Timeline: South Sudan’s history at a glance

February 16, 2017
Written by Kristin Myers
Photo by Kieran McConville

South Sudan hasn’t known peace since it became an independent nation in 2011. Take a look at the timeline below for a peek into the country’s history, from its violent split from Sudan through to today.

Comprehensive Peace Agreement

January 9, 2005

Comprehensive Peace Agreement

After years of conflict, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and southern Sudan is signed. Southern Sudan is made a semi-autonomous region and guaranteed a referendum on independence within six years.

Salva Kiir elected president

April 15, 2010

Salva Kiir elected president

Salva Kiir Mayardit is elected president of southern Sudan with 93% of the vote.

Sudanese people vote

January 15, 2011

Sudanese people vote

Southern Sudanese people vote to decide whether to secede from Sudan. Nationals around the world cast their votes.

South Sudan separates

February 7, 2011

South Sudan separates

With an overwhelming 98% of the vote, southern Sudan votes to separate from Sudan.

Independence

July 9, 2011

Independence

After decades of fighting with the north, South Sudan is recognized as an independent nation.

Cabinet fired

July 24, 2013

Cabinet fired

President Kiir fires his entire Cabinet, including Vice President Riek Machar.  

Violence erupts

December 15, 2013

Violence erupts

After a few months of relative calm, violence erupts and fighting breaks out between government forces and soldiers loyal to Machar.

Cease-fire

January 23, 2014

Cease-fire

The South Sudanese government and Machar’s forces sign a cease-fire.  

Over one million flee

March 27, 2014

Over one million flee

UN reports that more than a million have fled their homes, including over 800,00 internally displaced.

Over two million displaced

August 25, 2015

Over two million displaced

The UN estimates that more than 2.2 million have been displaced due to the fighting, which is also causing food shortages and increasing rates of disease.

Peace deal

August 26, 2015

Peace deal

President Kiir signs a new peace deal with Riek Machar after threats of UN sanctions.

Machar reinstated

January 29, 2016

Machar reinstated

President Kiir reinstates Riek Machar as Vice President as a part of a deal to end South Sudan’s civil war. He is sworn in in April.

Fighting begins again

July 7, 2016

Fighting begins again

Fighting breaks out between government forces and soldiers loyal to Vice President Machar. Hundreds are left dead, and Machar flees the country.

Machar removed again

July 23, 2016

Machar removed again

President Kiir removes Riek Machar as Vice President for the second time, replacing him with Taban Deng Gai. Machar’s camp calls the replacement illegal.  

Huge numbers flee South Sudan

August 2, 2016

Huge numbers flee South Sudan

UN High Commissioner for Refugees says more than 60,000 people have fled South Sudan since July due to fighting.

UN concerned by conflict

November 11, 2016

UN concerned by conflict

UN warns that South Sudan is at risk of “outright ethnic war.”

Arms embargo

November 18, 2016

Arms embargo

US seeks arms embargo against South Sudan through the UN Security Council.

South Sudan arms embargo blocked

December 23, 2016

South Sudan arms embargo blocked

UN blocks US-backed arms embargo against South Sudan.

South Sudan rejects peacekeepers

January 11, 2017

South Sudan rejects peacekeepers

South Sudan rejects additional UN peacekeepers, citing improved security situation.

Confidential UN report

January 17, 2017

Confidential UN report

Reuters cites a confidential UN report, calling for “credible pressure” to be applied to South Sudan.

Growing numbers flee

February 10, 2017

Growing numbers flee

UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that number of refugees who have fled South Sudan tops 1.5 million.

Famine declared

February 20, 2017

Famine declared

UN and South Sudan government declares famine in two counties of Unity State.