Figure 1.--Here we see a Somali chief in Italian Somaliland. The photograph is undate, but the Italin Fascist uniform the boy is wearing, suggests it was taken in the 1930s. We do not know, but we assume the boy is the chief's son.

Modern Somalia is a union of British (northern) Somalialand and Italian (eastern Somalialand. Britain became concerned with the Horn of Africa in the mid-19th century. The British concern was primarily with Egypt and Suez and the line of communications with its most important colonial possession--India. There were important trade routes through Egypt to India even before the Suez Canal was built. The British established a rotectorate over Aden at the rntrance to the Red Sea (1839). Aden became an important Royal Navy base. Aden relied on Somali mutton as its principal food source. Egyptian forces which occupied much of Somalia, withdrew to fight the fundamentalist rebellion led by the Mahdi in Sudan (1884). The British negotiated agreements with tribal chiefs in what is now northern Somalia (1884-86). The British established a protectorate (1887). France which was also interested in Suez had acquired a position in the area at Djibouti which was known as French Somaliand (1860s), but this was not incorporated into Somalia when it became independent. The British and French negotiated a boundary agreement (1888). Italy entered Somalia the following year (1889). The Italians created a snall protectorate along the eastern Indian Ocean coast. Some resistance was encoutered as the Italians expanded their new colony (1889-92). Subsequently additional territory was added in the south which the sultan of Zanzibar was forced to relinquish. Additional territory was added in the north. The final addirion was Jubaland or the Trans-Juba (east of the Juba/Jubba River). It was transferred by the British from Kenya to become the westernmost area of Italian Somaliland (1925). The Italians invaded and seized Ethiopia (1935). The following year, the Italians unified Somali-speaking regions of eastern Ethiopia to create Italian East Africa. The Italians after declaring war on the British (1940) attacked British Somaliland. The small British force evacuated to Aden. After stopping the Italian invasion of Egypt (1940), the British reinforced by South Africans organized a small military force in Kenya. They attacked the Italians from the south and quickly defeated the numerically superior Italian forces in Ethiopia and Somaliland. Britain governed the area until 1950, when Italian Somaliland reverted to a United Nations trust territory under Italian administration. Somalia which unified British and Italian Somaliland became independent (1960). Somalia fought a Cold War war with Ethiopia which tried to annex it. Since that time the country's national government had descended into chaos. The former British Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1990 as the Republic of Somaliland, but it is not recognized by any other government. War lords took over control of various areas. Drought and fighting between war lords exacerbated a famine. Ameruca tried to assist the Somalias, but after attacks by AlQaida-linked fighters, the United States with drew. Years of chaos followed. Islamic militia seized the upper hand (2006). U.S. authorities are concerned that the Islamic militias have links to AlQaida. The militia inist they do not.


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Created: 3:34 AM 6/5/2006
Last updated: 3:34 AM 6/5/2006