to bring Wafd delegates to London to sign the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, "the beginning of a new stage in Anglo-Egyptian relations", wrote Anthony Eden.[103] The British Army was allowed to return to Sudan to protect the Canal Zone. They were able to find training facilities, and RAF was free to fly over Egyptian territory. It did not resolve the problem of Sudan: the Sudanese Intelligentsia agitated for a return to metropolitan rule, conspiring with Germany's agents.[104]

Mussolini made it clear that he could not invade Abyssinia without first conquering Egypt and Sudan; they intended unification of Libya with Italian East Africa. The British Imperial General Staff prepared for military defence of the region.[105] The British ambassador blocked Italian attempts to secure a Non-Aggression Treaty with Egypt-Sudan. Mahmoud was a supporter of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem; the region was caught between the Empire's efforts to save the Jews, and moderate Arab calls to halt migration.[106]

Independence (1956–)[edit]

Flag raised at independence ceremony on 1 January 1956 by the Prime Minister Ismail al-Azhari and in presence of opposition leader Mohamed Ahmed Almahjoub.

A polling process was carried out resulting in the composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister.[107]

1971 Sudanese coup d'état

On 30 June 1989, Colonel Omar al-Bashir led a bloodless military coup.[108] The military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level.[109] Later, al-Bashir carried out 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.[110] On 16 October 1993, al-Bashir appointed himself "President" and disbanded the Revolutionary Command Council. The executive and legislative powers of the council were taken by al-Bashir.[111] In the 1996 general election, he was the only candidate by law to run for election.[112] Sudan became a one-party state under the National Congress Party (NCP).[113] During the 1990s, Hassan al-Turabi, then Speaker of the National Assembly, reached out to Islamic fundamentalist groups and invited Osama bin Laden to the country.[114] The United States subsequently listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.[115] Following Al Qaeda's bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. launched Operation Infinite Reach and targeted the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory, which the U.S. government believed was producing chemical weapons for the terrorist group. Al-Turabi's influence began to wane, and others in favour of more pragmatic leadership tried to change Sudan's international isolation.[116] The country worked to appease its critics by expelling members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and encouraging bin Laden to leave.[117]

Government militia in Darfur

Before the 2000 presidential election, al-Turabi introduced a bill to reduce the President's powers, prompting al-Bashir to order a dissolution and declare a state of emergency. When al-Turabi urged a boycott of the President's re-election campaign signing agreement with Sudan People's Liberation Army, al-Bashir suspected they were plotting to overthrow the government.[118] Hassan al-Turabi was jailed later the same year.[119]

In February 2003, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in favor of Sudanese Arabs, precipitating the War in Darfur. The conflict has since been described as a genocide,[120] and the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has issued two arrest warrants for al-Bashir.[121][122]

Southern Sudanese wait to vote during the 2011 South Sudanese independence referendum.

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was the primary member of the Eastern Front, a coalition of rebel groups operating in eastern Sudan. After the peace agreement, their place was taken in February 2004 after the merger of the larger fulani and Beja Congress with the smaller Rashaida Free Lions.[123] A peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front was signed on 14 October 2006, in Asmara. On 5 May 2006, the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed, aiming at ending the conflict which had continued for three years up to this point.[124] The Chad–Sudan Conflict (2005–2007) had erupted after the Battle of Adré triggered a declaration of war by Chad.[125] The leaders of Sudan and Chad signed an agreement in Saudi Arabia on 3 May 2007 to stop fighting from the Darfur conflict spilling along their countries' 1,000-kilometre (600 mi) border.[126]

In July 2007 the country was hit by floods,[127] with over 400,000 people being directly affected.[128]

Partition and rehabilitation[edit]

The Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in the 2010s between the Army of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front started as a dispute over the region of Abyei in the months leading up to South Sudanese independence in 2011, while it is related to civil war in Darfur that is nominally resolved. The events would later be known as the Sudanese Intifada, which would end in 2013 after al-Bashir promised he would not seek re-election in 2015. He later broke his promise and sought re-election in 2015, winning through a boycott from the opposition who believed that the elections would not be free and fair. Voter turnout was at 46%.[129]

On 13 January 2017, US president Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that lifted sanctions placed against Sudan and assets of its government held abroad. On 6 October 2017, the following US president Donald Trump lifted most of the remaining sanctions against the country and its petroleum, export-import, and property industries.[130]

2019 Revolution and transitional government[edit]

Protestors celebrate the 17 August 2019 signing of the Draft Constitutional Declaration between military and civilian representatives.

On 19 December 2018, protests began after a government decision to triple the price of goods at a time when the inflation was at 70 percent.[131] President al-Bashir refused to step down, resulting in the convergence of opposition groups to form a united coalition. The government retaliated by arresting more than 800 opposition figures and protesters, leading to the death of approximately 40 people according to the Human Rights Watch.[132] The protests continued after the overthrow of his government on 11 April 2019 after a sit-in in front of the Sudanese Armed Forces headquarters, after which the chiefs of staff decided to intervene and they ordered the arrest of President al-Bashir and declared a three-month state of emergency.[133][134][135] Over 100 people died on 3 June after security forces dispersed the sit-in using tear gas and live ammunition in what is known as the Khartoum massacre,[136][137] resulting in Sudan's suspension from the African Union.[138] Sudan's youth had been reported to be driving the protests.[139] The protests came to an end when the Forces for Freedom and Change (an alliance of groups organizing the protests) and Transitional Military Council (the ruling military government) signed the July 2019 Political Agreement and the August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration.[140][141]

The transitional institutions and procedures included the creation of a joint military-civilian Sovereignty Council of Sudan as head of state, a new Chief Justice of Sudan as head of the judiciary branch of power, Nemat Abdullah Khair, and a new prime minister. The former Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, a 61-year-old economist who worked previously for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, was sworn in on 21 August. He initiated talks with IMF and World Bank aimed at stabilising the economy. Hamdok estimated that US$10bn over two years would suffice to halt the panic, and said that over 70% of the 2018 budget had been spent on civil war-related measures. The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had invested sums supporting the military council since Bashir's ouster.[142] On 3 September, Hamdok appointed 14 civilian ministers, including the first female foreign minister and the first Coptic Christian, a woman.[143][144] As of August 2021, the country was jointly led by Chairman of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.[145]

The government announced on 21 September 2021 that there was a failed attempt at a coup d'état from the military that had led to the arrest of 40 military officers.[146][147] One month after the attempted coup, another military coup on 25 October 2021 resulted in the capture of the civilian government, including former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The coup was led by general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who subsequently declared a state of emergency.[148][149][150][151] On 21 November 2021, Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister after a political agreement was signed by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to restore the transition to civilian rule (although Burhan retained control). The 14-point deal called for the release of all political prisoners detained during the coup and stipulated that a 2019 constitutional declaration continued to be the basis for a political transition.[152] Hamdok fired the chief of police Khaled Mahdi Ibrahim al-Emam and his second in command Ali Ibrahim.[153] On 2 January 2022, Hamdok announced his resignation from the position of Prime Minister following one of the most deadly protests to date.[154] By March 2022 over 1,000 people including 148 children had been detained for opposing the coup, there were 25 allegations of rape[155] and 87 people had been killed[156] including 11 children.[155]

In April 2023 – as an internationally-brokered plan for a transition to civilian rule was discussed – power struggles grew between army commander (and de facto national leader) Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces & Rapid Strike Force ("RSF"), formed from the Janjaweed militia.[157][158] On 15 April 2023, their conflict erupted into open battles in the streets of Khartoum between the army and RSF – with troops, tanks and planes. By the third day, 400 people had been reported killed and at least 3,500 injured, according to the United Nations.[159] Among the dead were three workers from the World Food Program, triggering a suspension of the organization's work. U.N. secretary-general António Guterres demanded immediate "justice" for the killings, and called for an end to the conflict.[157][158] [160] African Union and Saudi diplomats headed to Sudan to attempt to mediate a ceasefire. A ceasefire (3–4 hours) was declared to permit evacuation of wounded, and the battle raged on, with both sides claiming capture of sites throughout the capital city.[157][158]


Map. The Hala'ib Triangle has been under contested Egyptian administration since 2000.
Köppen climate classification map

Sudan is situated in North Africa, with an 853 km (530 mi) coastline bordering the Red Sea.[161] It has land borders with Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. With an area of 1,886,068 km2 (728,215 sq mi), it is the third-largest country on the continent (after Algeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the fifteenth-largest in the world.

Sudan lies between latitudes and 23°N. The terrain is generally flat plains, broken by mountain ranges. In the west, the Deriba Caldera (3,042 m or 9,980 ft), located in the Marrah Mountains, is the highest point. In the east are the Red Sea Hills.[162]

Mineral resources include asbestos, chromite, cobalt, copper, gold, granite, gypsum, iron, kaolin, lead, manganese, mica, natural gas, nickel, petroleum, silver, tin, uranium and zinc.[163]

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 rainfall for agriculture and some are nomadic, travelling with their herds of sheep and camels. Nearer the River Nile, there are well-irrigated farms growing cash crops.[164]

Desertification is a problem.[165] There is 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.[166] The wildlife is threatened by poaching. As of 2001, twenty-one mammal species and nine bird species are endangered, as well as two species of plants. Critically 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.[167]


The politics formally took place within the framework of a federal Islamic republic until April 2019, when President Omar al-Bashir's regime was overthrown in a military coup led by Vice President Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf. As an initial step he established the Transitional Military Council to manage the country's internal affairs. He suspended the constitution and dissolved the bicameral parliament – the National Legislature, with its National Assembly (lower chamber) and the Council of States (upper chamber).

Sharia law[edit]

During the regime of Omar al-Bashir, the legal system was based on Islamic Sharia law. The 2005 Naivasha Agreement, ending the civil war between north and south Sudan, established some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum. Sudan's application of Sharia law is geographically inconsistent.[168]

Stoning was a judicial punishment. Between 2009 and 2012, women were sentenced to death by stoning.[169][170][171] Flogging was a legal punishment. Between 2009 and 2014, people were sentenced to 40–100 lashes.[172][173][174][175][176][177] In August 2014, several Sudanese men died in custody after being flogged.[178][179][180] 53 Christians were flogged in 2001.[181] Public order law allowed police officers to publicly whip women who were accused of public indecency.[182] Crucifixion was a legal punishment. In 2002, 88 people were sentenced to death for crimes relating to murder, armed robbery, and participating in ethnic clashes. Amnesty International wrote that they could be executed by either hanging or crucifixion.[183]

International Court of Justice jurisdiction is accepted, with reservations. Under the terms of the Naivasha Agreement, Islamic law did not apply in South Sudan.[184] Since the secession of South Sudan there was some uncertainty as to whether Sharia law would apply to the non-Muslim minorities present in Sudan, especially because of contradictory statements by al-Bashir on the matter.[185]

The judicial branch of the government consists of a Constitutional Court of nine justices, the National Supreme Court and the Court of Cassation.[186]

Following the ouster of al-Bashir, the interim constitution signed in August 2019 contained no mention of Sharia law.[187] As of 12 July 2020, Sudan abolished the apostasy law, public flogging and alcohol ban for non-Muslims. The draft of a law was passed in July. Sudan criminalized female genital mutilation with a punishment of up to 3 years in jail.[188] An accord between the transitional government and rebel group leadership was signed in September 2020, in which the government agreed to officially separate the state and religion, ending three decades of rule under Islamic law. It agreed that no official state religion will be established.[189][187][190]

Foreign relations[edit]

Bashir (right) and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, 2005

For most 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-Ugandan rebel groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).[191]

Sudan has economic relations with China. China obtains ten percent of its oil from Sudan. According to a former Sudanese government minister, China is Sudan's largest supplier of arms.[192]

In December 2005, Sudan became one of the states to recognise Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.[193]

The chairman of Sudan's sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 2020

In 2015, Sudan participated in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen against the Shia Houthis and forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh,[194] who was deposed in the 2011 uprising.[195]

In June 2019, Sudan was suspended from the African Union over the lack of progress towards the establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority since its initial meeting following the coup d'état of 11 April 2019.[196][197]

In July 2019, UN ambassadors of 37 countries, including Sudan, have signed a joint letter to the UNHRC defending China's treatment of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region.[198]

On 23 October 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Sudan will start to normalize ties with Israel, making it the third Arab state to do so as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords.[199] On 14 December the U.S. Government removed Sudan from its State Sponsor of Terrorism list; as part of the deal, Sudan agreed to pay $335 million in compensation to victims of the 1998 embassy bombings.[200] In February 2022, it is reported that a Sudanese envoy have visited Israel to promote ties between the countries.[201]

The dispute between Sudan and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam escalated in 2021.[202][203][204] An advisor to the Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan spoke of a water war "that would be more horrible than one could imagine".[205]

In 2023, fighting ignited, primarily between the military forces of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the army chief and de facto head of state, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by his rival, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. As a result, the U.S. and most European countries have shut down their embassies in Khartoum and have attempted evacuations. In 2023, it was estimated that there were 16,000 Americans in Sudan who needed to be evacuated. In absence of an official evacuation plan from the U.S. State Department, Americans have been forced to turn to other nations' embassies for guidance, with some fleeing to Nairobi. Other African countries and humanitarian groups have tried to help. The Turkish embassy has reportedly allowed Americans to join its evacuation efforts for its own citizens. The TRAKboys, a South-Africa based political organization which came into conflict with the Wagner Group, a Russian private military contractor operating in Sudan since 2017, has been assisting with the evacuation of both Black Americans and Sudanese citizens to locations in South Africa.[206][207]

Armed forces[edit]

The Sudanese Armed Forces is the regular forces of Sudan and is divided into five branches: the Sudanese Army, Sudanese Navy (including the Marine Corps), Sudanese Air Force, Border Patrol and the Internal Affairs Defence Force, totalling about 200,000 troops. These forces are under the command of the National Assembly and its strategic principles include defending Sudan's external borders and preserving internal security.

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 priorities. While not official, the military uses nomad militias, including the Janjaweed, in executing a counter-insurgency war.[208] Somewhere between 200,000[209] and 400,000[210][211][212] people have died in the violent struggles.

International organisations in Sudan[edit]

UN agents are operating such as the World Food Program (WFP); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Mine Service (UNMAS), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the World Bank. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is present.[213][214]

Since Sudan has experienced civil war for years, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are involved in humanitarian efforts to help internally displaced people. NGOs are working in corners of Sudan, including in the southern part and western parts. During the civil war, international non-governmental organisations such as the Red Cross were operating mostly in the south and based in the capital Khartoum.[215] The attention of NGOs shifted after the war broke out in the western part known as Darfur. A visible organisation in South Sudan is the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) consortium.[216] Some international trade organisations categorise Sudan as part of the Greater Horn of Africa[217]

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is operating in Khartoum, the capital. It is mainly funded by the European Union and opened more vocational training. The Canadian International Development Agency is operating in northern Sudan.[218]

Human rights[edit]

Since 1983, a combination of civil war and famine has taken the lives of nearly two million people.[219] It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people had been taken into slavery during the Second Sudanese Civil War.[220]

Sudan ranks 172 of 180 countries in terms of freedom of the press according to Reporters Without Borders. More curbs of press freedom to report official corruption are planned.[221]

Muslims who convert to Christianity can face the death penalty for apostasy, see Persecution of Christians in Sudan and the death sentence against Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag (who was raised as Christian). According to a 2013 UNICEF report, 88% of women had undergone female genital mutilation.[222] Personal Status law on marriage has been criticised for restricting women's rights and allowing child marriage.[223][224] Evidence suggests that support for female genital mutilation remains, including among rural groups, while it has been declining in years.[225] Homosexuality is illegal; as of July 2020 it was no longer a capital offense, with the highest punishment being life imprisonment.[226]

A report published by Human Rights Watch in 2018 revealed that Sudan has made no meaningful attempts to provide accountability for past and current violations. The report documented human rights abuses against civilians in Darfur, southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile. During 2018, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) used force to disperse protests and detained dozens of activists and opposition members. The Sudanese forces blocked United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation and other international relief and aid agencies to access to displaced people and conflict-ridden areas in Darfur.[227]


A letter dated 14 August 2006, from the executive director of Human Rights Watch found that the government is 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.[228] Some reports attribute part of the violations to the rebels, the government and the Janjaweed. The U.S. State Department's human-rights report issued in March 2007 claims that "[a]ll 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."[229]

Over 2.8 million civilians have been displaced and the death toll is estimated at 300,000 killed.[230] Government forces and militias allied with the government are known to attack not only civilians in Darfur, but also humanitarian workers. Sympathisers 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 been accused in a report issued by the U.S. government of attacking humanitarian workers and of killing innocent civilians.[231] According to UNICEF, in 2008, there were as many as 6,000 child soldiers in Darfur.[232]

Disputed area and zone of conflict[edit]

Kafia Kingi and Radom National Park was a part of Bahr el Ghazal in 1956.[233] Sudan has recognised South Sudanese independence according to the borders for 1 January 1956.[234]


A proportional representation of exports, 2019
Oil and gas concessions – 2004
GDP per capita development

In 2010, Sudan was considered the 17th-fastest-growing economy[235] in the world and the development of the country largely from oil profits when facing international sanctions was noted by The New York Times in a 2006 article.[236] Because of the secession of South Sudan, which contained about 75 percent of Sudan's oilfields,[237] Sudan entered a phase of stagflation, GDP growth slowed to 3.4 percent in 2014, 3.1 percent in 2015 and was projected to recover to 3.7 percent in 2016 while inflation remained as high as 21.8% as of 2015.[238] Sudan's GDP fell from US$123.053 billion in 2017 to US$40.852 billion in 2018.[239]

According to a World Bank report the overall growth in GDP in 2010 was 5.2 percent compared to 2009 growth of 4.2 percent.[210] This growth was sustained including during the war in Darfur and period of southern autonomy preceding South Sudan's independence.[240][241] Oil was Sudan's main export, with production increasing during the 2000s, in the years before South Sudan gained independence in July 2011. With rising oil revenues, the Sudanese economy was booming, with a growth rate of about nine percent in 2007. The independence of South Sudan placed oil fields out of the Sudanese government's direct control and oil production in Sudan fell from around 450,000 barrels per day (72,000 m3/d) to under 60,000 barrels per day (9,500 m3/d). Production has since recovered to hover around 250,000 barrels per day (40,000 m3/d) for 2014–15.[242]

To export oil, South Sudan relies on a pipeline to Port Sudan on Sudan's Red Sea coast, as South Sudan is a landlocked country, as well as the oil refining facilities in Sudan. In August 2012, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to a deal to transport South Sudanese oil through Sudanese pipelines to Port Sudan.[243]

The People's Republic of China is one of Sudan's trading partners, China owns a 40 percent share in the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company.[244] The country sells Sudan arms, which have been used in military operations such as the conflicts in Darfur and South Kordofan.[245]

While historically agriculture remains the main source of income and employment hiring of over 80 percent of Sudanese, and makes up a third of the economic sector, oil production drove most of Sudan's post-2000 growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working hand in hand with Khartoum government to implement macroeconomic policies. This follows a period in the 1980s when debt-ridden Sudan's relations with IMF and World Bank soured, culminating in its eventual suspension from IMF.[246]

According to the Corruptions Perception Index, Sudan is one of the most corrupt nations in the world.[247] According to the Global Hunger Index of 2013, Sudan has an GHI indicator value of 27.0 indicating that the nation has an 'Alarming Hunger Situation.' It is rated the fifth hungriest nation in the world.[248] According to the 2015 Human Development Index (HDI) Sudan ranked the 167th place in human development.[249] In 2014, 45% of the population lives on less than US$3.20 per day, up from 43% in 2009.[250]

Science and research[edit]

Sudan has around 25–30 universities; instruction is primarily in Arabic or English. Education at the secondary and university levels has been hampered by the requirement that most males perform military service before completing their education.[251] The "Islamisation" encouraged by president Al-Bashir alienated researchers: the official language of instruction in universities was changed from English to Arabic and Islamic courses became mandatory. Internal science funding withered.[252] According to UNESCO, more than 3,000 Sudanese researchers left the country between 2002 and 2014. By 2013, the country had 19 researchers for every 100,000 citizens, or 1/30 the ratio of Egypt, according to the Sudanese National Centre for Research. In 2015, Sudan published about 500 scientific papers.[252] In comparison, Poland publishes on the order of 10,000 papers per year.[253]

Sudan's National Space Program has produced CubeSat satellites, and has plans to produce a communications satellite (SUDASAT-1) and a Sudanese remote sensing satellite (SRSS-1). The government contributed to an offer pool for a private-sector ground surveying Satellite operating above Sudan, Arabsat 6A, which was successfully launched on 11 April 2019, from the Kennedy Space Centre.[254] Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir called for an African Space Agency in 2012.[255]


2010 estimated population density

In Sudan's 2008 census, the population of northern, western and eastern Sudan was recorded to be over 30 million.[256] This puts estimates of the population of Sudan after the secession of South Sudan at over 30 million people. The 1983 census put the total population, including South Sudan, at 21.6 million.[257]

Aside from being a refugee-generating country, Sudan hosts a population of refugees from other countries. According to UNHCR statistics, more than 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers lived in August 2019. The majority of this population came from South Sudan (858,607 people), Eritrea (123,413), Syria (93,502), Ethiopia (14,201), the Central African Republic (11,713) and Chad (3,100). Apart from these, UNHCR report 1,864,195 Internally displaced persons (IDP's).[258]

Ethnic groups[edit]

File:Eisa shikawi.JPG
Sudanese Arab of Al-Manasir

The Arab population is estimated at 70% of the national total. They are almost entirely Muslims and speak predominantly Sudanese Arabic. Other ethnicities include Beja, Fur, Nubians, Armenians and Copts.[259][260]

Non-Arab groups include the Beja (over 2 million), Fur (over 1 million), Nuba (approx. 1 million), Moro, Masalit, Bornu, Tama, Fulani, Hausa, Songhay, Nubians, Berta, Zaghawa, Nyimang, Ingessana, Daju, Koalib, Gumuz, Midob and Tagale. Hausa is used as a trade language.[where?] There is a Greek community.[261][262]

Sudanese Arabs of northern and eastern Sudan claim to descend primarily from migrants from the Arabian Peninsula and intermarriages with the indigenous populations. The Nubian people share a common history with Nubians in southern Egypt. The majority of Arab tribes in Sudan migrated into Sudan in the 12th century, intermarried with the indigenous Nubian and other African populations and gradually introduced Islam.[263] Pre-Islamic Arabic tribes existed from earlier migrations into the region from western Arabia.[264]

In studies on the Arabization of Sudanese people, historians have discussed the meaning of Arab versus non-Arab cultural identities. For example, historian Elena Vezzadini argues that the ethnic character of different Sudanese groups depends on the way this part of Sudanese history is interpreted and that there are no clear historical arguments for this distinction. In short, she states that "Arab migrants were absorbed into local structures, that they became "Sudanized" and that "In a way, a group became Arab when it started to claim that it was."[265]

In an article on the genealogy of different Sudanese ethnic groups, French archaeologist and linguist Claude Rilly argues that most Sudanese Arabs who claim Arab descent based on a male ancestor ignore the fact that their DNA is largely made up of generations of African or African-Arab wives and their children, which means that these claims are rather more founded on oral traditions than on biological facts.[266][267]


Approximately 70 languages are native to Sudan.[268] Sudan has regional sign languages, which are not mutually intelligible. A 2009 proposal for a unified Sudanese Sign Language had been worked out.[269]

Prior to 2005, Arabic was the nation's sole official language.[270] In the 2005 constitution, Sudan's official languages became Arabic and English.[271] The literacy rate is 70.2% of total population, male: 79.6%, female: 60.8%.[272]


At the 2011 division which split off South Sudan, over 97% of the population in the remaining Sudan adheres to Islam.[273] Most Muslims are divided between two groups: Sufi and Salafi Muslims. Two divisions of Sufism, the Ansar and the Khatmia, are associated with the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist parties, respectively. The Darfur region has traditionally been bereft of the Sufi brotherhoods common in the rest of the country.[274]


Sudan has a life expectancy of 65.1 years according to the data for the year 2019 from[275] Infant mortality in 2016 was 44.8 per 1,000.[276]

UNICEF estimates that 87% of females between the ages of 15 to 49 have had female genital mutilation performed on them.[277]


The University of Khartoum, established as Gordon Memorial College in 1902

Education is free and compulsory for children aged 6 to 13 years, while more than 40% of children do not go to schools due to the economic situation. Environmental and social factors increase the difficulty of getting to school.[278] Primary education consists of eight years, followed by three years of secondary education. The former educational ladder 6 + 3 + 3 was changed in 1990. The primary language at all levels is Arabic. Schools are concentrated in urban areas; some in the west have been damaged or destroyed by years of civil war. In 2001 the World Bank estimated that primary enrollment was 46 percent of eligible pupils and 21 percent of secondary students. Enrollment falls below 20 percent in some provinces. The literacy rate is 70.2% of total population, male: 79.6%, female: 60.8%.[210]


The culture melds the behaviors, practices, and beliefs of about 578 ethnic groups, communicating in dialects and languages, in a region microcosmic of Africa, with geographic extremes varying from sandy desert to tropical forest. Evidence suggests that while most citizens of the country identify with both Sudan and their religion, Arab and African supranational identities are more polarising and contested.[279]


A Sufi dervish drums up the Friday afternoon crowd in Omdurman.

Beginning with the imposition of Salafi interpretation of sharia law in 1983, some poets and artists, like Mahjoub Sharif, were imprisoned while others, like Mohammed el Amin (returned to Sudan in the 1990s) and Mohammed Wardi (returned to Sudan 2003), fled to Cairo. Traditional Zār ceremonies were interrupted and drums confiscated.[1]



Due to a 1991 penal code (Public Order Law), women were not allowed to wear trousers in public, because it was interpreted as an "obscene outfit." The punishment for wearing trousers could be up to 40 lashes, and after being found guilty in 2009, one woman was fined the equivalent of 200 U.S. dollars instead.[172][280]


The Sudan Football Association was founded in 1936. Sudan had started experiencing soccer brought to the country by the British colonizers since 20th century via Egypt. Other clubs founded at that time include Al-Hilal Omdurman, Al-Merrikh. The Khartoum League became the first national league to be played.[281] Since September 2019, there has been an official national league for women's soccer clubs that started on the basis of informal women's clubs since the beginning of the 2000s.[282] In 2021, the Sudan women's national football team participated for the first time in the Arab Women's Cup, held in Cairo, Egypt.[283]

Sudan's national beach volleyball team competed at the 2018–2020 CAVB Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in both the women's and the men's section.[284] In June 2022, Patricia Seif El Din El Haj, the first Sudanese woman wrestler to participate in an African championship, was photographed by Reuters photographer Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, as she got ready to travel to Nigeria to prepare for the 2024 Summer Olympic games.[285]

See also[edit]

  • [[Archivo:
  1. REDIRECCIÓN Plantilla:Iconos|20px|Ver el portal sobre Africa]] Portal:Africa. Contenido relacionado con Africa.


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  • R. S. O'Fahey, Jérôme Tubiana: [Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle". Script error: No such module "Vorlage:Internetquelle".] 2007, archiviert vom Original am 2019-12-28; abgerufen am 23. August 2018.Vorlage:Cite web/temporär

External links[edit]

Template:Sudan topics

Coordinates: 15°N 032°E / 15°N 32°E / 15; 32