History of Sudan
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|History of Sudan|
This article covers the history of the territory which is today part of the Republic of Sudan. The term "Sudan" derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān"land of the Blacks", and is used more loosely of West and Central Africa in general, especially the Sahel region.
The modern Republic of Sudan was formed in 1956 and inherited its boundaries from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, established 1899. For times predating 1899, usage of the term "Sudan" for the territory of the Republic of Sudan is somewhat anachronistic, and may also refer to the more diffuse concept of the Sudan region.
The early history of what is now northern Sudan, along the Nile River, known as the Kingdom of Kush, is intertwined with the history of ancient Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods. By virtue of its proximity to Egypt, the Sudan participated in the wider history of the Near East inasmuch as it was Christianized by the 6th century, and Islamized in the 7th. As a result of Christianization, the Old Nubian language stands as the oldest recorded Nilo-Saharan language (earliest records dating to the 9th century).
Since its independence in 1956, the history of Sudan has been plagued by internal conflict, viz. the First Sudanese Civil War (1955-1972), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005), culminating in the secession of South Sudan on 9th of July 2011, and the War in Darfur (2003-2010).
An Anglo-Egyptian force under Lord Kitchener in 1898 was sent to Sudan. Sudan was proclaimed a condominium in 1899 under British-Egyptian administration. The Governor-General of the Sudan, for example, was appointed by "Khedival Decree", rather than simply by the British Crown, but while maintaining the appearance of joint administration, the British Empire formulated policies, and supplied most of the top administrators.
European control (1896-1955)
In 1896, a Belgian expedition claimed portions of southern Sudan that became known as the Lado Enclave. The Lado Enclave was officially part of the Belgian Congo. An 1896 agreement between the United Kingdom and Belgium saw the enclave turned over to the British after the death of King Léopold II in December 1909.
At the same time the French claimed several areas: Bahr el Ghazal, and the Western Upper Nile up to Fashoda. By 1896 they had a firm administrative hold on these areas and they planned on annexing them to French West Africa. An international conflict known as the Fashoda incident developed between France and the United Kingdom over these areas. In 1899, France agreed to cede the area to the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.
From 1898, the United Kingdom and Egypt administered all of present day Sudan as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, but northern and southern Sudan were administered as separate provinces of the condominium. In the very early 1920s, the British passed the Closed Districts Ordinances which stipulated that passports were required for travel between the two zones, and permits were required to conduct business from one zone into the other, and totally separate administrations prevailed.
In the south, English, Dinka, Bari, Nuer, Latuko, Shilluk, Azande and Pari (Lafon) were official languages, while in the north Arabic and English were used as official languages. Islam was discouraged by the British in the south, where Christian missionaries were permitted to work. Condominium governors of south Sudan attended colonial conferences in East Africa, not in Khartoum, and the British hoped to add south Sudan to their East African colonies.
Most of the British focus was on developing the economy and infrastructure of the north. Southern political arrangements were left largely as they had been prior to the arrival of the British. Until the 1920s, the British had limited authority in the south.
In order to establish their authority in the north, the British promoted the power of Sayyid Ali al-Mirghani, head of the Khatmiyya sect and Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, head of the Ansar sect. The Ansar sect essentially became the Umma party, and Khatmiyya became the Democratic Unionist Party.
In 1943, the British began preparing the north for self-government, establishing a North Sudan Advisory Council to advise on the governance of the six North Sudanese provinces: Khartoum, Kordofan, Darfur, and Eastern, Northern, and Blue Nile provinces. Then, in 1946, the British administration reversed its policy and decided to integrate north and south Sudan under one government. The South Sudanese authorities were informed at the Juba Conference of 1947 that they would in future be governed by a common administrative authority with the north. From 1948, 13 delegates, nominated by the British authorities, represented the south on the Sudan Legislative Assembly.
Many southerners felt betrayed by the British, because they were largely excluded from the new government. The language of the new government was Arabic, but the bureaucrats and politicians from southern Sudan had, for the most part, been trained in English. Of the eight hundred new governmental positions vacated by the British in 1953, only four were given to southerners.
Also, the political structure in the south was not as organized in the north, so political groupings and parties from the south were not represented at the various conferences and talks that established the modern state of Sudan. As a result, many southerners do not consider Sudan to be a legitimate state.
Post-colonial history (1956 to present)
Independence and the First Civil War
In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination. The transitional period toward independence began with the inauguration of the first parliament in 1954. On 18 August 1955 a revolt in the army in Torit Southern Sudan broke out,(reference link broken) which although quickly suppressed, led to a low level guerrilla insurgency by former Southern rebels, and marked the beginning of the First Sudanese Civil War. On 15 December 1955 the Premier of Sudan Ismail al-Azhari announced that Sudan would unilaterally declare independence in four days time. On 19 December 1955 the Sudanese parliament, unilaterally and unanimously, declared Sudan's independence. The British and Egyptian Governments recognized the independence of Sudan on 1 January 1956. The United States was among the first foreign powers to recognize the new state. However, the Arab-led Khartoum government reneged on promises to southerners to create a federal system, which led to a mutiny by southern army officers that sparked seventeen years of civil war (1955–1972). In the early period of the war, hundreds of northern bureaucrats, teachers, and other officials, serving in the south were massacred.
The National Unionist Party (NUP), under Prime Minister Ismail al-Azhari, dominated the first cabinet, which was soon replaced by a coalition of conservative political forces. In 1958, following a period of economic difficulties and political maneuvering that paralyzed public administration, Chief of Staff Major General Ibrahim Abboud overthrew the parliamentary regime in a bloodless coup d'état.
Gen. Abboud did not carry out his promises to return Sudan to civilian government, however, and popular resentment against army rule led to a wave of riots and strikes in late October 1964 that forced the military to relinquish power.
The Abboud regime was followed by a provisional government until parliamentary elections in April 1965 led to a coalition government of the Umma and National Unionist Parties under Prime Minister Muhammad Ahmad Mahjoub. Between 1966 and 1969, Sudan had a series of governments that proved unable either to agree on a permanent constitution or to cope with problems of factionalism, economic stagnation, and ethnic dissidence. The succession of early post-independence governments were dominated by Arab Muslims who viewed Sudan as a Muslim Arab state. Indeed, the Umma/NUP proposed 1968 constitution was arguably Sudan’s first Islamic-oriented constitution.
The Nimeiry Era
Dissatisfaction culminated in a second coup d'état on May 25, 1969. The coup leader, Col. Gaafar Nimeiry, became prime minister, and the new regime abolished parliament and outlawed all political parties.
Disputes between Marxist and non-Marxist elements within the ruling military coalition resulted in a briefly successful coup in July 1971, led by the Sudanese Communist Party. Several days later, anti-communist military elements restored Nimeiry to power.
In 1972, the Addis Ababa Agreement led to a cessation of the north-south civil war and a degree of self-rule. This led to ten years hiatus in the civil war.
Until the early 1970s, Sudan's agricultural output was mostly dedicated to internal consumption. In 1972, the Sudanese government became more pro-Western, and made plans to export food and cash crops. However, commodity prices declined throughout the 1970s causing economic problems for Sudan. At the same time, debt servicing costs, from the money spent mechanizing agriculture, rose. In 1978, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) negotiated a Structural Adjustment Program with the government. This further promoted the mechanized export agriculture sector. This caused great economic problems for the pastoralists of Sudan (See Nuba Peoples).
In 1976, the Ansars mounted a bloody but unsuccessful coup attempt. In July 1977, President Nimeiry met with Ansar leader Sadiq al-Mahdi, opening the way for reconciliation. Hundreds of political prisoners were released, and in August a general amnesty was announced for all opponents of Nimeiry’s government.
Sudan relied on a variety of countries for its arms supplies. Since independence the army had been trained and supplied by the British, but relations were cut off after the Arab-Israel Six-Day War in 1967. At this time relations with the USA and West Germany were also cut off.
From 1968 to 1972, the Soviet Union and eastern bloc nations sold large numbers of weapons and provided technical assistance and training to Sudan. At this time the army grew from a strength of 18,000 to roughly 50,000 men. Large numbers of tanks, aircraft, and artillery were acquired at this time, and they dominated the army until the late 1980s.
Relations cooled between the two sides after the coup in 1972, and the Khartoum government sought to diversify its suppliers. The USSR continued to supply weapons until 1977, when their support of Marxist elements in Ethiopia angered the Sudanese sufficiently to cancel their deals. China was the main supplier in the late 1970s.
Egypt was the most important military partner in the 1970s, providing missiles, personnel carriers, and other military hardware.
Western countries began supplying Sudan again in the mid 1970s. The United States began selling Sudan a great deal of equipment around 1976, hoping to counteract Soviet support of Marxist Ethiopians and Libyans. Military sales peaked in 1982 at US$101 million. After the start of the second civil war, American assistance dropped, and was eventually all but cancelled in 1987. 
Second Civil War
In 1983, the civil war in the south was reignited following the government's Islamicization policy which would have instituted Islamic law, among other things. After several years of fighting, the government compromised with southern groups.
On April 6, 1985, a group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Abd ar Rahman Siwar adh Dhahab, overthrew Nimeiri, who took refuge in Egypt. Three days later, Dhahab authorized the creation of a fifteen-man Transitional Military Council (TMC) to rule Sudan.
In June 1986, Sadiq al Mahdi formed a coalition government with Umma Party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the National Islamic Front (NIF), and four southern parties. Unfortunately, however, Sadiq proved to be a weak leader and incapable of governing Sudan. Party factionalism, corruption, personal rivalries, scandals, and political instability characterized the Sadiq regime. After less than a year in office, Sadiq al Mahdi dismissed the government because it had failed to draft a new penal code to replace the sharia, reach an agreement with the IMF, end the civil war in the south, or devise a scheme to attract remittances from Sudanese expatriates. To retain the support of the DUP and the southern political parties, Sadiq formed another ineffective coalition government.
In 1989, it appeared the war would end, but a coup d'état brought a military junta into power which was not interested in compromise. The leader of the junta, Omar al-Bashir, consolidated his power over the next few years, declaring himself president.
The civil war has displaced more than 4 million southerners. Some fled into southern cities, such as Juba; others trekked as far north as Khartoum and even into Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, and other neighboring countries. These people were unable to grow food or earn money to feed themselves, and malnutrition and starvation became widespread. The lack of investment in the south resulted as well in what international humanitarian organizations call a “lost generation” who lack educational opportunities, access to basic health care services, and little prospects for productive employment in the small and weak economies of the south or the north.
In early 2003 a new rebellion of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) groups in the western region of Darfur began. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region, although there is uncertainty regarding the objectives of the rebels and whether they merely seek an improved position for Darfur within Sudan or outright secession. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of atrocities in this war, although most of the blame has fallen on Arab militias (Janjaweed) allied with the government. The rebels have alleged that these militias have been engaging in ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and the fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of them seeking refuge in neighboring Chad. There are various estimates on the number of human casualties, ranging from under twenty thousand to several hundred thousand dead, from either direct combat or starvation and disease inflicted by the conflict.
In 2004 Chad brokered negotiations in N'Djamena, leading to the April 8 Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement between the Sudanese government, the JEM, and the SLA. However, the conflict continued despite the ceasefire, and the African Union (AU) formed a Ceasefire Commission (CFC) to monitor its observance. In August 2004, the African Union sent 150 Rwandan troops in to protect the ceasefire monitors. It, however, soon became apparent that 150 troops would not be enough, so they were joined by 150 Nigerian troops.
On September 18, 2004 United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 1564 declaring that the government of Sudan had not met its commitments, expressing concern at helicopter attacks and assaults by the Janjaweed militia against villages in Darfur. It welcomed the intention of the African Union to enhance its monitoring mission in Darfur and urged all member states to support such efforts. During 2005 the African Union Mission in Sudan force was increased to about 7,000.
The Chadian-Sudanese conflict officially started on December 23, 2005, when the government of Chad declared a state of war with Sudan and called for the citizens of Chad to mobilize themselves against Rally for Democracy and Liberty (RDL) militants (Chadian rebels backed by the Sudanese government) and Sudanese militiamen who attacked villages and towns in eastern Chad, stealing cattle, murdering citizens, and burning houses.
Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004, although skirmishes in parts of the south have reportedly continued. The two sides have agreed that, following a final peace treaty, southern Sudan will enjoy autonomy for six years, and after the expiration of that period, the people of southern Sudan will be able to vote in a referendum on independence. Furthermore, oil revenues will be divided equally between the government and rebels during the six-year interim period. The ability or willingness of the government to fulfill these promises has been questioned by some observers, however, and the status of three central and eastern provinces was a point of contention in the negotiations. Some observers wondered whether hard line elements in the north would allow the treaty to proceed.
A final peace treaty was signed on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. The terms of the peace treaty are as follows:
- The south will have autonomy for six years, followed by a referendum on secession.
- Both sides of the conflict will merge their armed forces into a 39,000-strong force after six years, if the secession referendum should turn out negative.
- Income from oilfields is to be shared evenly between north and south.
- Jobs are to be split according to varying ratios (central administration: 70 to 30, Abyei/Blue Nile State/Nuba mountains: 55 to 45, both in favour of the government).
- Islamic law is to remain in the north, while continued use of the sharia in the south is to be decided by the elected assembly.
Recent history (2006 to present)
On 31 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 to send a new peacekeeping force of 17,300 to Darfur. In the following months, however, UNMIS was not able to deploy to Darfur due to the Government of the Sudan’s steadfast opposition to a peacekeeping operation undertaken solely by the United Nations. The UN then embarked on an alternative, innovative approach to try to begin stabilize the region through the phased strengthening of AMIS, before transfer of authority to a joint African Union/United Nations peacekeeping operation. Following prolonged and intensive negotiations with the Government of the Sudan and significant international pressure, the Government of the Sudan finally accepted the peacekeeping operation in Darfur.
In 2009 the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir, accusing him of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
An agreement for the restoration of harmony between Chad and Sudan, signed January 15, 2010, marked the end of a five-year war between them.
The Sudanese government and the JEM signed a ceasefire agreement ending the Darfur conflict in February, 2010.
In January 2011 referendum on independence for Southern Sudan was held, and the South voted overwhelmingly to secede later that year as the Republic of South Sudan, with its capital at Juba and Kiir Mayardit as its first president. Al-Bashir announced that he accepted the result, but violence soon erupted in the disputed region of Abyei, claimed by both the North and the South.
On June 6, 2011 armed conflict broke out in South Kordofan between the forces of Northern and Southern Sudan, ahead of the scheduled independence of the South on July 9. This followed an agreement for both sides to withdraw from Abyei. On June, 20 of the parties agreed to demilitarize the contested area of Abyei where Ethiopian peacekeepers will be deployed.
On July 9, 2011 South Sudan became an independent country.
- History of Africa
- History of Egypt
- History of North Africa
- History of South Sudan
- List of governors of pre-independence Sudan
- List of heads of government of Sudan
- List of Presidents of Sudan
- Politics of Sudan
- "Egypt Bids Britain Act In Sudan Revolt". The New York Times. 22 August 1955.
- Dispatch, London (16 December 1955). "SUDAN 'FREEDOM' SET FOR MONDAY; Premier Vows to Declare End to British-Egyptian Rule -- Step Is Called Illegal". The New York Times.
- Dispatch, London (20 December 1955). "Sudan Lower House Votes Independence Declaration; FREEDOM ASKED BY SUDAN HOUSE". The New York Times.
- "World Report 2011: Chad". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
- North and South Sudan agree to demilitarize Abyei
- Martell, Peter (2011 [last update]). "BBC News - South Sudan becomes an independent nation". BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to History of Sudan.|
- Photographs from the Sudan
- LIFE Visits Sudan in 1947 - slideshow by Life magazine
- South Sudan: A History of Political Domination - A Case of Self-Determination, (Riek Machar)
- Civil War in Sudan: The Impact of Ecological Degradation
- Multimedia Presentation on Darfur
- History of independent Sudan
- Abbas, Mekki. The Sudan question: the dispute over the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, 1884-1951 (1952)
- Duncan, J.S.R. The Sudan: a record of achievement (1952), from the British perspective
- Gee, Martha Bettis (2009). Piece work/peace work : working together for peace and Sudan : mission study for children and teacher’s guide. Women’s Division, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church. ISBN 978-1-933663-34-0.
- Holt, P.M., and M.W. Daly. History of the Sudan: From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day (6th es. 2011)
- Kramer, Robert S. ed. Historical Dictionary of the Sudan (2nd ed. 2013) excerpt and text search
- Warburg, Gabriel. Sudan Under Wingate: Administration in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899-1916) (1971)
- Woodward, Peter. Sudan 1898-1989 the Unstable State (1990)
- Woodward, Peter, ed. Sudan After Nimeiri (2013); since 1984 excerpt and text search