Somalia Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Somalia is an independent nation in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of Mogadishu, Somalia 2020 population is estimated at 15,893,233 according to countryaah. 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 Bantu people. For Somalia political system, please check cancermatters.

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 agriculture.

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 Kenya.

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

November 12

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 three-year period.


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 killed.

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

June 19

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 invited.


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

April 14

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 security forces.

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 international help.