Sudan or the Sudan (US: n/ (listen), UK: n/;Arabic: السودان as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan (Arabic: جمهورية السودان Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea to the east, Ethiopia to the southeast, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It houses 37 million people (2017) and occupies a total area of 1,861,484 square kilometres (718,722 square miles), making it the third-largest country in Africa. Sudan's predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile.
The 20th century saw the growth of Sudanese nationalism and in 1953 Britain granted Sudan self-government. Independence was proclaimed on January 1, 1956. Since independence, Sudan has been ruled by a series of unstable parliamentary governments and military regimes. Under Gaafar Nimeiry, Sudan instituted Islamic law in 1983. This exacerbated the rift between the Arab north, the seat of the government and the black African animists and Christians in the south. Differences in language, religion, ethnicity and political power erupted in a civil war between government forces, strongly influenced by the National Islamic Front (NIF) and the southern rebels, whose most influential faction was the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), eventually concluding in the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Since 2011, Sudan's government has been engaged in a war with the Sudan Revolutionary Front. Human rights violations, religious persecution and allegations that Sudan had been a safe haven for terrorists isolated the country from most of the international community. In 1995, the United Nations (UN) imposed sanctions against Sudan.
The country's place nameSudan is a name given to a geographical region to the south of the Sahara, stretching from Western Africa to eastern Central Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān (بلاد السودان), or "the lands of the Blacks". The name is one of several toponyms sharing similar etymologies, ultimately meaning "land of the blacks" or similar meanings, in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants. Initially, the term "Sudanese" had a negative connotation in the Arabized Sudan due to its association with black African slaves. The idea of "Sudanese" nationalism goes back to the 1930s and 1940s, when it was popularized by young intellectuals.