Modern Somalia was formed by the independence and merger in 1960 of the British Somaliland Protectorate in the north-west and the larger United Nations Trust Territory of Somalia (ex-Italian Somaliland).
Following the Second World War, Italy had renounced all rights to former Italian Somaliland in 1947 but in 1950 was appointed to administer the territory, as a UN Trust Territory, for 10 years leading to independence.
The Somali Youth League (SYL), a pro-Western party founded in 1943 and led by the Prime Minister, Seyyid Abdullah Issa, won elections in the UN Trust Territory in 1959. The SYL advocated a single state embracing all Somali-populated areas, including parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and French Somaliland (now independent Djibouti).
A general election was also held in British Somaliland in 1959, in preparation for self-government. British Somaliland achieved independence on 26 June 1960 and was merged with the UN Trust Territory on 1 July 1960 to form the independent Somali Republic. Dr Aden Abdullah Osman was elected by representatives of the two component territories to be the new republic’s first President. The two dominant parties in the former British protectorate joined with the SYL to form a tripartite coalition government. Dr Abd Al-Rashid Ali Shermarke, SYL, a member of the Darod clan-family, became Prime Minister following Seyyid Abdullah Issa’s resignation.
The Somali Republic became increasingly dependent on Soviet aid during the 1960s. Relations with neighbouring countries deteriorated as Somalia pursued territorial claims against them, which led to clashes with Ethiopia in 1964.
Although the SYL comfortably won the 1964 elections, a split within the party’s Darod leadership led to the appointment of a new Darod Prime Minister, Abd Al-Razak Hussein, who formed an all-SYL cabinet. The SYL remained divided, culminating in the election by the National Assembly in June 1967 of Dr Shermarke as President. He appointed a new cabinet led by Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, former Prime Minister of British Somaliland and a member of the northern Isaaq clan-family.
Reflecting a trend towards traditional clan divisions, over 1,000 candidates, representing 68 mostly clan-based political parties, contested 124 seats in the March 1969 elections. The SYL won the elections and Egal was reappointed Prime Minister, although the government no longer reflected Somali society in
Rule of Siad Barre
President Shermarke was assassinated on 15 October 1969 by a soldier in a private feud. The army, led by Commander-in-Chief Major-General Mohamed Siad Barre, seized power in a bloodless coup d’etat on 21 October 1969 on the eve of the planned presidential election, and pledged itself to eliminate corruption
and clanism. Initially popular, the coup marked the beginning of 21 years of persistent political repression and human rights violations. Following the coup, political parties were abolished, the National Assembly was dissolved and the 1960 Constitution was suspended. The Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC), chaired by
Siad Barre, formed a new government and proclaimed the Somali Democratic Republic. In October 1970 Barre declared Somalia a socialist state and embarked upon a programme of national unification and social and economic reform, known as ’scientific socialism’. Banks, transport services, utilities and schools were
nationalised and in 1975 the state took control of land, setting up a corruptly-administered scheme whereby farmers were granted 50 year leases. Subsequent efforts to recover nationalised land became a major factor in inter-clan fighting from 1991.
The SRC was dissolved in 1976 and power was transferred to the newly-formed Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP), with Barre as its Secretary-General. However, despite Barre’s avowed intention to eliminate clanism, his regime became more divided along clan lines over the years as he favoured his own Marehan clan, part of the Darod clan-family, over others. His family and clan became increasingly dominant in government, which prompted several clan-based insurgencies.
The former French Somaliland, renamed the French Territory of the Afars and Issas in 1967, became independent as the Republic of Djibouti on 27 June 1977. The Issa are Somali, of the Dir clan-family, and comprise 50% of Djibouti’s population. There has been tension between the Issa and the Afar, who are of Ethiopian origin and comprise 40% of the population, since independence. Djibouti has maintained a neutral stance in Somali and regional affairs.
Read full text in PDF here : Somaliland and Somalia history
Slightly condensed from the web by M. Ali
Slightly condensed from the web by M. Ali