Here's a look at what you need to know about South Sudan. In 2011, South Sudan became the world's newest country after gaining its independence from Sudan.
Facts: South Sudan is a north African country bordering Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.
The country is poverty-stricken despite containing the majority of known Sudanese oil reserves.
A demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone has been established between Sudan and South Sudan to ease tensions regarding the oil-rich Abyei region.
July 9, 2011 - South Sudan gains its independence from Sudan, becoming the world's newest country.
About South Sudan: (from the CIA World Factbook) Land Area: 644,329 sq km, slightly smaller than Texas Population: 11,090,104 (July 2013 est.) Median age: 16.6 years Capital: Juba Ethnic Groups: Dinka, Kakwa, Bari, Azande, Shilluk, Kuku, Murle, Mandari, Didinga, Ndogo, Bviri, Lndi, Anuak, Bongo, Lango, Dungotona, Acholi Religions: Animist, Christian GDP: $9.664 billion (2012 est.) GDP per capita: $900 (2012 est.)
Timeline: January 1, 1956 - Sudan gains its independence after an agreement between the United Kingdom and Egypt.
March 27, 1972 - The signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement ends 16 years of civil war between the northern Khartoum forces and southern Anyanya rebels. Part of the agreement includes the creation of the autonomous region of South Sudan, with Juba as its capital.
1977 - Oil is discovered in southwestern Sudan. Civil war in the 1980s and 1990s prevents much exploration or development of the oil deposits.
1980s - Prolonged droughts put pressure on water and farming resources.
May 1983 - Col. John Garang de Mabior forms the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and leads his forces against the government, re-igniting the civil war. The South is fighting against the government's proposal to re-divide the region and the imposition of an Islamic law and militaristic rule.
1989 - The U.N. airlifts famine relief to both sides during the civil war.
March 27, 1995 - Sudan's government calls for a two month cease-fire at the behest of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
July 15, 1998-May 1999 - The SPLA calls a three month cease-fire due to regional famine, allowing U.N. supplies to reach famine victims. The cease-fire is extended until government bombs attack two cities in the South.
January 9, 2005 - The Comprehensive Peace Agreement is signed by representatives from the North and the South. Part of the agreement includes independence for southern Sudan within six years and that Islamic law would not apply there.
April 11-15, 2010 - Sudan holds multi-party elections for the first time in 24 years. Salva Kiir Mayardit is elected president of southern Sudan with 93% of the vote.
January 9-15, 2011 - Sudanese people vote in a referendum to secede or remain part of a unified Sudan. Sudanese nationals in the South, North, and in several foreign countries, including Australia, Canada, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and the United States cast votes.
February 7, 2011 - The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission announces that 98.83% have voted for separation from the North. U.S. President Barack Obama declares Washington's intention to recognize South Sudan as an independent state in July, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is scheduled to end.
March 2011 - Violence breaks out in southern Sudan between soldiers and rebel groups.
April 27, 2011 - In a speech on state television, President Omar al-Bashir claims the disputed oil-rich region of Abyei on behalf of the North.
May 22, 2011 - The United Nations condemns the violence in Abyei.
May 31, 2011 - The African Union announces that Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement over Abyei, in which a demilitarized, jointly monitored Common Border Zone is established.
June 5, 2011 - Fighting between the northern Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army of southern Sudan erupts near Kadugli, the capital of oil-rich Southern Kordofan state. The United Nations also reports violence in neighboring Blue Nile and Unity states.
June 15, 2011 - The United Nations says that 102,000 people have fled from the disputed region of Abyei.
June 20, 2011 - Representatives from Sudan and South Sudan sign an agreement calling for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese troops from Abyei and for joint supervision of the disputed region.