Africa's largest country in land area, Sudan is dominated by the Nile and its tributaries, with mountains rising along its Red Sea coast and along the western border with Chad. Sudan's name in Arabic means "land of the blacks."
Since independence from Britain in 1956, a north-south war has dominated Sudan's history, pitting Arab Muslims in the northern desert against black Christians and animists in the southern wetlands. Muslim Arabs control the government in Khartoum, but are only about 39 percent of the population. Blacks, or Africans, make up 52 percent of Sudanese, and are most numerous in southern and western Sudan. The country is further divided with hundreds of black, Arab, and non-Arab ethnicities, tribes, and languages.
Capital: Khartoum; 4,286,000
Area: 1,861,484 square kilometres (718,723 square miles)
Language: Arabic, Nubian, Ta Bedawie, many local dialects
Religion: Sunni Muslim, indigenous beliefs, Christian
Currency: Sudanese pound
Life Expectancy: 55
GDP per Capita: U.S. $2,300
Literacy Percent: 61
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