57 Interesting Facts About Sudan

Sudan is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as an observer in the World Trade Organization.

The National Assembly regulates the politics of Sudan. And the legal system in the country is based on Islamic law. Let’s learn more about this war-torn country with some interesting facts covering various aspects from history and the present.

Interesting facts about Sudan’s history

1. The official name of Sudan is the Republic of the Sudan (Jumhuriyat as-Sudan).

2. The name “Sudan” translates to “the land of the blacks” in Arabic. It is taken from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān.

3. The independent state of the Republic of Sudan was born on July 9, 2011.

4. Sudan was once the largest and the most geographically diverse state in South Africa. However, it was split into two countries in July 2011. Now, it is the third largest country in Africa (after Algeria and Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Map of Sudan
Interesting facts about Sudan: Map of Sudan

5. By 1945, two political parties had emerged in Sudan. One was the National Unionist Party and the other was the Umma Party.

6. On January 1, 1956, Sudan gained independence from Egypt and the UK.

7. The White Nile and the Blue Nile are the two tributaries of the Nile. These two tributaries merge at Khartoum—the capital of Sudan—becoming the Nile River proper before flowing into Egypt. Its other major tributaries are the Bahr el Ghazal, Sobat and Atbarah rivers.

8. The river Nile runs from the north to the south of Sudan.

9. The war in Darfur began in February 2003, causing an estimated death count of 200,000 to 400,000 people, and displacing nearly two million others.

10. Large numbers of refugees also entered Sudan from neighboring countries such as Chad and Ethiopia.

Facts about Sudan for kids

11. January first is the national day in Sudan.

12. South Sudan is the world’s newest nation.

13. Deriba Caldera is the highest point in Sudan at an elevation of 3,042 m, located in Darfur in the western part of Sudan.

14. The Red Sea (also the Erythraean Sea) is the lowest point in Sudan.

15. The metric system is the legal standard, but a highly diverse system based on Egyptian and British standards is in local use for weights and measures.

16. The area occupied by Sudan is slightly more than one quarter the size of the United States, as per encyclopedia.com.

17. 1200 people dive in the Red Sea in Sudan every year.

18. With 114 native languages and more than 500 accents, Sudan has a diverse multilingual population.

19. As per the CIA, the literacy rate for the total population of Sudan is 75.9% (2015 est.).

20. After the formation of South Sudan, the size of Sudan was reduced by 25%.

21. In 2016, 26.4% of the population of Sudan uses the internet.

22. Sudan has one doctor for every 10,000 people.

Some important statistics

23. The majority of children die before reaching the age of five.

24. As per nationmaster.com, the employment rate for adults in Sudan is 47.3.

25. As per the 2008 World Refugee Survey, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers lived in Sudan in 2007.

26. There are more pyramids in one small section of the northern Sudanese desert than there are in the whole of Egypt, according to Slate.com.

27. There are approximately 50,000 deaf people in Sudan.

28. Sudan is a net importer of food.

29. Sudan has a total border length of 6,751 kilometers.

Facts about economy and trade

30. Petroleum is Sudan’s major natural resource.

31. After the separation of South Sudan from the North, an estimated 5-7 billion barrels of oil reserves have been lost to South Sudan.

32. Sudan has 18,630 km² of irrigated land.

33. A significant part of the economy of Sudan is the ox-driven water wheel. The wheel, which was first introduced in Sudan about four centuries before Christ, is still in operation in the country.

34. The country also has significant deposits of chromium ore, copper, iron ore, mica, silver, gold, tungsten and zinc.

35. Sudan suffers from: periodic droughts, desertification, soil erosion, declining wildlife and inadequate supply of potable water.

36. Soil in Sudan can be divided into three categories: the sandy soils of the northern and west central areas, the clay soils of the central region, and the laterite soils of the south.

37. A haboob, a type of an intense dust storm, can occur in Central Sudan (May through July), reducing visibility to zero.

38. The domestic processing of crude petroleum began in late 1964 when the Port Sudan oil refinery went into operation.

39. U.A.E., China and Canada are the top export partners of Sudan, while China, India and Saudi Arabia are its top import partners.

40. Precious stones and metals represent the largest export items, while industrial machinery is the largest item category imported by Sudan.

Related: Interesting facts about Cameroon

Civil wars in Sudan

41. The first civil war occurred in the country during 1955-1972, and the second civil war happened during 1983-2005.

42. In 1972, the first civil war ended after 17 years. The end was marked by the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement between the two parties.

43. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 brought an end to the second civil war.

44. The second civil war in Sudan became the reason for the death of two and half million people.

45. The reason behind the conflict in Sudan is not just religious differences. The conflict is also causeed by a lack of availability of limited natural resources like water and pastureland to sustain life. Oil reserves are another cause of the conflict. One country – South Sudan – has an abundance of oil reserves, while the other – North Sudan or the Republic of Sudan – has the machinery to process it.

46. Sudan is the 16th largest country in the world by land area.

47. On August 20, 1998, the United States launched cruise missiles that destroyed a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Khartoum. The company was alleged to be manufacturing chemical weapons under the sponsorship of Osama bin Laden.

48. In September 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell deemed the Darfur conflict a genocide and called it the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.

Cultural facts about Sudan

49. Sudan is nicknamed the Arab world’s food basket, as it accounts for 45% of arable land in the Arab world.

50. In Sudan, priests and high-ranking officials would often be buried with a small pyramid atop their grave.

51. The Neur tribe of southern Sudan has a tradition of “ghost marriage.” A man may marry a woman as a stand-in for his deceased brother. The children that are born of this union will be considered descendants of the dead man–the “ghost” is the socially recognized father.

52. In Sudan, the minimum age for a male to get married is 18 or above, while that for a female is 16 years or above.

A traditional house in Wadi Halfa, Sudan
A traditional house in Wadi Halfa, Sudan. image credit – David Stanley

53. Hospitality takes center stage in Sudan. When a visitor arrives, refreshments are served almost immediately, followed by meals. Irrespective of the host’s economic situation or the contents of their refrigerator, the guests will be offered everything they have.

54. Sudan boasts the first female parliamentarian in Africa and the Middle East (1965), and the first female Minister of Health (1974).

55. Sudan brought the Middle East its first female judge, cinematographer, football referee, army members and police officers.

56. Recent excavations at Meroe and Mussawwarat es-Sufra revealed temples with walls and statues covered with gold leaf.

57. Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president since 1989, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, and his country ranks near the bottom of the press freedom index.

Fast facts about Sudan

Independence day1 January 1956 (from Egypt and the UK)
National anthem"Nahnu Djundulla Djundulwatan" (We Are the Army of God and of Our Land)
National anthem tune
Capital CityKhartoum
15°38′N 032°32′E
Largest CityOmdurman
Total area1,861,484 sq km
National symbolssecretary bird; national colors: red, white, black, green
Agricultural land100%
Population51,035,384 (2016)
Official LanguageArabic and English
BordersEgypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad and Libya.
CurrencySudanese pound (SDG)
Life expectancy60.79 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Time ZoneEAT (UTC+3)
Government typepresidential republic
Industriesoil, cotton ginning, textiles, cement, edible oils, sugar, soap distilling, shoes, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, armaments, automobile/light truck assembly
Exports$4.392 billion (2015 est.)
gold; oil and petroleum products; cotton, sesame, livestock, peanuts, gum arabic, sugar
Imports$8.287 billion (2015 est.)
foodstuffs, manufactured goods, refinery and transport equipment, medicines, chemicals, textiles, wheat
Natural resourcespetroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold; hydropower
Terraingenerally flat, featureless plain; desert dominates the north
Birth rate29.19 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate7.66 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio1.02 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Internet country code.sd
Internet users9.61 million
percent of population: 26.6% (July 2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$4,300 (2015 est.)
Calling Code+259
Drives on theRight


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