Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
July 1st, 2008
Heart of Darfur
History of Sudan
1820Sudan is conquered by Ottoman Egypt.
1882Great Britain invades.
1899Sudan comes under the joint rule of Great Britain and Egypt.
1956Sudan becomes independent. The new government, based in Khartoum, is dominated by Arabs from the north of the country.
1962Civil war breaks out between the Khartoum government and separatists from the south, who are mostly Christian or animist.
1972Under the Addis Ababa peace agreement, the south gains autonomy on internal matters. A rare period of peace ensues for the next 11 years.
1978Chevron discovers oil in southern Sudan.
1983Civil war between north and south breaks out again, and continues for the next two decades. Nearly 2 million people are killed.
1989The National Islamic Front takes control of the country in a military coup.
1991Osama bin Laden moves to Sudan where he lives for the next four years.
1993Omar al-Bashir, who first came to power in the coup staged by the National Islamic Front, is appointed president.
1997The U.S. imposes economic sanctions on Sudan, which it considers a state sponsor of terrorism.
1998In response to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. launches missile attacks on a Khartoum chemical plant suspected of producing chemical weapons.
1999Sudan begins exporting oil.
2003Rebel groups rise up in Darfur, angered by neglect from the central government in Khartoum.
2003Janjaweed militias begin a “scorched earth” campaign in Darfur. Riding in on horseback, they loot shops, rape women, and set entire villages aflame.
2003-2004Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Darfur flood into Chad.
2004The U.S. declares the situation in Darfur a “genocide;” the United Nations calls it “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes.
June 2004The first African Union peacekeepers arrive in Darfur.
January 2005The U.N.-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement ends the civil war between north and south, and establishes a unity government formed by the central government in Khartoum and southern rebel groups.
March 2005The U.N. Security Council votes to send people suspected of committing war crimes in Darfur to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
April 2006Chad breaks ties with Sudan due to evidence that the Sudanese government is supporting rebel factions within Chad.
May 2006The Darfur Peace Agreement is signed by the Sudanese government and the main faction of the Sudan Liberation Army; a rival faction and a smaller rebel group called the Justice and Equality Movement reject the deal. The violence continues.
March 31, 2007At least 65 people are killed and 8,000 driven from their homes when Sudanese janjaweed militia launch a cross-border raid in eastern Chad.
April 2, 2007Five African Union peacekeepers are killed in the deadliest attack on African Union forces since they arrived in the region in 2004. The African Union says it needs help from the U.N.
May 29, 2007U.S. President George W. Bush imposes new sanctions on Sudan and asks for an international arms embargo to end the “genocide.”
August 1, 2007A U.N. Security Council resolution authorizes a joint U.N./African Union force of over 26,000 troops, and the Sudanese government agrees, provided that the troops are predominantly African. General Martin Luther Agwai is appointed as the force’s commander.
January 1, 2008UNAMID, the joint U.N./African Union peacekeeping force, officially takes over for the African Union force.
2006-2007Despite the crisis in Darfur and continuing tension between north and south, the Sudanese economy is booming, due mostly to oil wealth.
2008In the lead up to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China’s economic and diplomatic ties with Sudan are in the international spotlight. Activists dub the games the Genocide Olympics.
February 19, 2008U.S. President George W. Bush criticizes the slowness of the U.N. deployment.
April 2008U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes says as many as 300,000 people may have died in five years of conflict in Darfur.
May 15, 2008Clashes in the oil town of Abyei lead to fears of a new outbreak of civil war between north and south.
May 10, 2008Rebels from Darfur nearly reach Khartoum, attacking in Omdurman, the capital’s twin city.
May 28, 2008John Kennedy Okecha, a Ugandan police officer, becomes the first U.N. peacekeeper to be killed in Darfur.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2015 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.