Here’s a look at South Sudan, a landlocked country in east-central Africa, bordering Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. In 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan.
About South Sudan:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 644,329 sq km, slightly smaller than Texas
Population: 13,026,129 (July 2017 est.)
Median age: 17.3 years
Ethnic Groups: Dinka 35.8%, Nuer 15.6%, Shilluk, Azande, Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi, Baka, Fertit (2011 est.)
Religion: Animist, Christian
GDP (purchasing power parity): $11.07 billion (2017 est.)
GDP per capita: $600 (2017 est.)
Youth unemployment: 18.5% (ages 15-24)
The country is poverty-stricken despite containing vast oil reserves.
A demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone was established between Sudan and South Sudan to ease tensions in the oil-rich Abyei region.
In December 2013, soldiers from President Salva Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group tried to disarm Nuer soldiers perceived to be loyal to then-ousted Vice President Riek Machar, sparking fighting and inflaming ethnic tensions. Kiir is a member of the country’s majority Dinka population, while Machar is Nuer, the country’s second-largest ethnic group. In the ensuing civil war, at least 50,000 were killed, more than 2 million displaced and nearly 5 million people faced severe food shortages.
March 27, 1972 – The signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement ends 17 years of civil war between the northern Khartoum forces and southern Anya-Nya rebels. Part of the agreement includes the creation of the autonomous region of South Sudan, with Juba as its capital.
1977 – Oil is discovered in southwestern Sudan. Civil war during the 1980s and 1990s prevents exploration or development of the oil deposits.
1980s – Prolonged droughts put pressure on water and farming resources.
May 1983 – John Garang forms the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Garang helps organize a rebellion against the government’s proposal to redivide the region and impose Islamic law.
March 27, 1995 – Sudan’s government calls for a two month ceasefire at the behest of former US President Jimmy Carter.
July 15, 1998-May 1999 – The SPLA calls a ceasefire due to regional famine, allowing UN supplies to reach famine victims.
January 9, 2005 – The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is signed by representatives from the north and the south. The agreement includes independence for southern Sudan within six years. Islamic law will not apply in South Sudan, according to the agreement.
April 11-15, 2010 – Sudan holds multiparty elections for the first time in 24 years. Kiir is elected president of South Sudan with 93% of the vote.
January 9-15, 2011 – Voters participate in a referendum, casting ballots that will determine whether South Sudan secedes or remains part of a unified Sudan.
February 7, 2011 – The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announces that 98.83% have voted for separation. US President Barack Obama declares Washington’s intention to recognize South Sudan as an independent state in July, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is scheduled to end.
March 2011 – Violence breaks out between soldiers and rebel groups.
April 27, 2011 – During a speech on state television, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir claims the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei is part of the north.
May 31, 2011 – The African Union announces that Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement on Abyei, in which a demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone is established.
June 5, 2011 – Fighting breaks out along the border.
June 20, 2011 – Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement calling for the withdrawal of Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) from Abyei and for joint supervision of the disputed region.
July 9, 2011 – South Sudan becomes an independent nation.
July 14, 2011 – Becomes the 193rd member nation of the UN.
July 29, 2011 – South Sudan is admitted to the African Union.
October 9, 2011 – In his first visit to Khartoum since South Sudan’s independence, Kiir meets with al-Bashir to “reach final solutions” to address continuing differences between their countries.
January 23, 2012 – South Sudan shuts down oil production after accusing Sudan of stealing $815 million of its oil. Sudan says it confiscated the crude to make up for unpaid fees to use the pipeline and processing facilities in its territory.
February 10, 2012 – During talks mediated by the African Union, Sudan and South Sudan sign a nonaggression pact aimed at bringing peace to the border region.
May 30, 2012 – A spokeswoman for the UN peacekeeping mission confirms the full withdrawal of the SAF from the Abyei. Sudanese police forces remain in the area.
September 27, 2012 – Al-Bashir and Kiir sign a deal to resume oil exports and establish a demilitarized zone. The presidents do not reach an agreement on the status of Abyei.
January 6, 2013 – Al-Bashir and Kiir agree to temporary arrangements for the Abyei region.
March 8, 2013 – Defense ministers from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement to soon withdraw their respective military forces from the 14-mile-wide demilitarized zone between the countries.
July 23, 2013 – Kiir dismisses his entire Cabinet, including Vice President Riek Machar.
December 15, 2013 – Deadly clashes begin. An estimated 500 people are killed before government troops take control of the situation, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
December 24, 2013 – The UN Security Council votes unanimously to increase the force levels to deal with a security and humanitarian crisis. The resolution authorizes the UN to send up to 12,500 troops and more than 1,300 police officers
January 6, 2014 – Kiir and al-Bashir hold talks in Juba.
January 11, 2014 – Between 200 and 300 women and children die when an overcrowded ferry capsizes. They were fleeing the violence.
January 23, 2014 – The two sides sign a ceasefire that goes into effect on January 24.
February 18, 2014 – Renewed fighting breaks out, according to the UN.
February 21, 2015 – The UN says 89 boys have been abducted by militants. The warlord who orchestrated the kidnapping offers to let the boys take their school exams as long as they return as child soldiers once the tests are completed.
August 26, 2015 – Under threat of UN sanctions, Kiir signs a peace deal with Machar.
October 27, 2015 – The African Union releases a report indicating militants have committed such atrocities as forced cannibalism and gang rape.
December 25, 2015 – Kiir issues a decree that dissolves the country’s 10 states and creates 28 new states. Rebels say the move is in violation of the August peace deal.
January 28, 2016 – Al-Bashir orders the opening of the border with South Sudan for the first time since the South seceded five years ago, the Sudan News Agency reports.
January 29, 2016 – A report by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to the African Union Peace and Security Council states that South Sudan government forces were responsible for the suffocation deaths of at least 50 civilians in a container in October 2015. Implementation of the peace agreement “is lagging far behind schedule,” according to the report.
February 11, 2016 – Kiir reinstates Machar as first vice president, part of a peace deal to end the two-year civil war, according to a presidential decree read on state television. Machar, a rebel leader, is sworn in on April 26, 2016.
July 7-11, 2016 – Fighting breaks out on the fifth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. Skirmishes between soldiers loyal to Kiir, and militants backing Machar leave more than 150 people dead, according to Machar’s spokesman. CNN could not independently verify that number. After days of fighting, Kiir orders an immediate ceasefire. Machar later calls on his followers to respect the ceasefire.
July 25, 2016 – Kiir removes Machar as vice president for the second time and replaces him with Taban Deng Gai, who had previously served as Machar’s chief negotiator, as well as mining minister. Machar’s spokesman calls the replacement illegal in a Facebook post.
August 2, 2016 – The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR reports that more than 60,000 people, most of whom are women and children, have fled South Sudan since fighting began at the end of June. The UN estimates that 900,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighboring countries since December 2013.
September 4, 2016 – South Sudan’s government agrees to the deployment of an additional 4,000 peacekeepers on behalf of the UN Security Council. There are already 12,000 UN peacekeepers in the country.
November 1, 2016 – The UN announces the dismissal of the commander of the peacekeeping force in South Sudan, shortly after the release of a report on deadly violence in July and the actions of the UN mission in the country.
February 20, 2017 – The UN announces famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan. An estimated 4.9 million people – more than 40% of South Sudan’s population – are in urgent need of food, agricultural and nutrition assistance.
May 9, 2017 – Militants attack Gai’s convoy, shooting and injuring three of his bodyguards.
May 31, 2017 – The UN issues a report projecting that 6.01 million people, about 50% of South Sudan’s population, will be severely food insecure in June and July. It is the greatest number of people to experience severe food insecurity in South Sudan.
October 25, 2017 – Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, says Kiir should take action to end the violence. After meeting with Kiir during a visit, Haley tells reporters that the United States will withhold financial support if the conflict continues.
March 21, 2018 – The health minister announces that South Sudan has gone 15 consecutive months without a single reported case of Guinea worm, a parasitic disease that cannot be treated with vaccines. South Sudan once had the most cases of Guinea worm in the world. Former US President Jimmy Carter’s foundation played a key role combating the disease.
April 17, 2018 – More than 200 child soldiers are freed during a ceremony organized by UNICEF. That brings the total up to 500 child soldiers freed in 2018.