Sudan Fast Facts

Updated 2:33 PM EDT, Mon May 3, 2021
CNN —  

Here’s a look at Sudan, a North African country bordering the Red Sea, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

About Sudan

(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 1,861,484 sq km slightly less than one-fifth the size of the United States.

Population: 46,751,152 (July 2021 est.)

Median age: 18.3 years

Capital: Khartoum

Ethnic groups: unspecified Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Fallata

Religion: Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority

Unemployment: 19.6% (2017 est.)

Other Facts

Sudan was the largest country in Africa prior to the secession of South Sudan in 2011. It is now the third largest, after Algeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sudan lost most of its oil reserves, estimated to be between five and seven billion barrels, when South Sudan seceded.

The United Nations has called the Sudan/Darfur conflict one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Between 2003 and 2008, at least 300,000 people were killed, and three million displaced.

More than 62,000 refugees have fled Ethiopia into Sudan since November 2020, after the Ethiopian government began carrying out a military campaign in its Tigray region. (as of March 15, 2021)

READ MORE: Climate change could render Sudan “uninhabitable.”

Timeline

1955 - Prior to Sudan’s independence, conflict breaks out between Muslim Arabs in the north and Christian/Animist Africans in the south.

January 1, 1956 - Sudan gains its independence after an agreement between the United Kingdom and Egypt.

1972 - Seventeen years of civil war end with the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement between the north and the south.

1977 - Oil is discovered in southwestern Sudan. Civil war in the 1980s and 1990s prevents much exploration or development of the oil deposits.

1980s - Prolonged droughts put pressure on water and farming resources.

1983 - Col. John Garang de Mabior leads a mutiny of army soldiers, reigniting the civil war.

June 30, 1989 - Lt. Gen. Omar al-Bashir seizes power in a coup.

August 12, 1993 - The United States designates Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

October 1993 - Bashir becomes president of Sudan when the Revolutionary Command Council is dissolved, and Sudan is restored to civilian rule.

March 1996 - Bashir is reelected president with over 75% of the vote.

December 2000 - Bashir is reelected president with over 85% of the vote.

February 2003 - The conflict in Darfur begins when black African rebel groups attack government property, accusing the government of neglecting Darfur in favor of the Arab population in Sudan.

2005 - A comprehensive peace agreement is signed by representatives from the north and the south. Part of the agreement includes independence for southern Sudan within six years.

July 14, 2008 - The International Criminal Court (ICC) files genocide charges against Bashir.

March 4, 2009 - The ICC at The Hague issues an arrest warrant for Bashir for a five-year campaign of violence in Darfur.

April 26, 2010 - Sudan’s National Election Commission certifies Bashir as the winner of recent presidential elections with 68% of the vote.

July 2010 - The ICC issues a second arrest warrant for Bashir. The warrant adds three new counts of genocide to the 2009 warrant.

February 7, 2011 - The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announces that 98.83% have voted for separation from the north. US President Barack Obama declares Washington’s intention to recognize South Sudan as an independent state in July, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is scheduled to end.

February 21, 2011 - A party official announces that Bashir will not seek reelection when his term expires in 2015.

April 27, 2011 - In a speech on state television, Bashir claims the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei on behalf of the north.

May 22, 2011 - The United Nations condemns the violence over the oil-rich region of Abyei after multiple clashes between southern Sudanese forces and the northern Sudanese Armed Forces.

May 31, 2011 - The African Union announces that Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement over Abyei, in which a demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone is established.

June 5, 2011 - Fighting between the northern Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army of southern Sudan erupts near Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan state. The UN also reports violence in neighboring Blue Nile and African Unity states.

June 15, 2011 - The United Nations says that 102,000 people have fled from the disputed region of Abyei.

June 20, 2011 - Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement calling for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Abyei and for joint supervision of the disputed region.

July 9, 2011 - South Sudan becomes an independent state, with a population of eight million people.

July 12, 2011 - Bashir announces economic austerity measures in a speech to parliament. He also details plans for a new constitution, new currency, and greater political freedom.

September 8, 2011 - According to UN officials, the governments of Sudan and South Sudan reach an agreement that will allow the withdrawal of their troops from the disputed border region of Abyei.

October 2011 - In his first visit to Khartoum since South Sudan’s independence, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir meets with Bashir to “reach final solutions” to address continuing differences between their countries.

October 31, 2011 - Government officials announce that Sudanese troops have killed hundreds of rebel fighters during a battle in the border province of Southern Kordofan.

January 23, 2012 - South Sudan shuts down oil production after accusing Sudan of stealing $815 million of its oil. Sudan says it confiscated the crude to make up for unpaid fees to use the pipeline and processing facilities in its territory.

January 24, 2012 - According to Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 78,000 people have fled Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since August of last year.

February 10, 2012 - During talks mediated by the African Union, Sudan and South Sudan sign a nonaggression pact aimed at bringing peace to the border region.

April 12, 2012 - South Sudan forces claim the oil fields in the town of Heglig, which account for about half of Sudan’s oil production.

April 20, 2012 - South Sudan announces the withdrawal of its troops from the contested, oil-rich area of Heglig. Sudan claims that the South Sudan troops were “forced to withdraw.”

April 29, 2012 - Bashir declares a state of emergency for cities in the provinces of South Kordofan, White Nile and Sinnar, which are on the eastern half of its border with South Sudan.

September 27, 2012 - Bashir and Kiir sign a deal to resume oil exports and establish a demilitarized zone and principles of border demarcation, but do not reach a deal on the status of Abyei, a disputed region claimed by both countries.

January 6, 2013 - Bashir and Kiir agree to temporary arrangements for the oil-rich Abyei region.

March 8, 2013 - Defense ministers from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement to soon withdraw their respective military forces from the demilitarized zone between the countries.

April 6, 2013 - A splinter group from the Justice and Equality Movement, the largest Darfurian rebel group, signs a peace agreement based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with the Sudanese government.

April 9, 2013 - Countries pledge $3.7 billion at a conference in Doha, Qatar, for the reconstruction and development of Darfur.

January 6, 2014 - Bashir travels to South Sudan for talks with Kiir. Unrest in South Sudan has left more than 1,000 people dead and cut South Sudan’s oil output, affecting the economies of both countries.

February 1, 2014 - The International Committee of the Red Cross says that Sudanese authorities have ordered the Red Cross to halt its activities in the Sudan, citing technical reasons. The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has worked in Sudan for 36 years.

January 28, 2016 - Bashir orders the opening of the border with South Sudan for the first time since the South seceded five years ago, Sudan’s state news agency reports.

September 29, 2016 - The Sudanese government is accused of using chemical weapons against the people of Darfur, according to a report released by Amnesty International. According to the organization, up to 250 people have been killed by chemical weapons since the Sudanese military campaign began in January.

October 12, 2017 - The US Treasury lifts various economic sanctions against Sudan. It will remain subject to separate United Nations Security Council sanctions related to its violent crackdown on opposition groups in Darfur, but will no longer be subject to a 20-year-old US trade embargo and will have access to previously frozen assets.

February 22, 2019 - Bashir declares a year-long state of emergency in response to months of protests nationwide and calls for his resignation. The protests are organized by a group of professional unions including doctors, lawyers, teachers and students and supported by two of the largest opposition parties.

April 11, 2019 - Bashir is arrested and forced from power in a military coup. The Transitional Military Council (TMC) assumes control for three years to oversee a transition of power.

May 13, 2019 - Sudan’s Public Prosecutor’s Office has instructed expedited charges be bought against Bashir in the killing of protestors, according to a statement released to CNN.

June 3, 2019 - Troops attack pro-democracy demonstrators in Khartoum, killing at least 100 people.

June 4, 2019 - TMC leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan calls for national elections within nine months.

July 5, 2019 - Sudan’s military leadership and the country’s pro-democracy movement announce that a power-sharing agreement has been reached. Under the agreement, TMC will oversee the country’s leadership for the first 21 months. A civilian administration will rule the council during the following 18 months. The joint sovereign council will consist of five members of the military and five civilians, in addition to one civilian chosen by consensus from both sides.

August 17, 2019 - Members of Sudan’s military leadership and the country’s pro-democracy movement sign a power-sharing agreement.

August 20, 2019 - Sudan’s generals and opposition alliance form a sovereign council that will lead the country during the three-year transitional period until the next election. The head of TMC, Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, will lead the new 11-member council, according to TMC Spokesman Shams Al-Din Al Kabashi. Council members include two women – one of them represents the opposition and the other is a neutral Christian member. Members of the council are sworn in the following day.

December 14, 2019 - Bashir is sentenced to two years in a correctional facility after being found guilty of corruption and illegitimate possession of foreign currency.

February 11, 2020 - A member of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council announces that all Sudanese wanted by the ICC will be handed over, including Bashir.

February 13, 2020 - Sudan agrees to pay a $30 million settlement to the families of 17 US Navy sailors killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in a bid to get itself removed from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism.

May 1, 2020 - Sudan’s government has criminalized female genital mutilation (FGM), a government spokesperson tells CNN, clamping down on a practice that most of the country’s women and girls have endured. According to United Nations data around 88% of the female population in Sudan have suffered FGM, making it one of the world’s most-affected nations.

October 23, 2020 - US President Donald Trump announces that Sudan and Israel have agreed to normalize relations.

December 14, 2020 - The US Embassy in Khartoum announces that the United States has lifted Sudan’s state sponsor of terrorism designation. The two countries reached an agreement in October for Sudan to be lifted from the list.

March 31, 2021 - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement that the United States has received the $335 million settlement from Sudan that will be paid out to victims and families of individuals impacted by the 1998 bombings at the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole and the murder of a USAID employee in Khartoum. The multi-million dollar settlement was a key component in lifting Sudan’s decades-old state sponsor of terrorism designation, which came with a series of restrictions including a ban on defense exports and sales and restrictions on US foreign assistance.