States of Sudan

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Update 18 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2014-12-31. It assigns the code SD-KW to West Kordofan province. It is supposed to track with ISO 3166-2. However, ISO issued the code SD-GK for West Kordofan on 2015-11-28. (In the same update, it changed the spelling of five other states.)

Update 9 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2012-09-01. It includes new codes for the two new states.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. It removes the ten states that became South Sudan, and revokes the two-digit state codes, replacing them with two-letter codes. It also shows the two new states, Central Darfur (code SD-DC) and East Darfur (code SD-DE). ISO may have jumped the gun a bit. Most accounts agree that the states became official on 2012-01-10.

The U.N. Statistics Division has issued new three-digit codes for Sudan and South Sudan, and retired Sudan's former code. The ISO 3166 maintenance agency has issued two- and three-letter codes for South Sudan; Sudan's codes remain unchanged. The changes are shown in ISO 3166 update newsletter VI-10, dated 2011-08-09.

A referendum was held between 2011-01-09 and 2011-01-15 to determine whether the people of southern Sudan wanted to separate from the north. Secession won by a huge majority. The split became official on 2011-07-09. The situation in Abyei is unsettled, and that region's future will probably take longer to determine.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-9 was published on 2007-11-28. It drops West Kurdufan from the list of states. All other codes remain unchanged.

Country overview: 

Short nameSUDAN
ISO codeSD
LanguageArabic (ar)
Time zone+3


From just before 1900 until its independence on 1956-01-01, Sudan was a condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom. In 2011, South Sudan split off following a referendum.

Other names of country: 

  1. Arabic: Jamhuryat es-Sudan (formal)
  2. Danish: Sudan
  3. Dutch: Soedan, Republiek Soedan (formal)
  4. English: Republic of the Sudan (formal), Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (obsolete)
  5. Finnish: Sudan
  6. French: Soudan m
  7. German: Sudan m
  8. Icelandic: Súdan
  9. Italian: Sudan m
  10. Norwegian: Sudan, Republikken Sudan (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Sudão, República f do Sudão m (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Судан (formal)
  13. Spanish: Sudán, República f del Sudán m (formal)
  14. Swedish: Sudan
  15. Turkish: Sudan Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

from a native word for black (people)

Primary subdivisions: 

Sudan is divided into 18 wilayat (states).

Blue NileSD.BNNBSU42832,11245,84417,700Al-DamazinBlue Nile
Central DarfurSD.CDDCSU61ZalingeiDarfur
East DarfurSD.EDDESU60Ed DaeinDarfur
GeziraSD.GZGZSU383,575,28023,3739,024Wad MedaniBlue Nile
North DarfurSD.NDDNSU552,113,626296,420114,448Al-FashirDarfur
North KordofanSD.NKKNSU562,920,992185,30271,546Al-ObeidKordofan
Red SeaSD.RSRSSU361,396,110218,88784,513Port SudanKassala
River NileSD.RNNRSU531,120,441122,12347,152Al-DamarNorthern
SennarSD.SISISU581,285,05837,84414,612SinjaBlue Nile
South DarfurSD.SFDSSU494,093,594127,30049,151NyalaDarfur
South KordofanSD.SKKSSU501,406,40479,47030,684KadugliKordofan
West DarfurSD.WFDWSU471,308,22579,46030,680GeneinaDarfur
West KordofanSD.WKGKSU62111,37343,001Al-FulaKordofan
White NileSD.WNNWSU411,730,58830,41111,742RabakBlue Nile
18 states30,894,0001,844,797712,280
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "SD-"
    to the code (ex: SD-SI represents Sennar).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2008-04-22 census (source [3]).
  • Area: Source: various Sudanese embassy Web pages.
  • Capital: Many sources say that the capital of Sennar is Sennar.
  • Region: Region containing this state before 1994.

Postal codes: 

The Universal Postal Union document says that Sudan uses five-digit postal codes. (An earlier version of the document said they were four digits; quite possibly a new system was introduced in between.)

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Sudan page.

The states are subdivided into districts.

Territorial extent: 

Red Sea includes Sudan's Red Sea islands, such as Mukawwar and the Suakin Archipelago.

The administrative boundary between Sudan and Egypt deviates from the legal boundary. There is a small region in Sudan, south of 22°, administered by Egypt, and a larger triangle in Egypt, north of the parallel, administered by Sudan (in Red Sea state).

The UN LOCODE page  for Sudan lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Darfur: Arabic dar fur: home of the Fur (ethnic name)
  2. Gezira: Arabic al-gazira: the island, referring to area between the White Nile and Blue Nile
  3. Khartoum: means "the snout," from shape of land where the White and Blue Nile meet

Change history: 

  1. 1919: Anglo-Egyptian Sudan ceded a roughly triangular area in the northwest to Libya. The division of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan into eight mudiriyas (provinces) was poorly defined at first, but by the start of World War II, they were well established.
  2. 1948: Bahr el Ghazal province split from Equatoria. The division of Sudan into provinces was now:
Bahr el GhazalSU06SU32S991,022201,048Waw
Blue NileSU04SU27N2,069,646139,124Wad Medani
DarfurSU07SU33N1,328,765509,075El Fashir
KordofanSU09SU34N1,761,968380,552El Obeid
NorthernSU05SU30N873,059476,405Ed Damer
Upper NileSU01SU26S888,611238,976Malakal
9 provinces10,262,5362,505,819
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-1, a U.S. government standard.
  • F-84: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-3 (1984).
  • Reg: Northern (N) or Southern (S) region (set up in 1972).
  • Population: 1956 census.
  1. 1972-03-27: Southern region (capital Juba) established under the Addis Ababa agreement.
  2. 1973-01-01: Red Sea province split from Kassala.
  3. 1974-07-01: Darfur province divided into Northern Darfur and Southern Darfur; El Gezira and White Nile provinces split from Blue Nile; Kordofan province divided into Northern Kordofan and Southern Kordofan; Nile province created from parts of Kassala and Northern.
  4. ~1976: El Buheyrat province split from Bahr el Ghazal; Equatoria province divided into Eastern Equatoria and Western Equatoria; Junglei province split from Upper Nile. This was the resulting division:
Bahr el Ghazal1,492,597134,576Waw
Blue Nile1,056,31362,135Ed Damazin
Eastern Equatoria359,056119,237Juba
El Buheyrat772,91366,318Rumbek
El Gezira2,023,09435,057Wad Medani
Nile649,633127,343Ed Damer
Northern Darfur1,327,947346,155El Fashir
Northern Kordofan1,805,769221,900El Obeid
Red Sea695,87421,990Port Sudan
Southern Darfur1,765,752162,529Nyala
Southern Kordofan1,287,525158,355Kadogli
Upper Nile802,354117,148Malakal
Western Equatoria1,047,12578,732Yambio
White Nile933,13641,825Ed Dueim
18 provinces20,564,3642,305,960
  • Population: 1983 census.
  1. 1991: Sudan adopted a federal system with nine states, matching the nine provinces that had existed from 1948 to 1973. FIPS apparently assigned new codes (SU10-SU25, which I haven't been able to find a source for) to the provinces as they were created or subdivided from 1973 onward. When the states appeared, FIPS dropped the entire set of codes and assigned new codes to the states (SU26-SU34, as shown in the F-84 column above). The states were subdivided into 66 provinces, and then into 281 local government areas.
  2. 1994-02-14: Sudan reorganized into twenty-six wilayaat (states). Each one was a subset of one of the former nine states. Most, but not all, states were a subset of one of the eighteen provinces.
  3. 2005-04-01: Name of Bahr-al-Jabal state changed to Central Equatoria.
  4. 2005-08-16: West Kordofan split into two parts. The northern part merged with North Kordofan, and the southern part with South Kordofan. Judging from maps at source [4], the northern part consisted of En Nuhud and Ghebeish districts; the southern part, Abyei, Es Salam, and Lagawa. As part of the agreement, the capital of South Kordofan alternated between Kadugli and the former capital of West Kordofan, Al-Fula. West Kordofan's data before this change were: HASC code SD.WK; ISO code 10; FIPS code SU48; area 111,373 km.². The areas of North and South Kordofan were respectively 185,302 and 79,470 km.² before this change, and their HASC codes were SD.NK and SD.SK. In the table below, I have reverted their areas to what they were in 1976, although the total is 4,110 km.² higher than it should be. Oil-rich Abyei was to hold a referendum to determine its future status.
Blue NileSD.BN24SU42832,11245,84417,700Al-DamazinBlue Nile
Central EquatoriaSD.BG17SU441,103,55722,9568,863JubaEquatoria
East EquatoriaSD.EE19SU57906,16182,54231,870KapoitaEquatoria
GeziraSD.GZ07SU383,575,28023,3739,024Wad MedaniBlue Nile
JungoliSD.JG20SU511,358,602122,47947,289BorUpper Nile
LakesSD.EB18SU37695,73040,23515,535RumbekBahr el Ghazal
North Bahr-al-GhazalSD.NB15SU54720,89833,55812,957AwilBahr el Ghazal
North DarfurSD.ND02SU552,113,626296,420114,448Al-FashirDarfur
North KordofanSD.KN09SU562,920,992221,90085,676Al-ObeidKordofan
Red SeaSD.RS26SU361,396,110218,88784,513Port SudanKassala
River NileSD.RN04SU531,120,441122,12347,152Al-DamarNorthern
SennarSD.SI25SU581,285,05837,84414,612SinjaBlue Nile
South DarfurSD.SD11SU494,093,594127,30049,151NyalaDarfur
South KordofanSD.KS13SU501,406,404158,35561,141Kadugli, Al-FulaKordofan
UnitySD.WH22SU40585,80135,95613,883BantioUpper Nile
Upper NileSD.UN23SU35964,35377,77330,028MalakalUpper Nile
WarapSD.WR21SU59972,92831,02711,980WarapBahr el Ghazal
West Bahr-al-GhazalSD.WB14SU46333,43193,90036,255WauBahr el Ghazal
West DarfurSD.WD12SU471,308,22579,46030,680GeneinaDarfur
West EquatoriaSD.WE16SU45619,02979,31930,625YambioEquatoria
White NileSD.WN08SU411,730,58830,41111,742RabakBlue Nile
25 states39,154,4902,464,542951,565
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global context, prefix "SD-"
    to the code (ex: SD-22 represents Unity).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2008-04-22 census (source [3]).
  • Area: Source: various Sudanese embassy Web pages.
  • Capital: Many sources say that the capital of Sennar is Sennar.
  • Region: Region containing this state before 1994.
  1. ~2008-10: Capital of East Equatoria state moved from Kapoita to Torit.
  2. ~2010: Capital of Warap state moved from Warap to Kuacjok.
  3. 2011-07-09: South Sudan, consisting of Central Equatoria, East Equatoria, Jungoli, Lakes, North Bahr-al-Ghazal, Unity, Upper Nile, Warap, West Bahr-al-Ghazal, and West Equatoria states, split from Sudan.
  4. 2012-01-10: Central Darfur state formed from parts of South Darfur (former HASC code SD.SD) and West Darfur (SD.WD); East Darfur state split from South Darfur. Note: Wikipedia's article on Central Darfur says that part of Central Darfur came from South Darfur, but I haven't found independent verification. Source [14] says that Central Darfur consists of the localities Azoum, Bndsi, Mukjar, Nertte, Om Dukhn, Rokero, Wadi Salih, and Zalingei. Of those, the ones I could find were all previously in West Darfur.
  5. 2013-07-13: West Kordofan state restored as it was before 2005-08-16. The government announced the establishment of West Kordofan state on 2012-12-20 (source [15]). President al-Bashir issued decrees endorsing the status of the three Kordofan states and appointing governors for them on 2013-07-13 (source [16]). West Kordofan contains Abyei district, whose status is still undetermined. A referendum is supposed to be held for Abyei to choose to adhere to Sudan or South Sudan.

Other names of subdivisions: 

The article al is sometimes transliterated el. Before certain consonants, it is usually assimilated, as in Ash Shamaliyah (instead of Al Shamaliyah).


  1. Blue Nile: Al Wusţá, Al Awsat (Arabic-variant); An Nil al Azraq (Arabic); Central (variant)
  2. Darfur: Darfour (French); Dārfūr (Arabic)
  3. Equatoria: Al Istiwā'ī, Al Istiwā'īyah (Arabic); Equatória (Portuguese)
  4. Kassala: Ash Sharqī, Ash Sharqīyah (Arabic-variant); Eastern (variant)
  5. Khartoum: Al Kharţūm, Al Khurţūm (Arabic); Cartum (Portuguese); Jartum (Spanish); Khartum (German, Italian, Norwegian)
  6. Kordofan: Cordofão, Kordofam (Portuguese); Kòrdofan (Italian); Kurdufān (Arabic)
  7. Northern: Ash Shamālī, Ash Shamālīyah (Arabic); Nord (French)
  8. Upper Nile: A`ālī an Nīl (Arabic); Alto Nilo (Portuguese)


  1. Blue Nile: An Nīl al Azraq (Arabic); Nil Bleu (French); Nilo Azul (Portuguese)
  2. Central Darfur: Zalingei (Arabic)
  3. East Darfur: Sharq Darfur (Arabic)
  4. Gedarif: Al Qadarif, Gadarif, Gedaref, Gederaf (variant)
  5. Gezira: Al Jazīrah, El Gezira, Gezeira (variant)
  6. Kassala: Cassala (Portuguese); Kessala (variant)
  7. North Darfur: Dārfūr ash Shamālīyah, Shamāl Dārfūr (Arabic); Darfur septentrional (French)
  8. North Kordofan: Kordofan septentrional (French); Kurdufān ash Shamālīyah, Shamāl Kurdufān (Arabic); North Kordufan (variant)
  9. Red Sea: Al Baḥr al Aḥmar (Arabic); Mar Rojo (Spanish); Mar Rosso (Italian); Mar Vermelho (Portuguese); Mer Rouge (French); Röda havet (Swedish); Rødehavet (Norwegian); Rotes Meer (German)
  10. River Nile: an Nīl, Nahr an Nīl (Arabic); Nil (French, German); Nile, Nile River (variant); Nilen (Norwegian, Swedish); Nilo (Italian, Portuguese)
  11. Sennar: Sinnar (variant)
  12. South Darfur: Dārfūr al Janūbīyah, Janūb Dārfūr (Arabic); Darfur méridional (French); Southern Darfur (variant)
  13. South Kordofan: Janūb Kurdufān, Janub Kurdufun, Kurdufān al Janūbīyah (Arabic); Kordofan méridional (French); South Kordufan (variant)
  14. West Darfur: Dārfūr al Gharbīyah, Gharb Dārfūr (Arabic)
  15. West Kordofan: Gharb Kurdufān, Gharb Kurdufun, Kurdufān al Gharbīyah (Arabic); Western Kordufan (variant)
  16. White Nile: An Baḥr al Abyad, An Nīl al-Abyad (Arabic); Nil Blanc (French); Nilo Branco (Portuguese)

Population history:

Bahr el Ghazal991,0221,322,0002,271,0001,913,0002,722,987
Blue Nile2,069,6463,623,0004,027,0005,433,0007,423,038
Upper Nile888,611761,0001,595,0001,258,0002,908,756


  1. [1] Recensements Africains, 1ere partie, Monographes Méthodologiques, suite. Groupe de Travail de Démographie Africaine, Paris, 1981.
  2. [2] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  3. [3] Population , from Central Bureau of Statistics report on the 2008 census, has proleptic region populations back to 1973. Totals don't quite match state and region figures, probably because of rounding. Comparing these figures to source [6], we learn that the 2008 populations were all rounded downward to a multiple of 1,000.
  4. [4] UN Sudan Information Gateway  has Sudan maps of various dates.
  5. [5] UNMIS CPA Monitor had an article on the South Sudan agreement (, dead link, retrieved 2007).
  6. [6] Priority Results  from the Fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, 2008. Central Bureau of Statistics. Dated 2009-04-08, retrieved 2011-08-10. Contains unrounded.
  7. [7] "Darfur to be cut into smaller states ..."  (dated 2011-03-08, retrieved 2011-12-27).
  8. [8] Sudanese president issues Republican decree on referendum on Darfur status  , [Chinese] People's Daily Online (dated 2011-03-30, retrieved 2011-12-27).
  9. [9] Sudan’s government endorses Darfur’s division into five states , Sudan Tribune (dated 2011-05-05, retrieved 2011-12-27).
  10. [10] Aras, Damla. Sudan's Ticking Time Bombs , Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 79-84 (retrieved 2011-12-27).
  11. [11] President to Appoint Darfur LJM Ministers , (dated 2011-12-17, retrieved 2011-12-27).
  12. [12] Sudan Will Split Darfur Into Five States  ..., Bloomberg News (dated 2011-12-21, retrieved 2011-12-27).
  13. [13] Sudan: Darfur Peace Process Ramps Up in 2012 . (dated 2012-01-19, retrieved 2012-05-29).
  14. [14] Sudan's Ministry of the Cabinet Affairs  (retrieved 2012-05-29).
  15. [15] "War-torn Sudan to be further divided" . Mail & Guardian (South Africa) online newspaper (retrieved 2013-07-14).
  16. [16] "Sudan shuffles governors of Kordofan states ..." . Sudan Tribune online newspaper (retrieved 2013-07-14).
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