Somaliland (Somali: Somaliland, Arabic: صوماليلاند Ṣūmālīlānd or أرض الصومال Arḍ aṣ-Ṣūmāl), officially the Republic of Somaliland (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Arabic: جمهورية صوماليلاند Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd), is a self-declared state internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia. The government of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to the former British Somaliland protectorate, which as the State of Somaliland united as scheduled on 1 July 1960 with the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic (Somalia).
Somaliland lies in northwestern Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by the autonomous region of the Puntland State of Somalia to the east, Djibouti to the northwest, and Ethiopia to the south and west. Its claimed territory has an area of 137,600 square kilometres (53,100 sq mi), with approximately 4 million residents. The capital and the largest city is Hargeisa, with the population of around 1,200,000 residents.
In 1988, the Siad Barre regime launched a crackdown against the Hargeisa-based Somali National Movement (SNM) and other militant groups, which were among the events that led to the Somali Civil War. The conflict left the country's economic and military infrastructure severely damaged. Following the collapse of Barre's government in early 1991, local authorities, led by the SNM, declared independence from Somalia on 18 May of the same year and reinstated the borders of the former short-lived independent State of Somaliland.
Since then, the territory has been governed by democratically elected governments that seek international recognition as the Government of the Republic of Somaliland (Somali: Dowlada Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Arabic: جمهورية صوماليلاند Dawlat Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd). The central government maintains informal ties with some foreign governments, who have sent delegations to Hargeisa. Ethiopia also maintains a trade office in the region. However, Somaliland's self-proclaimed independence remains unrecognised by any country or international organisation. It is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, whose members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories.
Somalis (Somali: Soomaaliyeed, 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), Ethiopia (4.6 million), 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.
- ...that the Laas Geel cave paintings, located near Hargeisa, are 4,000–11,000 years old?
- ...that the Berbera Airport The Berbera airport has a 4,140 m (13,582 ft) runway, one of the longest on the continent. The runway was built by the Soviet Union (USSR) in the mid-1970s in order to counter the United States' military presence in the region. It was rented by NASA at a cost of $40 million USD per year, and used as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle from 1980 until 1991, when the government of former President of Somalia Siad Barre collapsed.?
- ...that Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (pictured), a Somali religious and nationalist leader and commander of the Dervish State, led a resistance war against British, Italian and Ethiopian forces for over two decades?
- ...that Somalia was and still is known as the Nation of Poets?