Nuer Woman, second wife of chief Alesio
The Nuer are a confederation of tribes located in southern Sudan along the banks of the Nile river, as well as parts of western Ethiopia.They form one of the largest ethnic groups of in southern Sudan.
Their history is connected to that of the Dinka, their neighbours, with whom the the nuer have intermarried when they took took over parts of the Dinka lands. Attempts made by the missionaries to convert them to christianity have met limited success. The age-old hostilities between Nuer and Dinka re-emerged , making their path to a society of peaceful co-existence co-prosperity.
Nuer Women returning home
They are one of the very few African groups that successfully fended off colonial powers in the early 1900s.
Archaeological excavations along the nile river suggest that an economic system almost identical to that of theNuer existed as early as 3372 BCE. The history of the Nuer is closely associated with that of the Dinka, who inhabited teritorry that came under Nuer control during the 1800s. Nuer expanded mostly in the region where the Dinka inhabited. Nuer warriors are noted to be the most skilled in East Africa, and wielded weapons made of finely crafted iron. The Nuer being well organised, were often able to conduct cattle raids against Dinka, a tribe larger in population.Their traditional political organisation, presented to the outside world through the ethnographic work of E.E. Evans Pritchard , has become a classic example of an indegenous heterarchical political structure without a single leader or leader group.
The nature of relations among these various southern tribes were greatly affected in the nineteenth century by the intrusion of Ottoman,Arabs and the British. Some section of the Dinkas were more accomodative with the British than the Nuer. This behavior of the Dinka also affected in the hostile attitude of the Nuer.The British attempted to stop the raids that the Nuer conducted upon neighbouring peoples, which, in the case of Dinka , led to more organised battles.
Nuer village central tree where all the meetings are held;
In 2006, the Nuer were the first tribe intusted to surrender their weapons by the Sudan People's Liberation Army and the United Nations, as part of the attempt to disarm private citizens and militias unwilling to be integrated into the SPLA to preventtribal wars.