1. A region of North Africa south of the Sahara and Libyan deserts; extends from the Atlantic to the Red Sea; Also called: Soudan.
2. A republic in northeastern Africa; Also called: Soudan, Republic of the Sudan.
3. City in Texas (USA); zip code 79371.
Country in NE Africa, bounded N by Egypt, NE by the Red Sea, E by Ethiopia and Eritrea, S by Kenya, Uganda, and Zaire, W by the Central African Republic and Chad, and NW by Libya. It is the largest country in Africa.
After a military coup April 1985 a transitional constitution was introduced, providing for a 501-member legislative assembly, a supreme council under a president, and a council of ministers led by a prime minister.
The assembly was charged with the task of producing a new constitution and, after a further transitional period, of declaring itself a parliament, subject to election every four years. In 1991 a federal system was introduced, the country being divided into nine states, each with a high degree of autonomy. In 1992 a transitional 300-member national assembly was formed, prior to the holding of free elections, but the army retained ultimate control.
In ancient times, the region was known as Nubia and was taken over by the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Nubians were later converted to Coptic Christianity in the 6th century and to Islam in the 15th century when Arabs invaded. Sudan was again ruled by Egypt from 1820. A revolt began 1881, led by a sheik who took the title of Mahdi and captured Khartoum 1885. It was subdued by an Anglo-Egyptian army under Lord Kitchener 1896–98 and administered as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium from 1899.
The Sudan, as it was called, achieved independence as a republic 1956. Two years later a coup ousted the civil administration, and a military government was set up; in 1964 this was overthrown and civilian rule was reinstated. Five years later the army returned in a coup led by Col Gaafar Mohammed Nimeri. All political bodies were abolished, the Revolutionary Command Council set up, and the country's name changed to the Democratic Republic of Sudan. Close links were established with Egypt, and in 1970 an agreement in principle was reached for eventual union. In 1972 this should have become, with the addition of Syria, the Federation of Arab Republics, but internal opposition blocked both developments. In 1971 a new constitution was adopted, Nimeri confirmed as president, and the Sudanese Socialist Union declared the only party.
The most serious problem confronting Nimeri was open aggression between the Muslim north and the chiefly Christian south, which dated back to 1955. At a conference in Addis Ababa 1972 he granted the three southern provinces a considerable degree of autonomy, but fighting continued. Nimeri turned to the West, and the US, for support. By 1974 he had established a national assembly, but his position still relied on army backing. In 1983 he was reelected for a third term, but regional problems persisted.
Nimeri imposed strict Islamic law (Shari'a) throughout the country in 1983, alienating the south and prompting the creation of a rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). The government's economic policies further contributed to widespread unrest. In 1985 military incursions by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the military wing of the SPLM, into the Nuba hills in S Kordofan Province set the Baggara Arabs (mainly cattle herders) against the Nuba (mainly farmers), creating tens of thousands of Nuba refugees.
In March 1985 a general strike was provoked by a sharp devaluation of the Sudanese pound and an increase in bread prices. Nimeri was in the US when army mutiny threatened. One of his supporters, General Swar al-Dahab, took over in a bloodless coup. He set up a transitional military council and held elections for a legislative assembly April 1986, contested by more than 40 parties, the three most significant being the New National Umma Party (NNUP), which won 99 seats; the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 63 seats; and the National Islamic Front, 51 seats. A coalition government was formed, with Ahmed Ali El-Mirghani (DUP) as president of the Supreme Council and Sadiq al-Mahdi (NNUP) as prime minister. Strikes and shortages persisted, with inflation running at about 100% and the highest national debt in Africa, and in July 1987 a state of emergency was declared.
In Oct 1987 the prime minister announced the breakup of the government of national unity and the formation of a new coalition. In Dec 1988 the signing of a peace agreement with the SPLA, led by John Garang de Mabior, threatened to split the coalition and eventually led to a military takeover by General Ahmed el-Bashir July 1989. El-Bashir established a 15 man Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) with himself as head of state and government, the military having foiled the second attempt in six months to restore former strongman Gaafar Nimeri to power. Bashir's government arrested al-Mahdi and announced that its first priority was to bring an end to the six-year war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south. As part of an effort to do so, it announced that the country would be divided into nine provinces, under a federal system. Early in 1992 the government declared a jihad (holy war) against the Nuba, and 163,000 were subjected to forced relocation. In March 1993 SPLA leaders John Garang and.
Riek Machar announced a unilateral cease-fire in their ten years' war with the government and reconciliation talks began.
In Oct 1993 the RCC was replaced by a civilian government, but with the army retaining ultimate control. In Feb 1994 the government renewed its attacks on rebel strongholds in the south, taking advantage of divisions that had emerged within the SPLA leadership.
In all, 1–3 million were killed in political violence 1983–94; there were an estimated 700,000 people internally displaced by 1994. Systematic abuse of human rights by all factions continued 1995.