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Jonglei state is one of the 32 states in the Republic of South Sudan. The state of Jonglei has very rich historical backgrounds. The name Jonglei comes from Jieng's term (Jong-lei), which means foreign god/deity. The term 'Jonglei' was coined in the early 1900s when the Christians Missionaries landed in the Island in the southwest of what is now Twic South county. The white Missionaries camped in the Island west of Maar town, tried to convert the locals whose knowledge about God was different from that of the missionaries; a religion without Holy Text. When the Missionaries arrived, they brought with them foreign items such as bibles, crosses embroidered on clothing, wooden crosses, beads and mosquito nets for their own protection. Those were reportedly distributed to the fishermen who either lived there permanently or camp there seasonally. When those in the villages came to the Island, they asked the dwellers what those things were, and the answers were foreign god's items.
The name Jonglei took shape, and was adopted by the locals as well as those in far places. In 1918 (red floods year), the Nile sailors recommended to the Colonial powers that a canal that run from the Island, passing through the vast Jiengland all the way to khorfulus Estuary should be dug. The echoed project slowly caught the attention of powers in Western Europe, and the first survey of the area was launched in 1947. That time, it became a serious project pending funds to execute it. In late 1950 to early 1951, a team of Engineers was sent to the Sudan, particularly to the Jonglei area. The team assessed the area, concluded that the Sudd swamp, the largest wetland in Africa need a recalibration by having a canal that would increase flow of water northward. Given the popular demand for the independence of Sudan, the project was delayed, only to resumed in 1957, a year after Sudan gained her independence from Britain. That was not the end of the quest for independence, and Southern Sudanese who have voiced their quest for independence in 1947, and through the Juba roundtable rose against the infant Sudanese Government in Khartoum.
The war raged from 1955 through 1972, and when the infamous Addis Ababa Agreement was penned between the Sudan Government and the Anya-Nya Movement led by General Joseph Lagu. In 1978, General Jafaar Mohamed Nimeiri subdivided Southern Sudan into smaller administrative provinces, and Jonglei became a province. The break gave Sudanese Government and all the other stakeholders to resume the Jonglei Canal. The Canal started in 1978 before the war broke out again in 1983. In the summer of 1984, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, under the leadership of Dr. John Garang de Mabior interrupted the Jonglei Canal project, chased away the force that was deployed to guard the Bucketwheel Excavator.
In other historical notes, Jonglei has served as a political lifeline for all the regimes in Khartoum as well as autonomous governments in Southern Sudan, and South Sudan respectively. There have been number of outstanding things that came to light because of the Residents of Jonglei.
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