Why was Sudan Divided? - Answers

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Why was Sudan Divided?

Infographic Showing Reasons Behind The Division of Sudan
Infographic Shows Creation of South Sudan

Sudan is located in the Northeast Africa. Covering an area of 728,215 square miles, Sudan is the 15th largest country in the world and the third largest in Africa. Prior to 2011, Sudan was the largest country in Africa. However, civil wars and dissatisfaction between the people in the southern parts of the country with those of the north led to the division of the country. On July 9, 2011, the southern part became an independent nation and came to be called South Sudan.

Reasons Behind The Division

Muslim-dominated north Sudan and Christian-dominated south Sudan were administered by the British in collaboration with Egypt as two separate regions. However, in 1946, the British decided to merge them without consulting the Christian-dominated south. Unified Sudan gained independence in 1956, but by then it was already embroiled in a civil war. The first civil war broke out in 1955 and lasted until 1972. The civil war resulted from the dissatisfaction of the southerners with the northerners. The situation was heavily biased in favor of north Sudan which was the dominant region. Following independence, the northerners were given preferential treatment in terms of jobs and employment. South Sudan was also demanding more autonomy which the federal government was not willing to give, thus resulting in the first civil war. The war dragged on for 17 long years and lead to the death of at least 500,000 people. The war came to an end in 1972 with the Addis Ababa Agreement.

Peace between the two sides was only temporary. In 1983, Sudan was again engulfed in a war that lasted for 22 years. It is believed that one of the causes for the civil war was the imposition of the Sharia on the non-Muslim people in southern Sudan. Natural resources were also a cause for the war. The southern portion of the county comprises significant oil fields which the north wanted to dominate, thus increasing friction. The war witnessed the death of between 1 to 2.5 million people. On January 9, 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed between the rebels and the government, bringing peace to the country. In 2011, a referendum was held and the South overwhelmingly voted to establish South Sudan as an independent nation.

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