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In 1952 Egypt's King Farouk was dethroned and replaced by the pro-Sudanese General Neguib.
In 1953 the British-Egyptian rulers agreed to sign a three-year preparation for independence, and on 1 January 1956 Sudan officially became independent.
The country supports a variety of wildlife, including crocodiles and hippopotamuses in the rivers, elephants (mainly in the south), giraffes, lions, leopards, tropical birds, and several species of poisonous reptiles.
The capital, Khartoum, lies at the meeting point of the White and Blue Niles, and together with Khartoum North and Omdurman forms an urban center known as "the three towns," with a combined population of 2.5 million people. Fifty-two percent of the population are black and 39 percent are Arab.
The southern part of the country consists of a basin drained by the Nile, as well as a plateau, and mountains, which mark the southern border.
These include Mount Kinyeti, the highest peak in Sudan.
English is being phased out as a foreign language taught in the schools, although it is still spoken by some people. The flag adopted at independence had three horizontal stripes: blue, symbolizing the Nile River; yellow, for the desert; and green, for the forests and vegetation.
This flag was replaced in 1970 with one more explicitly Islamic in its symbolism.
It has a green triangle at the left border, which symbolizes both agriculture and the Islamic faith.When the British took control of Egypt in 1882, they were wary of the Mahdi's increasing power.In the Battle of Shaykan in 1883, followers of the Sudanese leader defeated the Egyptians and their British supporting troops.The northern part of the country is desert, spotted with oases, where most of the population is concentrated.To the east, the Red Sea Hills support some vegetation. The southern region includes grasslands, and along the border with Uganda the Democratic Republic of the Congo, dense forests.