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During the 1800s, the slave trade became a growing business in the region.There had long been a system of domestic slavery, but in the nineteenth century, the Egyptians began taking Sudanese slaves to work as soldiers.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.In 1896 the British and the Egyptians again invaded Sudan, defeating the Sudanese in 1898 at the Battle of Omdurman. In 1922 the British adopted a policy of indirect rule in which tribal leaders were invested with the responsibility of local administration and tax collection.

There is strong animosity between the two groups and each has its own culture and traditions. It shares borders with Egypt, Libya, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Throughout the 1940s an independence movement in the country gained momentum.

The Graduates' Congress was formed, a body representing all Sudanese with more than a primary education and whose goal was an independent Sudan.

Rainfall is extremely rare in the north but profuse in the south, which has a wet season lasting six to nine months.

The central region of the country generally gets enough rain to support agriculture, but it experienced droughts in the 1980s and 1990s.

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