English Reading Practice
Sudan is a country in northwestern Africa. It borders
Egypt to the
North and touches the Red Sea on the East. The Nile River runs through
the middle of Sudan.
Like many countries in Africa, Sudan has a long and rich history. Many
different civilizations have lived in Sudan. A "civilization" is a city
or country with its own culture and traditions. One of the largest of
these civilizations was a kingdom called the Kingdom of Kush.
The Kingdom of Kush existed (was) from around 1100 BCE (before the
Common Era) to around 350
CE (Common Era). Before that, the land was ruled by Egypt. The capital
Kingdom of Kush was called Meroe.
Meroe was the capital of Kush for
hundreds of years from around 800 BCE until around 350 CE, but
nobody lives in Meroe today.
It had a
very good location right on the Nile River. Today the current capital
of Sudan, Khartoum is located to the
north of Meroe.
When Meroe was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, it was a very
important city. The land near Meroe was rich in iron. "Iron" is a
mineral that is found in the ground that can be used to make many
things like tools.
In fact, Meroe had the greatest amount of iron in
the world at the time. This was very important since many other
countries used iron to make their own tools.
Because iron was so important around the world, Meroe was an important
city for trade. "Trade" is when two people or countries exchange
Meroe traded its iron and iron tools with other countries in
Africa as well as with other countries like India and China. It also
had some of the best ironworkers in the world. An "ironworker" is
someone who makes things with iron. Other items like jewelry were also
traded from Meroe.
The rest of the world learned about Meroe in 1821 from a Frenchman
named Frederic Cailliaud. He drew pictures of the ruins there and
showed them to people back home in Europe. "Ruins" are buildings from
In the next hundred years, many archeologists went to
Sudan to learn more about Meroe. They uncovered over 200 pyramids there
and learned a lot about the culture of the Kingdom of Kush.
One thing that archeologists learned was that many of the ideas and
beliefs that the people in Meroe and the Kingdom of Kush had were
similar to those in Egypt.
For example, they had similar religions and
languages. The ideas and beliefs in Kush changed, however, over the
many years of the kingdom. For example, the Kush developed their own
alphabet, or way of writing. This was called the Meroitic alphabet. It
looked similar to the Egyptian alphabet, called hieroglyphics, but the
symbols meant different things.
Archeologists discovered this new
alphabet when they found it written inside the pyramids at Meroe.
Meroe was a very important city and continues to be an interesting and
important city today. The findings from Meroe have helped people all
around the world understand the Kingdom of Kush and the civilization of
Sudan at that time.
And now, practice:
Sudan - Exercises
1. What does "existed" mean?
2. What does "trade" mean?
a) to exchange things
give something away
take something from someone
to make something
3. What does "ruins" mean?
a) new buildings
b) French buildings
c) ancient buildings
d) European buildings
1. Meroe is _________ site of the ancient capital of _________ Kingdom
2. In fact, Meroe _________ the greatest amount of iron in the world at
c) had had
d) will have
3. The Meroitic alphabet looked similar _________ the Egyptian
alphabet, called hieroglyphics, but the symbols meant different things.
1. What country does Sudan border to the north?
2. What was an important item that Meroe traded with other countries?
3. What did archeologists find inside the pyramids at Meroe?