A new country is born!

image All world atlases and lots of geography books will have to change. The world has a new country! The country of South Sudan was born on July 9. The country Sudan split into two. The northern part of Sudan is now called just “Sudan”, and the southern part is called “South Sudan”.

Until the split, Sudan was the biggest country in Africa, and was almost ten times the size of the United Kingdom. Sudan got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1956. In its 55 years of freedom, it has only had 12 years without any war. The majority of people in the northern part of Sudan are Arabs of the Islamic faith. The people in the southern part are mainly black Africans, many of whom follow Christianity. For a while, the government was dominated by the people from the northern part of Sudan, and more money was invested by the government in improving living standards in the northern part as compared to the southern part. People in the southern part of the country felt they were not being treated fairly. In fact, over 70% of people in the southern part can’t read and write because of lack of schools.

sudanThe government also tried to impose Islamic law in the whole of Sudan. The people living in the southern part rebelled and a war broke out that lasted for over 20 years and killed more than 1 million people. This war came to an end in 2005 and the southern part of Sudan was given some amount of self-governing. It was also decided that people from the southern part of Sudan will be given an opportunity in 2011 to choose whether they want a separate country. In January this year, close to 99% of the people from southern Sudan voted for a new country, and South Sudan has now come into existence. South Sudan has also been admitted to the United Nations as its 193rd member.

A new country means a new capital, currency, flag, postage stamps, national anthem, and more. South Sudan is just a bit smaller than France. Its population is about 8 million. (France’s population is about 8 times that of South Sudan.) South Sudan’s capital is Juba, and its currency is called the South Sudan pound. The country’s flag has six colors. The president of the country is Salva Kiir Mayardit.

South Sudan has forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The Sudd is a large swampy area in South Sudan and is one of the world’s largest wetlands. There is still some dispute between South Sudan and Sudan about the exact border between the two.