The median age in Sudan is 18 years old, and life expectancy is 58 years old. Sudan has a literacy rate of about 60 percent. Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world. Sudan’s annual per capita income in 2001 was $340. (The annual per capita income in 2001 in the United States was $21,587.)
The Second Sudanese Civil War which lasted for twenty years from 1985-2005, was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War which took place between 1955-1972. The Second War took place in southern Sudan, and is considered one of the longest lasting and deadliest wars of the later 20th century. Nearly 2 million people were killed in southern Sudan, and more than 4 million of those living in southern Sudan have been forced out of their homes at one point or another since the war began. The civilian death toll is regarded as one of the highest of any war since World War II.
The war was a struggle between the southern, non-Arab populations and the northern, Arab-dominated government. Kingdoms and great powers along the Nile River have fought against the people of inland Sudan for centuries. Since before the 17th century, central governments have tried to regulate and exploit the cattle herders of southern and inland Sudan.
The British had originally run Sudan as a colony and they administered the northern and southern provinces separately. The south was held to be more similar to other east African colonies such as Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda. The Northern Province was similar to Arab-speaking Egypt. Northerners were not allowed to hold positions of power in the south, and trade between the provinces was not encouraged. Even as Sudan achieved independence from Britain in 1956, civil war was already brewing between the north and the south.
In 1945, the British in the south gave in to northern pressure to integrate the provinces. Arabic was made the language of administration in the south, and northerners began to hold positions of power there which were forbidden before. The elite in the South who were trained in English had resented the change as they were kept out of their own government. After the provinces were integrated, most power was given to the northern elites based in Khartoum, causing uneasiness in the south.
In 1955, southern resentment of northern Muslim Arab domination culminated in a mutiny among southern troops in Equatorial Province. These troops were upset that the Khartoum government had failed to keep their promises to Britain that it would create a federal system. During the next 17 years, the southern province experienced civil fighting, and a mixture of leaders wanted secession.
In 1972, the first civil war ended after the signing of the Addis Ababa Accords was granted. It gave southern Sudan wide regional independence on internal matters. The Addis Ababa Accords was a peace deal between the government of...