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Sudan
INTRODUCTION
1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Defense
4. Economy
a. Figures
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns



























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Open map of SudanFlag of SudanSudan /
History


Recorded and archaeological history gives us minimal information on states and cities in the southern parts of Sudan until the recent centuries. But the area has been inhabited, archaeological evidence indicates for at least 30,000 years. For coverage of northern Sudan's history between 4000 BCE and 500 CE, see Nubia.
4th century: The kingdom of Cush falls, and a period of 2 centuries of obscurity for Sudan follows. Northern Sudan is inhabited by a group we now refer to as X-Group, and who by ancient geographers were called Nobatae. It is believed that they represented a cultural continuation of the Cush.
6th century: Makuria (or Maqurra) with Dunqula as capital, Alwah with Soba as capital and Nobatia with Pachoras emerge as powerful states in Nubia.
543: Coptic Christian missionaries from Egypt, led by Julian, start converting the population of Nubia to Christianity.
652: A Muslim army from Egypt takes control over Nobatia, and even laid siege on Dunqula. They compelling Makuria to pay tribute to Egypt each year of 360 slaves. The agreement also defined the border between Egypt and Makuria, and stated that no Nubians could settle in Egypt and vice versa. The agreement would last for almost 600 years, assuring trade and good relations between the states.
9th century: Christianity reaches as far as the Darfur region in southwestern Sudan.
— Arab tribes are pressed out of Egypt by its rulers, start raiding and pillaging along the border to the Nubian territories.
Around 1300: The Mamluks send military expeditions towards Makuria, but are not able to take control over the country. Yet the campaigns have strong negative effects on Makuria's economy and political stability.
Around 1400: Makuria falls to confederation of Arab nomads and Egypt. A handful of tribes, of which the Juhaynah was the most dominant, settles in Nubia, and start intermarrying the Nubians. Over time the Arabs would become the leading group in the region started. Their nomadic institutions would eventually replace the political authority of Makuria.
Around 1500: Alwa is conquered by an Arab confederation led by Abdullah Jamma. Their cities are abandoned.
1504: The Funj kingdom is founded by Amara Dunqas in central of Sudan near the confluence of the White and the Blue Niles. Sennar becomes its capital. Dunqas converts to Islam, and spread the new religion all over this part of Sudan.
17th century: Funj kingdom controls large parts of eastern Sudan, from Nubia to the Ethiopia in south. The kingdom controlled important trade routes, bringing in good revenues.
18th century: The Funj rulers start to build up a military caste made up of slaves from foreign lands. This group would develop into a political factor that challenged the Funj aristocracy, and eventually the king. This destroyed the political power of the Funj, and made the kingdom an easy prey for foreign warlords.
1821: The Egyptians attack Sennar, bringing the Funj kingdom to an end. Hence all of Sudan down the Nile, through the Blue Nile, and the Atbara river came under control of Muhammad Ali.
1820's: A short period of extreme taxation starts. The Sudanese revolt, and kills the Egyptian commander Isma'il.
1826: Ali Khurshid is appointed governor-general. His rule involved lower taxes and tax exemption for and cooperation with local leaders. Trade routes were protected and expanded. Khartoum was developed as the administrative capital, and agricultural and technical improvements were introduced.
1838: When Ali Khurshid retires, Abu Widan becomes new governor-general of Sudan, continuing the politics of Ali Khurshid. He launched campaigns against corruption, and strengthened the army.
— State trading monopolies are abolished, opening up Sudan for traders from foreign countries. This was a result of pressure from European states on Egypt.
1843: Abu Widan is called back to Cairo, under suspicion of disloyalty. But he dies, probably by poison, while still in Khartoum.
1840's: Due to inapt leadership in Khartoum the economy stagnates, and the building of infrastructure stops. Corruption grows and the Sudanese population becomes dissatisfied.
1856: The office of governor-general is abolished, and each Sudanese province starts to report directly to the authorities in Cairo.
1850's: Attempts made by Sudanese authorities to stop the slave trade in the country, following pressure from European states on Egypt.
1860's: Europeans arrive in Sudan in order to build infrastructure according to Western patterns.
1869: Samuel Baker is commissioned to lead a campaign in order to take control over the equatorial regions south of Khartoum. He succeeds and establishes the Equatoria province.
1870's: Effective campaigns against the slave trade of Sudan, causing the protest from the wealthy slave traders.
1873: The former slave trader Zubayr is appointed governor of the southwestern province of Bahr al-Ghazal. This was a compromise between the pressure from Europe to stop slave trading, and the protests from powerful Sudanese leaders.
1877: Charles Gordon is appointed governor-general of Sudan. He launches a hard campaign against what remains of slave trading in Sudan.
1879: A popular protest against Gordon sweeps over the Muslim part of Sudan, in protest to the hardship of his politics, and in fright that he was out to spread Christianity.
1880: Due to bad health, Gordon leaves Sudan.
1881 June: Muhammad Ahmad declares himself el-Mahdi (see article on the concept of Mahdi for background), starting a rebellion against the infidels (as he saw them) governing Sudan, the Egyptians and the Christians.
1882 September: The Mahdists control all of Kordofan.
1883 November 5: The Mahdist troops destroys a 10,000 man strop Egyptian army at Shaykan.
1884: Gordon returns to Sudan, with the mission of stopping the advancing Mahdists.
1885 January 26: The Mahdist troops capture Khartoum, and massacres Gordon and his men. The Mahdi takes control over the capital, and a difficult period of assuring control over Sudan starts.
June 22: The Mahdi dies, and is succeeded by the Khalifah Abdullah.
1889: Mahdist troops are crushed in a battle against the Egyptians in northern Sudan.
— A period hard economic decline, that would last until 1892.
1897: Mahdist troops are driven out of the are of the upper Nile by Belgian troops.
1898 April 8: Anglo-Egyptian forces led by General Kitchener beat the Mahdist army at Atbara river.
September 2: Great battle at Omdurman, also leading to the defeat of the Mahdist troops. The Khalifah flees Khartoum.
September 18: British and French troops meet at Fashoda, where the French gave way.
1899 March: An agreement between France and Britain is signed, leaving Sudan effectively in the hands of the British. The agreement also made Britain and the khedive of Egypt share control over Sudan. Kitchener becomes governor-general for a brief period of time, before he is succeeded by Reginald Wingate.
— The new administration chose a more careful line than earlier ones, keeping taxes low. Modernization of the infrastructure was started, including building of railways, telegraph and steamer services.
1902: Gordon Memorial College is opened, aiming at educating administrators according to Western ideals. The students at the college would soon represent a group by itself in the Graduates' General Congress, becoming the locomotive in Sudanese nationalism.
1921: Ali Abdullatif forms the nationalist organization United Tribes Society. Abdullatif is arrested for his agitation.
1924: Britain forces the Egyptians to withdraw from Sudan, at the same time as they quell a Sudanese rebellion in its early stages.
1936: The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty allows Egyptian officials to return to Sudan.
1943: Out of the Graduates' General Congress grows the Ashiqqa (reformed in 1951 as National Unionist Party), led by Isma'il Azhari, Sudan's first political party. The Ashiqq was a radical group, and the moderates formed the Ummah party, led by Sayyid Aburrahman al-Mahdi, son of the Mahdi.
1947: All of Sudan is included in a legislative council, following the entry of the southern provinces.
1951: In protest to the formation of the legislative council 4 years earlier, Egypt abrogates the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and proclaims full Egyptian control over Sudan.
1953 February 12: The new leaders of Egypt sign an agreement with Britain granting self-government for Sudan, and the possibility of independence within 3 years.
November/December: Elections for a representative parliament, where the National Unionist Party wins an overwhelming victory.
1956 January 1: Sudan becomes independent, following a process where the National Unionist Party had left the line of uniting Sudan and Egypt, and begun to emphasize the need to control the southern regions.
— The 2 years of liberal democracy of Sudan proved to be difficult. The parties were badly organized, fractions appeared according to old division lines, like religion and tribes, but also new personal interests. Hence the political Sudan proved inapt to build the country in the way people had hoped for.
1958 November 16-17: General Ibrahim Abbud, commander in chief of the army, takes control over the political structures of Khartoum, dissolves the political parties, prohibiting assemblies and suspending newspapers. A Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, made up of 12 officers take control, and starts implementing needed economic reforms. Among the more important new measures were to abolish fixed prices on cotton. More problematic was that almost all important positions in administration and police were filled with northern Sudanese, alienating the southerners.
1962: Christian missionaries are asked to leave Sudan.
October: Strike in schools and widespread demonstrations in the south, as well as flight of Christians to neighbour countries.
1963 September: The beginning of an uprising led by the guerilla organization Anya Nya, aiming at better governance over southern Sudan. The government of Khartoum responded, with many clashes as the result.
1964 December: Demonstrations in Khartoum against the regime's politics toward southern Sudan. As the military forces were engaged in fighting in the south, the regime of Abbud was unable to quell the unrest, and Abbud resigned, and a transitional government was established.
1965 April/May: General elections, resulting a coalition government headed by Muhammad Mahjub of the Ummah party.
— Due to many divisions in the parliament, the new regime proved unable to address the many problems and challenges of the Sudanese society.
1969 May 25: A coup is staged by a group of officers headed by Gafar Mohammad an-Nimeiri, and dissolves the government.
1971: The southern Sudanese rebels unite under the leadership of Joseph Lagu.
July: An attempt to remove Nimeiri from power fails due to popular and foreign support of his regime. Nimeiri now made himself president, and made the Sudanese Socialist Union the only legal party. Moreover he put in extra efforts in finding a solution to the unrest in the south.
1972 February 27: Peace is achieved between Nimeiri and Lagu's forces, with the signing of the Abbis Abeba Agreement. The agreement secured autonomy for the southern provinces, united the 3 southern provinces into one, and established separate legislature and executive bodies, but joint army and police forces, with members from all over the country.
1970's: Following the peace agreement, Sudan becomes a country of investment for foreign interests. Especially does the food producing potential lead to many Arab-backed projects, like expanding the national infrastructure and the construction of the Jonglei Canal to make the As-Sudd swamps into agricultural land. Unfortunately, few of the projects were properly implemented, and never lead to the intended results. There never was any overall control, planning was insufficient and corruption became widespread.
1980's: Following the failed politics of investments in the 1970s', the 1980's Sudan is a land of deep economic crisis.
1983 May: The civil war of the south resumes as an army battalion of Bor led by Colonel John Garang breaks with Khartoum and establishes themselves in the bush. They are soon joined by many other discontent southerners.
June: Nimeiri divides the southern province into the original 3 provinces, violating the agreement of 1972.
September: In order to gain support from the increasingly important Muslim Brotherhood, Nimeiri introduces the so-called Islamic law system of Sharia for all of the country, even the southern Christian and animist region.
1985 April: Nimeiri is overthrown in a bloodless coup by General Aburrahman Siwar.
1986: Elections bring Sadiq al-Mahdi to position of prime minister.
1989 June 30: A new coup, this time staged by Lieutenant General Ahmad al-Bashir, removes al-Mahdi from power. The so-called Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation takes power, but behind this was the Islamic National Front, the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood.
— A period of extreme political suppression starts, where the new Islamist regime imprisons hundreds of political dissidents, bans trade unions and political parties, introduced heavy censorship of the press and removed the judiciary institutions. The politics of the Islamists have lead to the hardest suppression Sudan has seem and the virtual destruction of the economy and great poverty of the population.
1991 March: Sharia is reintroduced for all of the country.
1993: Bashir dissolves the military government, and introduces steps towards an elected legislature.
1996 March: Legislative elections are held.
— A coup against the government, but it is stopped.
April: A new military cabinet is installed.
— The UN imposes diplomatic sanctions on Sudan.
1998 June: A new constitution is introduced, allowing political parties and greater freedom of expression and association.
July: Famine strikes hard on Sudan, especially the south, with 2.6 million people in great danger. International aid organizations were often hindered in aiding the hungry, as the Khartoum based government tried to starve out the rebel forces.
1999 August: The government of Khartoum declares a cease-fire in the south, in order to aid the help actions among the starving population.
December: A state of emergency is declared by President Bashir, following a power struggle between him and religious leader and politician Hassan al-Turabi. The National Assembly is dissolved, and the cabinet resigns.
2000 December: Bashir is reelected as President. The main opposition parties boycotted the elections. Bashir extended the state of emergency until 2001.




By Tore Kjeilen