South Sudan Old History

By | January 2, 2023

South Sudan is an independent nation in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of Juba, South Sudan 2020 population is estimated at 11,193,736 according to countryaah. 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 History). For South Sudan political system, please check cancermatters.

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 security issues.


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 money.


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 telecommunications.

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 authorities.

“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 time being.


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.

South Sudan Old History