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South Sudan: a timeline to independence

On Saturday, after decades of civil war and almost two centuries of rule by outsiders, South Sudan will finally become an independent state. Here's a look at the road the fledgling nation has traveled to get to where it is today.

Members of Southern Sudanese security forces prepare for a rehearsal of the upcoming independence day celebrations in Juba on July 7.
Paul Banks/UNMIS/Reuters
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Sudan under Turkish-Egyptian rule (1820s-1890s)

Sudan was a collection of mostly autonomous, non-cohesive kingdoms and tribes until the 1820s, when Turkish-Egyptian forces took control of the territory and created a colonial administration. However, neither the original invaders nor the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abdalla, who came in the 1880s, were able to bring southern Sudan under their control. Although Mr. Abdalla, known as "the Mahdi," did unify some of the central and western tribes with what is now northern Sudan, the South remained a loose confederation of kingdoms and tribes.

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