The early history of the area that now forms
South Sudan is largely unknown. Probably various groups
of people began to migrate into the area from around the
9th century onwards.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of South Sudan, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Already in the European Middle Ages, Arab slave
traders probably made raids into the area, but there is
no clear evidence of this until the 18th century. The
slave trade left deep traces and was in fresh memory of
the black population as Egypt and Britain began to
colonize the area during the last decades of the 19th
century. The slave trade laid the foundation for a
deep-rooted suspicion of the influence of Arabs and
others - a suspicion that became one of the driving
forces in the coming civil wars between Arab-dominated
northern Sudan and black southern Sudan (see Modern
At the end of the 19th century, Sudan came under
increasing British influence, as the colonial power
wanted control over the Nile's water for cultivation in
Egypt (see Sudan: Ancient History). In 1898 a
British-Egyptian army defeated a Sudanese uprising and
the following year, Britain and Egypt agreed to rule
Sudan jointly. After the British General Governor of
Sudan was assassinated in Cairo in 1924, the British
took over the entire administration of Sudan in
cooperation with local chieftains.
Britain, after the Second World War, was forced to
hand over power to the Sudanese (in practice the North
Sudanese). A local parliament was established in 1948
and internal self-government was introduced in 1953.
However, among the black people of southern Sudan there
was widespread fear of being governed by an Arab regime
in the northern capital of Khartoum. Local leaders in
the south have fueled rumors of Arab massacres in South
Sudanese. The low level of education in the south also
meant that the South Sudanese were severely
underrepresented in the preparations for independence.
When local military associations in the south did
mutiny in 1955, it became the beginning of a protracted
civil war between the north and the south. The unions
later formed the backbone of the guerrilla movement Anya
Nya (The Serpent Gift), which received strong support
from the Dinka people. When Sudan gained independence in
1956, a war raged between the northern and southern
parts of the new state.
UN helicopter is shot down
All four Russian crew members are killed when a UN helicopter is shot down
over Jonglei. The UN accuses the South Sudanese army of the shooting.
UN investigators are expelled
The government expects a UN official who has examined the South Sudanese
authorities' respect for human rights. The UN calls the deportation a violation
of South Sudan's commitments under the UN Charter, while the government accuses
the official of having disseminated false and "unethical" information. The
government is believed to have reacted to the army being accused of torture,
rape, murder and robbery.
Oil production resumes
The government gives orders to the oil companies to resume production.
According to the Minister of Oil, it may take three months for South Sudanese
oil to re-enter the world market.
Assault on civilians in Jonglei
Amnesty International reports that security forces committed serious attacks
on civilians, including murders and rapes, during the disarmament campaign in
Jonglei (see March 2012).
Agreements on oil, trade and security
Progress in relations with Sudan is being made when President Kiir and
Sudanese President al-Bashir meet in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
There, they sign a series of agreements on trade, oil and security and on
setting up a demilitarized buffer zone along the disputed border. There is no
solution regarding the border demarcation, but the agreement may lead to the
resumption of oil exports.
Sudan and South Sudan are given a new deadline
AU mediator Thabo Mbeki says that South Sudan and Sudan have agreed on the
economic conditions for oil exports from South Sudan via Sudan. Mbeki gives the
countries a deadline for September 22 to agree on border demarcation and
Slow negotiations in Ethiopia
Distinct AU-led talks between Sudan and South Sudan on the battle issues
between them are ongoing, with no significant results.
"A lost year"
The relief organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) describes the
conditions in the Jamam refugee camp as horrific. In the camp there are about
40,000 people who have escaped fighting in the Blue Nile state in Sudan. In
Jamam, an average of eight children die a day. According to MSF, half as many
would be classified as a disaster based on normal norms. The International
Rescue Committe (IRC) describes South Sudan's first twelve months as an
independent state as a "lost year". According to IRC, the development is equal
to zero, mainly due to the decision to discontinue oil production.
The mandate of the peace force is being extended
The UN Security Council extends the mandate of the peacekeeping force in
South Sudan by one year.
Weapons from abroad exacerbate the conflict
Amnesty International accuses foreign forces of pushing for conflicts in
South Sudan by supplying arms and ammunition to warring parties. The
organization claims that the government army SPLA has received tanks from
Ukraine, while the rebel movement SSLA (see October 2011) received tanks from
China and ammunition from Sudan.
Suspected embezzlement at high level
Decides to dismiss 75 senior government officials suspected of embezzling
state funds; President Kiir offers the accused impunity if they return the
Half the population is at risk of starvation
UN humanitarian agency Ocha reports that over half of South Sudan's
population is at risk of famine as a result of oil production being halted and
the state losing vital income. Ocha warns that almost half a million tonnes of
grain is missing - the largest deficit in peacetime.
The UN threatens sanctions
The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution calling on Sudan and
South Sudan to guarantee in writing within two days that they will stop fighting
and withdraw their respective forces to their own side of the border. The
resolution also requires that all unresolved conflict issues between the
countries be addressed for new negotiations within two weeks and that a
settlement is to take place within three months. If either side fails to meet
the conditions, the Security Council threatens to impose non-military sanctions
on that country. China and Russia, too, which usually oppose sanctions against
member states, support the resolution. Both countries say they accept the plan.
Big loan from China
After President Kiir visited China, the government in Juba announces that it
has received a loan from Beijing of the equivalent of $ 8 billion. The money
will be used to build roads, bridges, hydropower plants, agriculture and
Entry into the IMF and the World Bank
South Sudan is approved as a new member of the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and the World Bank.
South Sudan leaves Heglig
Reports of fighting in southern Sudanese territory continue to come, while a
new battlefront opens west of the Heglig oilfield. Soon there will be talks on
three fronts. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon describes South Sudan's presence
at Heglig as "illegal", prompting President Kiir to promise that a troop retreat
will be completed within three days. Whether this is a "voluntary" retreat or
whether the South Sudanese forces are being driven away from Heglig by the
Sudanese army is not entirely clear. In any case, battles continue to be fought
in the border areas even after the march.
On the brink of a new war
South Sudan sends soldiers into South Kurdufan and takes control of the
largest Heglig oil field on April 10, which the Permanent Arbitration Court in
The Hague decided belongs to Sudan. The government in Juba says the reason for
the attack is that Sudan is guilty of repeated violations of South Sudanese
territory. Sudan cancels all negotiations with South Sudan and reports the
intrusion to the UN and the African Union (AU), both of which urge South Sudan
to withdraw its forces from Heglig. Sudan's air force drops bombs on South
Sudanese territory, while South Sudan states it has struck back a
counter-offensive at Heglig. The UN announces that the peacekeeping force's camp
was hit by bombs, but no one was killed.
President al-Bashir cancels visits
After fighting between South Sudanese and Sudanese armies in an oil-rich area
of Unity State, a planned visit by Sudanese President al-Bashir is canceled.
The visit would have manifested improved relations between the countries.
Thousands of soldiers to Jonglei
The livestock councils between lou nuer and murle continue to demand hundreds
of lives. The government has sent about 12,000 soldiers and police to the state
to seize illegal weapons, a mission that is expected to take perhaps a year.
New charges of oil theft
A manager of a Sino-Malaysian oil company is expelled. He is suspected of
stealing oil worth more than $ 800 million in cooperation with Sudanese
"Non-aggression pact" with Sudan
South Sudan and Sudan enter into an agreement in which they promise to
quickly try to resolve the conflicts over oil management and border clearing
that now threaten to lead to a new war. The government is making major cuts in
the state budget since it has been decided to halt all oil production for the
Many dead in cattle herds in Warrap
A militia from Unity State goes to attack the thinkers of the state of Warrap
and steals cattle. Dozens of people are killed in the raids. South Sudan accuses
Sudan of having armed the militia.
The UN intervenes in Jonglei
The government faces an emergency when the fighting between ethnic militias
in Jonglei drives about 100,000 civilians on the run. South Sudan is asking the
outside world for help and the UN is sending soldiers to the area.