Somalia - Horn of Africa
Somalia, the Horn of Africa nation, is finally recovering from recent wars and famine.
The ancient land occupies an important geopolitical position between sub-Saharan
Africa and the countries of Arabia and south-western Asia. Somalis probably hail
from the southern Ethiopian highlands, and have been subject to a strong Arabic
influence ever since the 7th century, when the Somali coast formed part of the extensive
Arab-controlled trans-Indian Ocean trading network.
In the beginning the land which has been called many things punt, Land of the Barbaroi,
Terra Aromatica (Land of Aromatic plants), Regio Cinnamarore (Land of the Cinnamon),
Land of Milk and Myrrah, Land of the Somalis. The northern coasts on the Red Sea
and the Gulf of Aden and the adjacent mountains are the ancestral home of the Somalis.
This area was Known as Punt (The Land of the Gods) to the ancient Egyptians, as
the land of the Barbaroi to the Greeks, as Regio Cinnamafore to the Romans who thought
the Somali coasts produced cinnamon.
Latter in the nineteenth century, the whole peninsular section of northeast Africa,
the projecting region that gave rise to the name of the Horn of Africa would be
known as the Somali Peninsula. The Somali Republic formed in 1960 from the former
British Somaliland (the North) and the former Italian Somalia (the South) is situated
in the Somali Peninsula. It is the Somali Republic, now in disarry, which is popularly
known as Somalia.
The Somali people group inhabits almost the entire Horn area of Africa. The majority
of the Somali people live in the country of Somalia. Somali are also the principle
inhabitants of the Ogaadeen (Ogaden) region of South-eastern Ethiopia. Somalis also
live in the southern half of the country of Djibouti, and in the North Eastern Province
of Kenya. Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia.
Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created
in 1960 when the two territories merged. Since then, its development has been hindered
by territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.
Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and
disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people.
However during the conflict in 2006, Mogadishu became part of the territory controlled
by the Islamic Courts Union, while the Transitional Federal Government had its seat
in Baidoa. The Government returned to Mogadishu in December 2006 with the help of
the invasion of Ethiopia.
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