Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Khartoum (Arabic الخرطوم al-Ḫarṭūm "elephant trunk") is the capital of Sudan, as well as the capital of the state of Khartoum. It is located at the point where the White Nile, flowing north from Uganda, meets the Blue Nile, flowing west from Ethiopia. The merged Nile flows north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The city proper has a population of well over a million inhabitants, making it the second largest city in the country, but forms with its neighbours, joined by bridges, Khartoum North (al-Khartūm Bahrī) and Omdurman (Umm Durmān) a metropolis totalling probably over four million.
The city is home to the University of Khartoum , founded in 1903 as Gordon Memorial College. Other universities are a branch of Cairo University and Khartoum Polytechnic University . Sudan National Museum has important holdings from the numerous ancient civilizations of the region.
Khartoum was founded in 1821 as an outpost for the Egyptian army, but grew as a regional center of trade, including the slave trade. Troops loyal to the Mahdi Muhammad Ahmad laid siege to Khartoum starting on March 13, 1884 against the defenders led by British General Charles George Gordon. The heavily damaged city fell to the Mahdists on January 26, 1885. Omdurman was the scene of the bloody battle (September 2, 1898) in which British forces under Sirdar Horatio Kitchener defeated the Mahdist forces defending the city.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Khartoum was the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighboring nations such as Chad, Ethiopia and Uganda. The refugees settled in large slums at the outskirts of the city. From the mid-1980s onward, large numbers of internally displaced from the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur conflict have settled around Khartoum. .
Following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, the United States, accused Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group of responsibility and launched cruise missile attacks (August 20) on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum.
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