"a Nubian guard in colourful dress"

The Nubian Pyramids at Meroe
Public DomainThe Nubian Pyramids at Meroe - Credit: Wufei07
The Nubian people populated an area of Africa in what is now modern-day Egypt and Sudan. Famous for their wealth, military and ancient civilization, the Nubians traded with and occupied the ancient kingdoms of Egypt and the Lower Nile Valley. Brought under Arab control during the fourteenth century, Nubia split into several smaller kingdoms, the last of which did not collapse until 1900. The Nubian Pyramids, in northern Sudan, are the remnants of the Ancient Nubian kingdom – burial sights for the ferocious Nubian warrior kings and queens.

The Nubian people are now an ethnic minority living in Egypt and the northern areas of Sudan; a large concentration in Cairo. Ancient Nubians had a 23-letter alphabet and the oldest recorded language in Africa, dating to the 8th century. Their independence as a national people was largely lost after years under Egyptian and Arab control – most Nubians converted to Islam and Arabic is their main language. However, their culture does remain a strong part of the Nubian identity; most speak the ancient indigenous language, and their dress, dances, music and traditional customs are still much in evidence today throughout Egypt and Sudan.