South Sudan is officially known as the Republic of South Sudan. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. South Sudan is bordered by the Republic of Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, and the Central African Republic to the west. It includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd, formed by the White Nile and known locally as the Bahr al Jabal.
The territories of modern South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan were part of Egypt under the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, and later governed as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence was achieved in 1956. Following the First Sudanese Civil War, the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was formed in 1972 and lasted until 1983. A second Sudanese civil war soon developed and ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. Later that year, southern autonomy was restored when an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was formed.
South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, following a referendum that passed with 98.83% of the vote. It is a United Nations member state, a member state of the African Union, and a member state of the Intergovernmental Authority on Developmen. In July 2012, South Sudan signed the Geneva Conventions. South Sudan has suffered internal conflict since its independence.
The term "Sudan" derives from the Arabic bilād as-sūdān "land of the Blacks", and is used more loosely of West and Central Africa in general, especially the Sahel region.
The modern Republic of Sudan was formed in 1956 and inherited its boundaries from Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, established 1899. The early history of what is now northern Sudan, along the Nile River, known as the Kingdom of Kush, is intertwined with the history of ancient Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods.
By virtue of its proximity to Egypt, the Sudan participated in the wider history of the Near East inasmuch as it was Christianized by the 6th century, and Islamized in the 7th. As a result of Christianization, the Old Nubian language stands as the oldest recorded Nilo-Saharan language (earliest records dating to the 9th century).
Since its independence in 1956, the history of Sudan has been plagued by internal conflict, viz. the First Sudanese Civil War (1955-1972), the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005), culminating in the secession of South Sudan on 9 July 2011, and the War in Darfur (2003-2010).