Sudan was created by British colonial power
without regard to ethnic or religious differences
between the north and south. The main purpose was to
gain control over the Nile for irrigation in Egypt. When
the country became independent in 1956, nearly 50 years
of civil war followed. A peace agreement between north
and south was concluded in 2005 and in July 2011, Sudan
was finally divided. Then South Sudan became the
independent state of South Sudan. However, a number of
disputes about border demarcation and distribution of
resources remain between the two neighboring states.
Brief profiles of Sudan, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Sudan is on the surface Africa's third
largest country, just over four times the size of
Sweden. It is located in northeastern Africa with a
short coast to the Red Sea in the northeast. A large
part of the country is dominated by the Sahara Desert, but the south gradually takes over the
bush water. The climate is tropical hot, especially in
the deserts in the north.
The name Sudan was coined by medieval Arab
geographers: carved as-sudan (the land of the blacks).
In this older sense, Sudan does not mean a single
country but the entire geographical transition zone that
separates the Sahara from the rainforest belt south of
Most of Sudan is a lowland here and was broken by
mountain ranges and high plateaus. The highest mountains
are in the middle of the Darfur Plateau to the west. In
the southern Kurdufan plain (also spelled Kordofan) lies
the Nuba Mountains. A mountain range also runs just
inside the coast.
Historically, there has been no clearly defined
boundary between what was previously northern and
southern Sudan. Even after the country's division in
July 2011 (see Modern history), Sudan and South Sudan
dispute, among other things, on which side the oil-rich
district of Abyei should belong.
The Nile, the world's longest river, flows through
Sudan from south to north. Two of its main arms, the
White Nile and the Blue Nile, merge into the capital
Khartoum. The White Nile reaches Sudan from Uganda via
South Sudan. The Blue Nile flows in from Ethiopia to the
The desert climate in the north is hot, although the
winter nights there can get chilly. The average
temperature varies between 23 and 34 degrees. In the
mountains, however, the temperature can fall below 20
degrees in December and January.
Usually, the Sudanese can only expect rain in July
and August. In the far north, almost no precipitation
falls at all due to wind gusts from the northeast.
Between April and June sand storms (habu) occur,
especially around Khartoum. These are often accompanied
by rain showers.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
1 861 484 km2 (2018) 1
Swedish +1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Central African
Republic, Chad, Libya, Egypt
Capital with number of inhabitants
Khartoum 5,830,000 (with suburbs, UN estimate 2020)
Other major cities
Nyala 922 500, Port Sudan 483 500, El-Obeid 481 350,
Kassala 364 000 (UN estimate 2020)
Kinyeti (3,187 m asl)
Average Precipitation / year
Khartoum 72 mm (Aug), 0 mm (Nov – March)
Average / day
Khartoum 33 °C (June), 22 °C (Jan)
1st source: Europa World Plus. The border
crossing to South Sudan is partly unclear
Humanitarian disaster in Darfur
The UN representative in Sudan says that nearly 1.9 million people are
homeless in the region and that another 1.3 million darfurians are suffering
severe hardship due to lack of food and security. The UN says it has received
just over half as much money as the organization has requested for humanitarian
efforts in Darfur.
Al-Bashir reforms the government
A number of senior ministers may leave room for younger abilities. The
country's first vice president, Ali Taha, who led the negotiations that resulted
in the peace agreement in 2005, is replaced by Bakri Hassan al-Saleh, former
Minister of the Interior and Defense. Defense Minister Abdelrahim Muhammed
Hussein, who, like the president, is wanted by the International Criminal Court
(ICC) in The Hague, is allowed to keep the job.
NCP fragmentation deepens
The group of politicians who broke with the NCP in October 2013 apply to
register a new party, the Movement for Reform now. As party leader, Ghazi
Salahuddin Atabani, former adviser to al-Bashir, emerges.
Army offensive in Darfur
The Khartoum government announces that the army is launching an offensive to
crush all rebel movements in Darfur.
Half a million new refugees in Darfur
According to the UN agency Ocha, fighting has driven at least 460,000 people
from their homes in 2013. They are escaping clashes between ethnic and
clan-based militias as well as between the Sudanese army and armed rebel
Healthcare providers are stopped in border areas
The UN accuses the Sudanese army and the SPLM-N rebel movement of refusing to
admit medical personnel in South Kurdufan and the Blue Nile to vaccinate around
160,000 children against polio.
Split within NCP
The government's harsh blow against protesters (see September 2013) has
political consequences. NCP members who are critical of the police's actions
announce that they should break out of the government party and form a new
"Referendum" in Abyei
The residents belonging to the Dinka people carry out a "referendum" on their
future status on their own initiative. Neither the Government of Sudan nor South
Sudan recognize the vote as legitimate. AU condemns it as "unacceptable and
irresponsible". Since only Dinka, which has a strong connection to South Sudan,
participates in the vote, the result is not unexpected that more than 99 percent
want to join Abyei in South Sudan.
Flights between Khartoum and Juba
A first commercial airline opens between Juba in South Sudan and Khartoum.
Dozens of dead in rattlesnakes
Demonstrations against rising fuel prices in Khartoum and other cities become
violent as police try to disperse the crowds. Information on the number of
deaths varies between different sources. According to human rights
organizations, around 50 people are shot dead by the Khartoum police force. The
Sudanese Medical Association states the number of dead to 210, including people
shot to death. Authorities state the death toll 34, and blame the SRF rebels who
have, according to the government, infiltrated the demonstration trains.
Islamists and members of the NCP urge the government to withdraw the decision on
Hundreds of dead in new militia battles
According to the UN, fighting between the Arab clans rezeigat and maaliya in
eastern Darfur requires around 190 deaths.
Milestones in Darfur
Struggles between ethnic militias in Darfur require almost 100 casualties.
Leaders of the misseriya and salamat groups accuse each other of having started
the conflict. Rivalry over land, water and minerals often triggers armed
fighting in Darfur.
Hard setback for Unamid
Seven Tanzanian soldiers in the UN and AU Joint Peace Force Unamid are killed
in an ambush in Darfur. The loss is the worst since the force was deployed five
Relations with South Sudan are deteriorating
Sudan accuses South Sudan of supporting SRF guerrillas and threatens to stop
oil exports from South Sudan via Sudan unless support for the rebels ceases. At
the same time, South Sudan accuses Sudanese troops of having entered South
Sudanese territory. Sudan freezes agreement with South Sudan on security issues
and economic cooperation. However, the crisis is being controlled at the last
moment and oil transport can continue.
Demonstration against the regime
The opposition is organizing regime-critical demonstrations that gather
thousands of people in Omdurman. Participants protest against widespread
corruption and high consumer prices for food and fuel.
Struggles in South Kurdufan
Intense fighting erupts between Sudanese government forces and SRF rebels
near Kaduqli, the capital of South Kurdufan.
Rebel attack in North Kurdufan
Rebels from the Alliance Sudan's Revolutionary Front (SRF) (see Political
system) storm the city of Umm Rawaba in North Kurdufan. They say the goal is to
march on Khartoum, 50 miles north, and overthrow the regime.
Prison for coup attempt
Three colonels and four lower-ranking men in the security service are
sentenced to prison for between two and eight years for participating in the
coup attempt in November 2012. They are pardoned a few days later by President
al-Bashir. According to analysts, the alleged coup attempt is really about a
power struggle within the regime with links to the Islamists who were the
mainstay of the regime from the beginning (see Modern history).
Border crossings are opened
Sudan and South Sudan agree to open ten border crossings between countries.
Accused rebel leader killed
One of the two Darfur rebel leaders charged with the ICC for killing ten AU
soldiers in September 2007 is reported to have been killed in combat.
Al-Bashir travels to South Sudan
The President is making an official visit to South Sudan since relations
between the countries appear to have improved. The South Sudanese oil is
beginning to be transported through Sudan, and both countries have withdrawn
their troops from disputed border areas.
Promise of Assistance to Darfur
At an international donor conference in Qatar, $ 3.6 billion is promised over
six years for the reconstruction of Darfur. $ 2.65 billion comes from the
government of Khartoum, while Qatar promises $ 500 million and the EU 35
million. Skeptics object that the situation in Darfur is still too unstable to
enable real efforts.
Nine army commanders are sentenced to two to five years in prison for
participating in an alleged coup attempt. They are pardoned after just under two
Regime critic is released
Six men and one woman, who have been incarcerated since January 2012
following an appeal to overthrow the regime, are released the day after
President al-Bashir ordered all political prisoners to be released. It is
unclear whether the definition of "political prisoners" includes nearly 200
arrested members of the SPLM-N.
Trial against the coup maker
The trial in a military court starts against a dozen people arrested in
connection with an alleged coup attempt (see November 2012).
Rebel attack in North Kurdufan
The Darfur rebels JEM attack the army in the state of North Kurdufan. The
attack may mean an escalation of the armed conflict that has so far been most
fought in Darfur, South Kurdufan and the Blue Nile.
Refugee crisis in Darfur
According to the UN, over 100 people have been killed and 70,000 left
homeless during a week's fighting in central Darfur. Rival Arab clan militia are
said to have contested control over a gold mine.
Refugee crisis in the south
The UN is alarming that the situation of around 900,000 refugees in southern
Sudan is alarming because the army and the rebel force SPLM-N refuse to allow
humanitarian aid. The UN, in collaboration with the Arab League and the AU, has
for one year tried in vain to reach the distressed people in South Kurdufan and
the Blue Nile.
Negotiations are canceled
New talks between Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents in Addis Ababa are
suspended after a week. No results have been achieved and the parties are
blaming each other for constantly coming up with new demands.