South Sudan Facts

South Sudan Facts and History


South Sudan – The new state in Africa

The people of the south of Sudan voted from January 9th to January 15th 2011 in a referendum on its independence. Until then, South Sudan was part of Sudan, the largest African state at the time. Ever since Sudan’s independence in 1956, there have been repeated rebellions in the southern provinces that have been directed against the Arabizing-Islamizing policies of the governments in the capital Khartoum. In 1983 a civil war began in which approximately 2 million Sudanese lost their lives and 4.5 million were displaced. From 2006 to the independence elections, the American actor George Clooney was seven times in the country and had recently done a lot to ensure that the election went correctly and that there were no new armed conflicts.

Independence from Sudan was finally achieved on July 9, 2011. On July 14, 2011, South Sudan became the 193rd member state of the United Nations. On July 27, 2011, the new state was admitted to the African Union – as the 54th member.

The young state is struggling with serious social problems and is one of the poorest developing countries in Africa. Life expectancy is very low and social security and adequate medical care are largely unknown. Between 20 and 35% of the population are malnourished; and around 90% are illiterate. This situation results from the long war which also weakened the agricultural potency. A positive aspect is the fact that South Sudan has mineral resources – first and foremost oil; the income from this could be enough to fight poverty in the country, since South Sudan has owned around 80% of the known oil reserves of all of Sudan since independence. The lack of access to the sea, however, makes the young country dependent on oil exports via North Sudan.

But serious ethnic conflicts also make the country a new trouble spot. For example, at the end of 2011 in early 2012 there was a massacre with around 3,000 dead, when armed supporters of the Lou Nuer cattle herders shot around 2,100 women and children and 900 men of the Murle people.

Despite the cultural and historical wealth of South Sudan, only one region has made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, probably due to the country’s political situation: These are the “holy mountain” Barkal and the archaeological sites of the Napa region. You can see the remains of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun, a palace and pyramids.

From mid-December 2013 there were serious clashes between the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups, with well over 1,000 dead.

Name of the country Republic of South Sudan (RoSS)Short form: South Sudan (German South Sudan)
Form of government republic
Government system Presidential system of government
Geographical location South Sudan is surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.
Independence Due to the referendum from January 9th to 15th, 2011, South Sudan became independent on July 9th, 2011. Since then it has been a sovereign state.
National anthem South Sudan Oyee!
Population approximately 12.9 million (Credit: Countryaah: South Sudan Population)
Ethnicities Va Dinka, Nuer and Schilluk and Azande
Religions Christians and Animists
Languages English is the official language.In addition, numerous African languages and Sudan Arabic are spoken in the country.
Capital Juba
Surface 619,745 kmĀ²
Highest mountain Kinyeti with a height of 3,178 m
Longest river White Nile
International license plate SSD
National currency South Sudanese pou
Time difference to CET + 1h
International phone code 00211
Mains voltage, frequency 240 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TDL (Top Level Domain) .sd (applied for: ss)

South Sudan: history

From the Civil War to the founding of South Sudan

When one speaks of the civil war in South Sudan, one means the armed struggle of the South Sudanese for the independence of the Christian south from the Islamic north. These efforts to detach themselves resulted in two bloody civil wars (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) and finally ended in 2005 with the partial autonomy of South Sudan.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the reasons which led to the struggle between North and South were manifold. On the one hand, they are historical and ethnic; On the other hand, it is also economical, because the south of Sudan has important natural resources such as oil.

Both regions – that is, North and South Sudan – are also not an entity that has grown together, but an arbitrary determination of the colonial rulers who drew borders where there were actually only disparities. If the population of North Sudan consists of Muslims and fair-skinned people influenced by Arabs, the south is mainly composed of Christian and/or animist black African peoples. Historically, the classification of the northern Sudanese as superior to the southern black Africans was shown when slave traders from the north hunted slaves in the south.

The British colonial rulers therefore administered North and South Sudan separately from one another. When the decolonization of Sudan was carried out, the freedom was not given to South Sudan as a separate area – as originally planned – but it was added to the north at the Juba Conference (1947). The establishment of the North Sudanese administration, including police and military, brought about the first serious conflicts with the South Sudanese tribes. Due to the lack of power from the South, there were more and more protests, which finally evolved into open civil war with Sudan’s independence in 1956. While this war brought autonomy to the south, it had cost the lives of up to 700,000 people.

At the beginning of the 1980s, northern Sudan began to intervene increasingly in the autonomy, because oil deposits had been discovered in Bentiu in southern Sudan, in which the north was very interested. Among other reasons, however, the forced Islamization by President Numairi was one of the most important reasons for war on the part of the South. The answer was the founding of the SPLM (Sudanese People Liberation Movement), whose armed arm, the SPLA (Sudanese People Liberation Army), was led by Colonel John Garang. After 22 years of civil war, a peace agreement was finally signed between the government and the SPLA in 2005, which guaranteed the south its autonomy. It was also decided that a vote on the independence of South Sudan should take place in January 2011.

The civil wars have cost more than 2,000,000 lives; Around 4,000,000 South Sudanese have been displaced and are now mostly returning to the South, which will not (yet) be able to feed them, because the infrastructure is on the ground and the food situation is catastrophic. And in some cases the armed conflicts continue. In May 2008, for example, fighting broke out in the oil-rich Abyei district, which is among the worst since the peace treaty.

Between January 9 and 15, 2011, there was actually a referendum in which 99% of the South Sudanese who voted in favor of independence from North Sudan. Since February 14, 2011, the name of the new and therefore youngest African state has also been pronounced: South Sudan.

Transitional period and independence

After a remarkably short transition period, South Sudan’s independence was officially declared and implemented on July 9, 2011. In the months between the referendum and the sovereignty of the new state, all institutions of both parts of the country were separated from one another step by step. South Sudanese officials were transferred to the south, northern Sudanese officials to the north, and in February the representatives of the south of North Sudan were dismissed from the National Assembly. South Sudan’s capital, Juba, has had an embassy for (North) Sudan since March.

Unfortunately, in May 2011, fighting broke out again in the Abyei area. The result was, among other things, the capture of the city of Abyei by the soldiers of (Northern) Sudan. Thanks to the mediating help from South Africa, both conflict parties were able to agree on the establishment of a demilitarized zone in the border region.

On July 14, 2011, South Sudan became the 193rd member state of the United Nations. On July 27, 2011, the new state was admitted to the African Union – as the 54th member.

At the end of 2011 in early 2012 there was a massacre with around 3,000 dead, when armed supporters of the Lou Nuer cattle herders shot around 2,100 women and children and 900 men of the Murle people.

South Sudan Facts