British Somaliland
Protectorate of the United Kingdom
1884–1960 Flag of Somalia
Flag of British Somaliland (1950-60) British Somaliland 1950-1960 COA
Flag Coat of arms
British Somaliland
Capital Hargeisa
Language(s) English, Somali
Religion Islam
Political structure Protectorate
 - Established 1884
 - Independence June 26
 - Somaliland established 18 May, 1991
Currency British pound

British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the north part of the Horn of Africa. The protectorate incorporated most of what is identified as Maakhir, Puntland, and Somaliland. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, British Somaliland was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa.

British Somaliland occupied an area that was later to be the northern part of the Somali Republic and what is presently the northwestern Somaliland region.

Egyptians leave and British enterEdit

Egypt (under the Muhammad Ali dynasty) dominated the area in the 1870s, but withdrew in 1884. That same year the British established its protectorate. The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden and administered it from British India. Administration from India ended in 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 their Somali protectorate which they called "Aden's butcher's shop" from where they got supplies of meat for their British Indian outpost of Aden.

"Mad Mullah"Edit

From 1899, the British were forced to spend considerable efforts when the resistance movement of Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan rose up against their rule. The British called Hassan the "Mad Mullah". Four expeditions against Hassan were launched before World War I.[citation needed][1]

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

Hassan's resistance was finally crushed after the end of World War I. In 1920, the British launched their fifth (and final) expedition against Hassan. They employed the then-new technology of military aircraft for the first time on East African soil. In 1920, Hassan's resistance movement ended.

File:Italian Invasion British Somaliland.JPG

Italian occupationEdit

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.


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

Republic of SomalilandEdit

In 1991, after the breakdown of the central government of the Somali Republic, the former area of British Somaliland declared its independence. In May 1991, the formation of the "Republic of Somaliland" was proclaimed. The Republic of Somaliland regards itself as the successor to the State of Somaliland which was briefly independent in 1960.

See alsoEdit


  1. See chrology near bottom of Sultanate of Mohamoud Ali Shire.
ar:الصومال البريطاني

bg:Британска Сомалия ca:Somàlia Britànica da:Britisk Somaliland de:Britisch-Somaliland eo:Brita Somalio es:Somalilandia Británica eu:Britaniar Somaliland fr:Somalie britannique ko:영국령 소말릴란드 id:Somaliland Britania it:Somalia Britannica sw:Somalia ya Kiingereza nl:Brits Somaliland ja:イギリス領ソマリランド no:Britisk Somaliland nn:Britisk Somaliland pl:Somali Brytyjskie pt:Somalilândia Britânica ro:Somalia Britanică ru:Британское Сомали fi:Brittiläinen Somalimaa sv:Brittiska Somaliland zh:英屬索馬利蘭

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.