Sudanese Civil War Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Lindsey Spencer

Lindsey has taught regular and special educations students in grades 1-8 since 2009 and has a master's degree in special education.

Sudan has been in a civil war for about 50 years. Two civil wars and the formation of one of the world's newest countries still hasn't prevented more fighting. In this lesson, we will learn about some of the causes of the wars in Sudan.

The Beginnings of War

Sudan, outlined in black

Can you imagine your country being at war for 50 years? This has happened in the country of Sudan, which is in east Africa. Sudan has been at war almost continuously since 1955. Since that time, there has been only about 11 years when there was no fighting.

So how did all this fighting start?

For much of modern history, Sudan was part of the British Empire, meaning that the British ruled Sudan. Sudan was given its independence in 1956.

Beginning in 1955, people in Sudan started fighting with each other. There were some people in the south who wanted Sudan to be a democratic state, which means that officials would be voted into office and laws would be secular, or not based on religion. There were other people in the north who wanted Sudan to be an Islamic state, or rules and laws would be based on the religion of Islam. The people in the north controlled the government, and made a rule that Sudan would be Islamic.

People in south Sudan began to fight back against north Sudan. The fighting continued until 1972. The government in the north allowed the south to make their own independent choices, which meant that the south could have secular laws, and the north would be Islamic.

Second Civil War

A female South Sudanese soldier
south Sudan soldier

After about 10 years of peace, fighting started again.

In 1983, the president of Sudan wanted to make sharia law (or the laws of Islam) the main laws of Sudan. He took back the promise made to the south, and the south was no longer independent.

People in the south were furious, and began fighting against the north. The people in the south did not want their country to be Islamic and have sharia law. They also were very mad that the government took away their independence.

The north and the south continued to fight until 2005.

After the Wars

Secretary Clinton meets with Sudan

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