World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

History of Sudan

Article Id: WHEBN0000027422
Reproduction Date:

Title: History of Sudan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Year in Sudan, Year in Sudan/doc, Sudan, Music of Sudan, Historical African place names
Collection: History of Sudan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

History of Sudan

This article covers the history of the territory which is today part of the Republic of Sudan. The term "Sudan" derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān "land of the black peoples",[1][2] and is used more loosely of West and Central Africa in general, especially the Sahel region.

The modern Republic of Sudan was formed in 1956 and inherited its boundaries from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, established 1899. For times predating 1899, usage of the term "Sudan" for the territory of the Republic of Sudan is somewhat anachronistic, and may also refer to the more diffuse concept of the Sudan.

The early history of what is now northern Sudan, along the Nile River, known as the Kingdom of Kush, is intertwined with the history of ancient Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods. By virtue of its proximity to Egypt, the Sudan participated in the wider history of the Near East in as much as it was Christianized by the 6th century, and Islamized in the 7th. As a result of Christianization, the Old Nubian language stands as the oldest recorded Nilo-Saharan language (earliest records dating to the 9th century).

Since its independence in 1956, the history of Sudan has been plagued by internal conflict, viz. the First Sudanese Civil War (1955-1972), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005), culminating in the secession of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, and the War in Darfur (2003-2010).


  • Prehistory 1
  • Antiquity 2
    • Kingdom of Kush 2.1
    • Meroë 2.2
  • Medieval history 3
    • Christian Nubia 3.1
    • Islamization of Sudan 3.2
  • 19th century 4
    • Turkish Sudan 4.1
    • Mahdism and condominium 4.2
    • British control (1896-1955) 4.3
  • Post-colonial history (1956 to present) 5
    • Independence and the First Civil War 5.1
      • The Nimeiry Era 5.1.1
      • Arms suppliers 5.1.2
    • Second Civil War 5.2
      • Islamisation 5.2.1
    • Recent history (2006 to present) 5.3
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8
  • Further reading 9


By the seventh millennium BC, people of a Neolithic culture had settled into a sedentary way of life there in fortified mud-brick villages, where they supplemented hunting and fishing on the Nile with grain gathering and cattle herding.[3] During the fifth millennium BC migrations from the drying Sahara brought neolithic people into the Nile Valley along with agriculture. The population that resulted from this cultural and genetic mixing developed social hierarchy over the next centuries become the Kingdom of Kush (with the capital at Kerma) at 1700 BC. Anthropological and archaeological research indicate 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.[4] Together with other countries on Red Sea, Sudan is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptians as Punt (or "Ta Netjeru", meaning "God's Land"), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BC.[5]


Kingdom of Kush

Sudan combines the lands of several ancient kingdoms.

Northern Sudan's earliest historical record comes from Egyptian sources, which described the land upstream from the First Cataract, called Kush, as "wretched." The Kush kingdom is older than Ancient Egypt For more than two thousand years the Old Kingdom (c.2700-2180 BC), had a dominating and significant influence over its southern neighbour, and even afterward, the legacy of Egyptian cultural and religious introductions remained important.[3]

Over the centuries, trade developed. Egyptian caravans carried grain to Kush and returned to Aswan with ivory, incense, hides, and carnelian (a stone prized both as jewelry and for arrowheads) for shipment downriver. Egyptian governors particularly valued gold in Nubia and soldiers in the pharaoh's army. Egyptian military expeditions penetrated Kush periodically during the Old Kingdom. Yet there was no attempt to establish a permanent presence in the area until the Middle Kingdom (c.2100-1720 BC), when Egypt constructed a network of forts along the Nile as far south as Samnah, in southern Egypt, to guard the flow of gold from mines in Wawat.[3]

Aerial view of the Nubian pyramids at Meroe (2001).

Around 1720 BC, Semitic Canaanite nomads called Hyksos took over Egypt, ended the Middle Kingdom, severed links with Kush, and destroyed the forts along the Nile River. To fill the vacuum left by the Egyptian withdrawal, a culturally distinct indigenous Kushite kingdom emerged at Karmah, near present-day Dunqulah. After Egyptian power revived during the New Kingdom (c.1570-1100 BC), the pharaoh Ahmose I incorporated Kush as an Egyptian ruled province governed by a viceroy. Although Egypt's administrative control of Kush extended only down to the fourth cataract, Egyptian sources list tributary districts reaching to the Red Sea and upstream to the confluence of the Blue Nile and White Nile rivers. Egyptian authorities ensured the loyalty of local chiefs by drafting their children to serve as pages at the pharaoh's court. Egypt also expected tribute in gold and slaves from local Kushite chiefs.[3]

Once Egypt had established political and military mastery over Kush, officials, priests merchants and artisans settled in the region. The Egyptian language became widely used in everyday activities. Many rich Kushites took to worshipping Egyptian gods and built temples for them. The temples remained centers of official religious worship until the coming of Christianity to the region during the 6th century AD. When Egyptian influence declined or succumbed to foreign domination, the Kushite elite regarded themselves as central powers and believed themselves as idols of Egyptian culture and religion.[3]

By the 11th century BC, the authority of the New Kingdom dynasties had diminished, allowing divided rule in Egypt, and ending Egyptian control of Kush. With the withdrawal of the Egyptians, there ceased to be any written record or information from Kush about the region's activities over the next three hundred years. In the early 8th century BC, however, Kush emerged as an independent kingdom ruled from Napata by an aggressive line of monarchs who slowly extended their influence into Egypt. Around 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, and conquered Egypt, thus initiating the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and founded a line of kings who ruled Kush and Thebes for about a hundred years. The dynasty's interference with the Assyrian sphere of influence in the Near East caused a confrontation between Egypt and the powerful Assyrian Empire, which controlled a vast empire comprising much of the Middle East, Asia Minor, Caucasus and East Mediterranean from their Mesopotamian homeland. Taharqa (688-663 BC), the last Kushite pharaoh, was defeated and driven out of the Near East by the Assyrian Emperor Sennacherib. Sennacherib's successor Esarhaddon went further, launching a full-scale invasion of Egypt in 674 BC, defeating Taharqa and quickly conquering the land. Taharqa fled back to Nubia, and native Egyptian princes were installed by the Assyrians as vassals of Esarhaddon. However, Taharqa was able to return some years later and wrest back control of a part of Egypt as far as Thebes from the Egyptian vassal princes of Assyria. Esarhaddon died in his capital Nineveh while preparing to return to Egypt and once more eject the Kushites.[6] His successor, Ashurbanipal, sent a general with a small army which again defeated and ejected Taharqa from Egypt. Taharqa died in Nubia two years later. His successor, Tanutamun, attempted to regain Egypt. He successfully defeated Necho I, the puppet ruler installed by Ashurbanipal, taking Thebes in the process. The Assyrians then sent a powerful army southwards. Tantamani was heavily routed, and the Assyrian army sacked Thebes to such an extent it never truly recovered. A native ruler, Psammetichus I was placed on the throne, as a vassal of Ashurbanipal, thus ending the Kushite/Nubian Empire.


Egypt's succeeding dynasty failed to reassert full control over Kush. Around 590 BC, however, an Egyptian army sacked Napata, compelling the Kushite court to move to a more secure location further south at Meroe near the Sixth Cataract. For several centuries thereafter, the Meroitic kingdom developed independently of Egyptian influence and domination, which passed successively under Persian, Greek, and, finally, Roman domination. 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 Soba, near present-day Khartoum, in the south. An Egyptian influenced pharaonic tradition persisted among a line of rulers at Meroe, who raised stelae to record the achievements of their reigns and erected pyramids to contain their tombs. These objects and the ruins of palaces, temples, and baths at Meroe attest to a centralized political system that employed artisans' skills and commanded the labour of a large work force. 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 by the region's people. Meroe's succession system was not necessarily hereditary; the matriarchal royal family member deemed most worthy often became king. The queen mother's role in the selection process was crucial to a smooth succession. The crown appears to have passed from brother to brother (or sister) and only when no siblings remained from father to son.

Although Napata remained Meroe's religious center, northern Kush eventually fell into disorder as it came under pressure from the Blemmyes, predatory nomads from east of the Nile. However, the Nile continued to give the region access to the Mediterranean world. Additionally, Meroe maintained contact with Arab and Indian traders along the Red Sea coast and incorporated Greek Hellenistic and Indian Hindu cultural influences into its daily life. Inconclusive evidence suggests that metallurgical technology may have been transmitted westward across the savanna belt to West Africa from Meroe's iron smelteries.

Relations between Meroe and Egypt were not always peaceful. As a response to Meroe's incursions into Upper Egypt, a Roman army moved south and razed Napata in 23 BC. The Roman commander quickly abandoned the area, however, deeming it too poor to warrant colonization.

In the 2nd century AD, the Nobatae occupied the Nile's west bank in northern Kush. They are believed to have been one of several well-armed bands of horse- and camel-borne warriors who sold their vagility to the Meroitic Population for protection; eventually they intermarried and established themselves among the Meroitic people as a military aristocracy. Until nearly the 5th century, Rome subsidized the Nobatae and used Meroe as a buffer between Egypt and the Blemmyes. Meanwhile, the old Meroitic kingdom contracted because of the expansion of the powerful Ethiopic Kingdom of Aksum to the east. By AD 350, King Ezana of Axum had captured and destroyed Meroe city, ending the kingdom's independent existence, and conquering its territory into modern-day northern Sudan.

Medieval history

Christian Nubia

Christian Nubia in the three states period. Makuria would later absorb Nobatia. Note that the border between Alodia and Makuria is unclear, but it was somewhere between the 5th and 6th Cataracts.

By the 6th century, three states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic kingdom. Nobatia in the north, had its capital at Faras, in what is now Egypt; the central kingdom, Muqurra, was centered at Dunqulah, the old city on the Nile about 150 kilometers south of modern Dunqulah; and Alwa, in the heartland of old Meroe in the south, had its capital at Sawba. In all three kingdoms, warrior aristocracies ruled Meroitic populations from royal courts where functionaries bore Greek titles in emulation of the Byzantine court.

The earliest references to Nubia's successor kingdoms are contained in accounts by Greek and Egyptian Coptic authors of the conversion of Nubian kings to Christianity in the 6th century AD. According to tradition, a missionary sent by Byzantine empress Theodora arrived in Nobatia and started preaching the gospel about 540 AD. It is possible that the conversion process began earlier, however, under the aegis of Coptic missionaries from Egypt. The Nubian kings accepted the Monophysite Christianity practiced in Egypt and acknowledged the spiritual authority of the Egyptian Coptic patriarch of Alexandria over the Nubian church. A hierarchy of bishops named by the Coptic patriarch of Alexandria and consecrated in Egypt directed the church's activities and wielded considerable secular power. The church sanctioned a sacerdotal kingship, confirming the royal line's legitimacy. In turn the monarch protected the church's interests. The queen mother's role in the succession process paralleled that of Meroe's matriarchal tradition. Because women transmitted the right to succession, a renowned warrior not of royal birth might be nominated to become king through marriage to a woman in line of succession.

The emergence of Christianity reopened channels to Mediterranean civilization and renewed Nubia's cultural and ideological ties to Egypt. The church encouraged literacy in Nubia through its Egyptian-trained clergy and in its monastic and cathedral schools. The use of Greek in liturgy eventually gave way to the Nubian language, which was written using an indigenous alphabet that combined elements of the old Meroitic and Coptic scripts. Egyptian Coptic, however, often still appeared in ecclesiastical and secular circles. Additionally, early inscriptions have indicated a continuing knowledge of colloquial Greek in Nubia as late as the 12th century AD. After the 7th century AD, Semitic Arabic gained importance in the Nubian kingdoms, especially as a medium for commerce.

The Christian Nubian kingdoms, which survived for many centuries, achieved their peak of prosperity and military power in the 9th and 10th centuries AD. However, Muslim Arab invaders, who in 640 had conquered Egypt, posed a threat to the Christian Nubian kingdoms. Nobatia and Muqurra merged into the kingdom of Dunqulah sometime before 700. Although the Arabs soon abandoned attempts to reduce Nubia by force, Arab Muslim domination of Egypt and persecution of native Egyptian Christians often made it difficult to communicate with the Coptic patriarch or to obtain Egyptian-trained clergy. As a result, the Nubian church became isolated from the rest of the Christian world.

Islamization of Sudan

The kingdoms of the Funj, Shilluk, Tegali, and Fur c.1800

Islam came to Egypt in the 640s, and pressed southward; around 651 the governor of Egypt raided as far south as Dongola. The Muslims or the Arabs met with stiff resistance. They ceased their offensive and a treaty known as the baqt was signed between the Arabs and Makuria. This treaty held for some seven hundred years. The area between the Nile and the Red Sea was a source of gold and emeralds, and Arab miners gradually moved in. Around the 970s an Arabic envoy Ibn Sulaym went to Dongola and wrote an account afterwards; it is now our most important source for this period. Despite the baqt northern Sudan became steadily Islamicized and Arabized; Makuria collapsed in the 14th century with Alodia disappearing somewhat later.

Far less is known about the history of southern Sudan. It seems as though it was home to a variety of semi-nomadic tribes. In the 16th century one of these tribes, known as the Funj, moved north and united Nubia forming the Kingdom of Sennar. The Funj sultans quickly converted to Islam and that religion steadily became more entrenched. At the same time, the Darfur Sultanate arose in the west. Between them, the Taqali established a state in the Nuba Hills.

The economy of Sudan was feudally based, with a large number of slaves supporting the ruling Funj class. They traded across the region, and brought much wealth to their kingdom.[7]

19th century

Turkish Sudan

In 1820–21, an Ottoman force conquered and unified the northern portion of the country. The new government was known as the Turkiyah or Turkish regime. They were looking to open new markets and sources of natural resources. Historically, the pestilential swamps of the Sudd discouraged expansion into the deeper south of the country. Although Egypt claimed all of the present Sudan during most of the 19th century, and established a province Equatoria in southern Sudan to further this aim, it was unable to establish effective control over the area. In the later years of the Turkiyah, British missionaries traveled from modern-day Kenya into the Sudan to convert the local tribes to Christianity.

A typical slave merchant of Khartoum, 1875

Mahdism and condominium

In 1881, a religious leader named Charles George Gordon, and many of the fifty thousand inhabitants of Khartoum were massacred.

The Mahdi died in June 1885. He was followed by Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, known as the Khalifa, who began an expansion of Sudan's area into Ethiopia.Following his victories in eastern Ethiopia, he sent an army to invade Egypt, where it was defeated by the British at Toshky. The British become aware of the weakness of the Sudan.

An Anglo-Egyptian force under Lord Kitchener in 1898 was sent to Sudan. Sudan was proclaimed a condominium in 1899 under British-Egyptian administration. The Governor-General of the Sudan, for example, was appointed by "Khedival Decree", rather than simply by the British Crown, but while maintaining the appearance of joint administration, the British Empire formulated policies, and supplied most of the top administrators.

British control (1896-1955)

Flag of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899-1956)

In 1896, a Belgian expedition claimed portions of southern Sudan that became known as the Lado Enclave. The Lado Enclave was officially part of the Belgian Congo. An 1896 agreement between the United Kingdom and Belgium saw the enclave turned over to the British after the death of King Léopold II in December 1909.

At the same time the French claimed several areas: Bahr el Ghazal, and the Western Upper Nile up to Fashoda. By 1896 they had a firm administrative hold on these areas and they planned on annexing them to French West Africa. An international conflict known as the Fashoda incident developed between France and the United Kingdom over these areas. In 1899, France agreed to cede the area to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

From 1898, the United Kingdom and Egypt administered all of present-day Sudan as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, but northern and southern Sudan were administered as separate provinces of the condominium. In the very early 1920s, the British passed the Closed Districts Ordinances which stipulated that passports were required for travel between the two zones, and permits were required to conduct business from one zone into the other, and totally separate administrations prevailed.

In the south, English, Dinka, Bari, Nuer, Latuko, Shilluk, Azande and Pari (Lafon) were official languages, while in the north, Arabic and English were used as official languages. Islam was discouraged by the British in the south, where Christian missionaries were permitted to work. Condominium governors of south Sudan attended colonial conferences in East Africa, not in Khartoum, and the British hoped to add south Sudan to their East African colonies.

Most of the British focus was on developing the economy and infrastructure of the north. Southern political arrangements were left largely as they had been prior to the arrival of the British. Until the 1920s, the British had limited authority in the south.

In order to establish their authority in the north, the British promoted the power of Sayyid Ali al-Mirghani, head of the Khatmiyya sect and Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, head of the Ansar sect. The Ansar sect essentially became the Umma party, and Khatmiyya became the Democratic Unionist Party.

In 1943, the British began preparing the north for self-government, establishing a North Sudan Advisory Council to advise on the governance of the six North Sudanese provinces: Khartoum, Kordofan, Darfur, and Eastern, Northern, and Blue Nile provinces. Then, in 1946, the British administration reversed its policy and decided to integrate north and south Sudan under one government. The South Sudanese authorities were informed at the Juba Conference of 1947 that they would in future be governed by a common administrative authority with the north. From 1948, 13 delegates, nominated by the British authorities, represented the south on the Sudan Legislative Assembly.

Many southerners felt betrayed by the British, because they were largely excluded from the new government. The language of the new government was Arabic, but the bureaucrats and politicians from southern Sudan had, for the most part, been trained in English. Of the eight hundred new governmental positions vacated by the British in 1953, only four were given to southerners.

Also, the political structure in the south was not as organized in the north, so political groupings and parties from the south were not represented at the various conferences and talks that established the modern state of Sudan. As a result, many southerners do not consider Sudan to be a legitimate state.

Post-colonial history (1956 to present)

Independence and the First Civil War

In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination. The transitional period toward independence began with the inauguration of the first parliament in 1954. On 18 August 1955 a revolt in the army in Torit Southern Sudan broke out,[8](reference link broken) which although quickly suppressed, led to a low level guerrilla insurgency by former Southern rebels, and marked the beginning of the First Sudanese Civil War.[9] On 15 December 1955 the Premier of Sudan Ismail al-Azhari announced that Sudan would unilaterally declare independence in four days time.[10] On 19 December 1955 the Sudanese parliament, unilaterally and unanimously, declared Sudan's independence.[11] The British and Egyptian Governments recognized the independence of Sudan on 1 January 1956. The United States was among the first foreign powers to recognize the new state. However, the Arab-led Khartoum government reneged on promises to southerners to create a federal system, which led to a mutiny by southern army officers that sparked seventeen years of civil war (1955–1972). In the early period of the war, hundreds of northern bureaucrats, teachers, and other officials, serving in the south were massacred.

The National Unionist Party (NUP), under Prime Minister Ismail al-Azhari, dominated the first cabinet, which was soon replaced by a coalition of conservative political forces. In 1958, following a period of economic difficulties and political maneuvering that paralyzed public administration, Chief of Staff Major General Ibrahim Abboud overthrew the parliamentary regime in a bloodless coup d'état.

Gen. Abboud did not carry out his promises to return Sudan to civilian government, however, and popular resentment against army rule led to a wave of riots and strikes in late October 1964 that forced the military to relinquish power.

The Abboud regime was followed by a provisional government until parliamentary elections in April 1965 led to a coalition government of the Umma and National Unionist Parties under Prime Minister Muhammad Ahmad Mahjoub. Between 1966 and 1969, Sudan had a series of governments that proved unable either to agree on a permanent constitution or to cope with problems of factionalism, economic stagnation, and ethnic dissidence. The succession of early post-independence governments were dominated by Arab Muslims who viewed Sudan as a Muslim Arab state. Indeed, the Umma/NUP proposed 1968 constitution was arguably Sudan’s first Islamic-oriented constitution.

The Nimeiry Era

Dissatisfaction culminated in a second coup d'état on May 25, 1969. The coup leader, Col. Gaafar Nimeiry, became prime minister, and the new regime abolished parliament and outlawed all political parties.

Disputes between Marxist and non-Marxist elements within the ruling military coalition resulted in a briefly successful coup in July 1971, led by the Sudanese Communist Party. Several days later, anti-communist military elements restored Nimeiry to power.

In 1972, the Addis Ababa Agreement led to a cessation of the north-south civil war and a degree of self-rule. This led to ten years hiatus in the civil war.

Until the early 1970s, Sudan's agricultural output was mostly dedicated to internal consumption. In 1972, the Sudanese government became more pro-Western, and made plans to export food and cash crops. However, commodity prices declined throughout the 1970s causing economic problems for Sudan. At the same time, debt servicing costs, from the money spent mechanizing agriculture, rose. In 1978, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiated a Structural Adjustment Program with the government. This further promoted the mechanized export agriculture sector. This caused great economic problems for the pastoralists of Sudan (See Nuba Peoples).

In 1976, the Ansars mounted a bloody but unsuccessful coup attempt. In July 1977, President Nimeiry met with Ansar leader Sadiq al-Mahdi, opening the way for reconciliation. Hundreds of political prisoners were released, and in August a general amnesty was announced for all opponents of Nimeiry’s government.

Arms suppliers

Sudan relied on a variety of countries for its arms supplies. Since independence the army had been trained and supplied by the British, but relations were cut off after the Arab-Israel Six-Day War in 1967. At this time relations with the USA and West Germany were also cut off.

From 1968 to 1972, the Soviet Union and eastern bloc nations sold large numbers of weapons and provided technical assistance and training to Sudan. At this time the army grew from a strength of 18,000 to roughly 50,000 men. Large numbers of tanks, aircraft, and artillery were acquired at this time, and they dominated the army until the late 1980s.

Relations cooled between the two sides after the coup in 1971, and the Khartoum government sought to diversify its suppliers. The USSR continued to supply weapons until 1977, when their support of Marxist elements in Ethiopia angered the Sudanese sufficiently to cancel their deals. China was the main supplier in the late 1970s.

Egypt was the most important military partner in the 1970s, providing missiles, personnel carriers, and other military hardware.

Western countries began supplying Sudan again in the mid 1970s. The United States began selling Sudan a great deal of equipment around 1976, hoping to counteract Soviet support of Marxist Ethiopians and Libyans. Military sales peaked in 1982 at US$101 million. After the start of the second civil war, American assistance dropped, and was eventually all but cancelled in 1987. [2]

Second Civil War

In 1983, the civil war in the south was reignited following the government's Islamicization policy which would have instituted Islamic law, among other things. After several years of fighting, the government compromised with southern groups.

On April 6, 1985, a group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Abd ar Rahman Siwar adh Dhahab, overthrew Nimeiri, who took refuge in Egypt. Three days later, Dhahab authorized the creation of a fifteen-man Transitional Military Council (TMC) to rule Sudan.

In June 1986, Sadiq al Mahdi formed a coalition government with Umma Party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the National Islamic Front (NIF), and four southern parties. Unfortunately, however, Sadiq proved to be a weak leader and incapable of governing Sudan. Party factionalism, corruption, personal rivalries, scandals, and political instability characterized the Sadiq regime. After less than a year in office, Sadiq al Mahdi dismissed the government because it had failed to draft a new penal code to replace the sharia, reach an agreement with the IMF, end the civil war in the south, or devise a scheme to attract remittances from Sudanese expatriates. To retain the support of the DUP and the southern political parties, Sadiq formed another ineffective coalition government.

In 1989, the government and southern rebels began to negotiate an end to the war, but a coup d'état brought a military junta into power which was not interested in compromise. The leader of the junta, Omar al-Bashir, consolidated his power over the next few years, declaring himself president.

The civil war has displaced more than 4 million southerners. Some fled into southern cities, such as Juba; others trekked as far north as Khartoum and even into Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, and other neighboring countries. These people were unable to grow food or earn money to feed themselves, and malnutrition and starvation became widespread. The lack of investment in the south resulted as well in what international humanitarian organizations call a "lost generation" who lack educational opportunities, access to basic health care services, and little prospects for productive employment in the small and weak economies of the south or the north.

JEM rebels in Darfur

In early 2003 a new rebellion of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) groups in the western region of Darfur began. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region, 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 (Janjaweed) allied with the government. The rebels have alleged that these militias have been engaging in ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and the fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of them seeking refuge in neighboring Chad. There are various estimates on the number of human casualties, ranging from under twenty thousand to several hundred thousand dead, from either direct combat or starvation and disease inflicted by the conflict.

In 2004 Chad brokered negotiations in N'Djamena, leading to the April 8 Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement between the Sudanese government, the JEM, and the SLA. However, the conflict continued despite the ceasefire, and the African Union (AU) formed a Ceasefire Commission (CFC) to monitor its observance. In August 2004, the African Union sent 150 Rwandan troops in to protect the ceasefire monitors. It, however, soon became apparent that 150 troops would not be enough, so they were joined by 150 Nigerian troops.

On September 18, 2004 United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 1564 declaring that the government of Sudan had not met its commitments, expressing concern at helicopter attacks and assaults by the Janjaweed militia against villages in Darfur. It welcomed the intention of the African Union to enhance its monitoring mission in Darfur and urged all member states to support such efforts. During 2005 the African Union Mission in Sudan force was increased to about 7,000.

The Chadian-Sudanese conflict officially started on December 23, 2004, when the government of Chad declared a state of war with Sudan and called for the citizens of Chad to mobilize themselves against Rally for Democracy and Liberty (RDL) militants (Chadian rebels backed by the Sudanese government) and Sudanese militiamen who attacked villages and towns in eastern Chad, stealing cattle, murdering citizens, and burning houses.

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004, although skirmishes in parts of the south have reportedly continued. The two sides have agreed that, following a final peace treaty, southern Sudan will enjoy autonomy for six years, and after the expiration of that period, the people of southern Sudan will be able to vote in a referendum on independence. Furthermore, oil revenues will be divided equally between the government and rebels during the six-year interim period. The ability or willingness of the government to fulfill these promises has been questioned by some observers, however, and the status of three central and eastern provinces was a point of contention in the negotiations. Some observers wondered whether hard line elements in the north would allow the treaty to proceed.

A final peace treaty was signed on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. The terms of the peace treaty are as follows:

  • The south will have autonomy for six years, followed by a referendum on secession.
  • Both sides of the conflict will merge their armed forces into a 39,000-strong force after six years, if the secession referendum should turn out negative.
  • Income from oilfields is to be shared evenly between north and south.
  • Jobs are to be split according to varying ratios (central administration: 70 to 30, Abyei/Blue Nile State/Nuba mountains: 55 to 45, both in favour of the government).
  • Islamic law is to remain in the north, while continued use of the sharia in the south is to be decided by the elected assembly.


The decade of the 1990s also saw a "top down" Islamisation of Sudan under the National Islamic Front and Hasan al-Turabi. Education was overhauled to focus on the glory of Arab and Islamic culture, and memorizing the Quran; school uniforms were replaced with combat fatigues and students engaged in paramilitary drills. Religious police in the capital insured that women were veiled, especially in government offices and universities. A relaxed political culture became much harsher, with human rights groups alleging a proliferation of torture chambers known as "ghost houses" used by security agencies. The war against the non-Muslim south was declared a jihad.[12] [13] On state television, actors simulated "weddings" between jihad martyrs and heavenly virgins (houris) on state television. Turabi also gave asylum and assistance to non-Sudanese jihadi, including bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members.[12]

Recent history (2006 to present)

On 31 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 to send a new peacekeeping force of 17,300 to Darfur. In the following months, however, UNMIS was not able to deploy to Darfur due to the Government of the Sudan’s steadfast opposition to a peacekeeping operation undertaken solely by the United Nations. The UN then embarked on an alternative, innovative approach to try to begin stabilize the region through the phased strengthening of AMIS, before transfer of authority to a joint African Union/United Nations peacekeeping operation. Following prolonged and intensive negotiations with the Government of the Sudan and significant international pressure, the Government of the Sudan finally accepted the peacekeeping operation in Darfur.

In 2009 the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, accusing him of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

In 2009 and 2010 a series of conflicts between rival nomadic tribes in South Kordofan caused a large number of casualties and displaced thousands.

South Sudanese independence referendum, 2011

An agreement for the restoration of harmony between Chad and Sudan, signed January 15, 2010, marked the end of a five-year war between them.[14]

The Sudanese government and the JEM signed a ceasefire agreement ending the Darfur conflict in February, 2010.

In January 2011 referendum on independence for Southern Sudan was held, and the South voted overwhelmingly to secede later that year as the Republic of South Sudan, with its capital at Juba and Kiir Mayardit as its first president. Al-Bashir announced that he accepted the result, but violence soon erupted in the disputed region of Abyei, claimed by both the North and the South.

On June 6, 2011 armed conflict broke out in South Kordofan between the forces of Northern and Southern Sudan, ahead of the scheduled independence of the South on July 9. This followed an agreement for both sides to withdraw from Abyei. On June, 20 of the parties agreed to demilitarize the contested area of Abyei where Ethiopian peacekeepers will be deployed.[15]

On July 9, 2011 South Sudan became an independent country.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "Sudan".
  2. ^ Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Trade and the Spread of Islam in Africa. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 – (October 2001).
  3. ^ a b c d e "Early History", Helen Chapin Metz, ed. Sudan A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1991.
  4. ^ S.O.Y. Keita (1993). "Studies and Comments on Ancient Egyptian Biological Relationships". History in Africa (JSTOR) 20: 129–154. Retrieved 2015-04-11. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ Simson Najovits, Egypt, trunk of the tree, Volume 2, (Algora Publishing: 2004), p.258.
  6. ^ Georges Roux - Ancient Iraq
  7. ^ Krump on the City of Sinnar THE SUDANESE TRAVELS OF THEODORO KRUMP by Jay Spaulding, 1974.
  8. ^,28325
  9. ^ "Egypt Bids Britain Act In Sudan Revolt". The New York Times. 22 August 1955. 
  10. ^ Dispatch, London (16 December 1955). "SUDAN 'FREEDOM' SET FOR MONDAY; Premier Vows to Declare End to British-Egyptian Rule -- Step Is Called Illegal". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Dispatch, London (20 December 1955). "Sudan Lower House Votes Independence Declaration; FREEDOM ASKED BY SUDAN HOUSE". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ a b Packer, George (11 September 2006). "The Moderate Martyr". The New Yorker. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Kepel, Gilles (2002). Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Harvard University Press. pp. 183–4. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "World Report 2011: Chad". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  15. ^ North and South Sudan agree to demilitarize Abyei
  16. ^ Martell, Peter (2011). "BBC News - South Sudan becomes an independent nation". BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 

External links

  • Photographs from the Sudan
  • LIFE Visits Sudan in 1947 - slideshow by Life magazine
  • South Sudan: A History of Political Domination - A Case of Self-Determination, (Riek Machar)
  • Civil War in Sudan: The Impact of Ecological Degradation
  • Multimedia Presentation on Darfur
  • History of independent Sudan

Further reading

  • Abbas, Mekki. The Sudan question: the dispute over the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, 1884-1951 (1952)
  • Duncan, J.S.R. The Sudan: a record of achievement (1952), from the British perspective
  • Gee, Martha Bettis (2009). Piece work/peace work : working together for peace and Sudan : mission study for children and teacher’s guide. Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church.  
  • Holt, P.M., and M.W. Daly. History of the Sudan: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day (6th es. 2011)
  • Kramer, Robert S. ed. Historical Dictionary of the Sudan (2nd ed. 2013) excerpt and text search
  • Warburg, Gabriel. Sudan Under Wingate: Administration in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899-1916) (1971)
  • Woodward, Peter. Sudan 1898-1989 the Unstable State (1990)
  • Woodward, Peter, ed. Sudan After Nimeiri (2013); since 1984 excerpt and text search
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.