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Before the Sudanese Civil War, South Sudan was part of Sudan, but it became independent in 2011.
Missionaries converted the region to Christianity in the 6th century, but an influx of Muslim Arabs, who had already conquered, eventually controlled the area and replaced Christianity with Islam.
Nobatia in the north, also known as Ballanah, had its capital at Faras; the central kingdom, Muqurra (Makuria), was centred at Tungul (Old Dongola), about 13 kilometres (8 miles) south of modern Dongola; and Alawa (Alodia), in the heartland of old Meroë, which had its capital at Soba (now a suburb of modern-day Khartoum).
In all three kingdoms, warrior aristocracies ruled Meroitic populations from royal courts where functionaries bore Greek titles in emulation of the Byzantine court.
The civilization of Kush was among the first in the world to use iron smelting technology.
The Nubian kingdom at Meroë persisted until the fourth century AD.
During the fifth millennium BC, migrations from the drying Sahara brought neolithic people into the Nile Valley along with agriculture.
The population that resulted from this cultural and genetic mixing developed social hierarchy over the next centuries become the Kingdom of Kush (with the capital at Kerma) at 1700 BC.
Taharqa fled back to his homeland where he died two years later.
During the 1500s, a people called the Funj conquered much of Sudan and several other black African groups settled in the south, including the Dinka, Shilluk, Nuer and Azande.
Egyptians again conquered Sudan in 1874, and after Britain occupied Egypt in 1882, it took over Sudan in 1898, ruling the country in conjunction with Egypt.
It was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, centered at Napata in its early phase.
After King Kashta ("the Kushite") invaded Egypt in the eighth century BC, the Kushite kings ruled as pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt for a century before being defeated and driven out by the Assyrians.
Egypt became an Assyrian colony; however, king Tantamani, after succeeding Taharqa, made a final determined attempt to regain Egypt.