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British Somaliland
Protectorate of the United Kingdom
1884–1960
Flag Coat of arms
British Somaliland
Capital Hargeisa
Language(s) English, Somali
Religion Islam
Political structure Protectorate
History
 - Established 1884
 - Independence June 26, 1960
 - Somaliland established 18 May, 1991
Currency East African shilling

British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. The protectorate incorporated much of what now constitutes the Puntland (Maakhir) and Somaliland macro-regions of Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, the Ogaden, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa.

Contents

Somali-British treaties

In 1888, after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans such as Mohamoud Ali Shire of the Warsangali Sultanate, the British established a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland.[1] The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden and administered it from their British India colony until 1898. British Somaliland was then administered by the Foreign Office until 1905 and afterwards by the Colonial Office.

Generally, the British did not have much interest in the resource-barren region. They principally viewed the protectorate as a source for supplies of meat for their British Indian outpost in Aden. Hence, the region's nickname of "Aden's butcher's shop".

Mad Mullah

From 1899, the British were forced to expend considerable human and military capital in a bloody struggle to contain a decades-long resistance movement led by the Somali religious leader Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan. Referred to colloquially by the British as the Mad Mullah, repeated expeditions were unsuccessfully launched against Hassan and his men before World War I.

In 1914, the British created the Somaliland Camel Corps to assist in maintaining order in British Somaliland.

By 1920, they had launched their fifth and final expedition against Hassan and his followers. Employing the then-new technology of military aircraft for the first time ever in Africa, the British finally managed to quell Hassan's twenty year-long struggle.

Italian invasion

The Italian invasion of British Somaliland in August 1940.

In August 1940, during the East African Campaign in World War II, the British protectorate was briefly occupied by Italy. The Italian conquest of British Somaliland was the only Italian victory against the Allies without the assistance of German troops in World War II.

In March 1941, British Somaliland was recaptured by British and Commonwealth forces during "Operation Appearance". The final remnants of Italian guerilla movement discontinued all resistance in British Somaliland by the summer of 1942.

Independence

The protectorate gained independence on 26 June 1960. As a referendum indicated support for unification with the Italian-administered Trust Territory of Somalia (formerly Italian Somaliland), days later on 1 July 1960, the northern State of Somaliland joined with the southern trust territory to form the Somali Republic.

Somaliland

In 1991, after the breakdown of the central government of the Somali Republic, parts of the area which formerly encompassed British Somaliland declared independence. In May 1991, the formation of the "Republic of Somaliland" was proclaimed, with the local government regarding it as the successor to the former British Somaliland. However, the Somaliland region's self-declared independence remains unrecognized by any country or international organization.[2][3]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Hugh Chisholm (ed.), The encyclopædia britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Volume 25, (At the University press: 1911), p.383.
  2. ^ The Signs Say Somaliland, but the World Says Somalia
  3. ^ UN in Action: Reforming Somaliland's Judiciary
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