The Sudan or Sudan (US: /suˈdæn/ (About this sound listen), UK: /suˈdɑːn, -ˈdæn/; Arabic: السودان as-Sūdān) also known as North Sudan since South Sudan’s independence and officially the Republic of the Sudan (Arabic: جمهورية السودان Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. It houses 37 million people (2017) and occupies a total area of 1.861.484 square kilometres (718.722 square miles), making it the third largest country in Africa.Sudan’s predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile.
The history of Sudan goes back to Antiquity, when the Meroitic-speaking Kingdom of Kush controlled northern and central Sudan and, for nearly a century, even Egypt. After its fall in the mid 4th century AD the Nubians formed the three Christian kingdoms of Nobatia, Makuria and Alodia. While the Nubians managed to defeat the invading Rashidun Caliphate in 642 and 652 Muslim Arabs still began to settle in Sudan: first at the Sudanese Red Sea coast and the adjacent Eastern Desert and finally, in the 14th and 15th century, in the Nile Valley. After 1365 Makuria had largely collapsed, while Alodia was conquered in c. 1500 by either Arabs or the African Funj.
Afterwards central and eastern Sudan were dominated by the Funj sultanate, while Darfur ruled the west and the Ottomans the far north. Christianity got replaced by Sufi Islam, while the Nubians living upstream of Al Dabbah and in Kordofan were also Arabized; two processes largely completed by the 19th century. From 1820 to 1874 the entirety of Sudan was conquered by the Muhammad Ali dynasty. Between 1881 and 1885 the harsh Egyptian reign was eventually met with a successful revolt led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad, resulting in the establishment of the Caliphate of Omdurman. This state lasted until 1899, when it was destroyed by the British Empire. Afterwards Sudan was governed by the Anglo-Egyptian condominium.
The 20th century saw the growth of Sudanese nationalism and in 1953 Britain granted Sudan self-government. Independence was proclaimed on January 1, 1956. Since independence, Sudan has been ruled by a series of unstable parliamentary governments and military regimes. Under Gaafar Nimeiri, Sudan instituted fundamentalist Islamic law in 1983. This exacerbated the rift between the Arab north, the seat of the government and the black African animists and Christians in the south. Differences in language, religion, ethnicity and political power erupted in a civil war between government forces, strongly influenced by the National Islamic Front (NIF) and the southern rebels, whose most influential faction was the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), eventually concluding in the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Before the Sudanese Civil War, South Sudan was part of Sudan, but it became independent in 2011. Since 2011 Sudan’s government is engaged in a war with the Sudan Revolutionary Front. Human rights violations, religious persecution and allegations that Sudan had been a safe haven for terrorists isolated the country from most of the international community. In 1995, the United Nations (UN) imposed sanctions against it.