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.
2010: Salva Kiir elected president
Salva Kiir Mayardit is elected president of Southern Sudan with 93% of the vote.
January 9-15, 2011: Independence Referendum
Southern Sudanese people vote to decide whether to secede from Sudan. Nationals around the world cast their votes.
February 7, 2011: South Sudan Separates
After nearly a month, the votes are in. With an overwhelming 98% majority, Southern Sudan votes to separate from Sudan.
July 9, 2011: Independence is Official
After decades of fighting with the north, South Sudan is recognized as an independent nation.
2013-15: First Conflict
July 24, 2013: Cabinet Fired
President Kiir fires his entire Cabinet, including Vice President Riek Machar.
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.
January 23, 2014: Ceasefire
The South Sudanese government and Machar’s forces sign a ceas-fire.
March 29, 2014: Over 1 Million Flee
The UN reports that more than 1 million South Sudanese have fled their homes, including over 800,00 internally displaced.
May 1, 2015: One year later, over 2 million displaced
In just over one year, the UN estimates that the number of South Sudanese displaced by violence has more than doubled, reaching 2.2 million. This forced migration crisis also begins to cause food shortages and increasing rates of disease.
August 16, 2015: Peace Deal Signed
President Kiir signs a new peace deal with Riek Machar after threats of UN sanctions.
2016-18: Fragile peace and renewed conflict
April 26, 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.
July 7, 2016: Violence Breaks out Again in Juba
Fighting breaks out between government forces and soldiers loyal to Vice President Machar. Hundreds are left dead, and Machar flees the country.
July 25, 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.
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.
November 11, 2016: “Outright Ethnic War”
Concerned by the ongoing conflict, the UN warns that South Sudan is at risk of “outright ethnic war.” Shortly after stating this, the UN seeks an arms embargo against South Sudan through the Security Council. In December 2016, the embargo is blocked.
January 17, 2017: “Credible Pressure”
Reuters cites a confidential UN report, calling for “credible pressure” to be applied to South Sudan.
February 10, 2017: 1.5 Million Refugees
UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that number of refugees who have fled South Sudan tops 1.5 million, making it one of the world’s largest refugee crises.
February – June, 2017: South Sudanese Famine
The UN and South Sudanese government declare famine in two counties of Unity State. The famine is officially undeclared in June of 2017, although food insecurity still remains high.
2018-Present: Peace, Redux
September 12, 2018: Second peace treaty
An agreement is signed by the South Sudanese government and its main political opposition. The deal offers some hope for peace, but a hard road forward for bringing the peace deal to fruition.
2019: Risk, insecurity, and violence remain
While the peace deal holds, nearly 7 million people are threatened by food insecurity, with the United Nations declaring that “without scaled-up humanitarian assistance, more and more people are at risk.” Sexual violence against women and girls remains “endemic.”