South Sudan: July 9, 2011
The Republic of South Sudan has fought for over half a century for the independence that it enjoys–and that makes it the world’s newest nation–today. Having first rid itself of the shackles by which the Egyptian Muhammad Ali Dynasty had bound it, Sudan proceeded to combat itself for nearly 40 years in two civil wars that claimed as many as 2.5 million lives. Following a 2011 referendum that passed with 98.83% of the vote, South Sudan finally seceded from Sudan and on July 9 became an independent state.
As with most states, though, their strength will be tested by how they respond to domestic struggles–and South Sudan has plenty in its face. The nation is at war with at least seven armed groups in nine of its ten states, inter-ethnic warfare still persists, and the nation’s oil-rich resources will prove a major bone of contention for itself and its former “other half” for years to come.