Somaliland: An introduction

The Republic of Somaliland was known as the Somaliland Protectorate under British rule from 1884 until June, 26th 1960 when Somaliland gained its independence from Britain. Somaliland lies in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

On July 1st 1960 it joined its Italian colonised counterpart Somalia to form the Independent Somali Republic. However, this unification did not allow harmony to prevail due to the different aspirations of the people, and the strain led to a civil war from the 1980s onwards and eventually to the collapse of this union. In May 1991 the people of Somaliland held a congress in which it was decided to withdraw from the Union with Somalia and to reinstate Somaliland’s sovereignty, with the regions of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool.

It is now a self-declared independent country although not recognized by any government; this entity has maintained a stable existence.

Heritage is central to how we see ourselves and how we identify as individuals and communities. Somaliland has a rich cultural heritage that is untold due to the nature of the culture. It is an oral society in which events are rarely documented but told in poetry, music and stories. We hope by making a small step into documenting this history we will be able to share a diverse and beautiful spectrum of knowledge.