Sudan 1 a country in northeastern Africa, south of Egypt, with a coastline on the Red Sea; pop. 35,473,000 (est. 2011); capital, Khartoum; languages, Arabic (official), Hausa, and others. Under Arab rule from the 13th century, the country was conquered by Egypt in 1820–22. Sudan was separated from its northern neighbor by the Mahdist revolt of 1881–98 and administered after the reconquest of 1898 as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium. It became an independent republic in 1956, but suffered severely as a result of protracted civil war between the Islamic government in the north and separatist forces in the south and west, in particular the Darfur region. In 2011 part of the southern region became independent as South Sudan. 2  a vast region in North Africa that extends across the width of the continent from the southern edge of the Sahara to the tropical equatorial zone in the south. DERIVATIVES Sudanese |ˌso͞odnˈēz, -ˈēs| adjective& noun ORIGIN from Arabic sūdān, literally ‘country of the blacks.’