Sudan and South Sudan: an overview

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Topics: Sudan
History of Sudan and Secession of South Sudan

From 1899 until 1946, the British government, in collaboration with the Egyptian government (under a

condominium governing arrangement) administered south Sudan and north Sudan as separate regions.

At this time, the two areas were merged into a single administrative region as part of British strategy in

the Middle East.

After the February 1953 agreement by the United Kingdom and Egypt to grant independence to Sudan,

the internal tensions over the nature of the relationship of north to south were heightened. Matters

reached a head as the 1 January 1956 Independence Day approached, as it appeared that northern

leaders were backing away from commitments to create a federal government that would give the

south substantial autonomy.

Independence resulted in the composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail al-Azhari was elected

first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government. However, democracy in Sudan was

short-lived due to a coup d'état on 25 May 1969. The coup leader, Col. Gaafar Nimeiry, became prime

minister, and the new regime abolished parliament and outlawed all political parties. Disputes between

Marxist and non-Marxist elements within the ruling military coalition resulted in a briefly successful

coup in July 1971, led by the Sudanese Communist Party. Several days later, anti-communist military

elements restored Nimeiry to power.

In parallel to these events a bloody civil war between north and south was taking place. The 1972 Addis

Ababa Agreement led to a cessation of the north-south civil war and a degree of self-rule. This led to ten

years hiatus in the civil war.

Until the early 1970s, Sudan's agricultural output was mostly dedicated to internal consumption. In

1972, the Sudanese government became more pro-Western, and made plans to export food and cash

crops. However, commodity prices declined throughout

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