Capital: Mogadishu Nationality: Somali Population: 9,925,640
Currency: Somali shillings (SOS) Off. Lang: Somali Area: 637,657 sq km
Internet DM: so GDP: $5.896 bil Life Exp: 50.4 years
Literacy: 37.8% Location: 10 00 N, 49 00 E Calling Code: 252

Somalia is an East African country, bordered by the Red Sea and Indian Ocean to the east and Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya to the west, with a location of 10 00 N, 49 00 E. The capital is Mogadishu. Somali is the official language.


Somalia has a population of 9,925,640 , with a life expectancy of 50.4 year. The population is entirely sunni muslim. 49.7% of males and 25.8% of females are literate.


Somalia gained her independence on July 1, 1960, from the UN Trusteeship Council. Aden Abdullah Osman Daar was the first president. Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke was elected president in 1967. On October 15,1969, Shermarke was assassinated. The military took over under Mohamed Siad Barre, who declared Somalia a socialist-marxist state. 

Between 1974-1975, Somalia experienced widespread drought, causing widespread starvation. In 1977, Somalia engaged in armed struggle with Ethiopia over the Ogadēn region, but was defeated by Ethiopia with help from Cuba and the USSR.

Siad Barre made it policy to show favor to his clan, while discriminating against other clans. In 1981, his administration faced serious opposition, from other Somali clans. By 1990, Siad Barre fled the country to Lagos, Nigeria, where he died of a heart attack. Somalia digress into chaos. In 1991, northern Somalia broke away as Somaliland, with its own government, which is not recognized by the UN.

Somalia was also experiencing major drought in the early 90s. The UN intervened and soon their mission became nation building rather than humanitarian in scope. They were joined by US marines in 1992. In other to established a central government they tried to capture powerful clan leader Mohamed Fara Aidid, with no success. By 1995, both US and UN forces withdrew from Somalia, saving an estimated 300,000 lives from famine.

Numerous attempt at cease fire were initiated unsuccessfully. In 2000, clan leaders met in Djibouti and agreed to form a legislative body with a three year mandate, but was unable to control Mogadishu in 2003. In 2004, in Nairobi, Kenya a president was elected and legislative body formed, but it proved difficult gaining control of Somalia.

Works Cited

CIA Factbook, Somalia

Somalia. Microsoft® Encarta® 2006 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2005