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20th Century Somalia Essay

1717 words - 7 pages

20th Century Somalia
Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya to the southwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, and the Indian Ocean to the east. With the longest coastline on the continent, its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains, and highlands. It is made up of the former British Protectorate of Somaliland and Italy’s former Trust Territory of Somalia. Somalia’s modern history began in the late 1800’s, when European powers began to trade and settle in the Somalia area. These events and the events that occurred during the 20th century helped shape the modern Somalia government and culture today.
In 1886, the British gained control over northern Somalia through treaties by guaranteeing British protection to Somali chiefs who agreed to them. The British were concerned with securing their trade interests with its coaling station in Aden. The British established what was known as British Somaliland and a boundary was made with Ethiopia through treaty negotiations in 1897. The British occupied this area with very little resistance in the late 19th century, but that started to change towards the turn of the century.
The European powers that began to settle in Northern Africa, inspired the current leader of the Dervish State, Mohammed Abdullah to rally support from various nations across the Horn of Africa and began one of the longest colonial resistance wars ever. He challenged the British rule through persistent attacks and became known as the “Mad Mullah” by the British. His first major military offensive attack was with 1500 Dervish equipped with 20 modern rifles on British soldiers stationed in the region. This resistance from the Dervish state went on for the first two decades of the 20th century until in 1920 it collapsed after British warplanes bombed Abdullah’s stronghold at Taleex.
The early 1920s heralded a change of strategy for Italy as they began to gradually extend inland, expanding the boundaries of Italian Somaliland. The arrival of Governor Cesare Maria De Vecchi in Italian Somaliland in 1923 marked what began the forcing of the north-eastern sultanates into the boundaries of La Grande Somalia. Italy initially had access to these areas under successive protection treaties, but no direct ruling of them. Governor De Vecchi began the takeover of the north-eastern sultanates and planned to nullify all treaties. To carry out his plan, he gathered Italian troops with support from the old Somali police corps as a colonial force. The fighting went back and forth the end of 1927 when the Italians had to retreat to Ethiopia and were unable to retake their territories they had gained in the Campaign of the Sultanates.
On May 9, 1936, Benito Mussolini, an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party, proclaimed the creation of the Italian Empire, which he called the Africa Orientale Italiana and it was formed by Italian...

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