Size: The largest country in Africa, with an area of nearly one million square miles and a maximum north-south length of 1,400 miles.
Bordering countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Libya and Egypt.
Geography: Tropical in the south, with swamps and rain forest; arid desert in the north; vast semi-arid plains and steppes in central Sudan. The Nile and its two tributaries are prominent.
Population: Nearly 34 million. Many have died from war and famine since independence. Millions have been displaced from the south to the north of Sudan and to neighbouring countries, by the unrest.
Ethnic groups: Sudanese Arab 39%, consisting of many tribes; non-Arab 61%, consisting of many, mainly black African, tribes (the largest of which are the Dinka and Beja).
Languages: Arabic (official), Nubian and other indigenous languages, English.
Economy: The chief natural resources are water from the Nile and a fertile soil. There are also deposits of petroleum and some minerals. The economy has suffered serious damage from civil war, political instability, drought and poor economic management. Agriculture employs 80% of the work force and industry largely processes agricultural items. Cotton is the main cash-crop and other exports include meat and livestock. The government has extensively relied upon international aid.
Religion: Muslim (mainly Sunni, but also several major Sufi orders) 70% (in the north); traditional religions 11%; Roman Catholic 12%; Protestant 7% (mostly in the south and Khartoum). Sudan was declared an Islamic Republic in 1983.
Protestant denominations: Episcopal Church of Sudan, Sudan Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church in Sudan, Africa Inland Church, Sudan Interior Church and others. Nearly half the Protestants are evangelicals.