The Republic of South Sudan holds the distinction of being the youngest nation in the world. Formerly a part of the African country Sudan, South Sudan was declared as an independent nation last July 9, 2011.
South Sudan’s sovereignty officially breaks Africa’s largest nation into two.
The new country's independence came as a result of last January's referendum which was approved by a large majority of South Sudan voters. The referendum also ended decades of civil war between a government dominated by Arab Muslims in the north against black Christians and animists in the south. The war killed about 2 million people.
Aside from being the youngest nation in the world, South Sudan is also one of the poorest nations in the world, with infrastructure problems, illiteracy, lingering conflicts, and a large refugee population. The south Sudanese, however, are optimistic that there is nowhere to go but up.