Sudan

جمهورية السودان
Jumhūrīyat al Sūdān
Republic of Sudan
Mottoالنصر لنا()
"Victory is Ours"
Anthemنحن جند لله جند الوطن  ()
We are the Soldiers 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, English
Ethnic groups  Black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%[1]
Demonym Sudanese
Government Federal presidential democratic republic
 -  President Omar al-Bashir (NCP)
 -  Vice President Salva Kiir Mayardit (SPLM)
 -  Vice President Ali Osman Taha (NCP)
Legislature The Majlis
 -  Upper House Council of States
 -  Lower House National Assembly
Establishment
 -  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 
Area
 -  Total 2,505,813 km2 (10th)
967,495 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 6
Population
 -  2009 estimate 43,939,598[2] (31st)
 -  Density 16.9/km2 (194th)
43.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $98.926 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $2,464.901[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total $65.742 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $1,638.065[3] 
HDI (2007) 0.531[4] (medium) (150th)
Currency Sudanese pound (SDG)
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+3)
Date formats dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .sd
Calling code 249

Sudan (), officially the Republic of Sudan,[5] Arabic: جمهورية السودانJumhūrīyat al Sūdān, is a country in northeastern Africa. It is the largest country in Africa and the Arab world,[6] 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.[7]

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 seventeen years of civil war during the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972) 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.[8][9] This led to the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983, and because of 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.[10]

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.[11] Rich in natural resources such as petroleum and crude oil, Sudan's economy is amongst the fastest growing in the world.[12] The People's Republic of China and Japan are the main export partners of Sudan.[13]

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.[14][15] Since then thousands of people have been displaced and killed, and the need for humanitarian care in Darfur has attracted worldwide attention. The conflict has since been described as a genocide.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

On 4 March 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC.[19][19] And on 12 July 2010, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for al-Bashir, adding the charge of genocide.[20]

Sudan has also been the subject of severe sanctions due to alleged ties with Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.[21][22] Sudan has scored medium in human development in the last few years,[23] ranking number 150 in 2009, between Haiti and Tanzania. Statistics indicate that about seventeen percent of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.[24]

A member of the United Nations, Sudan also maintains membership with the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as serving as an observer in World Trade Organization.[18]

Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of the nation, while Omdurman remains the largest city.

Among Sudan's population of 42 million people, Sunni Islam is the largest religion,[25] while Arabic and English are the official languages.[26][27]

A referendum is taking place in Southern Sudan from 9 January until 15 January 2011,[28] on whether the region should remain a part of Sudan or be independent.[29][30] The referendum is one of the consequences of the 2005 Naivasha Agreement between the Khartoum central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M).

As of 12 January 2011, according to Ann Itto, an official with Southern Sudan's ruling SPLM, nearly 2.3 million voters had cast ballots so far, surpassing the 60 per cent of registered votes needed to ensure the outcome's validity.[31] It has been reported that al-Bashir has said he will let the south go peacefully."[31]. (See Southern Sudanese independence referendum, 2011.)

History

Early history (3000 BC–543 AD)

Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the area in the east of Sudan, Nubia, was inhabited at least 70,000 years ago. A settled culture appeared around 8000 BC. They subsisted on hunting, fishing and grain foraging and kept cattle and sheep.[32]

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 of Egypt, 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.

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 3rd and 2nd 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 AD, Rome subsidised the Nobatae and used Meroe as a buffer between Egypt and the Blemmyes. About 350 AD, 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, fifty 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 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 540 AD. 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 16th century, 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, Sennar 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. His forces accepted Sennar's surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII.