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 of the 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 things.

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 ancient times.

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

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "existed" mean?

a) left

b) finished

c) was

d) told

2. What does "trade" mean?

a) to exchange things

b) to give something away

c) to take something from someone

d) to make something

3. What does "ruins" mean?

a) new buildings

b) French buildings

c) ancient buildings

d) European buildings

Grammar Questions

1. Meroe is _________ site of the ancient capital of _________ Kingdom of Kush.

a) a...a

b) the...the

c) a...the

d) the...a

2. In fact, Meroe _________ the greatest amount of iron in the world at the time.

a) has

b) had

c) had had

d) will have

3. The Meroitic alphabet looked similar _________ the Egyptian alphabet, called hieroglyphics, but the symbols meant different things.

a) in

b) at

c) to

d) from

Comprehension Questions

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?


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