Somalia History

Somalia History


Probably was already on the Somali peninsula in the 3rd millennium BC. an empire called Punt, with which Egypt traded (myrrh, incense) and which was populated by various Bantu tribes. In the centuries after the beginning of the Christian era, areas of what is now Somalia belonged to the Ethiopian empire of Aksum (around the 2nd-7th centuries). From the beginning of the 9th century, among other tribes, the Cushitic Somali migrated to this area and pushed the Bantu peoples further south. Around the same time, the African east coast was populated by Arab seafarers who brought Islam to the country. Numerous smaller sultanates emerged, while inland the Somali continue to expand to the north (Djibouti), west (Ethiopia) and south (Kenya).

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Colonial period

From the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese built some bases on the coast of the Somali peninsula, but made no inroads into the hinterland. Only with the construction of the Suez Canal (1859-69) did the coastal area of ​​the far east of Africa gain strategic importance for the European great powers and the Ottoman Empire: both Italy, France and Great Britain as well as Egypt penetrated the region and tried to exploit the coastal areas of the To bring Horns of Africa under their control. In 1862 French troops conquered the area of ​​today’s Djibouti, which was declared a colony “French Somaliland” in 1896. According to AbbreviationFinder, Great Britain colonized the northern coastal area of ​​what is now Somalia (British Somaliland), the Italians the southern part of the coast on the Indian Ocean (Italian Somaliland).

From the end of the 19th century, the Somali rebelled against the various colonial powers, but could not prevail against them. In 1936, the Italian-occupied part of Somalia was declared a colony “Italian East Africa” ​​together with the areas of what is now Eritrea and Ethiopia. In 1941 Great Britain conquered the Italian colonial areas in East Africa, Italian Somaliland came under British military administration.

First years of independence

In 1950 Italian-Somaliland became the mandate of the United Nations, Italy was entrusted with the administration of the area with the aim of preparing the country for independence. Six years later, the area received a semi-autonomous government, in 1960 both British and Italian Somalia were released to independence and merged to form the Republic of Somalia. The capital of the new state became Mogadishu, which was built by Arabs in the 10th century and which had developed into an important trading center. Aden Abdullah Osman became the country’s first president, and Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke became head of the government (prime minister). Both belonged to the dominant Somali political party, the Somali Youth League (SYL), founded in 1947. Already in the initial phase, there were clear differences in Somalia between the northern, poorly developed part of the country and the more advanced southern part of the country. Likewise, the fact that individuals belong to the various Somali clans led to strong domestic tensions, which the government attempted to counter by uniting the clans. Border disputes arose with Kenya from Somalia’s claims to the north-east of this country (Northern Frontier District), as well as with Ethiopia over the Ogaden plateau, which was mainly populated by Somali people. After the outbreak of war between Ethiopia and Somalia, Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke, now the country’s president, managed to end the conflict through an armistice.

Military regime

A military coup occurred in the 1969 parliamentary elections and General Mohammed Zijad Barre became the new head of state. This ends the pro-Western stance of his predecessor and embarked on a socialist course closely based on the USSR and the Arab states. The democratic constitution was suspended and a revolutionary council was formed. Political parties were banned and foreign property nationalized. In 1974, the Somali leadership signed a military and economic cooperation agreement with the USSR, and the Somali army then became one of the most equipped in Africa. In 1976, the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP), founded by Barre, was declared a unitary party. Barre himself became president and head of government in one.His declared goal was to unite all Somalis in one common state. When the Soviet Union began to provide military support to Ethiopia, the Somali leadership dissolved the contracts with the Soviet Union and expelled the Russian advisers from abroad. Somali troops advanced to the Ogaden plateau fled to Somalia, further exacerbating the country’s already poor economic situation. In 1980 the Somali leadership had to declare a national emergency (until 1982) when a persistent drought led to famines. In terms of foreign policy, Somalia now oriented itself more towards the United States, which was approved in 1981 for the establishment of military bases near Mogadishu and Berbera.

Civil war

After another border conflict with Ethiopia, another drought disaster and mismanagement and corruption, Somalia’s economy was on the verge of collapse again in 1987, and a second state of emergency was declared. A year later, a peace treaty was signed with Ethiopia, which provided for the establishment of a demilitarized zone. A civil war broke out within Somalia for supremacy in Somalia: On the one hand, there were individual clans and groups such as the Islamic “National Movement of Somalia” (SNM), the “Patriotic Movement of Somalia” (SPM) and the ” Somali Congress “(SC), on the other hand, the Barre regime.

In January 1991, the rebels overthrew the military regime in Mogadishu. The planned government of national unity did not come about due to the differences between the individual groups, the civil war continued. Shortly thereafter, the SNM announced the independence of the north (British Somaliland until 1960), which was not recognized by the other groups. In mid-1992, United States-led UN troops intervened to oversee the distribution of aid supplies to the starving population, to disarm troops at war with each other, and to help build the country (action “Restore Hope”, translated: “New Hope “).

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In 1994, the American troops had to withdraw from Somalia without doing anything, while the civil war raged there despite various ceasefires between the rebel organizations. In 1997 Somalia and other countries in East Africa were hit by a flood disaster triggered by torrential rains.

After the clashes between the individual clans flared up again and again despite various peace agreements, peace negotiations started again in May 2000 on the initiative of the Djiboutian President and the United Nations. The civil war parties involved agreed on the establishment of a transitional government and the formation of a parliament. In August 2000, the former Interior Minister Abdulkassim Salad Hassan was elected President of Somalia; in his inaugural speech he announced that he wanted to combine Islam, the market economy and democracy. Even after the change of government, there were repeated firefights between the enemy clans. The “Union of Islamic Courts” conquered the capital Mogadishu and other parts of the country in 2006 and enforced an order according to Sharia law. After declaring jihad against neighboring Ethiopia, the latter declared was on the Union and invaded Somalia, so that parts of Mogadishu soon returned to the interim government. A provisional national assembly with 275 members had already been formed in 2004. These, like the President of the interim government Abdullah Yusuf, were only able to move from Kenyan exile to Mogadishu in January 2007. Despite the stationing of the African peacekeeping force AMISOM since March 2007, fierce fighting continued in the capital, but also in the south between government troops and the successor organization of the “Union of Islamic Courts”, Al-Shabaab. The latter brought large parts of southern and central Somalia under her control during 2008.Sharif Sheikh Ahmed became the new president in January 2009.

Since 2005, the number of pirate attacks on international commercial and even cruise ships off the Somali coast has increased significantly. Since then, millions of shipping companies have paid ransoms in the millions. Military escort, especially by the US Army, is used to combat piracy.

On August 1, 2012, a provisional constitution was adopted. According to her, Somalia is a federal republic to which Somaliland belongs. Islam remains the state religion, the jurisprudence is based on Islamic law (Sharia). Based on this constitution, a new government led by President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud took office in September 2012. Although the power of the Al-Shabaab militias has been pushed back, there are still bloody attacks.

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