The history of Sudan includes both the territory that is today part of the Republic of the Sudan as well as a larger region known by the term "Sudan". The term is derived from Arabic: بلاد السودان bilād as-sūdān "land of the black people", and can used more loosely of West and Central Africa in general, especially the Sahel.
The modern Republic of Sudan was formed in 1956 and inherited its boundaries from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, established 1899. For times predating 1899, usage of the term "Sudan" for the territory of the Republic of Sudan is somewhat anachronistic, and may also refer to the more diffuse concept of the Sudan.
The early history of the Kingdom of Kush located in what is now northern Sudan along the Nile is intertwined with the history of ancient Egypt, in which it was united politically over several periods. By virtue of its proximity to ancient Egypt, the Sudan participated in the wider history of the Near East in as much as it was Christianized by the sixth century and Islamized in the seventh. As a result of Christianization, the Old Nubian language stands as the oldest recorded Nilo-Saharan language (earliest records dating to the ninth century in an adaptation of the Coptic alphabet).