Sudan (also known as "North Sudan" and officially "Republic of the Sudan") is a large, hot, dry, and impoverished country in northeastern Africa. Its capital is Khartoum and it gained its independence from Egypt and the UK in January 1956. Since gaining independence, Sudan has been doubly cursed by fundamentalist Islamic regimes and civil war. There are approximately 45 million Sudanese living there and it has one of the worst infant mortality rates and life expectancies in the world (forty percent are below the poverty line).
Darfur is a region in western Sudan that, since the 1980s, has been the site of war and genocide. In the 2000s, the region's plight became the target of Western concern, leading to the development of humanitarian political campaigns like Save Darfur Coalition and occasional outbreaks of celebrity activism. Eventually, the activism stopped. The genocide did not.
On July 9, 2011 Sudan was officially split up into regular Sudan and South Sudan. South Sudan is much more animist and Christian than its northern neighbor. Its capital is Juba. It has adopted English as its official language, even though hardly anyone speaks it natively and the local lingua franca is Juba Arabic, a pidgin of Arabic. [note 1] It is very, very poor.
The moment the country split up, an untold number of maps around the world became incorrect and outdated.[note 2]
- South Sudan is, however, relatively distinct culturally from Arabic and Islamic culture. Unlike northern Sudan, it was never the seat of an ancient Islamic civilization, and its population has always consisted mainly of tribal pastoralists speaking Nilo-Saharan langues
- The ones that haven't already been out of date since the breakup of Yugoslavia, of course. Okay, there were other changes, but Yugoslavia was the major one.