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Sudan Timeline

A time line overview of big and small events in the history of Sudan.

Please note: the current situation in Sudan is EXTREMELY complicated and this outline of the historic background can not give the full image. The page is only an attempt of a general overview and still under construction!

Modern time Sudan

1820: Sudan is conquered by Turkey and Egypt.

1881: Rebellion against the Turkish-Egyptian administration.

1882: The British invade Sudan.

1885: An Islamic state is founded in Sudan.

1899: Sudan is governed by British-Egyptian rule.

1955: Revolt and start of the civil war.


1956: Sudan gains independence.

1958: A military coup takes place in Sudan. The civilian government is removed.

1962: The civil war breaks out in the southern (mainly Christian/African) parts of Sudan.

October 1964: People of Sudan rebels. The military junta falls after a communist general strike. A national government is formed.

May 1969: New military coup placing Jaafar Numeiri at power.

1971: Leaders of the communist party are executed for attempting a coup against Numeiri.

1972: A peace agreement is signed in Addis Ababa. The southern Sudan achieves partly self-governance.

Ingredients for war: Oil and Sharia

1978: Large findings of oil are made in Bentiu, southern Sudan. The oil becomes an important factor in the strife between North and South.

1983: Numieri introduces the Islamic Sharia law to Sudan leading to a new breakout of the civil war in the Christian south. In the south the forces are led by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) under command by John Garang.

1985: President Numieri is removed from power in a military coup.

1986: A civilian government is made in an effort to restore peace after general elections.

1989: Al-Bashir and his Islamic Front (NIC) takes power in a military coup.

1995: The Sudanese government are accused of being part of an attempt on the life of Egyptian prime minister Mubarak. UN decides on sanctions against Sudan.

US attack on Sudan

1998: USA launches a missile attack on a chemical plant in Khartoum assumed to develop chemical weapons possibly in coorporation with the Al'Qaeeda terror network. Civilians are killed in the attack. The Sudanese government denies any link to terror and chemical weapons.

1998: A new constitution in Sudan.

1999: The president dissolves the national assembly and declares state of emergency.

1999: Sudan start an export of oil assisted by China, Canada, Sweden and other countries.

2001: An internal struggle in thegovernment, leads to the arrest of an ideological leader who were making peace attempts with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA)

March 2001: Hunger and famine in Sudan affects 3 million people.

May 2001: A Danish pilot flying for the International Red Cross is attacked and killed when delivering aid in southern Sudan. All flights in the area are temporarily stopped.

June 2001: Peace negotiations breaks down in Nairobi, Kenya.

August 2001: The Nile river floods leaving thousands homeless in Sudan.

September 2001: the UN lifts on sanctions against Sudan to support ongoing peace negotiations.

October 2001: Following the New York terror attacks, USA puts new sanctions on Sudan due to accusations of Sudan's involvment with iInternational terrorism.

During 2001: More than 14,550 slaves are freed after pressure from human rights groups.

New hope for peace?

January 2002: A ceasefire between government forces and the SPLM are finally agreed upon.

July 20th 2002: the government and SPLA signs a protocol to end the civil war.

July 27th 2002: President al-Bashir meets for the first time with SPLA leader John Garang. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has arranged the meeting. The war in Sudan is also having huge impact on the northen Uganda.

July 31st 2002: Government attacks SPLA again.

October 2002: The ceasefire is confirmed again, but remains very uncertain. Pecae negations still continues during the next years.

February 2003: The 2 rebelgroups representing the African population in Darfur starts a rebellion against the government as protest against neglection and suppression.

December 2003: Progress is made in the peace negotiations. The negotiations are mainly focused on sharing the important oil-ressources.

Ethnic killings in Darfur

January 2004: Government army strikes down on uprising in Darfur region in the Western Sudan. More than 100,000 people seeks refuge in Chad.

March 2004: UN officers reports that systematic killings on villagers are taking place in Darfur. UN names Darfur as the worst humanitarian currently, but nothing happens. UN fails to take action as Western countries and media has close to no focus on the problems in Sudan. But even the African leaders refuse to take action on the problem.

May 26th 2004: A historic peace agreement is signed, but the situation in Darfur remains unchanged and extremely critical.

January 9th 2005 : In Nairobi the government and rebels signs the last parts of the peace treaty for Southern Sudan. All fighting in Africa's longest civil war is expected to end in January 2005, but the peace agreement still doesn't cover the Darfur region. More than 1.5 million people lost their homes since the conflict in Darfur broke out early 2003.

March 15th 2005: United Nations Security Council agrees to send 10,000 peace keeping soldiers to Southern Sudan. Again the descision does not cover the Darfur region.

2007: Violence and killings continues in the Darfur region. The conflict is in reality a genocide and is still considered the worst huminitarian disaster in the world. But not much is done about it. China has large oil interests in Africa and Sudan in particular. UN sanctions and security forces are needed, but China blocks for any real descissions in the UN security council. The rest of the world is not applying the necessary political pressure on the governments in Sudan and China.

Mainsources for the current timeline

Politiken, April 24th 2004. Sudan articles by Peter Wulff Kåri, Jesper Strudsholm and Anders Jerichow - and BBC: Sudan timeline

Sources to Sudan history:




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