Early History & Economy of the Sudan (1500- 600 BC)


The present day Sudan was formerly called Nubia. After it merged with Egypt it became the state of Kush. The land of Kush was ruled by the pharaohs of Egypt from 1500 to 1000 BC. During the time when the two kingdoms merged, Nubia was more influenced by Egyptian culture, government, language, art and architecture. The pharaohs from Kush ruled Egypt between 751 and 671 BC when they were driven out by Asian invaders.

The kingdom of Kush had two capitals: Napata and Meroe. Napata became a center for trade in ivory, gold, leopard skins, and ostrich feathers. Meroe was more agricultural with many farmers growing sorghum and millet and owning cattle. After 600 BC Meroe became increasingly more important and eventually the only capital of Kush. Thereafter, the economy of Meroe shifted and iron smelting became common, something not traditionally found in Egypt. The Kush also developed and mass produced painted pottery. Kushites in Meroe traded with Egypt, Arabia, Greece and Rome and the kingdom of Axum, which is present day Ethiopia. Meroe was finally conquered by Axum in 300 AD.

Pyramids in the Sudan
Pyramids in the Sudan

The Meroe pyramids in Sudan are located 200km from the Sudanese capital Khartoum on the east bank of the Nile river near a group of villages called Bagrawiyah. The Meroe pyramids name is derived from the ancient city of Meroe, the capital of the Kingdom of Kush. There are nearly 200 ancient pyramids built as tombs of the kings and queens of the Meroitic Kingdom which ruled the area for more than 900 years.


South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011, as the outcome of a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. An overwhelming majority of South Sudanese voted in a January 2011, referendum to secede and become Africa’s first new country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993. South Sudan was formed from the 10 southern-most states of Sudan. It is a land of expansive grassland, swamps and tropical rain forest straddling both banks of the White Nile.It is highly diverse ethnically and linguistically. Among the largest ethnic groups are the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk.


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