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The SUDAN is the geographic region to the south of the Sahara
Sahara
, stretching from Western to eastern Central Africa. The name derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān (بلاد السودان), or "the lands of the Blacks ", referring to West Africa and northern Central Africa . The Arabic name was translated as Negroland
Negroland
on older English maps.

Historically, the name was understood to denote the western part of the Sahel region. It thus roughly encompassed the geographical belt between the Sahara
Sahara
and the coastal West Africa . In modern usage, the phrase "The Sudan" is also used in a separate context to refer specifically to the present-day country of Sudan
Sudan
, the western part of which forms part of the larger region, and from which South Sudan gained its independence in 2011.

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography * 2 Habitation * 3 See also * 4 Notes * 5 References

GEOGRAPHY

West Sudanian Savanna (green) in West Africa East Sudanian Savanna (green) in Central and East Africa

The Sudan
Sudan
region extends in some 5,000 km in a band several hundred kilometers wide across Africa. It stretches from the border of Senegal , through southern Mali
Mali
(formerly known as French Sudan
Sudan
when it was a French colony ), Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
, southern Niger
Niger
, northern Nigeria
Nigeria
, northern Ghana
Ghana
, southern Chad
Chad
, the western Darfur
Darfur
region of present-day Sudan
Sudan
, and South Sudan
Sudan
.

To the north of the region lies the Sahel , a more arid Acacia savanna region that in turn borders the Sahara
Sahara
Desert further north, and to the east the Ethiopian Highlands (called al-Ḥabašah in Arabic). In the southwest lies the West Sudanian Savanna , a wetter, tropical savanna region bordering the tropical forests of West Africa . In the center is Lake Chad
Chad
, and the more fertile region around the lake, while to the south of there are the highlands of Cameroon
Cameroon
. To the southeast is the East Sudanian Savanna , another tropical savanna region, bordering the forest of Central Africa . This gives way further east to the Sudd , an area of tropical wetland fed by the water of the White Nile .

HABITATION

The people of the Sudan
Sudan
region share similar lifestyles, dictated by the geography of the region. The economy is largely pastoral , while sorghum and rice are cultivated in the southern parts of the region.

The region was governed in colonial times by European powers including the French and the British, as part of their African colonial empire, but the countries of the region achieved independence in the latter half of the 20th century.

SEE ALSO

* Sub-Saharan Africa

* Sudanian Savanna

* East Sudanian Savanna * West Sudanian Savanna

NOTES

* ^ International Association for the History of Religions (1959), Numen, Leiden: EJ Brill, p. 131, West Africa may be taken as the country stretching from Senegal
Senegal
in the west, to the Cameroons in the east; sometimes it has been called the central and western Sudan, the Bilad as-Sūdan, ‘Land of the Blacks’, of the Arabs .

REFERENCES

* Readers Digest : Atlas of the World, (1991) Rand-McNally ISBN 0-276-42001-2

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