As Sudan Decides Its Future, a Look at the Country's Colonial Past

Voters in Sudan's south will choose whether or not to secede from the predominately Arab north and create a separate country in a vote beginning Sunday and continuing until January 15th when polls close. It comes five years after a peace deal between the north and south that ended a civil war that killed 5 million people.

LIFE visited the protean nation in 1947 when it was a colony under joint rule by Britain and Egypt.

View the full gallery at LIFE.com.

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