Sub-Saharan Africa 1956: Independence of Sudan
In 1953 Egyptian revolutionaries deposed the last King of Egypt and the Sudan, signing a treaty with the British the next year to end the Anglo-Egyptian condominium over Sudan. As agreed in the treaty, Sudan became an independent sovereign state on 1 January 1956. However, even before it had gained independence, Sudan faced civil war as the culturally distinct southern Sudanese revolted against control by the north.
18 Jun 1953 Abolition of Egyptian Monarchy▲
Following the abdication of King Farouk of Egypt and Sudan due to the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, his six-month-old son, Prince Ahmad Fuad, ascended the throne as King Fuad II. However, the infant king was immediately taken to Europe with his exiled father, leaving a Council of Regency in his place. Fuad II formally reigned from 26 July 1952 to 18 June 1953, at which point Prime Minister Mohammed Naguib declared a republic, bringing an end to the reign of the Muhammad Ali dynasty in Egypt and Sudan.
1 Aug 1953 Rhodesia & Nyasaland▲
The British colony of Southern Rhodesia united with the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, also known as the Central African Federation. Despite an African Affairs Board to safeguard the interests of the Black population, the federation was economically and politically dominated by the White settler population of Southern Rhodesia.
13 Mar–7 May 1954 Battle of Dien Bien Phu▲
Viet Minh forces, using masses of artillery transported across difficult terrain, bombarded the heavily defended French outpost at Dien Bien Phu in remote northwest Vietnam. Unable to successfully counterattack and able to be supplied only by air, the French garrison held its ground in an almost two-month siege before being forced to surrender. The loss of Dien Bien Phu and its 20,000 defenders resulted in the resignation of the French government and the French withdrawal from Indochina.
1 Nov 1954 Toussaint Rouge▲
Between midnight and 2 am on the morning of 1 November 1954—the Catholic festival of All Saints’ Day—the National Liberation Front (FLN) made 30 individual attacks against police and military targets around French Algeria. The attacks would be called Toussaint Rouge, or “Red All Saints’ Day”, and prompt François Mitterrand, then French Minister of the Interior, to despatch two companies of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité and three companies of paratroopers to Algeria. Over the next year, the number of soldiers in Algeria would increase from 56,000 to 83,000 as the Algerian War began.
30 Jun 1955 Simonstown Agreement▲
The United Kingdom signed the Simonstown Agreement with the Union of South Africa, agreeing to transfer its naval base at Simon’s Town, south of Cape Town, to South Africa along with naval vessels and equipment. In return, South Africa promised to grant the British continued use of the base. Simon’s Town was handed over on 2 April 1957, but continued disagreements between the two countries over South Africa’s policy of apartheid would lead to the termination of treaty in 1975.
18 Aug 1955 First Sudanese Civil War begins▲
Distrust of the northern Sudanese administration and how it would treat southerners upon independence in January 1956 prompted soldiers of the Sudan Defence Force Equatorial Corps to mutiny in Torit in southern Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. In the following days, troops in Juba, Yei, and Maridi also mutinied. Although the mutinies were quickly suppressed, the survivors withdrew to the countryside, beginning an uncoordinated insurgency which would persist for more than a decade.
1 Jan 1956 Independence of Sudan▲
In 1953 Egyptian revolutionaries Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser deposed the last King of Egypt and Sudan, signing a treaty with the United Kingdom in October 1954 to guarantee Sudanese independence. On 1 January 1956, the date agreed in the treaty, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan became independent as the Republic of Sudan. Sudan’s first prime minister was Ismail al-Azhari of the pro-Egyptian National Unionist Party.