Sudan’s prehistory is one of the most complex in Africa. From the northern Nile area, a long sequence of discoveries has been established through international rescue operations in connection with the construction of the Assuand Dam. Undated acheulé implements from the Wadi Halfa area are followed, in chronological order, by object complexes from late Moustérian culture (with levalloisin shavings), leaf-shaped arrowheads and egg tools from Khawr Musa and, from about 23,000 BC, by the remains of a number of different hunters and collector cultures, including the so-called Halfan complex. About 15,000 BC began to use microliters.
Tombstones and traces of cuts from between 13,000 and 9000 BC indicates intensive use of wild cereals. Finds of pottery and clay clay in the so-called Shamarkite tradition are probably from at least semi-permanent settlements in northern Sudan from about 5000 BC. A millennium later, domesticated plants and domesticated animals appeared. Glazed pottery similar to that of ancient Egypt is known from i.e. Esh Shaheinab. From about 3000 BC contacts with Egypt became increasingly important. During the 2000s BC The agricultural and livestock management groups performed so-called A and C group cultures.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Sudan on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Sudan.
The name Sudan derives from the Arab bilād as-sudān (‘the lands of the blacks’), one of the Arabic slave traders used in the area south of the second Nile cataract. For the history of Sudan before the spread of Islam see articles Nubien, Kush and Meroe and historical map “Egypt before the Muslim conquest” in the article Egypt (Roman and Byzantine times). To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Sudan.
In the 500s AD arose in the Nubian Christian kingdoms. The Islamic invasion of Egypt in the 6th century led to Arab attacks against Nubia as well. The clashes ended with an agreement that for centuries protected Christians from serious threats. But during the 1300s and 1400s, the country was flooded by Arab Bedouins, and the Christian states collapsed. At the same time, the African funj people took dominion in the area between the White and Blue Nile and developed a powerful Muslim state during the 17th and 18th centuries (see Funjriket). Islamization of the Nile region continued, especially through the activities of Sufic brotherhood.
In 1820, Egypt’s ruler Muhammad Ali sent armies to conquer and exploit the region. The whole of northern Sudan and Funjriket was occupied in 1821. After a few decades, however, the Egyptian grip on Sudan escaped. European merchants took over much of the trade on the Nile and penetrated ever further south. The advancement also became part of the fight against the slave trade initiated by European powers. But around 1870, Egypt under the Ismail Pasha initiative resumed . Under European commanders Samuel White Baker and Charles Gordon , Egyptian armies penetrated all the way to the Central African lakes and added new equatorial provinces to the Sudanese area.
In 1882 Britain made Egypt a sound state, and the Egyptian government in Sudan collapsed. A religious uprising movement, the Mahdism (see the Mahdist rebellion), directed against the unrighteous foreign power, had flared up as early as 1881 and now took over the dominion of almost all of Sudan. Only in 1898 did Egyptian-British forces under Horatio Herbert Kitchener defeat the Mahdists. The following year, a British-Egyptian so-called condominium was established across Sudan (Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), where Egypt’s influence was only formal.
During just over half a century of British rule, Sudan was modernized in some respects (including through rail construction and modern cotton cultivation). After World War I, a Sudanese nationalism emerged, strongly influenced by contemporary developments in Egypt. Intellectual nationalists formed an organization in 1938, the goal of which was an independent Nile state in union with Egypt. Leaders soon became Ismail al-Azhari (1900–69). A competing independence movement also emerged with the aim of a standalone Sudan.
During the Second World War, the British met nationalists by setting up an advisory assembly with Sudanese members, however, only for northern Sudan. In 1948, the whole of Sudan was given an elected legislative assembly, 1953 autonomy. The 1954 parliamentary elections gave al-Azhar’s national party the majority. With him as prime minister, on January 1, 1956, Sudan gained full independence. But then rebellion had erupted in the south, fearing the transition from British to Arab-Muslim rule. In the north, the party struggles quickly eroded into rifts between religious orders and rival politicians.
In 1958, the army took power under General Ibrahim Abbud (1900–83). He was overthrown in 1964, but a new attempt at parliamentary rule was interrupted in 1969 by the next military coup, led by Colonel Jafar Numayri, from the 1971 president. In 1972 he succeeded in reaching an agreement with the guerrillas in the south on the basis of regional autonomy. Under increasing pressure from fundamentalist forces in the north, he introduced Islamic law (Sharia), and the rebellion in the south then gained new momentum in 1983 under the leadership of Colonel John Garang.
Numayri was overthrown in 1985. Attempts with the parliamentary board were made again, but in increasingly difficult economic conditions with misgrowth and huge refugee problems, in 1989 a military junta under Brigadier General Omar al-Bashir took power. The military junta was strongly influenced by the Islamist party National Islamic Front, and the party’s leader Hasan at-Turabi (1932–2016) soon emerged as the regime’s chief ideologist. This led to an increasingly tough attitude to the guerrillas in the south.
The military junta disbanded in 1993 and was replaced by a civilian government under al-Bashir’s leadership. However, administrative reforms with increased local self-government and promises that the southern provinces would be exempted from Sharia law did not diminish the contradictions. Instead, there was a political rapprochement between the guerrillas and the civil opposition parties. The war in the south, which brought great human suffering and repeated famine disasters, took on a new dimension when large-scale oil production began at the end of the 1990s. The army was accused by international organizations of driving the population away in order to facilitate oil recovery.
The land is divided
A power struggle within the regime culminated in early 2000, when at-Turabi and his co-workers were removed from all official assignments. Now at-Turabi also stood on the other opposition’s side, which together with strong international pressure forced the regime to start serious peace talks with the South Sudanese guerrilla Sudan People’s Liberation Movement(SPLM). An agreement in principle on a ceasefire and a division of power was concluded in 2002, but a final peace agreement did not enter into force until 2005. The agreement gave the residents of the south the right to decide on the future status of the region in a referendum after a six-year transition period. Until then, the southern provinces would be governed by an SPLM-dominated administration. The income from the oil would be divided equally between north and south. SPLM leader John Garang died in an air crash shortly after taking office as Sudan’s vice president and was replaced by SPLM military commander Salva Kiir.
In January 2011, a referendum was held in southern Sudan, where 99 percent of voters voted for independence. On July 9 of that year, the independent republic of South Sudan was proclaimed. The relationship between Sudan and the new neighboring state has been strained, partly because the border boundaries between the countries have not yet been established, and partly because of disagreement about the oil extracted in South Sudan but transported through Sudan. The conflicts have at times run the risk of turning into real war.
The conflict in Darfur
While the war in southern Sudan was stepping down, a new conflict erupted in 2003 in the western region of Darfur. A guerrilla uprising among the black, non-Arab population was met by the army and a government-loyal militia, janjawid, recruited among Arab nomads. The resident black population was driven away from their villages and forced into camps. By April 2008, at least 300,000 people were estimated to have been killed and about 2.7 million displaced. The abuses were described by the US government as genocide, but the UN Security Council failed to agree on how the conflict would be handled. A formal ceasefire in 2004 gave the African Union (AU) the opportunity to station a smaller surveillance force in the area, but its ability to intervene against abuse was extremely limited. Sudan refused to allow the UN to send a major peace force to Darfur, nor did it allow the suspects responsible for the abuses to be investigated before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Neither a peace agreement signed in May 2006 between the government and a fraction of the divided guerrilla nor a fire agreement expires in February 2010 between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of two rebel movements that initiated the 2003 uprising, on the conflict.
In 2008, a new peacekeeping force, UNAMID, jointly led by the UN and the AU, began stationing in Darfur, but this was understaffed and inadequately equipped. In March 2009, the ICC issued a warrant for President al-Bashir, who was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity; The following year, genocide was added to the charges. In 2011, negotiations between Khartoum and the Alliance Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM; formed in 2010) led to a new regional authority in Darfur, called the Darfur Regional Authority(DRAG). The agreement also guaranteed co-influence for all groups that joined. However, armed unrest continued in 2012 and a promised referendum on Darfur’s future was postponed indefinitely. A new fire agreement expires between the government and JEM signed in February 2013.
Darfur has nevertheless remained a violent region, but data on how many people have been killed and how many have been forced to leave their homes are uncertain. According to the UNHCR, in 2015, more than 2 million people were fleeing the country and in addition hundreds of thousands had crossed the border to Chad. In December 2014, the ICC prosecutors decided to put the investigation into war crimes in Darfur on the shelf and accused the UN Security Council of passivity in the case.
Since 2011, fighting has also occurred in the southern states of South Kurdufan and the Blue Nile between government troops and the SPLM’s northern branch, with an internal refugee disaster and great suffering for the local population as a result.
The situation in Darfur has also contributed to deteriorating relations between Sudan and neighboring Chad, where hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur have taken refuge. Janjawid has carried out raids against the refugee camps and there have been fighting between Chadian soldiers and Sudanese militia. Sudan and Chad have also accused each other of harboring rebel forces from neighboring countries in their territory and Chadian forces have crossed borders to fight rebels. During the 00s, Sudan and Chad signed several non-infringement agreements, but these were not respected. However, since 2010, the relationship between countries has improved.
Omar al-Bashir is deposed
Protests against increased prices of bread and fuel erupted at the end of 2018. Over time, the demonstrations were directed more generally towards the regime and met with violence, resulting in dozens of deaths. President al-Bashir replaced most of the government and proclaimed a national state of emergency. Although hundreds of regime critics were arrested, the protests continued with demands for al-Bashir’s departure. When a sit-in strike could be held outside the Khartoum headquarters in early April, it emerged that the regime could no longer count on the support of the military and police.
On April 11, 2019, it was announced that Omar al-Bashir was forced to step down after 30 years as head of state. The government and parliament were dissolved and the constitution was repealed. The military council that took power announced that it intended to govern the country for a two-year transition period. However, the demonstrations continued with demands for civilian rule. The African Union supported this requirement and suspended Sudan in June 2019.
During the period December 2018 – July 2019, more than 200 people were probably killed, several of them by snipers. The bloodiest event occurred June 3, when the protest camp outside the army headquarters was attacked. According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Physicians, over 100 people were killed in the attack, which took place on the orders of the Military Transition Council and was primarily carried out by the paramilitary force internationally known as Rapid Support Forces. The force consists mainly of the militia Janjawid, who during the 00s suffered severe and systematic abuse of the civilian population in Darfur.
In mid-August, the Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change, which brings together several different organizations that participated in the protests, signed an agreement that led to the formation of a new transitional council. This consists of eleven members, six civilians and five militaries, who will lead the country until elections are held in 2022. The Transitional Council will be headed for 21 months by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (born 1960) and then by a civilian for 18 months. The Council is supplemented by a civil transitional government led by economist Abdalla Hamdok (born 1956).