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Somali Travel Notes -- The Somali Democratic Republic has a long coastline; effectively two. In the north is the Gulf of Aden, and in the east and south the Indian Ocean. Find out more about Somalia @ Travel Notes.

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The Somali Democratic Republic has a long coastline; effectively two. In the north is the Gulf of Aden, and in the east and south the Indian Ocean.

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Hargeysa, Kismaayo, Map of Somalia, Mogadishu, Somali Language, Somalia Background.

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Somalia Background

Countries neighbouring Somalia are: Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Map of Somalia

Ancient Egyptians knew the area of present day Somalia as Punt.

The kingdom of Aksum occupied much of the area until Arab tribes settled along the Gulf of Aden coast, in the 7th century, and established the sultanate of Adel; around the port of Zeila.

The Somali people moved into the region from Yemen in the 13th century, and slowly the Somali chiefs ruled over small independent states within the disintegrating sultanate.

In 1839 Great Britain took possession of Aden, now in the Republic of Yemen, to provide safe anchorage for ships trading around the Arabian coast.

Italy developed an interest in the Somali coast during the late 19th century, and made treaties with local Somali sultans, and conventions with Great Britain, Ethiopia, and Zanzibar, to acquire outposts along the Indian Ocean.

Somalia was granted independence on July 1, 1960; merging with the former British protectorate of Somaliland which had become independent on June 26.

Military coups and civil wars followed; severely disrupting Somalia's infrastructure in the 1990s.

Weather in Africa:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Africa.

Somali Language

The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, although English and Italian are also used.


Also called Muqdisho the country's capital, since independence in 1960, is in south-east Somalia; on the Indian Ocean, just north of the equator.

Mogadishu was founded by Arab merchants around the early 10th century, and it grew to become an important trading port.

The city came under the control of the sultan of Zanzibar in 1871.

The National Museum is in Mogadishu's Garesa Palace; built by the sultan of Zanzibar in the late 19th century.

Also visit the 13th-century mosque.


Hargeysa, in northern Somalia, was a summer capital of the former British Somaliland, and the official capital from 1941 to 1960.


Kismaayo, in southern Somalia, was founded in 1872 as a trade centre; by the sultan of Zanzibar.

The Sultan's former palace still stands and there are several mosques in Kismaayo worth visiting.

Somalia Maps and Travel Guides

Al-Shabaab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group (Somali Politics and History) The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World Somalia & Djibouti 1:1,700,000 Travel Map (International Travel Maps)

Somalia Travel Guides - Somalia Maps.

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