On Saturday, South Sudan, the world's newest nation, will officially come into existence, CNN reported on Friday
The establishment of the new country was long desired by the overwhelmingly Christian population, concentrated in the southernmost portions of the nation, who approved of the split from the Muslim north in a referendum vote that had been crafted as part of a key 2005 peace agreement drafted to help avert an otherwise perpetual civil war.
Sudan had been effectively in a state of civil war just two years after becoming an independent state in 1956. The civil war officially began in 1962, originating in the south and inspired by the Anya Nya movement. According to a BBC News time line
, Sudan became an Islamic government in 1964. Just eight years later, the south became independently governed, in one of many efforts to keep the peace.
Warring scenes would play themselves out over the next few decades, with coups and assassination attempts ensuring constant instability throughout Sudan.
The Sudanese plight became more widely known in 2004 when pro-Arab militias turned much of the Darfur region into killing fields.
The Republic of South Sudan, as the new nation is officially known, witnessed wild jubilation on Friday, with its residents dancing in the streets and banging on cans, MSNBC reported
"I came here for this moment," Chol Allen, a 32-year-old minister who escaped Sudan in 2003, told MSNBC. "We were all born into war. All of us."
South Sudan gained its independence at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. The nation is the 193rd country recognized by the United Nations, and it is the 54th U.N. member state in Africa.