Sudan is not only one of the biggest countries in Africa, it is also one of the richest regions of this continent in archaeological remains. The human presence in this part of the Nile Valley could be traced back to over hundreds millennia of years. The location of the Sudan on the southern frontier of Egypt and its extension to the heart of equatorial Africa (southwards), to the Red Sea Coast (eastwards) and into the Great Sahara (westwards) have turned the country into a meeting place for many populations and cultures. The Sudan represents today a harmonic marriage between the Arabo- Islamic culture and traditional Africa one.
During its very long history, the Middle Nile Region has witnessed the emergence of two powerful African civilizations. The first one, “the Kingdom of Kerma”, named after its type site located about 30 km to the south of the 3rd Cataract of the Nile, had occupied the Sudanese historical scene for more than one thousand years (2400 – 1500 B C). The 9th century BC witnessed the emergence of the second centralized Nubian power; the kingdom of Kush. This civilization can be divided into two periods: The Napatan and the Meroitic periods respectively. Napata is situated at Gebel Barkal, about 50 km downstream from the 4th Cataract. For unknown reasons and at a disputed date, the capital of the kingdom was transferred from Napata to Meroe, which is located on the right bank of the Nile between the 5th and 6th Cataracts. The royal activity of the kushites had been concentrated from the 4th century BC onwards in the so called “The Island of Meroe”. This is the fertile region comprised between the Nile, the Blue Nile and the Atbara River. Thus, the Meroites have developed one of the most glorious civilizations of Africa up to the middle of the 4th century A.D.
Meroe came to an end by an Axumite invasion and intrusion of foreign tribes into the Nile Valley towards the middle of the 4th century A.D. A new cultural tradition prevailed in the Sudan during the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. This is widely known as the Post- Meroitic Period. The country was converted to Christianity in the 6th century A.D. and three Christian kingdoms were established in the Middle Nile Region:
The Christian Kingdoms came to an end at the beginning of the 14th through the 15th centuries when an Islamic state had been established with its capital at Sennar on the Blue Nile.
The Islamic state of Sennar came, in its turn, to an end by the Turkish invasion in 1821 and hence, the country became part of the Egyptian Kingdom (The Ottoman Empire). The Turkish rule vanished by the Mahadist Revolution and the libration of Khartoum in 1885. The Battle of Omdurman (1898) between the Mahadist army and the Anglo- Egyptian troops had resulted in the annex ion of the Sudan to the latter administration up to the independence of the country in 1956.