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Today, the Nubian people are an ethnic minority who inhabit southern Egypt and northern Sudan, and share the Islamic faith of the dominant Arab or Arabised population. However, the land and people of Nubia is in fact an ancient civilisation, not only influenced by and concurrent with Ancient Egypt, but also one of the great civilisations of the ages.

What is known as the Kingdom of Kush even managed to conquer Egypt and rule as the 25th Dynasty. Writing system, pyramids and religion were all shared with Egypt and would remain so when the capital of the kingdom became Meroe, giving rise to the Meroitic language and writing system.

What was known as the "Known World" in the ancient world constitute the lands of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa that had advanced civilisations and were all in contact with each other to some degree, even if only indirectly. Thus not only Greece and Rome, but also Armenia and the wider Caucasus, Persia, India and China. In Africa this included the lands of North Africa, Egypt, Nubia and Ethiopia. Furthermore, Arabian civilisation in Yemen also had ties to the Horn of Africa. Nubia thus bordered at various points in time Ancient Egypt, the Persian empire, Alexander the Great's empire and Ptolemaic Egypt, and the Roman Empire.

With the collapse of Meroe, Christianity arrived in Nubia and there would emerge three kingdoms: Nobadia, Makuria and Alodia (or Aloa or Alwa). Meroe was invaded by Axum (Ethiopia) at one time. Given its location between Egypt and Ethiopia, the form of Christianity that came to dominate was Coptic Christianity.

Makuria, whose capital was Dongola, would remain a Christian kingdom until the early 14th Century, when the Arabisation and Islamistion of Sudan would begin. It is believed that Alodia held out for another two centuries. By the 16th century, a good part of what is now Sudan, or the southern Nubian regions, was conquered by the Funj people, who became Arabised and whose Kingdom of Sennar lasted until 1821.
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