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Between 1899 to 1956 the United Kingdom ruled Sudan through the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. During this period of colonial rule, British administrators divided the country into two distinct regions, North and South Sudan. Through a process called the ‘Southern Policy’, South Sudan was administered separately from the more economically developed North. The policy was intended as a protectionist barrier to prevent the exploitation of the economically underdeveloped south by the north. However, due to Britain’s laissez-faire economic policy in South Sudan, the southern regions were excluded from the government-sponsored economic development of the north, such as the Gezira Irrigation Scheme. The result of Britain’s colonial policies was the hegemonic domination of the North over the South. Furthermore, the incorporation of Northern elites into the colonial administration ensured that this unjust and inequitable power structure would continue throughout the postcolonial era.

The economic, educational, and political benefits rendered upon the North, compared to the neglect and expropriation inflicted upon the South led to a vastly disproportionate balance of power in the independent Sudanese Government. This power disparity was the direct cause of the Sudanese Civil War, fought between 1956 and 2005.

When South Sudan gained full independence in 2011, it entered statehood as one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world. The century of neglect under the British and of violence and oppression under the North Sudanese left the fledgling country with an insecure future. Two years after gaining its independence, South Sudan was again thrust back into civil conflict. South Sudan’s history of civil war is a result of the oppression and underdevelopment inflicted by Britain’s colonial administration and the Northern-dominated Sudanese Government.