the inhabitants of the Kordofan highland plateau in the Republic of the Sudan.
The Kordofanian peoples are the descendants of the ancient population of the Sudan that was driven back into the mountains during the movement of Arab tribes from the 11th to 14th century. The largest group of them (more than 300,000 persons) consists of peoples who speak Kordofanian languages. Related to them are the Koalib, Moro, Otoro, and other peoples in the outlying eastern districts of Kordofan and the Kadugli, Miri, Krongo, Tuleshi, and other peoples in the south. In the northern and northwestern parts of Kordofan live the highland Nubians, whose language belongs to the Nilotic family; in the south live small groups of peoples (Nyimang, Katla, Temeini, etc.), who speak isolated languages of the Eastern Sudan.
The total population of the Kordofanian peoples is approximately 500,000 (1967, estimate). The majority of them profess Islam and speak Arabic. The chief occupations in the southeastern parts of Kordofan are dry farming (millet and sesame) and cattle raising; irrigation farming (barley and melon crops) and distant-pasture livestock raising (camels, sheep, and goats) are practiced in the northeast. Part of the population works on cotton plantations and at gum arabic gathering.