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Literature on the History of East Africa
Somalia Djibouti
First posted on July 2nd 2002, last revised on November 14th 2013

History of Somaliland : Narrative . References : Online Secondary Sources . Online Primary Sources . Bibliographic and Print Sources

until 1884 . 1884-1960 . 1960-1991 . Since 1991

Precolonial Era, 16th century to 1884
In the 16th century, Zeila (Saylac) on the Gulf of Aden was a trading center offering goods such as coffee, ostrich feathers, Ethiopian slaves etc.; it became the center of the Muslim Sultanate of Awdal (Adal), which was the nemesis of the christian Amharic kingdom of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). In the later 16th century, Abyssinia, aided by the Portuguese, expanded at the expense of Awdal, which by 1660 had disintegrated. The port of Zeila meanwhile had been commercially overtaken by Berbera.
In 1854 Richard Burton travelled into the hinterland of the Somali coast, observing the independence of Harar. In 1855, at Berbera, his party was attacked. The British authorities in Aden sent a punitive expedition to Berbera, a blockade against the port implemented; in 1856 a trade treaty with Berbera was signed, the blockade lifted.
In 1866, the Ottoman Empire transferred her ports on the western shore of the Red Sea - Suakin and Massawa to the Khedive of Egypt. In 1870 the Egyptian flag was hoisted at Bulhar and Berbera; Egyptian authority was recognized all along the southwestern coast of the Red Sea, down to Cape Gardafui on the Indian Ocean. In 1884, with the Mahdi Rebellion ongoing in the Egyptian Sudan, the Egyptian troops were withdrawn from the Somaliland region.

British Protectorate, 1884-1960
After the departure of Egyptian troops (1884), the British acquired treaties from local chiefs asking for British protection (1884-1886). A British source from 1920 states that in order to prevent Somaliland from being annexed by another power, it was partitioned between Britain, Italy and Abyssinia.
The protectorate over British Somaliland was proclaimed in 1884; The protectorate's main importance for Britain lay in it's strategic location, close to the Bab el Mandeb - the entrance into the Red Sea. It was first administered from Aden.
In 1887, Somaliland was placed under the Indian Office; in 1898 it was transferred to the Colonial Office. Berbera was selected as the seat of administration. In 1888 an Anglo-French agreement was signed delimiting the British and French spheres of influence on the northern Somali coast.
In 1920, the population was estimated at 300,000, mostly nomadic Somali; in the coastal towns there were communities of Arabs and Indians; the dominant religion was Islam. The currency used was the Indian Rupee. The protectorate's revenue covered for only a fraction of it's expenses, and had to be heavily subsidized by Britain.
Soon the British found that the area was more difficult to control than expected. They faced determined resistance organized by Muhammad Abdullah Hasau, nicknamed the Mad Mullah. After British operations undertaken in 1901-1904, a peaceful settlement was reached in 1905. In August 1913 the Camel Constabulary, a force of 150 men, was routed by c. 2,000 armed dervishes at Dulmadoba; the Camel Constabulary lost half their men, including the commander. Resistance only was broken in 1920 when the British made use of the Royal Airforce. Muhammad Abdullah fled to Ethiopia, where he died in 1921.
When World War I ended in Europe in November 1918, Britain still faced the determined resistance of Muhammad Abdilla Hasau's (the 'Mad Mullah's) Somalis. Britain employed the Royal Air Force to attack his capital. Hasau died in 1920, and the rebellion collapsed with his death.
The British moved the capital from coastal Berbera to continental Hargeysa, with a more favourable climate.
Economically, the protectorate saw little development; it's major function was to supply meat to the colony of Aden. There was no white immigration, no plantation economy, no railway construction. British Somaliland economically was outperformed by neighbouring Italian Somalia.
In 1937 the native population of British Somaliland was estimated at 344,700, the non-native population given at 2,688, of whom only 68 were Europeans. Governor from 1935 to 1939 was Sir A.S. Lawrence.
In June 1940, Italy entered World War II on the side of the Axis powers. British Somaliland, surrounded by Italian colonies and with few British troops present to defend itself, quickly fell to Italian invading forces (August 1940). In 1941, British and South African troops invaded Italian East Africa from Kenya, the Sudan and Aden; the Italian colonial troops surrendered that year. British Somaliland was liberated by an expedition from Aden in March 1941; the protectorate then was placed under military administration, military governors Brigadier A.R. Chater (1941-1943), Brigadier G.T. Fisher (1943-1948). In 1948 the protectorate was returned to civilian administration.
In 1948 there were noexecutive or legislative councils in the protectorate; the governor exclusively exercised administrative authority. Both the Indian rupee and the East African shilling were used; there were no banks in the protectorate. In 1960, the British protectorate was terminated and independence declared. The country then quickly merged with neighbouring, formerly Italian Somalia.

Part of Somalia, 1960-1991
Soon after (Italian) Somalia and (British) Somaliland proclaimed independence, both merged to form the United Republic of Somalia. It's capital was Mogadishu; the larger, formerly Italian south dominated politically and economically.
As part of Greater Somalia, Somaliland was part of the wars with Ethiopia over the Ogaden, of the subsequent refugee crisis. When long-term dictator Siad Barre was toppled in 1991, Somalia quickly disintegrated in petty regions controlled by warlords. Somalia came into the center of the world's attention, when UN troops invaded Somalia to ensure the safety of humanitarian organizations trying to provide the famine-stricken population with food.

Independence, since 1991
In 1991, Somaliland in the north declared independence (as the Republic of Adal), an independence which so far is not recognized internationally.


Historic Encyclopedia Entries : Somalis 1854-1902, Adal 1854-1885
Historical Atlas, Somalia Page, British East Africa Page

Students' Paper : Sung Ji Yun, History of Nutrition in East Africa (2012)

Country Profiles . Links . Organizations . Accounts of History . Politics . Military History . Economic History . Social History . Ethnography
History of Religion . Regional History . Local History . Institutions . Culture . Biography . Environmental History . Others
Country Profiles Modern from BBC Country Profiles
Article : Somaliland, from Wikipedia
UK Border Agency, Country of Origin Report : Somalia 2013, 2012, 2011, covers Somaliland, Puntland
A.M.I. Egal, "Re-establishing the State in Somalia & Securing the Horn of Africa", a report on the current situation in Somaliland UNPO 2009
Historical F.L. James, The Unknown Horn of Africa 1888, IA
A General Survey of Somaliland Protectorate, 1944-1950, posted by Togdheer Online
Links General Category : Somaliland, from Wikipedia
on History Category : History of Somaliland, from Wikipedia
Historical Dictionaries
Timelines from timelines.ws
Accounts of History General, Modern History of Awdal, from Awdal Development Organization
History of Somaliland, from Wikipedia
History, from Somaliland Democracy Watch Organization
Files on Somaliland History, from Togdheer Online
Awdal History, by H.D. Obsiye
General, Historical
Specific Periods W.A. Degu, Political Development in the Precolonial Horn of Africa, thesis Amsterdam 2002
Historiography P. Gilkes, National Identity and Historical Mythology in Eritrea and Somaliland, Northeast African Studies. 2003. vol.10, Iss.3; pg.163, 25
Politics Politics and Government of Somalia, from Wikipedia; Political Resources on the Net : Somalia
Governments on the WWW : Somaliland
DADM : Somalia/Somaliland 1960-present
D. Balthasar, State-Making in Somalia and Somaliland, thesis LSE 2013
E.D. Jhazbhay, Somaliland: Post-War Nation-Building and International Relations, 1991-2006, thesis Univ. of Witwatersrand 2007
M. Walls, State Formation in Somaliland: Bringing Deliberation to Institutionalism theses Univ. College London 2011
D. Forti, Somaliland: An Examination of State Failure and Secession Movements thesis Duke 2011
I. Jhazbhay, Islam and Stability in Somaliland and the Geo-politics of the War on Terror, Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 28, No. 2, August 2008
A.J. Carroll et al., The Case for Independent Statehood of Somaliland AM. U.J. INT'L L. & POL'Y [VOL. 8:653] 1993, posted by Somaliland Law
Military Somalia (British Somaliland and Occupied Eritrea and Italian Somaliland), from Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
M. White, Death Tolls for the Multicides of the Twentieth Century, Somalia : Mad Mullah Jihad, 1899-1920
J.W. Jennings, With the Abyssinians in Somaliland 1905, IA
D. Jardine, The Mad Mullah of Somaliland, 1923, IA
Great Britain. War Office. General Staff, Official history of the operations in Somaliland, 1901-04, vol.1 1907, vol.2 1907, IA
The Invasion of Somaliland, from Togdheer
Economy & Finances Entry Somaliland, from Global History of Currencies, by Bryan Taylor
Currency Boards and Dollarization by Kurt Schuler; click for Somalia (w. Somaliland, Puntland)
Article Economy of Somalia, from Wikipedia
Monetary History of Somaliland, from African Coins and Tokens
Economist June 24 2011 : Aid and Somaliland. Mo money mo problems
C. Turner, Paving the Way for a Cashless Society: Somaliland and Mobile Banking 2010
Social History People of Awdal, from Awdal Development Organization
A.C.A. Wright, The Inter-action of various systems of law and custom in British Somaliland and their relation with social life, The East Africa Natural History Society 1943
M.F. Hersi, The Possibilities of International Prosecution against the former Somali Military Regime for Human Rights Abuses in Somaliland from 1981 to 1991 : Establishing Individual Criminal and Civil Responsibility under International Law, thesis Univ. of Pretoria 2008
History of Regions J.M. Merklin, Countries and Territories of the 20th Century, 2009 : British Somaliland Protectorate 1900-07-08, 1908-07-08, 1918-07-08, 1928-07-08, 1938-07-08, 1948-07-08, 1958-07-08, Somali Republic, North-Western Province 1968-07-08, Somali Democratic Republic, North-Western Province 1978-07-08, Somali Democratic Republic, North-West Region 1988-07-08, Republic of Somaliland 1998-07-08, 2008-07-08
Local History List of Cities in Somalia, from Wikipedia
History of Zeila, Berbera, Hargeisa, from Wikipedia
Cultural History History of Music in Somaliland, from Somaliland Times
Biographies The Mad Mullah, Hero of Somali Nationalism, by Leo Silberman, detailed
Environmental History Afrotropic Ecoregion, from WWF
Current Status of Forests and Woodlands in Somaliland. Threats and Opportunities, Somali Ecological Society

Historical Data . Statistical Data . Documents Newspapers . Yearbooks . Image Databanks . Archival Deposits . Laws . Historiography
Document Collections . Historical Maps . Historical Encyclopedia Articles . Travelogues . Institutions . National Symbols
Historical Data Lists of Statesmen from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), from Rulers (B. Schemmel)
Regnal Chronologies : Eastern Africa, click Adal
Lists of Ambassadors
Statistical Data Responsible Institution
Population Figures from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer), go by administrative divisions
Election Results Elections in Somaliland, from African Elections Database
Documents Historical Newspapers
Modern Newspapers Somaliland Times
Awdal News Network
Watershed Legal Services : Somaliland News
Individual Articles Contemporary History of Somaliland, from World History Archives
Online Yearbooks - Somaliland Entries Statesman's Year-Book, Somaliland 1903, pp.237-238, IA, 1913, pp.191-192, IA, 1919, pp.197-198, IA, 1921, pp.200-201, IA
British Somaliland, from South and East African Year Book and Guide, 26th ed., 1920, posted at this site
Image Databanks Systematic Collections
Systematic Collections
Accidental Collections
Universal Collections
Items on Somaliland
License Plates : Br. Somaliland, from License Plates Online, from License Plates around the World
Archival Deposits Search National Archives (UK) for British Somaliland
Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Archive Records
Laws British Somaliland, Ordinances and Regulations vol.1, 1900-1905, 1906, vol.2, 1906-1907, 1908, IA
Somaliland Law
Treaties The Gadabursi Treaty of 1884, posted by Awdal Development Organization
Consular Reports
Document Surveys British Library, Somalia Official Publications
Document Collections Somaliland Documents, posted by Civic Web Virtual Library
Search Hansard for Somaliland
Individual Documents Awdal Declaration of Independence, posted by UPenn African Studies Center, undated, betw. 1991 and 1995
Dialog on Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim (Gran) of Adal, from World History Archives (early 16th century)
Historical Maps responsible institutions
collections : Africa Historical Maps of Africa, University of Alabama
collections : Somaliland
Africa, Modern Africa 1905, 1912, 1938, 1959, 1967, 1993, J. de Salas Vara del Rey
Africa, Contemporary Historical Map of Africa 1885, Nations Online Project
Africa 1885, PCL, UTexas
Africa 1909, World Maps Online
Africa 1910, Emerson Kent
Africa 1913, Zonu
Somaliland, Modern
Somaliland, Contemporary R. de Lannoy de Bissy, Carte de l'Afrique a l'echelle de 1:2 000 000 29. Gondar 1891, 29. Gondar 1899, 30. Berbera 1887, 30. Berbera 1888, 30. Berbera 1898, Gallica
Africa 1:2.000.000, U.S. Army Map Service, sheet 21 Djibouti (1968) PCL, UTexas
Somaliland 1906, 1932, Probert Encyclopedia
Somaliland Clan Map, 1930, Burco Online
Carta dei possedimenti e zona d'influenza dell'Italia in Africa 1896, Gallica
Map Gulf of Aden 1857, from Perry Castaneda Library, UTexas, from Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen
detail, hindsight/modern
detail, contemporary Gulf of Aden, 1860, britishempire.co.uk
Encyclopedia Entries
Secular Articles Somaliland, Berbera, from EB 1911
Article Somal, Berbera, Zeila, from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, in German
Religious Articles Somaliland, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1907 edition
Ethnographical E. Reclus, A.H. Keane, The Earth and its Inhabitants Africa vol.4 : South and East Africa, 1890, IA : Somali and East Galla Lands, pp.377-416
E. Reclus, A.H. Keane, Africa and its Inhabitants vol.4 1899, IA; British Somalilands pp.412-416
Parliamentary Debates Hansard (British Parliament)
Travelogues Historical travelogues to Somaliland, from Somaliland Archive
Historical travelogues on Zeila (Seylac), from Djiboutian Sightings
F.B. Pierce, Rambles in Lion Land: Three Months' Leave Passed in Somaliland (1898), IA
F.S. Brereton, In the grip of the mullah; a tale of adventure in Somaliland (1903), IA
M. McNeill, A.Ch.H. Dixon, In Pursuit of the "Mad" Mullah: Service and Sport in the Somali Protectorate (1902), IA
A. Herbert, Two Dianas in Somaliland; the record of a shooting trip 1908, IA
H.G.C. Swayne, Seventeen Trips Through Somaliland and a Visit to Abyssinia 1900, IA
Residence Memoirs H.A. Rayne, Sun, sand and Somals; leaves from the note-book of a district commissioner in British Somaliland (1921), IA
Institutions Archives
Official Symbols Flags, Coats of Arms Flag, from FOTW; Coat of Arms, from Wikipedia
National Anthem, from David's National Anthem Reference Page
Coins, Banknotes Banknotes of Somaliland, from World Currency Museum, from Ron Wise's World Paper Money
Somaliland from World Coin Gallery
Stamps Rare Somaliland Stamps, from Sandafayre's Stamp Gallery; Br. Somaliland Stamps 1903-1912, from Stamps Catalogue 1840-1920by Evert Klaseboer

Bibliographies . Online Libraries . Thesis Servers . Online Journals . General Accounts . Specific Topics . Historical Dictionaries . Statistical Data . Yearbooks
Bibliographies general Search ISBN Database
RHS Bibliography
UK National Archive Online Library
on Somaliland survey of bibliographies
bibliographic database AfricaBib : Africana Periodical Literature, African Women, Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to Africa
African Borderlands Research Network : Bibliography
general bibliographies
annual bibliographies
specialist bibliographies
serial publications
general bibliographies
Somaliland entries
J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs a l'Afrique et a l'Arabie : catalogue methodique de tous les ouvrages français et des principaux en langues etrangeres traitant de la geographie, de l'histoire, du commerce, des lettres et des arts de l'Afrique et de l'Arabie 1875, in French, Gallica
Roots Institute, Bibliography of Published Primary Sources in African History (English Language)
Online Libraries general Google Books; Internet Archives; Gutenberg Library Online; HathiTrust; Gallica
International Boundary Studies
on Somaliland Aluka, African Online Digital Library (AODL), African Digital Library (ADL)
Thesis Server Open Access Theses and Dissertations
Online Journals On the Indian Ocean Directory of Open Access Journals
On Somalia Anglo-Somali Society, Journal, ToC 2009-
General Accounts Ioan Myrddin Lewis, The Modern History of Somaliland, from Nation to State, London : Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1965
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.17, pp.831-836 Article Eastern Africa : Somalia. KMLA Lib.Sign. R 032 B862h v.17
Specific Topics Chapter 16 : More about Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Somalis, pp.274-284, in : John Gunther, Inside Africa, NY : Harper & Bros. (1953) 1955 [G]
Historical Dictionaries Margaret Castagno, Historical Dictionary of Somalia, Metuchen NJ : Scarecrow 1975 [G]
Statistical Data IHS : B.R. Mitchell, International Historical Statistics. The Americas 1750-2000, London : Palgrave 2003 [G]
Yearbook Entries Britannica Book of the Year British Somaliland, 1913 p.646 [G]
British East Africa, 1944 p.127, 1945 pp.124-125, 1946 pp.146-147, 1947 pp.149-150, 1948 pp.139-140, 1949 pp.118-120, 1950 pp.127-128, 1951 pp.124-125, 1952 pp.122-123, 1953 pp.123-124, 1954 pp.121-124, 1955 pp.181-183, 1956 pp.120-122, 1957 pp.180-182 [G]
Somaliland, British, 1958 p.644, 1959 p.636 [G]
Somaliland Protectorate, 1960 pp.638-639 [G]
Statesman's Yearbook Aden, Perim, Somaliland and Socotra, 1895 p.100, 1898 p.100 [G]
Somali Coast, 1901 pp.223-224 [G]
Somaliland Protectorate, 1905 p.244, 1910 pp.186-187 [G]
Somaliland Protectorate, 1919 pp.197-199, 1924 pp.206-207, 1925 pp.210-211, 1926 pp.214-215, 1928 pp.212-213, 1929 pp.213-214, 1932 pp.216-217, 1937 pp.236-237 [G]
Somaliland Protectorate, 1943 pp.228-229 [G]
Americana Annual Somaliland Protectorate, 1927 p.794, 1928 p.726, 1930 p.713, 1931 pp.709-710, 1932 p.663, 1933 p.717, 1934 p.550, 1935 p.662, 1936 p.676, 1937 p.651, 1938 p.644, 1939 p.707, 1940 p.717 [G]
Somaliland, British, 1943 p.668 [G]
British Somaliland, 1944 p.111, 1945 p.117 [G]
Somaliland Protectorate, 1946 pp.679-680, 1947 pp.656-657, 1957 p.718 [G]
Other South and East African Year Book and Guide, 49th edition 1949, pp.769, 894-895
Somali Coast Protectorate, in : International Year Book 1898 p.716 [G]

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