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General Informations About Sudan(1)


Sudan,u Republic of theuLand and ResourcesuClimate uNatural Resources uPlants and Animals uPlaces of Interest in Sudan:The Dinder National ParkuThe Southern RegionuThe Red Sea uThe Archaeological areasuPopulationuPopulation Characteristics uPrincipal Cities and Political Divisions uReligion and LanguageuEducation uCulture Libraries uMuseums u

EconomyuTransportation and CommunicationsuGovernmentuHealth and WelfareuSudan Main Political Parties


Sudan, Republic of the,

republic in northeastern Africa, the largest country of the African continent. It is bounded on the north by Egypt; on the east by the Red Sea, Eritrea, and Ethiopia; on the south by Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, formerly Zaire); and on the west by the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. Sudan has a total area of 2,505,813 sq km (about 967,495 sq mi). Khartoum is the capital and largest city.

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Land and Resources :

Sudan has a maximum length from north to south of more than 2250 km (1400 mi); the extreme width of the country is about 1730 km (about 1075 mi). It is divided into three separate natural regions, ranging from desert in the north, covering about 30 percent of all Sudan, through a vast semiarid region of steppes and low mountains in central Sudan, to a region of vast swamps (the As Sudd region) and rain forest in the south. Major topographical features of Sudan are the Nile River, its headstreams the White Nile and Blue Nile, and the tributaries of these rivers. The White Nile traverses the country from the Uganda border to a point near Khartoum, where it joins the Blue Nile to form the Nile proper. The Blue Nile rises in the Ethiopian Plateau and flows across east central Sudan. Of the Nile tributaries the most important is the ‘Atbarah, which also rises in the Ethiopian Plateau. The Libyan Desert, a barren waste broken by rugged uplands, covers most of Sudan west of the Nile proper. The Nubian Desert lies in the region east of the Nile proper and the ‘Atbarah. The Red Sea Hills are located along the coast. The highest point in Sudan, Kinyeti (3187 m/10,456 ft), is in the southeast.

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Climate

Sudan has a tropical climate. Seasonal variations are most sharply defined in the desert zones, where winter temperatures as low as 4.4 C (about 40 F) are common, particularly after sunset. Summer temperatures often exceed 43.3 C (about 110 F) in the desert zones, and rainfall is negligible. Dust storms, called haboobs, frequently occur. High temperatures also prevail to the south throughout the central plains region, but the humidity is generally low. In the vicinity of Khartoum the average annual temperature is about 26.7 C (about 80 F); and annual rainfall, most of which occurs between mid-June and September, is about 254 mm (about 10 in). Equatorial climatic conditions prevail in southern Sudan. In this region the average annual temperature is about 29.4 C (about 85 F), annual rainfall is more than 1015 mm (more than 40 in), and the humidity is excessive.

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Natural Resources

The primary natural resources of Sudan are water, supplied by the Nile River system, and fertile soil. Large areas of cultivable land are situated in the region between the Blue Nile and the ‘Atbarah and between the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Other cultivable land is in the narrow Nile Valley and in the valleys of the plains region. Irrigation is extensively employed in these areas. The country also has vast areas of grasslands and forests, including acacia forests, the source of gum arabic. Small deposits of many different minerals occur, the most important of which are chromium, copper, and iron ore. Petroleum was discovered in western Sudan in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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Plants and Animals

Vegetation is sparse in the desert zones of Sudan. Various species of acacia occur in the regions contiguous to the Nile Valley. Large forested areas are found in central Sudan, especially in the river valleys. Among the most common trees are the hashab, talh, heglig, and several species of acacia, notably sunt, laot, and kittr. Such trees as ebony, silag, and baobab are common in the Blue Nile Valley. Ebony, mahogany, and other varieties of timber trees are found in the White Nile Basin. Other species of indigenous vegetation include cotton, papyrus, castor-oil plants, and rubber plants.

Animal life is abundant in the plains and equatorial regions of Sudan. Elephants are numerous in the southern forests, and crocodiles and hippopotamuses abound in the rivers. Other large animals include giraffes, leopards, and lions. Monkeys, various species of tropical birds, and poisonous reptiles are also found, and insects—especially mosquitoes, seroot flies, and tsetse flies—infest the equatorial belt.

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Places of
Interest in Sudan

The
Dinder National Park

Is one of the largest in the world with its 2,530 square miles. There are lions, giraffes, leopards, kudus, bushbuck, and antelope etc. Together with several species of birds such as guinea fowl, vultures, pelicans, storks, king-fishers, and the beautiful crown cranes. Special three-day trips from Khartoum are organized in the high season (December-April).
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The
Southern Region

(capital Juba)Is characterized by green forests, open parkland, waterfalls, and treeless swamps abounding with birds and wild animals such as elephants, black and white rhinoceros, bongo, common eland, Nile lechwe, lesser kudu, oryx bisa, zebra, crocodiles, hippopotamus, hyenas, buffalo and the most extinct shoebill.
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The
Red Sea

With the transparency of its water, the variety of its fish and the charm of its marine gardens and coral reefs, is one of Sudan's main tourist attractions. There are places like Port Sudan, Suakin famous during the Ottoman era, the Arous Tourist Village at thirty miles north of Port Sudan. Erkowit at 4000 feet above sea-level and Jebel Marra, more than 10,000 feet, situated in western Sudan, are two famous mountains. Erkowit is covered with evergreen vegetation and on Jebel Marra there are waterfalls and volcanic lakes. It is an area of outstanding scenic beauty.
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The Archaeological
areas

Stretch along the two banks of the river Nile north of Khartoum to Wadi Halfa. The monuments of Bajrawiya, Naga, Musawarat, El-kurru, Nuri, and Merwe are among the most fascinating in the whole area.

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Population

The population of Sudan is composed principally of Arabs in the north and black Africans in the south; many Arabs are of mixed ancestry. Other ethnic groups in northern Sudan include the Beja, Jamala, and Nubian peoples. The major black ethnic groups in southern Sudan are the Azande, Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk. About 58 percent of the economically active people are engaged in agricultural or pastoral activities; a quarter are employed in services and less than 10 percent in manufacturing and mining.

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Population Characteristics

The 1996 estimated population was 31,547,543, giving the country an overall population density of about 13 persons per sq km (about 33 per sq mi). The most densely settled area is at the juncture of the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

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Principal Cities and Political Divisions

The principal city is Khartoum, the capital; other major cities include Omdurman and Khartoum North, major industrial centers; and Port Sudan, a seaport on the Red Sea. Sudan is divided into 26 states.

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Religion and Language

About 70 percent of the people of Sudan are Muslim, some 25 percent follow traditional religions, and most of the remainder are Christian. The people of northern Sudan are predominantly Sunni Muslims (see Sunnites). Most of the people in the south either practice traditional religions or are Christian. The official language of Sudan is Arabic; English is widely spoken, and African languages are used in the south. A program of Arabization is in place to encourage greater use of Arabic in the south.

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Education

Education is free but not compulsory in Sudan. In the early 1990s about 2.3 million pupils annually attended elementary schools, and about 696,000 students were enrolled in secondary schools. In addition, some 3600 students attended vocational and teacher-training institutions. Just over 60,000 students attended institutions of higher education, which included the University of Khartoum (1956), Omdurman Islamic University (1912), the University of Juba (1975), and the College of Fine and Applied Art (1946), located in Khartoum.

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Culture

The northern two-thirds of Sudan is an area of Islamic culture. European culture and religion have influenced the southern peoples, but traditional customs remain strong.

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Libraries

The library of the University of Khartoum is noted for its African and Sudanese collection. Other libraries in Sudan include the Flinders Petrie Library, named after the British Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie, the Geological Research Authority Library, and the Sudan Medical Research Laboratories Library, all of which are in Khartoum. A major collection of historical documents is housed in the National Records Office, in Khartoum.

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Museums

The Sudan National Museum, in Khartoum, has collections of ancient artifacts. The Khalifa’s House, in Omdurman, contains a collection of relics of the Mahdists (see History below). Also of interest are the Sudan Natural History Museum and the Ethnographical Museum, both in Khartoum.

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