South Sudan: A Timeline of Events from Independence until Today

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A quick chronological look at South Sudan’s 2.5 years of independence, with a more detailed overview of the last two month’s events that pushed the country to the brink of a civil war

South Sudan flag
A girl hands the flag of South Sudan
Photo by Elitre via Wikimedia Commons

July 9, 2011: After decades of civil war with the North that left millions dead, South Sudan becomes a new country on the map, gaining independence from Sudan through a referendum. Juba is named the capital and Salva Kiir is the country’s first president. As much as 75% of the long-fought-over oil stays in the South, but the North maintains control over the infrastructure used for export.

August 18, 2011: Just a month after South Sudan proclaims independence, clashes between Murle and Lou Nuer groups in Jonglei state leave at least 600 dead and 985 wounded. The fighting involves cattle raids, with Murle stealing close to 40,000 cows as a revenge for Lou Nuer’s recent attack. According to State Governor Kuol Manyang, the inter-ethnic clashes in the area are the result of underdevelopment, competition over resources and general poverty.
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