Sudan (Republic of Sudan) is located in northeastern Africa, it is the largest country in Africa as well as the Arab World. The Nile River, the longest river in the world, separates the country into east & west sides. Sudan is divided into 25 states, which in turn are sub divided into 87 districts, holding a population close to 39 million, which continues to grow. The country gained independence in 1956 from Egypt and the United Kingdom only to suffer from many years of civil and religious wars. The two major ethnic groups are: Sudanese Arabs of the north mostly Muslim, and the Christian animist Nilote of the south. It is also home to 597 various tribes who speak over 400 different types of dialects.