Central Africa: 6th post

previous post here South Sudan

(Primary source:  Wikipedia)

I learned a new word today!  Or, a new meaning of a word I knew before:  Condominium. In international law, a Condominium is an area governed jointly by two or more sovereign states.

I learned this because I discovered via Wikipedia that, after gaining sort-of-independence from Egypt in 1899, the territory that would become South Sudan was part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, a condominium which the British Empire and Egypt formally governed.  (Britain was, at the time, 'advising' the Egyptian government, though they were occupying the country at the time.)

In 1954, the Egyptian government (which had recently switched from monarchical to democratic) forfeited its sovereignty over Sudan, forcing the British to do the same, as a political move to get the British out of Egypt.

After that, the First Sudanese Civil War started in 1955.  The following quote is directly from the Wikipedia post:

Until 1946, the British government, in collaboration with the Egyptian government (under a condominium governing arrangement) administered south Sudan and north Sudan as separate regions. At this time, the two areas were merged into a single administrative region as part of British strategy in the Middle East.

This act was taken without consultation with southerners, who feared being subsumed by the political power of the larger north. Southern Sudan is inhabited primarily by Christians and animists and considers itself culturally sub-Saharan, while most of the north is inhabited by Muslims who were culturally Arabic.

This is the first piece of information I've bumped into that addresses why Sudan and South Sudan wanted to be different countries.  I had no idea that there was a significant cultural divide explicitly between the two regions.  This is something I'm going to have to look into more in coming weeks.

Following the civil war, which ended in 1972, what would be South Sudan was known as the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region, and appears to have been technically part of Sudan but essentially self-governing.  That lasted for eleven years -- in 1983, when it was abolished, fighting picked back up immediately with the Second Sudanese Civil War.

That's a big, scary, unpleasant article in itself, involving arms dealers, terrorism, one of the highest civilian death tolls since World War II and child soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

That only ended in 2005, resulting in the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan that exists today.

An article I linked last week, from April of 2010, points out that the LRA used the unstable political situations of the countries in which it operates to hide from capture.  Knowing that, before six years ago, South Sudan had been in civil war for the entire length of the existence of the LRA sheds some more light on that.

Next week I'm going to try to look more into the Second Sudanese Civil War, and I'm also going to look into the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Right now, this series is getting pretty cursory -- close to the only website I cited in this post was Wikipedia.  But I think I need a broader picture of Africa over the last few hundred years before I can start really getting a handle on any of the in-depth issues.  So, for now, I'm going to keep drifting around, trying to learn about the histories and governments of various countries, following the connections each week as they lead me across borders.