Sudan is among the largest countries in the world and is located in Africa. This third world country has had a rollercoaster ride battling some of the biggest political, social and economic crises that a country can face.
Terrorism, civil war, economic downfall are just some of the many diseases that this resilient country has lived through. Sudan has one of the world’s largest oil reserves; however, the reserves are now distributed between Sudan and South Sudan.
Here are 21 of the most intriguing Sudan facts to give you a glimpse into the culture, life and history of this unfortunate country.
Here Are 21 of the Most Intriguing Sudan Facts You Didn’t Know
1. Sudanese Brides Are Purified before Marriage
A custom of the Sudanese people is that a bride-to-be Sudanese woman has to be purified through the smoke released by burning Talih wood. This is done on the eve of the wedding ceremony to signify their passage into a married life.
The smoke is sometimes also used as an alternative to Botox as it is believed to have skin rejuvenating properties.
2. Sudan Supplies 80% of the Entire World’s Gum
80% of the entire world’s Gum Arabic supply is grown in Sudan. Gum Arabic is a natural binding substance that is used to manufacture a large variety of products such as soft drinks, gum, shampoo, marshmallows and a lot more.
3. Nile River Filled with Alcohol
In 1983, Al-Nimeriry – the president of Sudan at the time – Imposed the Sharia law over the country and as a part of this enforcement, the entire country’s stock of alcohol was dumped into the Nile river which is the major source of water supply in most Sudanese homes. Alcohol is banned in Sudan till this day.
4. Sudan has More Pyramids Than Egypt
Sudan is home to more than 200 pyramids, surpassing even Egypt, making it the world’s largest pyramid collection.
5. Youngest Country in the World
In 2011, a majority of the Sudanese people residing in the southern part of Sudan voted in favor of being liberated from the north. This earned Southern Sudan the title of being the youngest country in the world.
6. Tradition of Ghost Marriage
According to the ancient Nilotic tradition, the Sudanese people have a custom of ghost marriages. A ghost marriage is when a man weds his deceased brother’s widow so that he can give the deceased an heir. The man is symbolized as a representative of the deceased man and any children that come from this new marriage are regarded to be of the late brother.
7. Sudan has a Fugitive President
According to the law, Al-Bashir – the president of Sudan – can be arrested anywhere. However, the African Union refuses to do so on the grounds that it can potentially throw Sudan into chaos. Therefore, the Sudanese government and many other African countries that are loyal to the African Union do not arrest him.
8. Theft Equals Amputation of Right Arm
As a part of the Sharia law imposed on Sudan, any person who steals a valuable of another will be punished by having his right arm amputated. Moreover, aggravated robbery or any other violent felonies can subject the culprit to having his left foot and right arm amputated.
9. Sudan is involved with Africa’s Longest Civil War
The conflict between South Sudan and Sudan has driven over 2.5 million Sudanese to their graves while over 4 million people have lost their homes and belongings. The complications went on from 1955 to 1972 and reignited in 1983 lasting until 2005.
10. Northern Sudan has Frequent Dust Storms
The northern part of Sudan is extremely dry and arid. It frequently gets hit with dust storms which are called haboobs in the native tongue. These storms are wide enough to completely block off the sun’s light, establishing a state of complete blackout and zero visibility.
11. Egypt Constructed a Dam for Sudan
During the 1960’s, Egypt constructed a dam along the Nile River which gave birth to a new lake known as Lake Nassier, locally called Lake Nubia. This lake however came at a dire price for the people that were local to that region. The water from the lake ended up severely flooding the city of Wadi Halfat and 30 other villages. Rough estimates showed that around 50,000 local Nubians were displaced from their homes. Lake Nubia is regarded as one of the largest reservoirs in the world.
12. The Name of Sudan’s Capital Translates to ‘Elephant Trunk’
The name of the capital city of Sudan is Khartoum, which in Arabic translates to elephant trunk. This name was given because of the elephant trunk-like shaped route that the Nile river takes around the city.
13. The World’s Longest River Forms in Sudan
The Blue Nile and the White Nile rivers converge in Sudan to form the Nile River which is known for being the longest river in the world. All of the rivers and streams that run through Sudan drain into the Nile river which is also responsible for irrigating 70% of Sudan’s farming land.
14. Thousands of Sudanese People Were Displaced to Create a Dam
In 2009, the Meroë Dam project in Sudan led to over 60,000 Sudanese people being displaced from their home. The water from the dam resulted in a large-scale destruction of archeological sites due to flooding. Some of these sites dated back thousands of years as early as the stone age.
15. A Sudanese Dish is Named After an American President
‘ful’ is a popular Sudanese which consists of oil, bread, and some other items served with brown beans that have been stewed for several hours. The poor people use leftover bean water along with onions and bread. This is popularly called ‘bush’ after the president George Bush. It was a way for the people to blame President Bush for their condition for he cut U.S. aid to Sudan due to their support for Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War.
16. Sudan Still Struggles with Slavery
Slavery till this day is a very prevalent problem in Sudan, although it is limited to some certain areas. Many men, women, and children are sold as labor, enlisted in private armies and militant groups, and unfortunately are subjected to human trafficking.
There are a few groups of redeemers that will often buy slaves in order to liberate them. However, it was found in 2002 that many of the slaves that were sold to these groups were not actually slaves. Instead, regular people sell to make a quick profit.
17. Sudan is on the U.S. list of Countries that Partook in Terrorism
During the 1990s, the leader of the militant group al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden took refuge in Sudan for a period of 5 years. During that time, Sudan served as the training ground and meeting place for al-Qaeda.
For this, the U.S. added Sudan to their list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism” along with some other countries such as Syria and Iran.
18. The Life Expectancy of Sudanese People is Below the World Average
The average life expectancy of Sudanese people is 63 years, whereas the worldwide average life expectancy is 73 years.
19. The Secession of Southern Sudan Threw Sudan into a State of Economic Turmoil
When in 2011, southern Sudan was partitioned from the rest of Sudan, this threw the entire nation into a state of dire financial crisis, one so severe that it has affected the country till this day.
Before this secession, Sudan was undergoing steady economic growth due to its abundant oil reserves, which brought substantial foreign investments from other states.
The oil industry comprised nearly 95% of the country’s exports. However, the separation of southern Sudan combined with several other political events led to the industry shrinking and sending the country’s economy in a downward spiral. 47% of the Sudanese population lives below the poverty line, and the country has the second-highest inflation rates in the world.
20. Sudan is Sixteenth Largest Country in the World
Sudan covers an astonishingly large area. It is nearly three times the size of Texas and is the third-largest country in Africa, coming behind Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, before South Sudan separated, Sudan was the largest African country in terms of landmass and the tenth-largest in the world.
21. Hundreds of Sudanese Villages Were Destroyed Between 2003 and 2004
In 2003, conflicts arose in the Darfur region of Sudan between the Arabic and local Black tribes. By the end of 2004, it was reported that around 60% of the villages in the region had been burned down by Janjaweed, a government force.
Sudan – 11 Interesting Facts! | Country Facts
Land of the Blacks, the 16th largest country in the world by land. Yes, it is Sudan we will be talking about today. Officially the Republic of Sudan is a country in Northeast Africa. Let’s learn more about the country.
Even though it seems that the country’s history is dotted with conflicts, poverty and tragedies, there is much more to this nation than meets the eye,including the culture and resilience.
The people of Sudan are perhaps some of the strongest people in the world, having survived through challenging times. Furthermore, this country is home to different cultures and rich history that needs to be preserved.
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.