Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaaliya
|Languages||Somali, Arabic, Italian|
|Religion||Islam, Roman Catholicism|
|Historical era||Interwar period|
|Currency||Italian Somaliland rupia, Italian Lira|
Italian Somaliland (Italian: Somalia italiana, Arabic: الصومال الإيطالي Al-Sumal Al-Italiy, Somali: Dhulka Talyaaniga ee Soomaaliya), also known as Italian Somalia, was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy from the 1880s until 1936 in the region of modern-day Somalia. Ruled in the 19th century by the Somali Sultanate of Hobyo and the Majeerteen Sultanate, the territory was later acquired by Italy through various treaties. In 1936, the region was integrated into Africa Orientale Italiana as part of the Italian Empire. This would last until 1941, during World War II. Italian Somaliland then came under British administration until 1949, when it became a United Nations trusteeship, the Trust Territory of Somalia, under Italian administration. On July 1, 1960, the Trust Territory of Somalia united as scheduled with the briefly extant State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.
Somali-Italian treaties and creation of the protectorate 
The late 19th century had a huge impact on developments occurring in the Horn of Africa. The European powers (Italy, Great Britain and France) first gained a foothold in Somalia through the signing of various pacts and agreements with the Somali Sultans that then controlled the region, such as Yusuf Ali Kenadid, Boqor Osman Mahamuud and Mohamoud Ali Shire.
In late 1888, Sultan Kenadid entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his Sultanate of Hobyo an Italian protectorate. His rival Boqor Osman was to sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Majeerteen Sultanate the following year. Both rulers had signed the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist objectives, with Kenadid looking to use Italy's support in his dispute with the Sultan of Zanzibar over an area bordering Warsheekh, in addition to his ongoing power struggle over the Majeerteen Sultanate with Boqor Osman. Both Sultan Kenadid and his rival Boqor Osman also hoped to exploit the conflicting interests among the European imperial powers that were then looking to control the Somali peninsula, so as to avoid direct occupation of their territories by force.
The Italians, for their part, were interested in this largely arid country mainly because of its ports, the latter of which could grant them access to the strategically important Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden. The last piece of land acquired by Italy in Somalia in order to form Italian Somaliland was the Kismayo region (Jubaland), which was earlier controlled by Britain before World War I.
However, the relationship between Hobyo and Italy soured when Sultan Kenadid refused the Italians' proposal to allow a British contingent of troops to disembark in his Sultanate so that they might then pursue their battle against the Somali religious and nationalist leader Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish forces. Viewed as too much of a threat, Sultan Kenadid was eventually exiled to Aden in Yemen and then to Eritrea, as was his son Ali Yusuf, the heir apparent to his throne.
At the end of the 19th century, a growing social-political movement developed within Italy to start expanding its influence, since many other European countries had already been doing so, which was effectively leaving Italy behind. There was also a huge shortage of capital and serious economic problems in Italy. It is also argued by some historians that Italy had a minor interest in the mutton and livestock that were then plentiful in Somalia, though whatever designs Italy may have had on the resource-challenged Somali landscape were undoubtedly subordinate to its interest in the region's ports and the waters and lands they gave access to.
Cesare Correnti organized an expedition under the "Società Geografica Italiana" in 1876. The next year "L’Esploratore" was established by Manfredo Camperio - a travel journal. In 1879 "Società di Esplorazioni Commerciali in Africa" was created, with the Italian Industrial Establishment involved as well. The "Club Africano", which three years later became the "Società Africana D’Italia", was established in Somalia in 1879.
However, in January 1887 Italian troops from Somalia fought a battle against Ras Alula Engida’s militia in Dogali, Eritrea, where they lost 500 troops. The Prime Minister, Agostino Depretis, resigned because of this defeat in July 1887. Prime Minister Francesco Crispi replaced him, and had new plans to create new areas for immigration for Italians. On May 2, 1889 Menelik II, the Emperor of Ethiopia, and Italy signed a peace treaty.
Control of the coast 
Italy gained control of the ports of the Benadir coastal area with the concession of a small strip of land on the coast from the Sultan of Zanzibar, and over the following decades, Italian settlement was encouraged. In 1905, Italy assumed the responsibility of creating a colony in southern Somalia, after several failed attempts, following revelations that the Benadir Company had tolerated or collaborated in the perpetuation of the slave trade. The administrative regulator was Governor Mercantelli, with the six subdivisions of Brava, Merca, Lugh, Itala, Bardera, and Jumbo.
On April 5, 1908 the Italian Parliament enacted a basic law to unite all of the parts of southern Somalia into an area called "Somalia Italiana". The colonial power was then divided between the Parliament, the metropolitan government, and the colonial government. The power of the colonial government was the only power that was changed. The civil governor controlled export rights, regulated the rate of exchange, raised or lowered native taxes, and administered all civil services and matters relating to hunting, fishing, and conservation. The governor was in control of the police force, while nominating local residents and military arrangements. Effective Italian control remained largely limited to the coastal areas until the early 1920s. After the collapse of Muhammad Abdullah Hassan’s resistance movement, rebellion and revolt occurred with disputes between different clans in Northern Somalia. The government of the time again worked together with the old clansmen to try to keep peace between the several clans, while maintaining close control over the military.
Colonial development and the early fascist era: 1920–1935 
In 1920, the Società Agricola Italo-Somala (SAIS) was founded by Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, in order to explore the agricultural potential of Africa. On December 5, 1923 Fascism came to Somalia with Governor Cesare Maria De Vecchi di Val Cismon. He brought with him forceful ways of colonial rule and ideas.
In 1926, after a some resistance, southern Somalia was fully pacified. The Somali colonial troops called Dubats (and the gendarmerie Zaptié) were extensively used by De Vecchi in this military campaign.
In the early 1930s, the new Italian governors, Guido Corni and Maurizio Rava, started a policy of assimilation of the Somalis and their clans. Many Somalis were enrolled in the Italian colonial troops. Some thousands of Italian colonists moved to live in Mogadishu, which became a commercial centre with some small manufacturing companies, and in some agricultural areas around the capital such as the "Villaggio duca degli Abruzzi" (or "Villabruzzi", today Jowhar) and "Genale").
In 1920, the Italian explorer and nobleman Luigi Amedeo Savoia-Aosta founded the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi as an agricultural settlement in Italian Somaliland, growing bananas, cotton and sugar.
In 1926, the colony comprised 16 villages, with some 3,000 Somali and 200 Italian inhabitants, and was connected by a 114 km new railway to Mogadishu. Italian colonial policy followed two principles in Somalia: preservation of the dominant clan and ethnic configurations and respect for Islam as the colony's religion.
Italian East Africa 
In June 1936, after the war ended, Italian Somaliland became part of Italian East Africa. The new colony of the Italian Empire also included Ethiopia and Eritrea and was called Africa Orientale Italiana.
From 1936 to 1940, new roads (like the one called "Imperial Road", from Mogadishu to Addis Abeba) were constructed in the region, as well as new railways (114 km from Mogadishu to Jowhar) and many schools, hospitals, ports, bridges, etc.
Since the start of the colony, many Somali troops fought in the so-called Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali. The soldiers were enrolled as Dubats, Zaptié and Bande irregolari. During World War II, these troops were regarded as a wing of the Italian Army's Infantry Division, as was the case in Libya and Eritrea. The Zaptié were considered the best: they provided a ceremonial escort for the Italian Viceroy (Governor) as well as the territorial police. There were already more than one thousand such soldiers in 1922. In 1941, in Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia, 2,186 Zaptìé plus an additional 500 recruits under training officially constituted a part of the Carabinieri. They were organised into a battalion commanded by Major Alfredo Serranti that defended Culqualber (Ethiopia) for three months until this military unit was destroyed by the Allies. After heavy fighting, all the Italian Carabinieri, including the Somali troops, received full military honors from the British.
In the first half of 1940, there were 22,000 Italians living in Somalia and the colony was one of the most developed in Africa in terms of the standard of living of the colonists and of the Somalis, mainly in the urban areas. More than 10,000 Italians were living in Mogadishu, an administrative capital of the Africa Orientale Italiana, and new buildings were erected in the Italian architectural tradition. By 1940, the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi (or "Villabruzzi") had a population of 12,000 people, of whom nearly 3,000 were Italian Somalis, and enjoyed a notable level of development with a small manufacturing area with agricultural industries (sugar mills, etc.).
In the second half of 1940, Italian troops invaded British Somaliland and ejected the British. The Italians also occupied Kenyan areas bordering Jubaland around the villages of Moyale and Buna. In August 1940 Benito Mussolini boasted to a group of Somalis in Rome that with the conquest of British Somalia (that he annexed to Italian Somalia) nearly all the Somali people were united, fulfilling their dream of a union of all Somalis (Greater Somalia).
In the spring of 1941, Britain regained control of British Somaliland and conquered Italian Somaliland with the Ogaden. However, until the summer of 1943, there was an Italian guerrilla war in all the areas of the former Italian East Africa.
Trust Territory 
Italian Somaliland then came under British administration until 1949, when it became a United Nations trusteeship, the Trust Territory of Somalia, under Italian administration. This administration lasted ten years, from 1950 to 1960, with legislative elections held in 1956 and 1959.
During the 1950s, with UN aid money pouring in and the presence of experienced Italian administrators who had come to see the region as their home, infrastructural and educational development blossomed in the region. The decade passed relatively without incident, and was marked by positive growth in virtually all aspects of local life.
The conditional return of Italian administration to southern Somalia gave the new trust territory several unique advantages compared with other African colonies. To the extent that Italy held the territory by UN mandate, the trusteeship provisions gave the Somalis the opportunity to gain experience in political education and self-government. These were advantages that British Somaliland, which was to be incorporated into the new Somali state, did not have. Although in the 1950s British colonial officials attempted, through various development efforts, to make up for past neglect, the protectorate stagnated. The disparity between the two territories in economic development and political experience would cause serious difficulties when it came time to integrate the two parts.
Italian was an official language in Italian Somaliland during the Fiduciary Mandate as well as the first years of independence. In 1954, the Italian government established post-secondary institutions of law, economics and social studies in Mogadishu, the territory's capital. These institutions were satellites of the University of Rome, which provided all the instruction material, faculty and administration.
In 1960, the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) became independent, following in the footsteps of the briefly extant State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) which had gained independence five days earlier on June 26, 1960. On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic, with Mogadishu as the nation's capital. A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf as President of the Somali National Assembly, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as President of the Somali Republic and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister (later to become President from 1967–1969). On 20 July 1961 and through a popular referendum, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution, which was first drafted in 1960.
Italian governors 
- 1908-1910 Tommaso Carletti
- 1910-1916 Giacomo De Martino
- 1916-1919 Giovanni Cherina Ferroni
- 1920-1923 Carlo Ricci
- 1923-1928 Cesare Maria De Vecchi
- 1928-1931 Guido Corni
- 1931-1935 Maurizio Rava
- 1935-1936 Rodolfo Graziani
- 1936-1937 Angelo De Ruben - Ruggiero Santini
- 1937-1939 Francesco Saveno
- 1939-1940 Gustavo Pesenti
- 1940-1941 Carlo De Simone
- Mariam Arif Gassem, Somalia: clan vs. nation, (s.n.: 2002), p.4
- Encyclopædia Britannica, The New Encyclopædia Britannica, (Encyclopædia Britannica: 2002), p.835
- The Majeerteen Sultanates
- Fitzgerald, Nina J. Somalia (New York: Nova Science, 2002), p 33
- Sheik-ʻAbdi, ʻAbdi ʻAbdulqadir (1993). Divine madness: Moḥammed ʻAbdulle Ḥassan (1856-1920). Zed Books. p. 129. ISBN 0-86232-444-0.
- Tripodi, Paolo. The Colonial Legacy in Somalia. New York: St. Martin's P Inc,, 1999. p 16
- Tripodi, Paolo. The Colonial Legacy in Somalia, p 12-13
- Ben-Ghiat, Ruth, Italy and its colonies, in A historical companion to postcolonial literatures: continental Europe and Africa, Poddar, Prem, Patke, Rejeev S. and Jensen, Lars eds., Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008, p. 310
- Olsen, James Stuart and Shadle, Robert, eds., Historical dictionary of European imperialism, Westport, Conn.: 1991, Greenwood Press, p. 567
- Hess, Robert L. Italian Colonialism in Somalia Chicago: University of Chicago P, 1966. p 101
- Cassanelli, Lee V. The End of slavery in Africa, Meiers, Suzanne and Roberts, Richard L., eds, University of Wisconsin Press, p. 310
- Hess, Robert L. Italian Colonialism, p 102
- Ben-Ghiat, p. 310
- Hess, Robert L. Italian Colonialism, p 146
- Bevilacqua, Piero. Storia dell'emigrazione italiana. p. 233
- Ben-Ghiat, p. 311
- "Non tutti sanno che... Zaptié" (in Italian)
- Article with photos on a 2005 visit to 'Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi' and areas of former Italian Somaliland (in italian)
- http://www.lasecondaguerramondiale.it/africa_orie_2.html The first map shows the Italian occupied areas around Moyale/Buna
- Antonicelli, Franco. Trent'anni di storia italiana 1915 - 1945. p. 47
- Trusteeship and Protectorate: The Road to Independence of Somalia
- Greystone Press Staff, The Illustrated Library of The World and Its Peoples: Africa, North and East, (Greystone Press: 1967), p. 338
See also 
- Italian Empire
- Italian Somalis
- Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi
- Italian Somaliland lira
- Railway Mogadiscio-Villabruzzi
- Trust Territory of Somalia
- Antonicelli, Franco. Trent'anni di storia italiana 1915 - 1945. Mondadori Editore. Torino, 1961.
- Hess, Robert L. Italian Colonialism in Somalia. University of Chicago P. Chicago, 1966.
- Tripodi, Paolo. The Colonial Legacy in Somalia. St. Martin's P Inc. New York, 1999.
- Fitzgerald, Nina J. Somalia. Nova Science, Inc. New York, 2002.
-  "La Somalia Italiana", written in 1925 by Romolo Onor (in Italian).
-  "Atlante delle colonie italiane". Detailed Atlas of Italian colonies, written by Baratta Mario and Visintin Luigi in 1928 (in Italian).