Points of View

Timeline of Sudanese History

About This Resource

As background to the events from 1984 – 2004 described in Leila Aboulela’s novel Minaret, the timeline traces events in the modern history of the Sudan from the onset of British and Egyptian colonial rule to the present. The historical map shows Egypt under British rule, and the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium over the Sudan from the Cambridge Modern History Atlas of 1912.



Turkish and Egyptian forces conquer the territory of today’s Sudan.


Muhammed Ahmad declares himself al-Mahdi, or awaited guide, and begins reconquest of Sudan. Mahdi’s forces capture Khartoum. British General Charles Gordon is killed.

1896 – 1898

Anglo-Egyptian forces defeat Mahdists in the Battle of Omdurman. The Mahdi’s successor is killed. British and French compete for control of Nile at Fashoda.

1899 – 1945

Anglo-Egyptian Condominium rules the Sudan jointly. Military campaigns force ethnic groups to submit to Anglo-Egyptian rule.


Sudan declares independence. First civil war erupts between southern rebels and the government in northern Sudan.

1958 – 1964

Mahdist and other parties win majorites in parliamentary elections. General Ibrahim Abboud stages a coup but is ousted in the October Revolution of 1964.

1965 – 1968

National Union Party and Umma party coalitions maintain majorities in Parliamentary elections.

1969 - 1971

Ja’far Numeri leads a military coup, bans political parties and jails Communists. The regime adopts socialist reforms, nationalizing banks and businesses.


Islamic reforms culminate in 1983 "September Laws" introducing shar’ia, or Islamic law, to all areas of life throughout the country.

1985 - 1986

Numeri government overthrown. Umma party leader Sadiq al-Mahdi becomes Prime Minister.


Omer al-Bashir leads a military coup, and Hassan al-Turabi, leader of the National Islamic Front, emerges as leader.

1993 - 1996

President al-Bashir consolidates executive and legislative power in the appointed Transitional National Assembly. Al-Bashir is elected President for five years, and Hassan al-Turabi becomes speaker of the National Assembly in 1996.

1998 – 2000

New constitution goes into effect after nationwide referendum. Al-Bashir dissolves parliament and declares state of emergency and detains Hassan al-Turabi. Opposition parties boycott presidential elections as Bashir is re-elected for five years.

2003 - 2005

Hassan al-Turabi released from detention after nearly three years in detention and ban on his party is lifted.

2010 – 2011

President Bashir gains new term in first contested presidential polls since 1986. South Sudan votes for full independence of Southern Sudan from the north in a referendum. South Sudan declares independence.


Adapted from “Sudanese Chronology”, “Center for African Studies, UC Berkeley”, n.d. http://africa.berkeley.edu/Sudan/Resources/SUDCHRON-04.html and “BBC News - Sudan Profile”, n.d. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14095300.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #139: Timeline of Sudanese History", June 20, 2024 http://bridgingcultures-muslimjourneys.org/items/show/139.


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