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Flag of Somalia
Coat of arms of Somalia
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Somalia (Somali: Soomaaliya; Arabic: الصومال‎‎ aṣ-Ṣūmāl /sˈmɑːliə/ soh-MAH-lee-ə), officially the Federal Republic of Somalia[1] (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya, Arabic: جمهورية الصومال الفدرالية‎‎ Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fiderāliyya), is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent,[2] and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands.[3] Hot conditions prevail year-round, along with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.[4]

Somalia has a population of around 10 million. About 85% of local residents are ethnic Somalis,[5] who have historically inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minority groups make up the remainder of the nation's population, and are largely concentrated in the southern regions.[6] Somali and Arabic are the official languages of Somalia, both of which belong to the Afro-Asiatic family.[5] Most people in the territory are Muslims,[7] the majority being Sunni.[8]

In antiquity, Somalia was an important centre for commerce with the rest of the ancient world,[9][10] and according to most scholars,[11][12] it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.[13][14] During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuuraan State, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate and the Geledi Sultanate. In the late nineteenth century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italians gained control of parts of the coast, and established British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland.[15][16] In the interior, Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region,[17] but the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower.[18] Italy acquired full control of the northeastern and southern parts of the territory after successfully waging a Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo.[16] This occupation lasted until 1941, when it was replaced by a British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia by agreement became a United Nations Trusteeship in 1949. In 1960, the two regions united as planned to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government.[19] Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. In 1991, Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Civil War broke out.

In the absence of a central government, Somalia's residents reverted to local forms of conflict resolution, consisting of civil law, religious law and customary law. A few autonomous regions, including the Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug administrations, emerged in the north in the ensuing process of decentralization. The early 2000s saw the creation of fledgling interim federal administrations. The Transitional National Government (TNG) was established in 2000 followed by the formation of its successor the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2004, which reestablished national institutions such as the Military of Somalia.[5][20][21] In 2006, the TFG, assisted by Ethiopian troops, assumed control of most of the nation's southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region,[5] with the insurgents losing most of the territory that they had seized by mid-2012. In 2011-2012, a Roadmap political process providing clear benchmarks leading toward the establishment of permanent democratic institutions was launched.[22] Within this administrative framework, a new Provisional Constitution was passed in August 2012,[23]which designates Somalia as a federation.[24] Following the end of the TFG's interim mandate the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war, was also formed.[25] The nation has concurrently experienced a period of intense reconstruction, particularly in the capital, Mogadishu.[22][26] Through the years, Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications.[5][27]

Selected article

Somalis (Somali: Soomaali, Arabic: الصوماليون‎‎) are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Ethnic Somalis number around 15-17 million and are principally concentrated in Somalia (more than 9 million[28]), Ethiopia (4.6 million[29]), Yemen (a little under 1 million), northeastern Kenya (about half a million), Djibouti (350,000), and an unknown but large number live in parts of the Middle East, North America and Europe.

Did you know...

  • ...that the Somali Ajuuraan State excelled in hydraulic engineering and fortress building?
Statue of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan in Mogadishu.

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  1. ^ The Federal Republic of Somalia is the country's name per Article 1 of the Provisional Constitution.
  2. ^ International Traffic Network, The world trade in sharks: a compendium of Traffic's regional studies, (Traffic International: 1996), p.25.
  3. ^ "Somalia". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  4. ^ "Somalia – Climate". countrystudies.us. 2009-05-14. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Central Intelligence Agency (2011). "Somalia". The World Factbook. Langley, Virginia: Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  6. ^ Abdullahi 2001, pp. 8–11.
  7. ^ "Middle East Policy Council – Muslim Populations Worldwide". Mepc.org. 2005-12-01. Archived from the original on 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2010-06-27. 
  8. ^ Abdullahi 2001, p. 1.
  9. ^ John Kenrick, Phoenicia, (B. Fellowes: 1855), p. 199.
  10. ^ Jeanne Rose, John Hulburd, The aromatherapy book: applications & inhalations, (North Atlantic Books: 1992), p. 94.
  11. ^ Charnan, Simon (1990). Explorers of the Ancient World. Childrens Press. p. 26. ISBN 0-516-03053-1. 
  12. ^ Society For Nautical Research (1984). "The Mariner's mirror". The Mariner's Mirror. London, England. 66–71: 261. 
  13. ^ Christine El Mahdy, Egypt : 3000 Years of Civilization Brought to Life, (Raincoast Books: 2005), p.297.
  14. ^ Stefan Goodwin, Africa's legacies of urbanization: unfolding saga of a continent, (Lexington Books: 2006), p. 48.
  15. ^ Laitin 1977, p. 8.
  16. ^ a b Issa-Salwe, Abdisalam M. (1996). The Collapse of the Somali State: The Impact of the Colonial Legacy. London: Haan Associates. pp. 34–35. ISBN 187420991X. 
  17. ^ Kevin Shillington, Encyclopedia of African history‎, (CRC Press: 2005), p. 1406.
  18. ^ Samatar, Said Sheikh (1982). Oral Poetry and Somali Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 131 & 135. ISBN 0-521-23833-1. 
  19. ^ Greystone Press Staff, The Illustrated Library of The World and Its Peoples: Africa, North and East, (Greystone Press: 1967), p. 338.
  20. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (2011-06-23). "Harvard-Educated Technocrat Chosen as Somalia Premier". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-23. 
  21. ^ Central Intelligence Agency, The CIA World Factbook 2010, Book 2010, (Skyhorse Publishing Inc.: 2009), p. 620.
  22. ^ a b Ahmed, Muddassar (2012-08-08). "Somalia rising after two decades of civil war and unrest". Al Arabiya. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  23. ^ "Somalia: Somali Leaders Adopt Draft Constitution". ANP/AFP. Retrieved 2012-06-23. 
  24. ^ Kouroutakis, Antonios (2013-09-18). "Note on the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia". Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  25. ^ "Somalia: UN Envoy Says Inauguration of New Parliament in Somalia 'Historic Moment'". Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  26. ^ Mulupi, Dinfin. "Mogadishu: East Africa's newest business destination?". Retrieved 2012-06-26. 
  27. ^ "Central Bank of Somalia – Economy and Finance". Somalbanca.org. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  28. ^ CIA World Factbook: Somalia, people and Map of the Somalia Ethnic groups (CIA according de Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection). The first gives 15% non-Somalis and the second 6%. Used 90% of current population of Somalia.
  29. ^ Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency. "2007 Ethiopian census, first draft" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-05-06.