Little is known about Somalia's early history,
but from the 6th century Persians and Arabs began to
build trading stations along the coast. Islam came to
the area early. Various local Sultans and Sheikhs
changed power until the end of the 19th century when
British, Italians and French colonized Somali
territories. No uniform Somali state formation existed
before 1960, when Italian and British Somaliland became
independent and merged in the Republic of Somalia.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Somalia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
In the area that constitutes today's Somalia lay
perhaps Punt, the country which, according to ancient
Egyptians, "flowed with milk and honey" and which
produced incense and ivory. Archaeological finds show
that people who seem to have resembled today's Somalis
raised livestock here during the millennium BC.
According to the theory that dominates today, during the
first centuries of our era, Somali-speaking people
immigrated in stages to the area from the southern parts
of the Ethiopian highlands. In the riverside in the
south, however, there were resident farmers from various
From the 600s to the 900s, Arabs and Persians built a
number of trading stations along the East African coast.
Islam came to the area early, but became established
among larger groups only from the 9th century. Mogadishu
was a center of Muslim, Arab-African Swahili culture
from the 13th to the 14th centuries. Via Saylac in the
northwest, commodities such as coffee, gold and slaves
went from Ethiopia to the Middle East, China and India.
The cosmopolitan Saylac, the capital of the Islamic
State of Adal, was known for its mosques and schools. In
the 1550s, Berbera took over Saylac's role as an Islamic
center. Later, northern Somalia was ruled by al-Mokha
(Mocha) in present-day Yemen. From the 18th century,
Mogadishu became the most important trading town. In the
rivers in the south there were bantu people living on
The word "Somali" is first coined in an Ethiopian
song from the early 15th century. Somalis had then
joined the Muslim sultans who attacked the Christian
kingdoms of Ethiopia. In 1542, Ethiopians won a decisive
victory. From that time Somali clans expanded instead to
the south, an advance that would continue until 1912
when it was halted by the British on the Tana River in
France, Italy and Britain competed with the Ethiopian
region from the mid-19th century on the Somali
territories. The area became particularly interesting
since the Suez Canal was opened in 1869. The British
entered into treaties with clans in the north and
established there in the 1880s a patronage, British
Somaliland; later Somali areas in the south would also
end up in British Kenya. France seized the area in the
northwest (which today constitutes Djibouti) as they
called French Somaliland. Italy won the supremacy of
southern Somalia in 1889 - henceforth Italian Somaliland
- through settlements with two small sultanates in the
south. In 1897, Ethiopia subdued Ogaden. However, the
colonization of Somali areas did not occur without
resistance. A long-lasting uprising against the British
began in 1899 but was first fought in 1920.
Italian Somaliland became a management area under the
UN after the Second World War and would be prepared for
independence by Italy. In 1960, both former Italian and
British Somaliland gained their independence, and joined
forces in one state, the Republic of Somalia.
Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed becomes new head of government
On December 21, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed is appointed new Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister loses the confidence vote
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid loses a vote of no confidence in
Parliament on December 2 with the numbers 184 against and 65 for.
New power struggle in the political summit
A conflict has erupted in the political top tier. President Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud says it is about constitutional issues and not politics. He calls on
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid to resign, but he refuses. Around 100
MPs then make a statement of no confidence in the Prime Minister. The dispute is
said to have been triggered by Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid trying to dismiss some
of the president's supporters from the government. There is also a quarrel about
corruption within the central bank.
Many dead in attacks against AU placement
At least 28 people are killed in a suicide attack against Amisom's location
in the town of Beledweyne near the Ethiopian border.
Agreements will help refugees to return
UN Refugee Agency UNHCR concludes an agreement with Somalia and Kenya to
enable more than half a million Somali refugees in Kenya to return home over a
The governor resigns in protest
Somalia's new governor, Yussur Abrar, is resigning, citing her pressure to
approve corrupt agreements, something the government denies.
Kenya air bombs al-Shabaab camp
According to witnesses in the city of Jilib, two of al-Shabaab's commanders,
including their explosives expert Ibrahim Ali, are killed in an air raid. Kenya
says on October 31 that it has bombed a camp used by Al-Shabaab in revenge for
the terror attack in Nairobi (see September 2013).
New suicide bombing is aimed at AU
At least 16 AU soldiers are killed and about 30 injured in a suicide attack.
al-Shabaab takes on the deed.
al-Shabaab carries out terrorist attacks in Kenya
At the end of the month, a terror attack is targeted at a mall in Kenya's
capital Nairobi. al-Shabaab assumes responsibility for the deed which they say
is a revenge for Kenya sending troops to Somalia. At least sixty people are
The government claims that the corruption charges are not correct
According to the government, the international experts it hired to
investigate corruption allegations by UN monitors have been able to show that no
irregularities have occurred.
The EU promises new support
At a donor conference in Brussels, the EU pledges financial support to
Somalia of the equivalent of EUR 1.8 billion to help rebuild the country.
Fatwa against al-Shabaab
At a conference in Mogadishu, 160 religious leaders issue a fatwa, a
religious injunction, against al-Shabaab, saying that the militant group has no
place in Islam. They condemn al-Shabaab's use of force and believe that its sole
purpose is to create chaos.
Peace agreement between Mogadishu and Jubbaland
The government and regional government in Jubbaland under the leadership of
Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe) conclude (see June 2013) an
interim agreement. This means that Madobe can retain power in the state (as
leader and not president) for two years, while control of the port should be
handed over to the government side. Madobe's Ras Kamboni militia and other
similar groups are to be incorporated into the national army. The conflict
between the government and Madobe risked exacerbating tensions between the clans
darod (who is strong in Jubbaland) and hawieie (to which President Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud belongs). Despite the agreement, tensions remain strong between the
regional government and that of Mogadishu.
Doctors without borders leave Somalia
After 22 years of operation in the country, MSF decides to end all its
programs in Somalia. The aid organization makes its decision because of the
threat to its employees. In many parts of the country, Doctors Without Borders
has been the only organization to offer any form of health care. The decision,
which also includes the region of Puntland and Somaliland, is a setback for the
Somali government. At the same time, reports that more than 100 Somalis were
infected with the disease polio.
Puntland breaks with Mogadishu
The autonomous region of Puntland terminates all relations with the central
government of Mogadishu. The reason is said to be that Mogadishu "ignores
attempts to reach national reconciliation".
The new government is accused of corruption
In a report by the UN expert group monitoring sanctions against Somalia and
Eritrea, the new government is also criticized for widespread corruption.
According to the report, 72 percent of all withdrawals made by the government
through the country's central bank from September 2012 to April 2013 were made
by private individuals. Finance Minister Mohamud Hassan Suleiman is said to have
made great efforts to stop this, but without much success. With regard to the
port fees in Mogadishu, which is another of the government's main sources of
income, up to one-third of the revenue is estimated to disappear each month
without any accounting being made.
Cracks within al-Shabaab
Reports now come about a deep crack within al-Shabaab, between Godane's
faction and a new group led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, which also includes
Hamammi. Godane, according to Somali media, is accusing the new faction of
splitting Muslims and "spreading false rumors of fragmentation within
al-Shabaab". The new faction, for its part, accuses Godane of using dictatorial
methods and of imprisoning people in secret prisons. At the end of the month,
Aweys and several of his men are taken captive by pirates who hand him over to
the regional government of the city of Adado. He is later taken to Mogadishu.
Fraction battles erupt within al-Shabaab
Dozens of people in fighting between different factions of al-Shabaab in the
port city of Barawe (some sources write Brava), which is said to be one of the
group's main bases since leaving Mogadishu. On one side were rebels loyal to a
faction controlled by Ahmad Abdi Godane and those affiliated with Omar Hamammi
(Abu Mansoor al-Amriki), who was born in the United States.
Disputes between militia leaders cause new fighting
The process of forming new states leads to conflicts. In Jubaland (also
called Jubbaland) in the south, two militia leaders, Adan Barre Hiiraale and
Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe), have both named themselves president. The
first of these is believed to have close contacts with Kenya while the second is
considered to have good relations with Ethiopia. However, none of them have been
recognized by the Mogadishu government. A week into June, fighting breaks out
between their militia groups near Kismayo.
Promises for help in reconstruction
At a donor conference in London, Somalia promises more than US $ 300 million
for reconstruction work. Among other things, the EU promises EUR 44 million to
strengthen the Somali judiciary and the police. The British government has
invited the conference to prevent Somalia from being dragged back into
lawlessness and chaos. The outbreak state Somaliland boycott the conference and
the autonomous region of Puntland says its representatives have not been
Britain opens embassy
As a sign of improved security, the UK is opening its embassy in Mogadishu,
which has been closed since 1991.
Many dead in new suicides
At least 29 people were killed on April 14 in a series of coordinated
assaults in and around a Mogadishu court. After an explosive attack outside the
courthouse, a group of armed men enter the building where they kill several
people. Additional people are killed when suicide bombers trigger explosive
charges. Later that day, another car bomb explodes near a column of Turkish
relief workers escorted by AU troops. al-Shabaab claims to have done the
killing. The day after the attack, several hundred people are arrested by Somali
The IMF also recognizes the new government
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognizes the Somali government. This
means that the IMF can offer political and financial advice to the country, but
no new loans will be granted until Somalia's old debt has been paid off.
HRW criticizes abuse in refugee camps
In a report at the end of the month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) draws attention
to rape and other abuses against people in Mogadishu refugee camps. Among those
designated as perpetrators are also government soldiers. According to the human
rights organization, the camps are run by people with close ties to militia
groups, which also seize part of the international aid intended for the
refugees. Guards should also be deployed to prevent the refugees from leaving
the camps. HRW also says that the government paid attention to the problems, but
that it has not changed much for those affected.
The arms embargo on Somalia is alleviated
The UN Security Council decides to ease the arms embargo on Somalia,
introduced in 1992, citing that the new government must be given the opportunity
to defend its own citizens and build up defense forces.
The United States recognizes Somalia's government
For the first time since 1991, Washington officially backs a Somali
government. The US decision is expected to make it easier for Somalia to get