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The world has a new nation. The Republic of South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan on July 9, ending a 50-year struggle marked by decades of civil war. After a referendum earlier this year on independence passed with the support of 99% of the population of southern Sudan, events were set in motion that led to Saturday's celebration. Joy marked the festivities, but South Sudan faces steep challenges. Although the country has oil reserves and fertile soil, there is much poverty and little infrastructure. Collected here are images from the last several months, showing scenes of daily life, portraits of South Sudanese, and the celebration of independence. -- Lane Turner (36 photos total)
Thousands celebrate their country's independence during a ceremony in the capital Juba on July 9, 2011. South Sudan separated from Sudan to become the world's newest and 193rd nation. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

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