Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. The first civil war ended in 1972 but broke out again in 1983. The second war and famine-related effects resulted in more than four million people displaced and, according to rebel estimates, more than two million deaths over a period of two decades.
Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence will be held.
Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Chad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
Sudan is located in northeastern Africa and is the largest country in Africa, dominated by the Nile and its tributaries. Sudan shares borders to the north with Egypt; to the east with the Red Sea, Eritrea, and Ethiopia; to the south with Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and to the west with the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. Sudan is slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US.
Area Total: 2,505,810 sq km;
Natural Resources: petroleum; small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, hydropower
Land Use: arable land: 6.78%; permanent crops: 0.17%; other: 93.05%
Environment Issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; wildlife populations threatened by excessive hunting; soil erosion; desertification; periodic drought
Population: 40,218,455 (July 2008 est.)
- 0-14 years: 40.7% (male 8,535,551/female 8,173,616)
- 15-64 years: 56.8% (male 11,745,683/female 11,603,906)
- 65 years and over: 2.5% (male 532,986/female 496,101)
Infant mortality rate: total: 82,43 deaths/1,000 live births; 4.48 children born/woman
Life expectancy at birth: male: 50.49 year; female: 52.4 years
Ethnic groups: black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum), indigenous beliefs 25%
Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English; program of “Arabization” in process
Literacy:(definition: age 15 and over can read and write) Total population: 61.1%; Male: 71.8%; Female: 50.5%
Government; Government of National Unity (GNU) – the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a power-sharing government under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA); the NCP, which came to power by military coup in 1989, is the majority partner; the agreement stipulates national elections in 2009.
25 states (wilayat, singular – wilayah); A’ali an Nil (Upper Nile), Al Bahr al Ahmar (Red Sea), Al Buhayrat (Lakes), Al Jazirah (El Gezira), Al Khartum (Khartoum), Al Qadarif (Gedaref), Al Wahdah (Unity), An Nil al Abyad (White Nile), An Nil al Azraq (Blue Nile), Ash Shamaliyah (Northern), Bahr al Jabal (Bahr al Jabal), Gharb al Istiwa’iyah (Western Equatoria), Gharb Bahr al Ghazal (Western Bahr al Ghazal), Gharb Darfur (Western Darfur), Janub Darfur (Southern Darfur), Janub Kurdufan (Southern Kordofan), Junqali (Jonglei), Kassala (Kassala), Nahr an Nil (Nile), Shamal Bahr al Ghazal (Northern Bahr al Ghazal), Shamal Darfur (Northern Darfur), Shamal Kurdufan (Northern Kordofan), Sharq al Istiwa’iyah (Eastern Equatoria), Sinnar (Sinnar), Warab (Warab)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Charge d’Affaires: Akec Khoc Aciew Khoc
Chancery: 2210 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone:  (202) 338-8565
FAX:  (202) 667-2406
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Charge d’Affaires: Alberto M. FERNANDEZ
Embassy: Sharia Ali Abdul Latif Avenue, Khartoum
Mailing address: P. O. Box 699, Khartoum; APO AE 09829
telephone:  (183) 774701/2/3
FAX:  (183) 774137
Note: US Consul in Cairo provides backup service for Khartoum
Time difference: UTC+3 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Daylight Savings Time)