The region's name means "Home of the Fur", although the Fur people today represent a minority in the region.
The economy of Darfur is mainly subsistence agriculture, much in irrigated pockets in a barren landscape. Main produce is cereals (mainly millet), with fruits and tobacco as the few export products. Livestock is the cornerstone of the economy of the drier north, then as part of nomadic lifestyles.
The Fur people live in the centre of Darfur. To their north, lives the Tunjur, with Berti, Zaghawa, Birged, Meidob and peoples of a mixed Bedouin and Arab descent in the northwest. In the west, the Masalit people live. A group of peoples are called Baggara, who have cattle herding as a central part of their economy. These largely live in the southeast.
Peoples like the Zaghawa and Baggara also form important communities in neighbouring Chad.
Darfur is dominated by plains, low hills and vast regions of rolling sand dunes, called qoz. The north is desert, while the south receives up to 700 mm of rain annually. Seasonal rivers run through the region, heading for Lake Chad in the west.
The extensive mountain range in the centre runs about 500 km from northeast to southwest, and is named after its highest peak, the Marrah Mountain at 3,088 metres. It is largely volcanic, and in its highest regions, there is plenty of rainfall and the only permanent springs of water in Darfur.
Intrastructure of Darfur is poor, with few roads allowing modern traffic. The official main road, passing through al-Fashir, is almost unfit for use. There is a rail connection from Nyala to Khartoum, which has a train ever second week.
The main cities are Nyala (530,000), Al-Fashir (290,000) and Al-Junaynah (190,000). All 2009 estimates.
The population is, according to official figures, 100% Muslim.