The region along the Nile River south of Egypt has long been referred to as Nubia. It was the site of the Kingdom of Kerma, which flourished for about a millennium (ca. 2500-1500 B.C.) until absorbed into the New Kingdom of Egypt. By the 11th century B.C., a Kingdom of Kush emerged and regained the region's independence from Egypt; it lasted in various forms until the middle of the fourth century A.D. After the fall of Kush, the Nubians formed three Christian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria, and Alodia, the latter two endured until around 1500. Between the 14th and 15th centuries much of Sudan was settled by Arab nomads, and between the 16th–19th centuries it underwent extensive Islamization. Egyptian occupation early in the 19th century was overthrown by a native Mahdist Sudan state (1885-99) that was crushed by the British who then set up an Anglo-Egyptian Sudan - nominally a condominium, but in effect a British colony. Following independence from Anglo-Egyptian co-rule in 1956, military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but another broke out in 1983. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years followed by a referendum on independence for Southern Sudan. The referendum was held in January 2011 and indicated overwhelming support for independence. South Sudan became independent on 9 July 2011. Sudan and South Sudan have yet to fully implement security and economic agreements signed in September 2012 relating to the normalization of relations between the two countries. The final disposition of the contested Abyei region has also to be decided. The 30-year reign of President Umar Hassan Ahmad al-BASHIR ended in his ouster in April 2019, and a Sovereignty Council, a joint civilian-military-executive body, holds power as of November 2019. Following South Sudan's independence, conflict broke out between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states (together known as the Two Areas), resulting in a humanitarian crisis affecting more than a million people. A earlier conflict that broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, displaced nearly 2 million people and caused thousands of deaths.  While some repatriation has taken place, about 1.83 million IDPs remain in Sudan as of May 2019. Fighting in both the Two Areas and Darfur between government forces and opposition has largely subsided, however the civilian populations are affected by low-level violence including inter-tribal conflict and banditry, largely a result of weak rule of law. The UN and the African Union have jointly commanded a Darfur peacekeeping operation (UNAMID) since 2007, but are slowly drawing down as the situation in Darfur becomes more stable. Sudan also has faced refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and denial of access by both the government and armed opposition have impeded the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations. However, Sudan's new transitional government has stated its priority to allow greater humanitarian access, as the food security and humanitarian situation in Sudan worsens and as it appeals to the West for greater engagement.



15.0° N, 30. 0° E
north-eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea


1,861,484 sq km
1,731,671 sq km
129,813 sq km

land boundaries

6,819 km


853 km


hot and dry; arid desert; rainy season varies by region (April to November)


generally flat, featureless plain; desert dominates the north


568 m
lowest point
Red Sea
0 m
highest point
Jabal Marrah
3,042 m

natural resources

  • petroleum
  • iron ore
  • copper
  • chromium ore
  • zinc
  • tungsten
  • mica
  • silver
  • gold
  • hydropower

land use

arable land
15.7 %
permanent crops
0.2 %
permanent pasture
84.2 %
0 %
0 %

population distribution

with the exception of a ribbon of settlement that corresponds to the banks of the Nile, northern Sudan, which extends into the dry Sahara, is sparsely populated; more abundant vegetation and broader access to water increases population distribution in the south extending habitable range along nearly the entire border with South Sudan; sizeable areas of population are found around Khartoum, southeast between the Blue and White Nile Rivers, and througout South Darfur



  • 45,561,556
  • 31
    global rank


  • Sudanese (singular and plural)
  • Sudanese

ethnic groups

  • unspecified Sudanese Arab
  • Fur
  • Beja
  • Nuba
  • Fallata


  • Arabic
  • English
  • Nubian
  • Ta Bedawie
  • Fur


  • Sunni Muslim
  • small Christian minority

birth rate

  • 33.8
    per 1,000 population
  • 23
    global rank

death rate

  • 6.5
    per 1,000 population
  • 144
    global rank

urban population

35.3 %

major urban areas

  • Khartoum
    pop. 5,829,000
  • Nyala
    pop. 923,000

life expectancy

  • 66.5
    total population
  • 186
    global rank

adult obesity rate

  • 6.6%
    percent of adults
  • 166
    global rank


country name


  • Republic of the Sudan
    long form
  • Sudan
    short form


  • Jumhuriyat as-Sudan
    long form
  • As-Sudan
    short form

government type

presidential republic


15.36 N, 32.32 E


national holidays

  • Independence Day
    1 January

legal system

mixed legal system of Islamic law and English common law; note - in mid-July 2020, Sudan amended 15 provisions of its 1991 penal code

age of suffrage


flag description

three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with a green isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; colors and design based on the Arab Revolt flag of World War I, but the meanings of the colors are expressed as follows: red signifies the struggle for freedom, white is the color of peace, light, and love, black represents the people of Sudan (in Arabic 'Sudan' means black), green is the color of Islam, agriculture, and prosperity

national colors

  • red
  • white
  • black
  • green

national anthem

"Nahnu Djundulla Djundulwatan" (We Are the Army of God and of Our Land)



Sudan has experienced protracted social conflict and the loss of three quarters of its oil production due to the secession of South Sudan. The oil sector had driven much of Sudan's GDP growth since 1999. For nearly a decade, the economy boomed on the back of rising oil production, high oil prices, and significant inflows of foreign direct investment. Since the economic shock of South Sudan's secession, Sudan has struggled to stabilize its economy and make up for the loss of foreign exchange earnings. The interruption of oil production in South Sudan in 2012 for over a year and the consequent loss of oil transit fees further exacerbated the fragile state of Sudan’s economy. Ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Darfur, and the Blue Nile states, lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture, keep close to half of the population at or below the poverty line. Sudan was subject to comprehensive US sanctions, which were lifted in October 2017. Sudan is attempting to develop non-oil sources of revenues, such as gold mining and agriculture, while carrying out an austerity program to reduce expenditures. The world’s largest exporter of gum Arabic, Sudan produces 75-80% of the world’s total output. Agriculture continues to employ 80% of the work force. Sudan introduced a new currency, still called the Sudanese pound, following South Sudan's secession, but the value of the currency has fallen since its introduction. Khartoum formally devalued the currency in June 2012, when it passed austerity measures that included gradually repealing fuel subsidies. Sudan also faces high inflation, which reached 47% on an annual basis in November 2012 but fell to about 35% per year in 2017. (2017)


177,400,000,000 USD

agriculture products

  • cotton
  • groundnuts
  • peanuts
  • sorghum
  • millet
  • wheat
  • gum Arabic
  • sugarcane
  • cassava
  • manioc
  • tapioca
  • mangoes
  • papaya
  • bananas
  • sweet potatoes
  • sesame seeds
  • animal feed
  • sheep
  • livestock

poverty level



  • 8,480,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 13,360,000,000
    expenditures (USD)



    fixed lines

  • 136,923
    total subscriptions
  • 131
    global rank

    mobile cellular

  • 30,100,412
    total subscriptions
  • 45
    global rank

broadcast media

the Sudanese Government directly controls TV and radio, requiring that both media reflect government policies; TV has a permanent military censor; a private radio station is in operation (2019)


country code


  • 13,311,404
  • 30.87
    % of population
  • 47
    global rank


electricity access



air transport

    national system

  • 6
    registered air carriers
  • 496,178
    annual passenger traffic


  • 67
  • 17


7,251 km
total length


31,000 km
total length


4,068 km
total length



expenditures here

service age