South Sudan was administered separately from the north under Egyptian and British rule until 1946 when the British unified the regions. When independence as a single state was granted in 1956 and southern autonomy was compromised, tensions between the predominantly Muslim, Arabic north and the Christian and animist south escalated into civil war. An agreement between the government and the Southern Sudan Liberation Front signed in Addis Ababa in 1972 brought a brief respite from the fighting but in 1983 hostilities recommenced. They lasted 19 years and resulted in 1·9m. civilian deaths in the south of Sudan before a ceasefire was declared in Jan. 2002. A comprehensive peace agreement was signed between the Khartoum government and the southern rebels led by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Jan. 2005. They entered a unity government, despite ongoing arguments over disputed areas, and a southern autonomous government was formed. In a referendum on independence for the south on 9–15 Jan. 2011, 98·8% of votes cast were in favour. South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011. On 14 July 2011 it became the 193rd member of the United Nations.
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