Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa.
The official name of the country is the Federal Republic of Somalia.
It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest.
Somalia has two official languages: Somali and Arabic.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of Somalia was estimated to be 11,162,368 people.
It is the 43rd largest country in the world in terms of land area with 637,657 square kilometers (246,201 square miles).
Mogadishu is the capital and most populous city of Somalia. Located in the coastal Banaadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for millennia.
The terrain of the country is mainly broken into plateaus, plains and highlands.
The Cal Madow mountain range sits in the northeast, and contains the highest peak of Somalia – Shimbiris at 2,460 meters (8,071 feet).
Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland – 3,300 kilometers (1,879 miles).
Somalia’s reputation as a tourist destination with pristine beaches faded after the start of the civil war in 1991.
Somalia has 6 national parks.
Lag Badana National Park is located on the far southern coast. It was the first national park to be established in the country. During the second half of the 1980s, the Ministry of Tourism under the Siad Barre administration sought to center the tourist industry in the vicinity of the park, with nearby coral reefs and offshore islands likewise envisioned as part of the development.
Laas Geel are cave formations on the rural outskirts of Hargeisa. They contain some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa. Laas Geel’s rock art is estimated to date to somewhere between 9,000 and 3,000 years BC. The Laas Geel cave paintings are thought to be some of the most vivid rock art in Africa.
Located in the heart of Mogadishu, Shanghai Old City is one of the most popular landmarks in the city and is best known for its interesting and unique Chinese architecture. This relatively wealthy area has been controlled by warlords at different periods during the civil war. Shanghai Old City is perhaps the most beautiful part of the city.
The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is a mosque located in Mogadishu. was constructed in 1987 with financial support from the Saudi Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Foundation. It is the main mosque in Somalia’s capital city, and an iconic building in Somali society. The Mosque of Islamic Solidarity is the single largest masjid in the Horn of Africa. It is capable of accommodating up to 10,000 worshippers.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Mogadishu is a monument erected in honour of the Somali men and women who died in defense of the Somali Republic. It’s popularly known as Daljirka Dahsoon, and it is an important landmark in Mogadishu.
Somalia has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic. During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here.
Somalia was an important centre for commerce with the rest of the ancient world, and according to most scholars, it is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt.
During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Sultanate, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, the Sultanate of the Geledi and the Majeerteen Sultanate.
In the late 19th century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italian empires gained control of parts of the coast and established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland.
In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan’s Dervish State successfully repulsed the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region, but the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower.
Italian occupation lasted until 1941, yielding to British military administration. British Somaliland would remain a protectorate, while Italian Somaliland in 1949 became a United Nations Trusteeship under Italian administration, the Trust Territory of Somaliland.
In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government.
The Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic.
Led by Mohamed Siad Barre, this government later collapsed in 1991 as the Somali Civil War broke out.
For nearly two decades, Somalia was without any centralized power but was instead controlled by brutal and power-hungry warlords. Mogadishu became warlord central and thus was known as the most lawless city in the world.
In September of 2012, however, the country finally managed to hold a general election and a new president was instated. The road toward recovery looks set to be slow as warlords refuse to relinquish power and the former British protectorate, now known as Somaliland, has declared itself independent from the rest of the country.
Somalia is classified by the United Nations as a least developed country.
Despite experiencing two decades of civil war, the country has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittances from Somalis working abroad, and telecommunications.
According to the Central Bank of Somalia, about 80% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists, who keep goats, sheep, camels and cattle. Somalia has the largest population of camels in the world.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War, around 2000, when foreign ships exploited the absence of an effective national coast guard by invading the fishing grounds and also dumping illegal waste that would further diminish the local catch. Fishing communities responded by forming armed groups to deter the invaders by hijacking commercial vessels. But this grew into a lucrative trade, with large ransom payments, and financial gain (piracy) was clearly the main motive.