Egyptian influences were felt in Nubia (north-eastern Sudan) from around 3,000 BC. When Egypt’s power waned in the 11th century BC, Kush (based at Nepata, modern Marawi) became a powerful kingdom on trade routes linking the Nile to the Red Sea. Under King Piantkhi in 750 BC, the whole of Egypt was brought under Kushite control. However, the invasion of Egypt by Assyrian forces in 671 BC forced a retreat to Nepata. By AD 200 Kush was in decline and was finally overthrown in 350 by the king of Aksum (Ethiopia). Sudan was brought back into contact with the Mediterranean world in the 6th century by the arrival of Coptic Christian missionaries. They established churches in three middle-Nile kingdoms: Nobatia in the north and Maqurrah and ‘Alwah in the south. Muslim Arabs, in control of Egypt from 639, sent raiding parties up the Nile and absorbed Nobatia. In 1250 Egypt came under the control of Mamluk sultans, who devastated Maqurrah, opening it up to Arab immigrants. ‘Alwah retained its Christian traditions until 1500. The Arabs were repulsed by the Funj kingdom from the upper Blue Nile, which conquered Al Jazirah region by 1607 and expanded northwards in the 17th century.
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