The Butana, in north-east Sudan, is a region bounded by the Blue Nile, the main Nile between Khartoum and Atbara, the Atbara River and which extends towards the Ethiopian border.
It is inhabited by villagers and townsfolk along the Nile and tribes of nomadic herders of camels and other livestock further inland, although in recent years many nomadic families have become semi-nomadic or settled.
In antiquity the northern part of the region was occupied by the Kingdom of Kush, whose southern capital Meroë flourished from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD.
Important archaeolgical remains can be seen north of Kabushiya at Begrawiya, location of the city of Meroë with its nearby pyramids, and inland from the Nile, to the south of Shendi, at Musawwarat es-Sufra and Naqa.
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In January 2011 the people of southern Sudan voted to secede from the north.
South Sudan became an independant republic on 9th July 2012.
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Although not surrounded by water, the Butana
is bounded on three sides by rivers and was often referred
to as the
Island of Meroë.