Subject: Historic Context for this troubled area
Reading Level: Adult / High School
The area that now comprises the modern nation of Sudan has been dominated in part and in whole by other powers for millennia. The area was known as Nubia until the late 19th century. In part, this name was used to distinguish it from French holdings in West Africa, but Nubia had been the term for the area for centuries before the Common Era. The modern state is not a natural entity and contains the legacies of its past domination by many groups. Outsiders determined economic and political priorities as well as reinforced a hierarchy within the native population. Sudan’s current elite reflects centuries of foreign influence that are evident in the multi-ethnic mosaic that constitutes the Sudanese people. Its colonial experiences also created the reality that each individual identifies as part of larger racial, religious and tribal groupings, and is comfortable with these multiple affiliations in daily life. Only on a national scale did political and economic integration result in divisions and marginalization.