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Control of the region is disputed between Awdalland, a proposed autonomous state, and Somaliland, a self-declared independent republic that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia.
Awdal (also spelled Adal or Adel) takes its name from a medieval empire, the Adal Sultanate, whose power rose in the 16th century. The area along the Ethiopian border is abundant with ruined cities, which were described by the British explorer Richard F. Burton.
A modern separatist movement, known as the Awdal Republic, sought independence in 1995 after the establishment of Somaliland. A Dir-dominated movement in Awdal province also threatens to form its own administration if the secessionist Somaliland region's self-declared independence is officially recognized.
The Awdal region consists of five districts:
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- Regions of Somalia
- E. H. M. Clifford, "The British Somaliland-Ethiopia Boundary", Geographical Journal, Vol. 87, No. 4 (Apr., 1936), p. 296
- Richard Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa, 1856; edited with an introduction and additional chapters by Gordon Waterfield (New York: Praeger, 1966), p. 132. For a more recent description, see A. T. Curle, "The Ruined cities of Somaliland", Antiquity, 11 (1937), pp. 315-327
- "Awdal "Republic": Declaration of Independence, [Somalia]". University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center. Archived from the original on 14 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- "Somaliland: The Myth of Clan-Based Statehood". Somalia Watch. 2002-12-07. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- Samatar, Abdi I. (2001) "Somali Reconstruction and Local Initiative: Amoud University," Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies: Vol. 1, Article 9, p. 132.
- Battera, Federico (2005). "Chapter 9: The Collapse of the State and the Resurgence of Customary Law in Northern Somalia". Shattering Tradition: Custom, Law and the Individual in the Muslim Mediterranean. Walter Dostal, Wolfgang Kraus (ed.). London: I.B. Taurus. p. 296. ISBN 1-85043-634-7. Retrieved 2010-03-18. "Awdal is mainly inhabited by the Gadabuursi confederation of clans. The Gadaabursi are concentrated in Awdal...."
- Renders, Marleen; Terlinden, Ulf. "Chapter 9: Negotiating Statehood in a Hybrid Political Order: The Case of Somaliland". In Tobias Hagmann, Didier Péclard. Negotiating Statehood: Dynamics of Power and Domination in Africa. p. 191. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
- Districts of Somalia