Somalia in a nutshell

The early years and independence 1936-88

The British, who already control Somaliland, oust the Italians and occupy Italian Somalia. British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia in 1960.

Somalia becomes a socialist state and nationalises most of the economy. In 1974 a severe drought causes widespread starvation. Fighting breaks out between Somalia and Ethiopia. Fighting continues until 1988.

Break up of Somalia 1991-2007

Somaliland declares unilateral independence and a power struggle begins between clan warlords.

In 1992 US Marines land near Mogadishu ahead of UN peacekeeping forces sent to restore order and safeguard relief supplies.

US Army Rangers are killed when Somali militias shoot down two US helicopters in Mogadishu in the battle depicted in the film Black Hawk Down. By 1995 both the US and UN have left.

Fighting breaks out between Islamic and other Somalian groupings. Ethiopian troops enter the country.

Al Shabaab come into existence as a fighting force in 2006 after defeating the clan warlords in a battle for Mogadishu. Extremism and war 2007-12

In 2007 UN-mandated African Union peacekeepers arrive and pitched battles break out between them and Islamist militia Al Shabaab.

A transitional government is formed and steps are taken to set up a regular Somalian army.

In 2011 Al Shabaab is pushed out of Mogadishu after heavy fighting with African Union and Somali government forces.

The first Somali parliament is sworn in at Mogadishu in August 2012.

Irish Independent


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