Somali - From Independence To Revolution
Somaliland became British and Italian colonies in the 1880's, although it was ruled
solely by the British from 1941 to 1950. In 1960, Italian Somaliland and British
Somaliland were united to form an independent Somalia.
Italian Somaliland gained its independence from Italy on 1 July 1960. On the same
day, it united with British Somaliland, which gained independence on 26 June 1960
to form the Somali republic.
The Somali state currently exists largely in a de jure capacity; Somalia has a weak
but largely recognised central government authority, the Transitional Federal Government
(TFG), but this currently controls only the central region of Somalia , and before
the end of 2006 controlled only the city of Baidoa.
Competition between the Somali clans that lived in these states persisted through
the colonial period, when various parts of the region were colonised by Britain
and Italy . This era began in the year 1884, the end of a long period of comparative
peace. At the Berlin Conference of 1884, the scramble for Africa started the long
and bloody process of the imperial partition of Somali lands. The French, British,
and Italians came to Somalia in the late 19th century.
The British signed treaties with the clans in what was known after as British Somaliland
which was a protectorate in 1886 after the withdrawal of Egypt. Egypt sought to
prevent European colonial expansion in Northeast Africa. The southern area, was
colonised by Italy in 1889, became known as Italian Somaliland. Between 1900 and
1907, the Italian leaders tried several times to negotiate a land deal with the
Geledi Sultan based in Afgoye and his Biyo-maal and Digil warriors.
Somali Youth League Monument Fascist Italy, under Benito Mussolini attacked Abyssinia
(now Ethiopia ), with an aim to colonise it, in 1935. The invasion was condemned
by the League of Nations, but little was done to stop it or to liberate occupied
On August 3, 1940, Italian troops, including Somali colonial units, crossed from
Ethiopia to invade British Somalia and by August 14 succeeded in taking of Berbera
from the British.
A British force, including Somali troops, launched a campaign in January 1942 from
Kenya to liberate British Somaliland and Italian-occupied Ethiopia and conquer Italian
The British Empire forces operating in Somaliland comprised three divisions of South
African, West and East African troops. They were assisted by Somali patriot forces
led by Abdulahi Hassan with Somalis of the Isaaq, Dhulbahante, and Warsangali clans.
Following the war the United Nations gave Somalia as a protectorate to Italy in
1949. The Ogaden province of Somalia was given to the re-established Ethiopian government
by the British Empire, which kept British Somaliland under its protection/rule.
The French also kept Djibouti under colonial administration, until eventual independence
Though Somalis and other Africans fought hard on the Allied side in World War II,
they were re-subjugated soon after the conflict. The bitterness of lost hope strengthened
the long struggle against colonialism, and in most parts of Africa, including Somalia,
independence movements began.
The major political parties that fought for Somalia 's independence were Somali
Youth Club (SYC) which later became Somali Youth League (SYL); Hizbia Digil Mirifle
Somali (HDMS) which later became Hizbia Dastur Mustaqbal Somali HDMS; and the Somali
National League (SNL).
The independence of the British Somaliland Protectorate from the United Kingdom
was proclaimed on 26 June 1960 and unification with the former Italian Somaliland
took place immediately. Now most of Somali clans were independent and the country
of Somalia was formed, albeit within boundaries drawn up by Italy and Britain .
A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa with Aden Abdullahi Osman (Aden Adde)
as President and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister (from1960 – 1964)
He stood successfully in 1967, for the office of president, only to be assassinated
by a policeman General Mohamed Siad Barre, on 15 October 1969, who led the so-called
“bloodless coup” to seize power a few days later on 24 October 1969