The autonomous region of the Republic of Sudan in 2005-2011; occupied about a third of the total territory of the country. Prior to Sudan's independence (in 1956), South Sudan had an autonomous northern administration and was under the protectorate of Egypt and then Britain.
The population of Southern Sudan differed radically from the population of the northern part of the state. Christianity was the dominant denomination there, while in the north it was Islam. The main groups of the population of Southern Sudan are Dinka and Nuer, whereas in the north the Arabs predominated.
In the 1950s on the territory of Southern Sudan, large oil fields were found. They became the reason for Islamic expansion to the South. This provoked resistance, and in 1972 the South of Sudan achieved an autonomous status. Autonomy practically disappeared when, in 1983, a new wave of expansion of the Arab North into southern territories began. This led to a bloody civil war, which ended in 2005 with the signing of a package of bilateral agreements that constitutionally established the autonomous status of Southern Sudan, granted significant political and economic preferences to the autonomy.
The conflict, however, continued, and the authorities of Southern Sudan used the opportunity provided by the 2005 agreements to hold a referendum on independence. In January 2011, a referendum was held in Southern Sudan, at which 98.83% of the population voted for independence. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan gained sovereignty.