Sudan is the largest country in Africa in area and lies in the northeastern part of the continent. The country is a land of widely differing geography. The Nubian Desert sprawls across most of the north, grassy plains in its central region and the south is characterised by swamps and rain forest.
The Nile River is Sudan's most important geographic feature. Khartoum, the capital, and Omdurman, the largest city, lies on the Nile. To the north of Khartoum are the ruins of the Royal City of Meroe as well as the pyramids in which the kings are buried.
People have lived in what is now Sudan for thousands of years. Ancient kingdoms flourished in parts of Sudan, and Egypt controlled the country at various times. The country became independent in 1956.