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The anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Sudan was formally established on this date in 1956. Egypt and the United Kingdom immediately recognized the new nation at that time.
This repaired the invasion of the 1884 Berlin Conference, the highpoint of white European competition for territory in Africa, a process commonly known as the Scramble for Africa.
Sudan became a member of the Arab League on January 19, 1957 and of the United Nations on November 12, 1957. The first general parliamentary elections after Sudan attained independence were held on February 27, 1958. The Umma Party won a majority and formed a new government on March 20.
Lieutenant General Ibrahim Abboud, the commander in chief of the armed forces, overthrew it on November 17. In 1969 a group of radical army officers, led by Colonel Gaafar Muhammad al-Nimeiry, seized power and set up a government under a revolutionary council. Political tension continued and several coups were attempted.
President Nimeiry won reelection to a third term in April 1983. In September, he issued a blanket pardon for some 13,000 prisoners and announced a revision of the penal code to accord with Islamic law (Sharia). Martial law was imposed in April 1984 in the wake of rising tensions with Libya ans protests over food price increases. Opposition in the predominantly non-Muslim south Sudan to Islamization remained in force until late September. Renewed unrest led in April 1985 to Nimeiry’s expulsion in a bloodless military coup.
After a year of military rule, Sadiq al-Mahdi, the great grandson of Muhammad Ahmad, was elected prime minister in the first free election in 18 years. Voting was postponed in 37 southern constituencies, however, due to a guerrilla war against the Muslim Arab government led by southern rebels known as the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). In mid-1998 peace talks, the SPLA and the government tentatively agreed to accept an internationally supervised vote on self-determination in the south. However, no date was set for the vote, and the talks failed to produce a cease-fire.
The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.