Sudan History

Independence Day: January 01, 1956

Head of state: Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

Head of government: Abdalla Hamdok

Political system: Transitional Government (Sovereignty Council)

Democracy Status Index (BTI): Rank 134 of 137 (2020)

Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 173 of 180 (2019)

Ibrahim Index of African Governance: Rank 48 of 54 (2020)

In the history of Sudan human culture until 70,000 years ago detectable. In the area of Kerma, between the 3rd and 4th cataracts of the Nile, houses were built as early as the 8th millennium BC And Neolithic settlements around 4500 BC Historically proven. The first state was formed in the Kerma culture around 1700 BC. And is known as the “old Nubia”. After Nubia was temporarily subjugated by the Egyptians, with the establishment of Napata, a Sudanese dynasty, the kingdom of Kush, conquered all of Egypt (713-663 BC). The Jebel Barkal, the holy mountain of the Kushites, is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List, as has the archaeological site of Meroe in Nubia since 2011, whose pyramids, ruins of temples and city walls have been preserved. The Meroitic era ended around 350 BC. Chr.

In early Christianity, Christians lived in and around Kerma, Old Dongola, and Soba. Excavations of churches and buildings from that period reveal magnificent wall paintings, jewelry, and pottery that indicate high culture.

The Kings of Kush (01: 09.45 hours)

Documentation on research into the Nubian Empire of Kush


The Islamization in Sudan began at about 1260. Muslims, coming from Egypt, defeated the Christian cities, first Old Dongola and later – with the support of Funj (Black sultans) – was Soba, south of Khartoum, destroyed. Intensive Arabization and Islamization in the 16th and 17th centuries united the cultural and linguistic diversity of the population groups in northern and central Sudan.

Ottoman-Egyptian rule

In 1820, the Ottoman Khedive of Egypt, Mehmet Ali, began the conquest of Sudan. By 1840 the north of Sudan was completely occupied. The main targets of the invasion were gold, wood and ivory, the raw materials to the south. Despite intensive and loss-making efforts, however, the Egyptians never succeeded in achieving complete control of the south, including a functioning administration.


According to businesscarriers, the general dissatisfaction of the Sudanese population, caused by the exploitation and corruption by the Ottoman Empire, erupted in the politically and religiously moving “Mahdiya” (1885-1898). Mohammed Ahmed from Dongola (1843-1885), who called himself “Mahdi” (Messiah), had the qualities of a charismatic leader. His charisma earned him the reputation of a saint and through a clever military strategy he succeeded in defeating the Ottoman army. He himself appealed to divine inspiration. His military successes also led the Sudanese population to believe that Mohammed Ahmed could be the Mahdi prophesied in the writings of the Koran. The Mahdi died shortly after the capture of Khartoum.Khalifa Abdullahi lost the infamous battle of Kereri in front of Omdurman in 1898 against the British General Kitchener. The Mahdiya is seen as the forerunner of the northern Sudanese national movement, which as a religious and political movement could not take root in South Sudan.

British colonialism

The British colonialism that followed (1896-1955) was mainly strategic in nature, affecting the sources of the Nile, which were of great importance for British domination in Egypt and East Africa. A condominium formed the form of rule in which Great Britain and Egypt jointly exercised power in Sudan, but Egypt remained the junior partner. However, this only referred to the Arab-dominated north, where modest economic development was also promoted. The south of the country was, however, with the so-called “Southern Policy”the British cut off from the north. Economic interests or an orderly administration in South Sudan were only of subordinate importance from the start and led, among other things, to the problems between South and North Sudan that continue to this day.


Ismail al-Azhari led Sudan to independence on January 1, 1956 as the first prime minister. Sudan was confronted with two fundamental problems: building state institutions and nation building. The lack of flexibility of the constitutional system, which did not allow compromises between the interests of the central government and the regional elites, resulted in South Sudan largely evading central authority. In the 1958 elections, South Sudan won 46 out of 183 seats in parliament and formed a new “Southern Block Party”. South Sudan claimed a separate apparatus of civil servants, English as the official language and its own university. Other groups in the west and east of the country also called for decentralization. The increasing collapse of the central government was due to the fragmentation of the parties. Their lack of resolve, combined with a profound economic crisis, created the conditions for the army to come to power. The following years were characterized by repressive state structures and marked several attempted and successful coups. The longest post-colonial war in Africa, which began in 1955, and thus even before independence was proclaimed, initially interrupted by the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972 until 1983, finally ended with the peace agreement in 2005.

Pyramids of Meroe Sudan