Capital and trading centre of Sudan, in Khartoum State, at the junction of the Blue and White Nile rivers; population (2007 est) 2,207,800. Omdurman is also a suburb of Khartoum, giving the urban area a population of over 3 million. It has long served as a major communications centre between the Arab countries of North Africa and central African countries. The city lies near the rich, irrigated cotton-growing Gezira area to the south and much of its trade is based on Nile river traffic. An oil pipeline links the city with Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Industries include tanning, textiles, light engineering, food processing, glassware, and printing.
History It was founded in 1823 by Mehmet Ali and strengthened by walls and forts. It fell into the hands of Mahdist rebels in 1885 and General Gordon was killed there in that year. The Dervishes under the Khalifa (the Mahdi's successor) ruined the city and made Omdurman their headquarters. They were defeated in 1898 and Khartoum was recaptured by Anglo-Egyptian troops under Kitchener and a new city was built. Much of its former trade and prosperity was subsequently restored. From 1899 to 1956 Khartoum was capital of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and remained capital when Sudan became independent.
Features Khartoum has fine quays, mosques, a cathedral, barracks, and a street railway. There are railway connections with Lower and Upper Egypt and with Suakin on the Red Sea. A bridge connects the town with its suburb, Khartoum North. Besides Khartoum University (1956), there is also a branch (1955) of Cairo University. Major buildings include the Sudan National Museum and the headquarters of the Bank for African Development.
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