Somalia Facts

Somalia Facts and History


Somalia – country of Somal

Not every Somali is a Somali, not every Somali is a Somali: “Somali” denotes the ethnic affiliation to the Somal people, who make up the overwhelming proportion of Somalis, i.e. the residents of the Somalia state. The Somals also settle in areas outside the borders of Somalia, which is why some of these borders are controversial between Somalia and its neighboring countries. Located on the Somali Peninsula in the Indian Ocean, also known as the “Horn of Africa”, Somalia borders Djibouti in the north-west and Kenya in the south-west. The Ethiopian highlands protrude into the country from the west like a pointed tip. The Somali coast, at around 3,000 km the longest of all continental African states, was one of the areas affected by the effects of the December 2005 tsunami.

Agriculture is the largest livelihood sector in Somalia, and the nomads’ livestock farming is the country’s economic basis Limit natural beauties. The Somal, however, have developed an extraordinarily rich art of poetry. It is only for a few decades that legends, songs and poems, previously only preserved in oral tradition, have also been recorded in writing. The language of the Somal tribes is Somali – since 1972 it has also been the country’s official language. It is written in Latin script.

If the per capita income is taken as a basis, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economic situation was made even more catastrophic by the civil war and the breakdown of the state. The country is one of the so-called “failing states”, those states in which no overall state authority has been able to establish itself and which are permanently threatened by internal disintegration and the danger of civil war. Even the new interim president since 2009, the moderate Islamist Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and his government are not recognized and opposed by radical Islamists. The latter control large parts of central and southern Somalia. The other parts of the country are under the rule of local militias and clans, who occasionally fight their conflicts at gunpoint.

There are practically no state institutions in Somalia. The security situation is more than precarious, and Mogadishu is considered the most dangerous capital in the world. Furthermore, according to a publication by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the approx. 3,000 km long coastline is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world with regard to piracy. Therefore, it is currently almost impossible – and certainly not as a private person – to travel to the country.

To make matters worse, in 2011 the country suffered the worst drought in living memory and an associated great famine. And all of this despite the fact that Somalia is one of the very few countries that has a religion, a language and practically an ethnic group.

Name of the country Republic of Somalia
Form of government republic
Geographical location East Africa
Population between 15.9 million (Credit: Countryaah: Somalia Population)
Ethnicities approx. 85% members of the Somali tribes
Religions approx. 99.8% Sunni Muslims (state religion)
Languages Somali (= Af-ka Soomaali-ga) is the main language.Arabic, Italian, English and Swahili are also spoken in the country.
Capital Mogadishu
Surface 637,657 kmĀ²
Highest mountain Surud Ad with a height of 2,416 m
Longest river Webi Shebeli with a length of 2,010 km
Largest lake There are no larger lakes in Somalia.
International license plate SP
Currency 1 Somali shilling = 100 cents
Time difference to CET + 2 h
International phone code 00252
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts and 50 hertz
Internet TDL (Top Level Domain) .so

Somalia: history

Until the 19th century

Under the name of Punt, the land was found around 100 BC. Mentioned in Egyptian sources. In the 8th century, the first Arab settlements emerged on the coast of what is now Somalia. In the 13th century, the Sultanate Ifat was founded on the coast of what is now Eritrea and Somalia from the remains of the Shoah empire. At the beginning of the 15th century, this empire was finally subjugated by Isaac, the Christian emperor of Ethiopia at the time, after about 100 years of war. In Eritrea, northern Somalia (now Somaliland), eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti, the Sultanate of Adal was created, which was defeated by the Ethiopian David II in the early 16th century. In the same century, the Portuguese began to colonize the coastal region, but were driven out again by the Sultans of Muscat-Zanzibar.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Turkish sultan Mohammed Gran von Adal almost succeeded in suppressing the Ethiopian kingdom in a “holy war”, but this was prevented by the intervention of the Portuguese. From 1698, Southern Somalia belonged to the Sultanate of Oman (Zanzibar).

Colonization of Somalia began towards the end of the 19th century. The country was divided into British Somaliland, Italian Somalia, French Somaliland (Djibouti), the Ethiopian Ogaden area and the northeastern border district of Kenya under British rule.

From the 20th century to the present

After gaining independence in 1960, British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland were united to form the Republic of Somalia.

In 1969 General MS Barre came to power through a military coup. After the declaration of the “Somali Democratic Republic”, the country began to embark on a socialist path under the leadership of a unity party. In 1977 and 1978, the Somali intervention in Ethiopia in the so-called Ogaden War was repulsed with Soviet and Cuban help. The increasing resistance to the authoritarian regime of Somalia led from 1988 to nationwide unrest among the population. Fierce fighting broke out in Mogadishu in 1990, which resulted in the overthrow of the government. A council of elders appointed Ali Mahdi Mohamed as interim president.

In 1991 the northern part of the country declared itself independent as “Somaliland”. The first president, Abdurahman Ahmad Ali Tur, was replaced two years later by Ibrahim Egal.

In 1991/1992, a famine caused around 300,000 deaths among the country’s population.

In 1992, the UN Security Council tried to put an end to the civil war through an arms embargo and resolution 751 and the resulting Operation UNOSOM. Finally, a multinational force (UNITAF) was deployed, but ultimately failed, the mission was canceled in 1995. The Arta Conference held in August 2000 led to the creation of a provisional government (except for Somaliland), which the opposition soon fought with armed violence. The reasons for this lie partly in rivalries between individual clans. According to the department for the investigation of military service by minors, the PLAoSS is increasingly using child soldiers.

In October 2002 a reconciliation conference took place with the participation of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, as a result of which a ceasefire agreement was signed. The negotiations that followed did not produce any results. On March 8, 2004, the first nationwide campaign against female genital mutilation began under the President of the Transitional Government, Abdikassim Salat Hassan.

In December 2004, the country’s coasts were hit by the tsunami, killing at least 132 people and leaving many thousands homeless.

With the entry into force of the new constitution on August 1, 2012, the new Federal Republic of Somalia is again a reasonably functioning state. On August 25, 2012, a joint government was elected for the first time, which is now recognized by other states and international organizations as the legitimate representation of Somalia.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that the Federal Government of Somalia has adopted Sharia, although uniform application is not guaranteed. And until today the country is unfortunately still a victim of terror, banditry and internal power struggles.

Somalia Facts