South Sudan set to join ranks of five of the world's newest countries
The South Sudan referendum ended with an overwhelming vote for independence – 99.57 percent of those polled voted for it – and put the region officially on track to become independent in July.
How often is a country born? Here’s a look at five of the most recent declarations of independence:
Serbia and Montenegro, 2006
When the southeastern European country Yugoslavia broke up along its Croat, Serb, and Slovenian ethnic lines in the early 1990s – with Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Macedonia breaking off – only Serbia and Montenegro remained to make up the emerging Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).
After years of violent rule by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, FRY was transformed in 2003 into Serbia and Montenegro, a loose confederation of two republics with a federal parliament.
Montenegro, which has a Montenegrin plurality, declared its intention to break from the confederation in May 2006 and immediately held a referendum, which ended with a vote for independence in June. Serbia, overwhelmingly Serbian, subsequently declared its independence as the successor state a few days later. Both declarations have been acknowledged as acceptable by the international community.