South Sudan profile - Timeline

  • 5 December 2016
  • From the section Africa

A chronology of key events

1899-1955 - South Sudan is part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, under joint British-Egyptian rule.

1956 - Sudan gains independence from joint British-Egyptian rule.

First civil war

1962 - Civil war led by the southern separatist Anya Nya movement begins with north.

1969 - Group of socialist and communist Sudanese military officers led by Col Jaafar Muhammad Numeiri seizes power; Col Numeiri outlines policy of autonomy for south.

1972 - Government of Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri concedes a measure of autonomy for southern Sudan in a peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa.

1978 - Oil discovered in Unity State in southern Sudan.

Second civil war

1983 - Fighting breaks out again between north and south Sudan, under leadership of John Garang's Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), after Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiri abolishes South Sudan's autonomy.

1988 - Democratic Unionist Party - part of Sudan's ruling coalition government - drafts cease-fire agreement with the SPLM, but it is not implemented.

1989 - Military seizes power in Sudan.

2001 - Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan Al-Turabi's party, the Popular National Congress, signs memorandum of understanding with the southern rebel SPLM's armed wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Mr Al-Turabi is arrested the next day.

2002 - SPLA and Sudanese sign agreement on six-month renewable cease-fire in central Nuba Mountains - a key rebel stronghold.

Talks in Kenya lead to a breakthrough agreement between southern rebels and Sudanese government on ending the civil war. The Machakos Protocol provides for the south to seek self-determination after six years.

North-south peace deal

2005 January - North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ends civil war; deal provides for a permanent ceasefire, autonomy for the south, a power-sharing government involving rebels in Khartoum and a south Sudanese referendum on independence in six years' time.

2005 July - Former southern rebel leader John Garang is sworn in as first vice-president. A new Sudanese constitution which gives the south a large degree of autonomy is signed.

2005 August - South Sudanese leader John Garang is killed in a plane crash. He is succeeded by Salva Kiir Mayardiit. Mr Garang's death sparks deadly clashes in the capital between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs.

2005 September - Power-sharing government is formed in Khartoum.

2005 October - Autonomous government is formed in South Sudan, in line with the January 2005 peace deal. The administration is dominated by former rebels.

Fragile peace

2006 November - Hundreds die in fighting centred on the southern town of Malakal - the heaviest between northern Sudanese forces and former rebels since the 2005 peace deal.

2007 October - SPLM temporarily suspends participation in national unity government, accusing Khartoum of failing to honour the 2005 peace deal. Returns to government in December.

2008 March - Tensions rise over clashes between an Arab militia and SPLM in the disputed Abyei area on the north-south divide - a key sticking point in the 2005 peace accord.

Tension over Abyei

2008 May - Intense fighting breaks out between northern and southern forces in disputed oil-rich town of Abyei.

2008 June - Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir and Sudanese President Omar Bashir agree to seek international arbitration to resolve dispute over Abyei.

2008 October - Allegations that Ukrainian tanks hijacked off the coast of Somalia were bound for southern Sudan spark fears of an arms race between the North and former rebels in the South.

2009 June - Khartoum government denies it is supplying arms to ethnic groups in the south to destabilise the region.

2009 July - North and south Sudan say they accept ruling by arbitration court in The Hague shrinking disputed Abyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north.

Independence referendum

2009 December - Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South by 2011.

2010 January - President Omar Bashir says he will accept referendum result, even if South opted for independence.

2011 January - The people of South Sudan vote in favour of full independence from Sudan.

2011 February - Clashes between the security forces and rebels in southern Sudan's Jonglei state leave more than 100 dead. Fighting breaks out near Abyei.

2011 March - Government of South Sudan says it is suspending talks with the North, accusing it of plotting a coup.

2011 May - North occupies disputed border region of Abyei.

2011 June - Governments of north and south Sudan sign accord to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region and let in an Ethiopian peacekeeping force.

New state born

2011 9 July - Independence day.

2011 August - UN says at least 600 people are killed in ethnic clashes in the state of Jonglei.

2011 September - South Sudan's cabinet votes to designate Ramciel - a planned city in Unity State - as the future capital.

2011 October - President Salva Kiir makes historic first visit Khartoum since independence. South Sudan and Sudan agree to set up several committees tasked with resolving their outstanding disputes.

At 75 people are killed when rebels of the South Sudan Liberation Army attack the town of Mayom, in Unity State.

2011 November - South Sudan blames Sudan for the aerial bombardment of a refugee camp in Yida, in Unity State; Sudan's army denies being responsible.

2012 January - South Sudan declares a disaster in Jonglei State after some 100,000 flee clashes between rival ethnic groups.

2012 February - Sudan and South Sudan sign non-aggression pact at talks on outstanding secession issues, but Sudan then shuts down the South's oil export pipelines in a dispute over fees. South Sudan halves public spending on all but salaries in consequence.

2012 April - After weeks of border fighting, South Sudan troops temporarily occupy the oil field and border town of Heglig before being repulsed. Sudanese warplanes raid the Bentiu area in South Sudan.

2012 May - Sudan pledges to pull its troops out of the border region of Abyei, which is also claimed by South Sudan, as bilateral peace talks resume.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thousands of refugees streamed into South Sudan in mid-2012 to escape violence in the border areas of Sudan

2012 July - Country marks first anniversary amid worsening economic crisis and no let-up in tension with Sudan.

2012 August - Some 200,000 refugees flee into South Sudan to escape fighting between Sudanese army and rebels in Sudan's southern border states.

2012 September - The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agree trade, oil and security deals after days of talks in Ethiopia. They plan to set up a demilitarised buffer zone and lay the grounds for oil sales to resume. They fail however to resolve border issues including the disputed Abyei territory.

2013 March - Sudan and South Sudan agree to resume pumping oil after a bitter dispute over fees that saw production shut down more than a year earlier. They also agreed to withdraw troops from their border area to create a demilitarised zone.

2013 June - President Kiir dismisses Finance Minister Kosti Manibe and Cabinet Affairs Minister Deng Alor over a multi-million dollar financial scandal, and lifts their immunity from prosecution.

2013 July - President Kiir dismisses entire cabinet and Vice-President Riek Machar in a power struggle within the governing Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Civil war

2013 December - Civil war erupts as President Salva Kiir accuses his ex-Vice-President, Riek Machar, of plotting to overthrow him.

Rebel factions seize control of several regional towns, thousands are killed and many more flee. Uganda troops intervene on the government's side.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Vice-President Riek Machar led a rebellion against President Salva Kiir after he was sacked in 2013

2014 January - A ceasefire is signed but broken several times over subsequent weeks, and further talks in February fail to end the violence that displaces more than a million people by April.

Fugitive ex-Vice President Riek Machar is charged with treason.

2014 April - UN says pro-Machar forces sack the oil town of Bentiu, killing hundreds of civilians.

2014 May - UN envoy Toby Lanzer says conflict has resulted in slaughter of thousands, displacement of more than a million and five million in need of humanitarian aid.

2014 July - UN Security Council describes the food crisis in South Sudan as the worst in the world.

Peace talks

2014 August - Peace talks begin in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and drag on for months as fighting continues.

2015 February - General elections due in June are called off because of the ongoing conflict.

China announces the deployment of an infantry battalion on a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

2015 March - Rebels free 250 child soldiers following negotiations with Unicef, which says 12,000 child soldiers are involved in current conflict.

2015 August - Despite "reservations" and under threat of UN sanctions, President Salva Kiir signs an internationally-mediated peace deal under which rebel leader Riek Machar will return as vice-president.

2016 April - Riek Machar finally returns to Juba and is sworn in as first vice-president in a new unity government - but is sacked in July after further conflict.

2016 November - UN sacks Kenyan commander of its peacekeeping mission over the failure to protect civilians in Juba during July violence. Kenya responds by saying it will withdraw its peacekeepers.