Somali people

Somali people

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Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language
Somali language
The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

, which is part of the Cushitic
Cushitic languages
The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family spoken in the Horn of Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. They are named after the Biblical character Cush, who was identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as AD 947...

 branch of the Afro-Asiatic
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

 language family. Ethnic Somalis number around 15-17 million and are principally concentrated in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 (more than 9 million), Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 (4.6 million), Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 (a little under 1 million), Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 (900,000), Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 (350,000), and an unknown but large number live in parts of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

Etymology


Samaale
Irir Samaale
Irir Samaale is the oldest common ancestor of several Somali clans and their respective sub-clans.-Etymology:Samaale is generally regarded as the source of the ethnonym Somali...

, the oldest common ancestor of several Somali clan
Somali clan
The demographics of Somalia describes the condition and overview of Somalia's inhabitants. Demographic topics include basic education, health and population statistics, as well as identified racial and religious affiliations.-Somalis:...

s, is generally regarded as the source of the ethnonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

 Somali. The name "Somali" is, in turn, held to be derived from the words soo and maal, which together mean "go and milk" — a reference to the ubiquitous pastoralism
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

 of the Somali people. Another plausible etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 proposes that the term Somali is derived from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 for "wealthy" (dhawamaal), again referring to Somali riches in livestock.

An Ancient Chinese document from the 9th century referred to the northern Somali coast — which was then called "Berbera
Barbara (region)
Barbara, also referred to as Bilad al-Barbar, was an ancient region on the northern coast of the Horn of Africa. The area was inhabited by the Eastern Baribah or Barbaroi , as the ancestors of the Somalis were referred to by medieval Arab and ancient Greek geographers, respectively.Along with the...

" by Arab geographers in reference to the region's Berber
Berber
Berber may refer to:*a member of the Berber people**the Berber languages, a family of Afro-Asiatic languages**Berberism, a political-cultural term supporting a distinct Berber identity**Berber calendar**Berber cuisine...

 (Cushitic) inhabitants — as Po-pa-li. The first clear written reference of the sobriquet Somali, however, dates back to the 15th century. During the wars between the Ifat Sultanate based at Zeila
Zeila
Zeila, also known as Zaila , is a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast, situated in the northwestern Awdal region of Somalia.Located near the Djibouti border, the town sits on a sandy spit surrounded by the sea. It is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves. Landward, the terrain is...

 and the Solomonic Dynasty
Solomonic dynasty
The Solomonic dynasty is the Imperial House of Abyssinia. Its members claim lineal descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the latter of whom tradition asserts gave birth to the first King Menelik I after her Biblically described visit to Solomon in Jerusalem .-Overview:The dynasty, a...

, the Abyssinian Emperor
Emperor of Ethiopia
The Emperor of Ethiopia was the hereditary ruler of Ethiopia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1974. The Emperor was the head of state and head of government, with ultimate executive, judicial and legislative power in that country...

 had one of his court officials compose a hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

 celebrating a military victory over the Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of Ifat's eponymous troops.

History





Ancient rock paintings
Cave painting
Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest European cave paintings date to the Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known...

 in Somalia said to date back 5000 years or more have been found in the northern part of the country, depicting early life in the territory. The most famous of these is the Laas Gaal complex, which contains some of the earliest known rock art on the African continent
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and features many elaborate pastoralist sketches of animal and human figures. In other places such as the northern Dhambalin region, a depiction of a man on a horse is postulated as being one of the earliest known examples of a mounted huntsman.

Inscriptions have been found beneath many of the rock paintings, but archaeologists have so far been unable to decipher this form of ancient writing. During the Stone age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

, the Doian culture and the Hargeisan culture flourished here with their respective industries and factories.

The oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

 comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to 4th millennium BC
4th millennium BC
The 4th millennium BC saw major changes in human culture. It marked the beginning of the Bronze Age and of writing.The city states of Sumer and the kingdom of Egypt were established and grew to prominence. Agriculture spread widely across Eurasia...

. The stone implements
Stone tool
A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric, particularly Stone Age cultures that have become extinct...

 from the Jalelo site
Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved , and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record.Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a 'site' can vary widely,...

 in northern Somalia are said to be the most important link in evidence of the universality
Universality
Universality may refer to:* Universality in physical science * Universality * Universality , meaning present in all places and all times* Universality...

 in palaeolithic times between the East
East
East is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.East is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of west and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the right side of a map is east....

 and the West
West
West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

.

In antiquity
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

, the ancestors of the Somali people were an important link in the Horn of Africa connecting the region's commerce with the rest of the ancient world. Somali sailors and merchants were the main suppliers of frankincense
Frankincense
Frankincense, also called olibanum , is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra, B. carteri, B. thurifera, B. frereana, and B. bhaw-dajiana...

, myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

 and spice
Spice
A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for flavor, color, or as a preservative that kills harmful bacteria or prevents their growth. It may be used to flavour a dish or to hide other flavours...

s, items which were considered valuable luxuries by the Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ians, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns, Mycenaeans
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 and Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

ians.

According to most scholars, the ancient Land of Punt
Land of Punt
The Land of Punt, also called Pwenet, or Pwene by the ancient Egyptians, was a trading partner known for producing and exporting gold, aromatic resins, African blackwood, ebony, ivory, slaves and wild animals...

 and its inhabitants formed part of the ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis
Ethnogenesis is the process by which a group of human beings comes to be understood or to understand themselves as ethnically distinct from the wider social landscape from which their grouping emerges...

 of the Somali people. The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 during the times of Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 Sahure
Sahure
- Etymology :Sahure's birth name means "He who is Close to Re". His Horus name was Nebkhau.- Biography :Sahure was a son of queen Neferhetepes, as shown in scenes from the causeway of Sahure's pyramid complex in Abusir. His father was Userkaf. Sahure's consort was queen Neferetnebty. Reliefs show...

 and Queen
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

. The pyramidal structures
Architecture of Somalia
Somalian architecture is the engineering and designing of multiple different construction types such as stone cities, castles, citadels, fortresses, mosques, temples, aqueducts, lighthouses, towers and tombs during the ancient, medieval and early modern periods in Somalia, as well as the fusion of...

, temples and ancient houses of dressed stone
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

 littered around Somalia are said to date from this period.

In the classical era
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

, several ancient city-states, such as Opone, Essina, Sarapion, Malao
Berbera
Berbera is a city and seat of Berbera District in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed Independent Republic with de facto control over its own territory, which is recognized by the international community and the Somali Government as a part of Somalia...

 and Mosylon near Cape Guardafui
Cape Guardafui
Cape Guardafui , also known as Ras Asir and historically as Aromata promontorium, is a headland in the northeastern Bari province of Somalia. Located in the autonomous Puntland region, it forms the geographical apex of the region commonly referred to as the Horn of Africa.-Location:Cape Guardafui...

, that competed with the Sabaeans
Sabaeans
The Sabaeans or Sabeans were an ancient people speaking an Old South Arabian language who lived in what is today Yemen, in the south west of the Arabian Peninsula.Some scholars suggest a link between the Sabaeans and the Biblical land of Sheba....

, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

ns and Axumites
Aksumite Empire
The Kingdom of Aksum or Axum, also known as the Aksumite Empire, was an important trading nation in northeastern Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period ca. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD...

 for the wealthy Indo
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

-Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman world
The Greco-Roman world, Greco-Roman culture, or the term Greco-Roman , when used as an adjective, as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to those geographical regions and countries that culturally were directly, protractedly and intimately influenced by the language, culture,...

 trade also flourished in Somalia.

The birth of Islam on the opposite side of Somalia's Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 coast meant that Somali merchants, sailors and expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s living in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 gradually came under the influence of the new religion through their converted Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 trading partners. With the migration of fleeing Muslim families from the Islamic world to Somalia in the early centuries of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and the peaceful conversion of the Somali population by Somali Muslim scholars
Islam in Somalia
Nearly all Somalis are Sunni Muslims. Practicing Islam reinforces distinctions that further set Somalis apart from their immediate African neighbors, many of whom are either Christians or adherents of indigenous faiths....

 in the following centuries, the ancient city-states eventually transformed into Islamic Mogadishu
Mogadishu
Mogadishu , popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries....

, Berbera
Berbera
Berbera is a city and seat of Berbera District in Somaliland, a self-proclaimed Independent Republic with de facto control over its own territory, which is recognized by the international community and the Somali Government as a part of Somalia...

, Zeila
Zeila
Zeila, also known as Zaila , is a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast, situated in the northwestern Awdal region of Somalia.Located near the Djibouti border, the town sits on a sandy spit surrounded by the sea. It is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves. Landward, the terrain is...

, Barawa
Barawa
Barawa or Brava is a port town on the south-eastern coast of Somalia. The traditional inhabitants are the Tunni Somalis and the Bravanese people, who speak Bravanese, a Swahili dialect.-History:...

 and Merca
Merca
Merca is a port city on the coast of southern Somalia, facing the Indian Ocean. It is the main town in the Shabeellaha Hoose region, and is located approximately southwest of the nation's capital, Mogadishu.-History:...

, which were part of the Berberi civilization. The city of Mogadishu came to be known as the City of Islam, and controlled the East African gold trade for several centuries.

The Ifat Sultanate, led by the Walashma dynasty
Walashma dynasty
The Walashma dynasty was a Muslim noble family based in the Horn of Africa. It ruled the Ifat Sultanate, in parts of what are now eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti and western Somalia.-History:...

 with its capital in Zeila
Zeila
Zeila, also known as Zaila , is a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast, situated in the northwestern Awdal region of Somalia.Located near the Djibouti border, the town sits on a sandy spit surrounded by the sea. It is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves. Landward, the terrain is...

, ruled over parts of what is now eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti, and northern Somalia. The historian al-Umari
Al-Umari
Chihab Addine Abul-Abbas Ahmad ben Fadhl al-Umari , or simply al-Umari, 1300 – 1384) was an Arab historian, born in Damascus. al-Umari visited Cairo shortly after the Malian Mansa Kankan Musa I's pilgrimage to Mecca, and his writings are one of the primary sources for this legendary hajj...

 records that Ifat was situated near the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 coast, and states its size as 15 days travel by 20 days travel. Its army numbered 15,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers. Al-Umar also credits Ifat with seven "mother cities": Belqulzar, Kuljura, Shimi, Shewa
Shewa
Shewa is a historical region of Ethiopia, formerly an autonomous kingdom within the Ethiopian Empire...

, Adal
Adal
- Places :*Ådal, valley and former municipality in Buskerud county, Norway*Illerup Ådal, archeological site in Denmark*Adal Sultanate, former sultanate and geographic region in Northeast Africa**Adal , breed of sheep from Ethiopia**F. C...

, Jamme, and Laboo.

In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade including the Ajuuraan State, which excelled in hydraulic engineering
Hydraulic engineering
This article is about civil engineering. For the mechanical engineering discipline see Hydraulic machineryHydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive...

 and fortress building, the Sultanate of Adal, whose general Ahmed Gurey was the first commander
Commander
Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

 to use cannon warfare on the continent during Adal's conquest of the Ethiopian Empire
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

, and the Gobroon Dynasty
Gobroon Dynasty
The Gobroon dynasty or Geledi sultanate was a Somali royal house that ruled parts of East Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established by the Ajuuraan soldier Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various vassals of the Ajuuraan Empire and established the House of Gobroon...

, whose military dominance forced governors of the Omani empire
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

 north of the city of Lamu
Lamu
-Threats to Lamu:In a 2010 report titled Saving Our Vanishing Heritage, Global Heritage Fund identified Lamu as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management and development pressure as primary causes.- See also :* Juma and the Magic...

 to pay tribute to the Somali Sultan Ahmed Yusuf
Ahmed Yusuf (Gobroon)
Ahmed Yusuf was a Somali ruler, and the fourth Sultan of the Gobroon Dynasty from 1848 to 1878.-Biography:Yusuf was born in the town of Afgooye, where he stayed until the age of seven...

.

In the late 19th century, after the Berlin conference
Berlin Conference
The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany's sudden emergence as an imperial power...

 had ended, European empires sailed with their armies to the Horn of Africa. The imperial clouds wavering over Somalia alarmed the Dervish
Dervish State
The Dervish state was an early 20th century Somali Sunni Muslim state that was established by Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, a religious leader who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and united them into a loyal army known as the Dervishes...

 leader Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and began one of the longest colonial resistance
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

 wars ever. The Dervish State
Dervish State
The Dervish state was an early 20th century Somali Sunni Muslim state that was established by Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, a religious leader who gathered Somali soldiers from across the Horn of Africa and united them into a loyal army known as the Dervishes...

 successfully repulsed the British empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region. As a result of its successes against the British, the Dervish State received support from the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and German empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

s. The Turks
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 also named Hassan Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 of the Somali nation, and the Germans promised to officially recognize any territories the Dervishes were to acquire. After a quarter of a century of holding the British at bay, the Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920, when Britain for the first time in Africa used airplanes
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 to bomb the Dervish capital of Taleex
Taleex
Taleh is an historical town in the northeastern Sool region of Somalia. It served as the headquarters of the pre-independence Dervish State.-History:...

. As a result of this bombardment, former Dervish territories were turned into a protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 of Britain. Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 similarly faced the same opposition from Somali Sultans and armies and did not acquire full control of parts of modern Somalia until the Fascist era in late 1927. This occupation lasted till 1941 and was replaced by a British military administration
Military administration
Military administration identifies both the techniques and systems used by military departments, agencies, and Armed Services involved in the management of the armed forces...

.

Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Britain retained control of both British Somaliland
British Somaliland
British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa...

 and Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
Italian Somaliland , also known as Italian Somalia, was a colony of the Kingdom of Italy from the 1880s until 1936 in the region of modern-day Somalia. Ruled in the 19th century by the Somali Sultanate of Hobyo and the Majeerteen Sultanate, the territory was later acquired by Italy through various...

 as protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

s. In November 1949, during the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, the United Nations granted Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland, but only under close supervision and on the condition — first proposed by the Somali Youth League
Somali Youth League
The Somali Youth League was the first political party in Somalia. It played a key role in the nation's road to independence during the 1950s and 1960s.-History:...

 (SYL) and other nascent Somalian political organizations, such as Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali (HDMS) and the Somali National League (SNL) — that Somalia achieve independence within ten years. British Somaliland remained a protectorate of Britain until 1960.

To the extent that Italy held the territory by UN mandate, the trusteeship provisions gave the Somalis the opportunity to gain experience in political education and self-government. These were advantages that British Somaliland, which was to be incorporated into the new Somali state, did not have. Although in the 1950s British colonial officials attempted, through various administrative development efforts, to make up for past neglect, the protectorate stagnated. The disparity between the two territories in economic development and political experience would cause serious difficulties when it came time to integrate the two parts.
Meanwhile, in 1948, under pressure from their World War II allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 and to the dismay of the Somalis, the British "returned" the Haud
Haud
Haud is a region of thorn-bush and grasslands in the Horn of Africa, which includes the northeastern part of the Ogaden territory of Ethiopia, as well the adjacent parts of Somalia. The Haud is of indeterminate extent; some authorities consider it denotes the part of Ethiopia east of the city of...

 (an important Somali grazing area that was presumably 'protected' by British treaties with the Somalis in 1884 and 1886) and the Ogaden
Ogaden
Ogaden is the name of a territory comprising the southeastern portion of the Somali Regional State in Ethiopia. The inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Somali and Muslim. The title "Somali Galbeed", which means "Western Somalia," is often preferred by Somali irredentists.The region, which is...

 to Ethiopia, based on a treaty they signed in 1897 in which the British ceded Somali territory to the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik
Menelek II of Ethiopia
Emperor Menelik II GCB, GCMG, baptized as Sahle Maryam , was Negus of Shewa , then of Ethiopia from 1889 to his death. At the height of his internal power and external prestige, the process of territorial expansion and creation of the modern empire-state had been completed by 1898...

 in exchange for his help against plundering by Somali clans.

Britain included the proviso that the Somali nomads would retain their autonomy, but Ethiopia immediately claimed sovereignty over them. This prompted an unsuccessful bid by Britain in 1956 to buy back the Somali lands it had turned over. Britain also granted administration of the almost exclusively Somali-inhabited Northern Frontier District (NFD) to Kenyan nationalists despite an informal plebiscite demonstrating the overwhelming desire of the region's population to join the newly formed Somali Republic.
A referendum
French Somaliland overseas territory referendum, 1958
An independence referendum was held in French Somaliland in September 1958, on the eve of neighboring Somalia's independence in 1960, to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France.-History:...

 was held in neighboring Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

 (then known as French Somaliland
French Somaliland
French Somaliland was a French colony in the Horn of Africa. Established after the French signed various treaties between 1883 and 1887 with the then ruling Somali Sultans, the colony lasted from 1896 until 1946, when it became an overseas territory of France....

) in 1958, on the eve of Somalia's independence in 1960, to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, largely due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar
Afar people
The Afar , also known as the Danakil, are an ethnic group in the Horn of Africa. They primarily live in the Afar Region of Ethiopia and in northern Djibouti, although some also inhabit the southern point of Eritrea.-Early history:...

 ethnic group and resident Europeans. There was also widespread vote rigging, with the French expelling thousands of Somalis before the referendum reached the polls. The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by Mahmoud Harbi
Mahmoud Harbi
Mahmoud Harbi Farah was a Somali politician. A Pan-Somalist, he was Djibouti's Prime Minister and the Vice President of its Territorial Assembly from 1957 to December 1958, during the country's pre-independence period.-Early years:...

, Vice President of the Government Council. Harbi was killed in a plane crash two years later. Djibouti finally gained its independence from France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1977, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon
Hassan Gouled Aptidon
Hassan Gouled Aptidon was the first President of Djibouti from 1977 to 1999.-Biography:...

, a Somali who had campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum of 1958, eventually wound up as Djibouti's first president (1977–1991).

British Somaliland became independent on June 26, 1960 as the State of Somaliland
State of Somaliland
The State of Somaliland was a short-lived independent state in the territory of modern-day Somalia.-History:In May 1960, the British Government stated that it would be prepared to grant independence to the then protectorate of British Somaliland, with the intention that the territory would unite...

, and the Trust Territory of Somalia
Trust Territory of Somalia
The Trust Territory of Somalia was a United Nations Trust Territory that was administered by Italy from 1949 to 1960, following the dissolution of the former Italian Somaliland inside the territory of modern-day Somalia.-History:In 1941, Italian Somaliland was occupied by British and South African...

 (the former Italian Somaliland) followed suit five days later. On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic, albeit within boundaries drawn up by Italy and Britain. A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa
Abdullahi Issa
Abdullahi Issa Mohamud was the first Prime Minister of Somalia from February 29, 1956 to July 1, 1960.-Biography:Issa was born in Somalia in 1922 to a Habar Gidir Hawiye family. When the Second World War broke out, he was still a student...

 and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
Aden Abdulle Osman Daar , popularly known as Aadan Cadde, was a Somali politician and the country's first President from July 1, 1960 to June 10, 1967.-Biography:...

 as President and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was Prime Minister of Somalia from July 12, 1960 to June 14, 1964, and President of Somalia from June 10, 1967 until his assassination on October 15, 1969...

 as Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Somalia
This page contains a list of the Prime Ministers of Somalia.-Prime Ministers of Somalia :-Affiliations:*SYL - Somali Youth League*SNL - Somali National League...

 (later to become President from 1967–1969). On July 20, 1961 and through a popular referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, which was first drafted in 1960. In 1967, Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal became Prime Minister, a position to which he was appointed by Shermarke. Egal would later become the President of the autonomous Somaliland
Somaliland
Somaliland is an unrecognised self-declared sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia. The government of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to the British Somaliland protectorate, which was independent for a few days in 1960 as the State of...

 region in northwestern Somalia.

On October 15, 1969, while paying a visit to the northern town of Las Anod, Somalia's then President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards. His assassination was quickly followed by a military coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 on October 21, 1969 (the day after his funeral), in which the Somali Army
Military of Somalia
The Military of Somalia was, up until 1991, made up of the army, navy, air force, and air defense command. The outbreak of the Somali Civil War during that year led to the de facto dissolution of the national armed forces. However, efforts to re-establish a regular armed force by a re-constituted...

 seized power without encountering armed opposition — essentially a bloodless takeover. The putsch was spearheaded by Major General Mohamed Siad Barre
Siad Barre
Mohamed Siad Barre was the military dictator and President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991. During his rule, he styled himself as Jaalle Siyaad ....

, who at the time commanded the army.

Alongside Barre, the Supreme Revolutionary Council
Supreme Revolutionary Council (Somalia)
The Supreme Revolutionary Council was the governmental body that ruled Somalia for most of the period from 1969-1991.-History:On October 15, 1969, while paying a visit to the northern town of Las Anod, Somalia's then President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards...

 (SRC) that assumed power after President Sharmarke's assassination was led by Major General Salaad Gabeyre Kediye
Salaad Gabeyre Kediye
Salaad Gabeyre Kediye , was a Major General in the Somali military and a revolutionary.-Biography:Major General Salaad Gabeyre Kediye was born in September, 15 1934, in the town of Harardhere, situated in the Central Mudug region of Somalia, to an Abgaal family Hawiye clan...

 and Chief of Police Jama Korshel
Jama Korshel
Jama Korshel was a Somali army Major General, former Head of the Somali Police Force, and one of the leaders of Somalia's 1969 coup d'état.-Biography:Korshel was born in the town of Ceerigaabo situated in the northern Sanaag region of Somalia....

. The SRC subsequently renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic
Somali Democratic Republic
The Somali Democratic Republic was the name that the communist regime of former President of Somalia Major General Mohamed Siad Barre gave to Somalia after seizing power during a bloodless coup d'état in 1969...

, dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution.

The revolutionary army established large-scale public works programs and successfully implemented an urban and rural literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 campaign, which helped dramatically increase the literacy rate. In addition to a nationalization program of industry and land, the new regime's foreign policy placed an emphasis on Somalia's traditional and religious links with the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, eventually joining the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 (AL) in 1974. That same year, Barre also served as chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 (AU).

Pan-Somalism


Somali people in the Horn of Africa are divided among different countries (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and northeastern Kenya) that were artificially and some might say arbitrarily partitioned by the former imperial powers. Pan-Somalism is an ideology that advocates the unification of all ethnic Somalis once part of Somali empires such as the Ajuuraan Empire, the Adal Sultanate
Adal Sultanate
The Adal Sultanate or the Kingdom of Adal was a medieval multi-ethnic Muslim state located in the Horn of Africa.-Overview:...

, the Gobroon Dynasty
Gobroon Dynasty
The Gobroon dynasty or Geledi sultanate was a Somali royal house that ruled parts of East Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was established by the Ajuuraan soldier Ibrahim Adeer, who had defeated various vassals of the Ajuuraan Empire and established the House of Gobroon...

 and the Dervish State under one flag and one nation. The Siad Barre regime actively promoted Pan-Somalism, which eventually led to the Ogaden War
Ogaden War
The Ogaden War was a conventional conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977 and 1978 over the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. In a notable illustration of the nature of Cold War alliances, the Soviet Union switched from supplying aid to Somalia to supporting Ethiopia, which had previously been...

 between Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 on one side, and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on the other.

Notable Pan-Somalists

  • Muhammad Abdullah Hassan (April 7, 1856 - December 21, 1920) – Somali nationalist and religious leader that established the Dervish State during the Scramble for Africa
    Scramble for Africa
    The Scramble for Africa, also known as the Race for Africa or Partition of Africa was a process of invasion, occupation, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the New Imperialism period, between 1881 and World War I in 1914...

    .
  • Hasna Doreh
    Hasna Doreh
    Hasna Doreh was an early 20th century Somali female commander of the Dervish State, a state which frequently engaged in battles against the imperial powers during the Scramble for Africa.-Biography:...

     – Early 20th century Somali female commander
    Commander
    Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.-Commander as a naval...

     of the Dervish State that frequently joined battles against the imperial powers during the Scramble for Africa.
  • Hawo Tako
    Hawo Tako
    Hawo Osman Tako was a prominent early 20th century Somali nationalist.-Biography:Tako participated in the 1948 riots in Mogadishu that followed the visit of the Four-Power Commission, where she was killed....

     (d.1948) – Early 20th century Somali female nationalist whose sacrifice became a symbol for Pan-Somalism.
  • Abdullahi Issa
    Abdullahi Issa
    Abdullahi Issa Mohamud was the first Prime Minister of Somalia from February 29, 1956 to July 1, 1960.-Biography:Issa was born in Somalia in 1922 to a Habar Gidir Hawiye family. When the Second World War broke out, he was still a student...

     (b.1922-1988) – First Prime Minister of Somalia
    Prime Minister of Somalia
    This page contains a list of the Prime Ministers of Somalia.-Prime Ministers of Somalia :-Affiliations:*SYL - Somali Youth League*SNL - Somali National League...

    .
  • Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
    Aden Abdullah Osman Daar
    Aden Abdulle Osman Daar , popularly known as Aadan Cadde, was a Somali politician and the country's first President from July 1, 1960 to June 10, 1967.-Biography:...

     (January 7, 1960 - June 10, 1967) – First President of Somalia.
  • Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
    Abdirashid Ali Shermarke
    Abdirashid Ali Shermarke was Prime Minister of Somalia from July 12, 1960 to June 14, 1964, and President of Somalia from June 10, 1967 until his assassination on October 15, 1969...

     (June 10, 1967 - October 15, 1969) – Second President of Somalia.
  • Siad Barre
    Siad Barre
    Mohamed Siad Barre was the military dictator and President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991. During his rule, he styled himself as Jaalle Siyaad ....

     (b. 1919 - January 2, 1995) – Third President of Somalia.
  • Daud Abdulle Hirsi
    Daud Abdulle Hirsi
    General Daud Abdulle Hirsi was a Somali national and military hero.-Biography:Hirsi was born in 1925 in the town of Mareeg situated in central Somalia....

     (1925–1965) – Prominent Somali General considered the Father of the Somali Military
    Military of Somalia
    The Military of Somalia was, up until 1991, made up of the army, navy, air force, and air defense command. The outbreak of the Somali Civil War during that year led to the de facto dissolution of the national armed forces. However, efforts to re-establish a regular armed force by a re-constituted...

    .
  • Mahmoud Harbi
    Mahmoud Harbi
    Mahmoud Harbi Farah was a Somali politician. A Pan-Somalist, he was Djibouti's Prime Minister and the Vice President of its Territorial Assembly from 1957 to December 1958, during the country's pre-independence period.-Early years:...

     – active Pan-Somalist that came close to uniting Djibouti with Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     in the 1970s.
  • Salaad Gabeyre Kediye
    Salaad Gabeyre Kediye
    Salaad Gabeyre Kediye , was a Major General in the Somali military and a revolutionary.-Biography:Major General Salaad Gabeyre Kediye was born in September, 15 1934, in the town of Harardhere, situated in the Central Mudug region of Somalia, to an Abgaal family Hawiye clan...

     – Major General
    Major General
    Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

     in the Somali military
    Military of Somalia
    The Military of Somalia was, up until 1991, made up of the army, navy, air force, and air defense command. The outbreak of the Somali Civil War during that year led to the de facto dissolution of the national armed forces. However, efforts to re-establish a regular armed force by a re-constituted...

     and a revolutionary.
  • Haji Dirie Hirsi
    Haji Dirie Hirsi
    Haji Dirie Hirsi , , was a Somali trader and businessman who contributed to the founding of the Somali Youth League in 1942-1945.-Biography:Haji Dirie established the first Somali school in 1938...

     (b. 1905 - 1975) – Somali businessman actively supporting Pan-Somalist aspirations in the 1950s.
  • Abdirizak Haji Hussein
    Abdirizak Haji Hussein
    Abdirizak Haji Hussein was Prime Minister of Somalia from 14 June 1964 to 15 July 1967.-Biography:Hussein was born in 1924 to a Majerteen Darod family in Galkacyo, the capital of the north-central Mudug region of Somalia...

     – Former Prime Minister of Somalia (1964–1967) and Somali Youth League
    Somali Youth League
    The Somali Youth League was the first political party in Somalia. It played a key role in the nation's road to independence during the 1950s and 1960s.-History:...

     leader.
  • Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf
    Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf
    Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf , also spelled Hagi Bashir Ismail Yousuf, was a Somali politician.-History:Yusuf was born in 1912 in the town of Hobyo, situated in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia....

     – First President of the Somali National Assembly.

Genetics


Genetic genealogy
Genetic genealogy
Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level of genetic relationship between individuals.-History:...

, although a new tool that uses the genes of modern populations to trace their ethnic and geographic origins, has also helped pinpoint the possible background of the modern Somalis.

Y DNA



According to Y chromosome
Y chromosome
The Y chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in most mammals, including humans. In mammals, it contains the gene SRY, which triggers testis development if present. The human Y chromosome is composed of about 60 million base pairs...

 studies by Sanchez et al. (2005) and Cruciani et al. (2004), the Somalis are paternally closely related to certain Ethiopian groups, particularly Cushitic
Cushitic languages
The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family spoken in the Horn of Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. They are named after the Biblical character Cush, who was identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as AD 947...

 speakers:

"The data suggest that the male Somali population is a branch of the East African population − closely related to the Oromos
Oromo people
The Oromo are an ethnic group found in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, .and parts of Somalia. With 30 million members, they constitute the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and approximately 34.49% of the population according to the 2007 census...

 in Ethiopia and North Kenya − with predominant E3b1 [E1b1b1] cluster lineages that were introduced into the Somali population 4000−5000 years ago, and that the Somali male population has approximately 15% Y chromosome
Y chromosome
The Y chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in most mammals, including humans. In mammals, it contains the gene SRY, which triggers testis development if present. The human Y chromosome is composed of about 60 million base pairs...

s from Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 and approximately 5% from sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

."


Besides comprising the majority of the Y DNA in Somalis, the E1b1b1a
Haplogroup E1b1b1a (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, E1b1b1a , is the name of a major Y chromosome haplogroup found in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia and Europe. It is dominated by its longer-known sub-clade E1b1b1a1 , formerly known as E3b1a and E1b1b1a...

 (formerly E3b1a) genetic haplogroup
Haplogroup
In the study of molecular evolution, a haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor having the same single nucleotide polymorphism mutation in both haplotypes. Because a haplogroup consists of similar haplotypes, this is what makes it possible to predict a haplogroup...

 also makes up a significant proportion of the paternal DNA of Ethiopians, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

ese, Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

, Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

s, North African Arabs, as well as many Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 and Balkan
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 Europeans. The M78 subclade of E1b1b is found in about 77% of Somali males, which, according to Cruciani et al. (2007), may represent the traces of an ancient migration into the Horn of Africa from Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

/Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. After haplogroup E1b1b, the second most frequently occurring Y DNA haplogroup among Somalis is the Eurasian haplogroup T
Haplogroup T (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup T is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. From 2002 to 2008, it was known as Haplogroup K2. It should not be confused with the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup T, of the same name....

 (M70), which is found in slightly more than 10% of Somali males. Haplogroup T, like haplogroup E1b1b, is also typically found among populations of Northeast Africa, North Africa, the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 and the Mediterranean.

mtDNA


According to mtDNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 studies by Holden (2005) and Richards et al. (2006), a significant proportion of the maternal lineages of Somalis consists of the M1 haplogroup
Haplogroup M (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup M is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. An enormous haplogroup spanning all the continents, the macro-haplogroup M, like its sibling N, is a descendant of haplogroup L3....

, which is common among Ethiopians
People of Ethiopia
Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members....

 and North Africans, particularly Egyptians
Egyptians
Egyptians are nation an ethnic group made up of Mediterranean North Africans, the indigenous people of Egypt.Egyptian identity is closely tied to geography. The population of Egypt is concentrated in the lower Nile Valley, the small strip of cultivable land stretching from the First Cataract to...

 and Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

ns. M1 is believed to have originated in Asia, where its parent M clade represents the majority of mtDNA lineages (particularly in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

). This haplogroup is also thought to possibly correlate with the Afro-Asiatic language family:

"We analysed mtDNA variation in ~250 persons from Libya, Somalia, and Congo/Zambia, as representatives of the three regions of interest. Our initial results indicate a sharp cline in M1 frequencies that generally does not extend into sub-Saharan Africa. While our North and especially East African samples contained frequencies of M1 over 20%, our sub-Saharan samples consisted almost entirely of the L1 or L2 haplogroups only. In addition, there existed a significant amount of homogeneity within the M1 haplogroup. This sharp cline indicates a history of little admixture between these regions. This could imply a more recent ancestry for M1 in Africa, as older lineages are more diverse and widespread by nature, and may be an indication of a back-migration into Africa from the Middle East."

Musilová et al. (2011) detected a moderate frequency of haplogroups R0a
Haplogroup R0 (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup R0 is a mitochondrial DNA haplogroup.-Origin:Haplogroup R0 derives from the macro-haplogroup R...

 and HV1b
Haplogroup HV (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup HV is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup.-Origin:Haplogroup HV derives from the Haplogroup R0...

 in the studied Somali samples. These lineages are believed to have originated in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 and Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

, respectively.

Another mtDNA study indicates that:

"Somali, as a representative East African population, seem to have experienced a detectable amount of Caucasoid maternal influence... the proportion m of Caucasoid lineages in the Somali is m = 0.46 [46%]... Our results agree with the hypothesis of a maternal influence of Caucasoid lineages in East Africa, although its contribution seems to be higher than previously reported in mtDNA studies."


Overall, these genetic studies conclude that Somalis and their fellow Ethiopian and Eritrean Northeast African populations represent a unique and distinct biological group on the continent:

"The most distinct separation is between African and non-African populations. The northeastern-African -- that is, the Ethiopian and Somali -- populations are located centrally between sub-Saharan African and non-African populations... The fact that the Ethiopians and Somalis have a subset of the sub-Saharan African haplotype diversity -- and that the non-African populations have a subset of the diversity present in Ethiopians and Somalis -- makes simple-admixture models less likely; rather, these observations support the hypothesis proposed by other nuclear-genetic studies (Tishkoff et al. 1996a, 1998a, 1998b; Kidd et al. 1998) -- that populations in northeastern Africa may have diverged from those in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa early in the history of modern African populations and that a subset of this northeastern-African population migrated out of Africa and populated the rest of the globe. These conclusions are supported by recent mtDNA analysis (Quintana-Murci et al. 1999)."

HLA antigens



The analysis of HLA antigens
Human leukocyte antigen
The human leukocyte antigen system is the name of the major histocompatibility complex in humans. The super locus contains a large number of genes related to immune system function in humans. This group of genes resides on chromosome 6, and encodes cell-surface antigen-presenting proteins and...

 has also helped clarify the possible background of the Somali people, as the distribution of haplotype frequencies vary among population groups. According to Mohamoud et al. (2006):

"HLA antigens of the Somali population are not categorised as well as those of other international ethnic groups. We analysed the HLA antigens of 76 unrelated Somalis who lived in the west of England. HLA -A, -B, -C and DRB1 typing was performed by polymerase chain reaction using sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (PCR-SSOP) at a low-intermediate resolution level. Phenotype frequency, gene frequency and haplotype frequency were used to study the relationship between Somalis and other relevant populations. The antigens with highest frequencies were HLA -A1, A2, and A30; B7, B51 and B39; Cw7, Cw16, Cw17, Cw15 and Cw18; DR 13, DR17, DR8 and DR1. HLA haplotypes with high significance and characteristics of the Somali population are B7-Cw7, B39-Cw12, B51-Cw16, B57-Cw18. The result of HLA class I and class II antigen frequencies show that the Somali population appear more similar to Arab or Caucasoid than to African populations. The results are consistent with hypothesis, supported by cultural and historical evidence, of common origin of the Somali population."

Islam


With very few exceptions, Somalis are entirely Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, the majority belonging to the Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 branch of Islam and the Shafi`i school of Islamic jurisprudence, although a few are also adherents of the Shia Muslim denomination.
Qu'ranic schools
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

 (also known as duqsi) remain the basic system of traditional religious instruction in Somalia. They provide Islamic education for children, thereby filling a clear religious and social role in the country. Known as the most stable local, non-formal system of education providing basic religious and moral instruction, their strength rests on community support and their use of locally-made and widely available teaching materials. The Qu'ranic system, which teaches the greatest number of students relative to other educational sub-sectors, is oftentimes the only system accessible to Somalis in nomadic as compared to urban areas. A study from 1993 found, among other things, that "unlike in primary schools where gender disparity is enormous, around 40 per cent of Qur'anic school pupils are girls; but the teaching staff have minimum or no qualification necessary to ensure intellectual development of children." To address these concerns, the Somali government on its own part subsequently established the Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs, under which Qur'anic education is now regulated.

In the Somali diaspora, multiple Islamic fundraising events are held every year in cities like Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

 and Minneapolis, where Somali scholars
Academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

 and professional
Professional
A professional is a person who is paid to undertake a specialised set of tasks and to complete them for a fee. The traditional professions were doctors, lawyers, clergymen, and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to estate agents, surveyors , environmental scientists,...

s give lectures and answer questions from the audience. The purpose of these events is usually to raise money for new schools or universities in Somalia, to help Somalis that have suffered as a consequence of floods and/or droughts, or to gather funds for the creation of new mosques like the Abuubakar-As-Saddique Mosque, which is currently undergoing construction in the Twin cities
Twin cities
Twin cities are a special case of two cities or urban centres which are founded in close geographic proximity and then grow into each other over time...

.

In addition, the Somali community has produced numerous important Muslim figures over the centuries, many of whom have significantly shaped the course of Islamic learning and practice in the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

, the Arabian Peninsula and well beyond.

Important Islamic figures


  • Sheikh Uways Al-Barawi (1847–1909) – Somali scholar credited with reviving Islam in 19th century East Africa and with followers in Yemen
    Yemen
    The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

     and Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    .
  • Sa'id of Mogadishu
    Sa'id of Mogadishu
    Sa'id of Mogadishu was a 14th century Somali scholar and traveler.-Biography:Sa'id left Mogadishu as a teenager to study in Mecca and Medina, where he remained for 28 years gathering knowledge and gaining many disciples...

     – 14th century Somali scholar and traveler. His reputation as a scholar earned him audiences with the Emir
    Emir
    Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

    s of Mecca
    Mecca
    Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

     and Medina
    Medina
    Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

    . He travelled across the Muslim world
    Muslim world
    The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

     and visited Bengal
    Bengal
    Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

     and China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    .
  • Nur ibn Mujahid
    Nur ibn Mujahid
    Nur ibn Mujahid ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Abdullah al Dhuhi Suha , of the Ahl Suhawyan division of the Marehan branch of the Somali Darod clan, was Emir of Harar in the 16th century...

     – 16th century Somali conqueror and Patron saint
    Patron saint
    A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

     of Harar
    Harar
    Harar is an eastern city in Ethiopia, and the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division of Ethiopia...

    .
  • Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti
    Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti
    Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti or in Egyptian Arabic el Gabarti was a Somali–Egyptian Muslim scholar and chronicler who spent most of his life in Cairo.-Biography:While little is known of his life, according to Franz Steiner, al-Jabarti was...

     (1753–1825) – Somali scholar living in Cairo
    Cairo
    Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

     that recorded the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt.
  • Shaykh Abd Al-Rahman bin Ahmad al-Zayla'i (1820–1882) – Somali scholar who played a crucial role in the spread of the Qadiriyyah movement in Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     and East Africa.
  • Ahmed Gurey (c. 1507 - February 21, 1543) – 16th century Imam
    Imam
    An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

     and military leader that led the Conquest of Ethiopia
    Ethiopian-Adal War
    The Ethiopian–Adal War was a military conflict between the Ethiopian Empire and the Adal Sultanate from 1529 until 1559. The Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi came close to extinguishing the ancient realm of Ethiopia, and converting all of its subjects to Islam; the intervention of the...

    .
  • Ali al-Jabarti
    Ali al-Jabarti
    Ali al-Jabarti was a 16th century Somali scholar and politician in the Mamluk Empire. He lived in Cairo, Egypt and was a member of the Riwaq Al Jabarti quarter of the Al Azhar University....

     (d.1492) – 16th century Somali scholar and politician in the Mamluk Empire
    Mamluk
    A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

    .
  • Shaykh Muhammad Al-Sumaalee (b. 1910-2005) – Somali scholar and teacher in the Masjid Al-Haram
    Masjid al-Haram
    Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while performing daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place...

     in Mecca
    Mecca
    Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

    . He influenced many of the prominent Islamic scholars of today.
  • Uthman bin Ali Zayla'i
    Uthman bin Ali Zayla'i
    Uthman bin Ali Zayla'i was a 14th century Somali theologian and jurist from Zeila.-Biography:Zayla'i traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world during his lifetime...

     – 14th century Somali theologian and jurist
    Jurist
    A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

     who wrote the single most authoritative text on the Hanafi
    Hanafi
    The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

     school of Islam, consisting of four volumes known as the Tabayin al-Haqa’iq li Sharh Kanz al-Daqa’iq.
  • Abdallah al-Qutbi
    Abdallah al-Qutbi
    Abdallah Yusuf al-Qutbi was a Somali polemicist, theologian and philosopher who lived during the 19th and 20th centuries in Somalia.-Biography:...

     (1879–1952) – Somali polemicist theologian and philosopher.
  • Hassan al-Jabarti
    Hassan al-Jabarti
    Hassan al Jabarti was a Somali mathematician, theologian, astronomer and philosopher who lived in Cairo, Egypt during the 18th century.-Biography:...

     (d.1774) – Somali mathematician
    Mathematician
    A mathematician is a person whose primary area of study is the field of mathematics. Mathematicians are concerned with quantity, structure, space, and change....

    , theologian, astronomer
    Astronomer
    An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

     and philosopher, considered one of the great scholars of the 18th century.
  • Shaykh Sufi
    Shaykh Sufi
    Abd Al-Rahman bin Abdallah al Shashi , popularly known as Shaykh Sufi, was a 19th century Somali scholar, poet, reformist and astrologist.-Life:...

     (1829–1904) – 19th century Somali scholar, poet, reformist and astrologist.
  • Abd al Aziz al-Amawi
    Abd al Aziz al-Amawi
    Abd al Aziz al-Amawi was a 19th century Somali diplomat, historian, poet, jurist and scholar living in the Sultanate of Zanzibar.-Biography:...

     (1832–1896) – 19th century influential Somali diplomat
    Diplomat
    A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

    , historian, poet, jurist
    Jurist
    A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

     and scholar living in the Sultanate of Zanzibar.

Clan and family structure


The clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 groupings of the Somali people are important social unit
Social unit
Social unit is a term used in sociology, anthropology, ethnology, and also in animal behaviour studies, zoology and biology to describe a social entity which is part of and participates in a larger social group or society....

s, and clan membership plays a central part in Somali culture
Culture of Somalia
The culture of Somalia is an amalgamation of traditions indigenously developed or accumulated over a timeline spanning several millennia of Somali civilization's interaction with neighbouring and far away civilizations such as Ethiopia, Yemen, India and Persia....

 and politics
Politics of Somalia
The politics of Somalia are defined by the state of civil war which, since 1991, has divided the country. What started out as various warring entities and autonomist and secessionist regions fighting for control developed into a fragile government fighting an Islamic insurgency. In 1991, Mohammed...

. Clans are patrilineal
Patrilineality
Patrilineality is a system in which one belongs to one's father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, names or titles through the male line as well....

 and are often divided into sub-clans, sometimes with many sub-divisions.

Somali society is traditionally ethnically endogamous
Endogamy
Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group, rejecting others on such basis as being unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships. A Greek Orthodox Christian endogamist, for example, would require that a marriage be only with another...

. So to extend ties of alliance, marriage is often to another ethnic Somali from a different clan. Thus, for example, a recent study observed that in 89 marriages contracted by men of the Dhulbahante
Dhulbahante
The Dhulbahante is a Somali clan, and a part of the larger Harti Darod clan. Members of the clan primarily inhabit the Sool, Nugaal, Sanaag and Ayn regions, the Haud, the port city of Kismayo, as well as other areas in the Jubbada Hoose region of southern Somalia.-Tradition:Currently, there are...

 clan, 55 (62%) were with women of Dhulbahante sub-clans other than those of their husbands; 30 (33.7%) were with women of surrounding clans of other clan families (Isaaq
Isaaq
The Isaaq is one of the main Somali clans. Members of the clan principally live in the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia, and the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The populations of five major cities of Somaliland – Hargeisa, Burco, Berbera, Ceerigaabo and Gabiley – are predominantly Isaaq...

, 28; Hawiye
Hawiye
The Hawiye is a Somali clan. Members of the clan primarily live in central and southern Somalia, in the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province , and in smaller numbers in other countries. Like many Somalis, Hawiye members trace their ancestry to Irir Samaale...

, 3); and 3 (4.3%) were with women of other clans of the Darod
Darod
The Darod is a Somali clan. The father of this clan is named Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, but is more commonly known as Darod. In the Somali language, the word Daarood means "an enclosed compound," a conflation of the two words daar and ood .The Darod population in Somalia lives principally...

 clan family (Majerteen 2, Ogaden
Ogaden (clan)
The Ogaden is a Somali clan, and one of the largest Darod subclans.-Overview:Members of the Ogaden clan primarily live in the central Ogaden plateau of Ethiopia , the North Eastern Province of Kenya, and the Jubaland region of Southern Somalia...

 1).

Major Somali clans include:
  • Darod
    Darod
    The Darod is a Somali clan. The father of this clan is named Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, but is more commonly known as Darod. In the Somali language, the word Daarood means "an enclosed compound," a conflation of the two words daar and ood .The Darod population in Somalia lives principally...

  • Dir
    Dir (clan)
    The Dir , or Theyr bin Abdalla as mentioned in the book "Futuh al-Habasha", is a Somali clan. Its members mostly live in northwestern Somalia and Djibouti, in addition to southern and central Somalia and the Ogaden....

  • Hawiye
    Hawiye
    The Hawiye is a Somali clan. Members of the clan primarily live in central and southern Somalia, in the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province , and in smaller numbers in other countries. Like many Somalis, Hawiye members trace their ancestry to Irir Samaale...

  • Isaaq
    Isaaq
    The Isaaq is one of the main Somali clans. Members of the clan principally live in the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia, and the Somali Region of Ethiopia. The populations of five major cities of Somaliland – Hargeisa, Burco, Berbera, Ceerigaabo and Gabiley – are predominantly Isaaq...

  • Rahanweyn
    Rahanweyn
    The Rahanweyn is a Somali clan, composed of two major sub-clans, the Digil and the Mirifle. It makes up about 17% of the population of Somalia, and is one of the five major Somali clans residing in the Horn of Africa.-Overview:The Digil sub-clan mainly consists of farmers and coastal people, while...

     (Digil and Mirifle)


In 1975, the most prominent government reforms regarding family law
Family law
Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related issues and domestic relations including:*the nature of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships;...

 in a Muslim country
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

 were set in motion in the Somali Democratic Republic
Somali Democratic Republic
The Somali Democratic Republic was the name that the communist regime of former President of Somalia Major General Mohamed Siad Barre gave to Somalia after seizing power during a bloodless coup d'état in 1969...

, which set women and men, including husbands and wives, on complete equal footing. The 1975 Somali Family Law, gave men and women equal division of property between the husband and wife upon divorce and the exclusive right to control by each spouse over his or her personal property.

Geographic distribution




Somalis constitute the largest ethnic group in Somalia, at approximately 85% of the nation's inhabitants. They are traditionally nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

s, but since the late 20th century, many have moved to urban areas. While most Somalis can be found in Somalia proper, large numbers also live in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Yemen, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe due to their seafaring tradition
Somali maritime history
Maritime history of Somalia refers to the seafaring tradition of the Somali people. It includes various stages of Somali navigational technology, shipbuilding and design, as well as the history of the Somali port cities...

.

Civil strife
Somali Civil War
The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. The conflict, which began in 1991, has caused destabilisation throughout the country, with the current phase of the conflict seeing the Somali government losing substantial control of the state to rebel forces...

 in the early 1990s greatly increased the size of the Somali diaspora
Somali diaspora
The Somali diaspora refers to expatriate Somalis who reside in areas of the world that have traditionally not been inhabited by their ethnic group...

, as many of the best educated Somalis left for the Middle East, Europe and North America. In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the cities of Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

, Edmonton
Edmonton
Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta and is the province's second-largest city. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by the central region of the province.The city and its census...

, Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

, Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

 and Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario
Hamilton is a port city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Conceived by George Hamilton when he purchased the Durand farm shortly after the War of 1812, Hamilton has become the centre of a densely populated and industrialized region at the west end of Lake Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe...

 all harbor Somali populations. Statistics Canada's 2006 census ranks people of Somali descent as the 69th largest ethnic group in Canada.

While the distribution of Somalis per country in Europe is hard to measure because the Somali community on the continent has grown so quickly in recent years, an official 2010 estimate reported 108,000 Somalis living in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Somalis in Britain are largely concentrated in the cities of London, Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

, Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

, Cardiff
Cardiff
Cardiff is the capital, largest city and most populous county of Wales and the 10th largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is Wales' chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for...

, Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, and Leicester
Leicester
Leicester is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest...

, with London alone accounting for roughly 78% of Britain's Somali population. There are also significant Somali communities in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

: 31,237 (2011); Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

: 25,496 (2010); and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

: 16,550 (2008).

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

, Saint Paul
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city...

, Columbus
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, San Diego, Seattle
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

, Washington, D.C., Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, Los Angeles, Portland
Portland, Oregon
Portland is a city located in the Pacific Northwest, near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 583,776, making it the 29th most populous city in the United States...

, Denver
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, Lewiston
Lewiston, Maine
Lewiston is a city in Androscoggin County in Maine, and the second-largest city in the state. The population was 41,592 at the 2010 census. It is one of two principal cities of and included within the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine metropolitan New England city and town area and the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine...

, Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine
Portland is the largest city in Maine and is the county seat of Cumberland County. The 2010 city population was 66,194, growing 3 percent since the census of 2000...

 and Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in Iowa and is the county seat of Linn County. The city lies on both banks of the Cedar River, north of Iowa City and east of Des Moines, the state's capital and largest city...

 have the largest Somali populations.

An estimated 20,000 Somalis emigrated to the US State of Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 some ten years ago. The Twin Cities
Twin cities
Twin cities are a special case of two cities or urban centres which are founded in close geographic proximity and then grow into each other over time...

 now have the highest population of Somalis in North America. The city of Minneapolis hosts hundreds of Somali-owned and operated businesses. Colorful stalls inside several shopping malls offer everything from halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 meat, to stylish leather shoes, to the latest fashion for men and women, as well as gold jewelry, money transfer or hawala
Hawala
Hawala is an informal value transfer system based on the performance and honor of a huge network of money brokers, which are primarily located in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia...

 offices, banners advertising the latest Somali films, and video stores
Rental shop
A rental shop, also known as a video library, is a business that allows a consumer to temporarily obtain a reusable good or product for a specified period of time in exchange for payment, a process known as renting...

 fully stocked with nostalgic love songs not found in the mainstream supermarkets, groceries, and boutiques. The number of Somalis has especially surged in the Cedar-Riverside
Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis
The Cedar-Riverside, also referred to as the West Bank, is a neighborhood within Minneapolis, Minnesota. The boundaries of the neighborhood are the Mississippi River to the north and east, Interstate 94 to the south, and Hiawatha Avenue and Interstate 35W to the west...

 area of Minneapolis.

Somalis now comprise one of the largest immigrant communities in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. Somali-owned businesses line the streets of Deira
Deira, Dubai
Deira is an area in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates bordered by the Persian Gulf, Sharjah and Dubai Creek. Historically, it has been the center of Dubai, but has been losing its importance during the past few decades due to recent development along E 11 road and areas further down the...

, the Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 city centre, with only Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ians exporting more products from the city at large. Internet café
Internet cafe
An Internet café or cybercafé is a place which provides internet access to the public, usually for a fee. These businesses usually provide snacks and drinks, hence the café in the name...

s, hotels, coffee shop
Coffeehouse
A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on...

s, restaurants and import-export businesses
International trade
International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories. In most countries, such trade represents a significant share of gross domestic product...

 are all testimony to the Somalis' entrepreneurial spirit. Star African Air is also one of three Somali-owned airlines which are based in Dubai.

Besides their traditional areas of inhabitation in Greater Somalia
Greater Somalia
Greater Somalia refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis are and have historically represented the predominant population. Greater Somalia encompasses Somalia, Djibouti, the Ogaden of Ethiopia and the North Eastern Province of Kenya. Pan-Somalism refers to the vision...

, a Somali community mainly consisting of entrepreneurs, academics and students also exists in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. In addition, there is an historical Somali community in the general Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 area. Primarily concentrated in the north and Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

, a geographical region where the local population exhibits strong cultural, physical and religious similarities with ethnic Somalis, the expatriate community mainly consists of students as well as some businesspeople. More recently, Somali entrepreneurs have established themselves in Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, investing over $1.5 billion in the Somali enclave of Eastleigh
Eastleigh, Nairobi
Eastleigh is a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. It is located east of the Central business district. Predominantly inhabited by Somali immigrants, it has been described as "Little Mogadishu", as well as "a country within a country with its own economy" on account of its robust business...

 alone. In South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, Somali businesspeople also provide most of the retail trade in informal settlements around the Western Cape
Western Cape
The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the much larger Cape Province...

 province.

Notable individuals of the diaspora


  • Abdirashid Duale
    Abdirashid Duale
    Abdirashid Duale is an award-winning British Somali entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the CEO of the multinational enterprise Dahabshiil.-Biography:...

     – award-winning Somali entrepreneur, philantropist, and the CEO of the multinational enterprise Dahabshiil
    Dahabshiil
    Dahabshiil is an international funds transfer company headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Formed in the early 1970s, the firm operates from over 24,000 outlets and employs more than 2,000 people across 144 countries. It provides a broad range of financial services to international...

    .
  • Abdulqawi Yusuf
    Abdulqawi Yusuf
    Dr. Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf is a prominent Somali international lawyer and judge. As of February 6, 2009, he is a judge at the International Court of Justice.-Biography:...

     – Prominent Somali international
    International
    ----International mostly means something that involves more than one country. The term international as a word means involvement of, interaction between or encompassing more than one nation, or generally beyond national boundaries...

     lawyer and judge with the International Court of Justice
    International Court of Justice
    The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

    .
  • Ali Said Faqi
    Ali Said Faqi
    Ali Said Faqi is a Somali scientist and the leading researcher on the design and interpretation of toxicology studies at the MPI research center in Mattawan, Michigan.-Biography:...

     – Somali scientist and the leading researcher on the design and interpretation of toxicology
    Toxicology
    Toxicology is a branch of biology, chemistry, and medicine concerned with the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms...

     studies at the MPI research center in Mattawan, Michigan
    Mattawan, Michigan
    Mattawan is a village suburb of Kalamazoo, in Antwerp Township, Van Buren County of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the village population was 2,536.-History:...

    .
  • Amina Moghe Hersi
    Amina Moghe Hersi
    Amina Moghe Hersi is an award-winning Somali entrepreneur. She has launched several multi-million dollar projects in Kampala, Uganda, such as the luxury mall the Oasis Centre and the Laburnam Courts...

     – Award-winning Somali entrepreneur that has launched several multi-million dollar projects in Kampala
    Kampala
    Kampala is the largest city and capital of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division. The city is coterminous with Kampala District.-History: of Buganda, had chosen...

    , Uganda
    Uganda
    Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

    , such as the Oasis Centre luxury mall and the Laburnam Courts. She also runs Kingstone Enterprises Limited, one of the largest distributors of cement and other hardware materials in Kampala.
  • Ayub Daud
    Ayub Daud
    somalia 11 | goals5 = 7Ayub Daud is a Somali footballer who plays as a forward/attacking midfielder for Juventus -Club career:-Juventus:Born in Somalia, Daud moved to Cuneo, Italy with his family at the age of five...

     – Somali international footballer who plays as a forward/attacking midfielder for FC Crotone on loan from Juventus.
  • Hawa Ahmed
    Hawa Ahmed
    Hawa Ahmed is a Somali-Swedish fashion model and winner of Cycle 4 of Sweden's Next Top Model.-Biography:Hawa was born in Somalia in 1989. She comes from a large family, with four sisters and three brothers...

     – Somali
    Somali
    Somali can refer to:* Somali people, ethnic group who inhabit the Horn of Africa * Somali language* Somali clan, social grouping of the Somali people* Somali Region, in Ethiopia* Somali , breed of cat* Republic of Somalia...

    -Swedish
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     fashion model and winner of Cycle 4 of Sweden's Next Top Model
    Sweden's Next Top Model
    Sweden's Next Top Model or Top Model Sverige was a Swedish reality television show based on America's Next Top Model. It was broadcast on TV3 in Sweden. In Top Model Sverige, the 9 contestants are competing for a top 3 spots to compete in Scandinavia's Next Top Model. These final 3 girls then join...

    .
  • Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid – international fashion icon, supermodel
    Supermodel
    The term supermodel refers to a highly-paid fashion model who usually has a worldwide reputation and often a background in haute couture and commercial modeling. The term became prominent in the popular culture of the 1980s. Supermodels usually work for top fashion designers and labels...

    , actress and entrepreneur; professionally known as Iman.
  • Mo Farah – Somali-British gold medal
    Gold medal
    A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

    ist in international track and field. He currently holds the British indoor record in the 3000 metre and won the 3000m at the 2009 European Indoor Championships in Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

    .
  • Mustafa Mohamed
    Mustafa Mohamed
    Mustafa Hassan Mohamed is a Somali-Swedish long-distance runner who mainly competes in the 3000 meter steeplechase.-Biography:Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Mohamed moved to Sweden at the age of 11...

     – Somali-Swedish
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     long-distance runner who mainly competes in the 3000 meter steeplechase
    Steeplechase (athletics)
    The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics, which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing.-Rules:The length of the race is usually 3000 m; junior events are 2000 m, as women's events formerly were. The circuit has four ordinary barriers and one water jump. Over 3000 m, each...

    . Won gold
    Gold medal
    A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

     in the 2006 Nordic Cross Country Championships
    Nordic Cross Country Championships
    The Nordic Cross Country Championships is an annual international cross country running competition that is contested between the Nordic countries...

     and at the 1st SPAR European Team Championships in Leiria
    Leiria
    Leiria is a city in Leiria Municipality in the Centro Region, Portugal. It is the capital of Leiria District. The city proper has 50,200 inhabitants and the entire municipality has nearly 120,000...

    , Portugal
    Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

     in 2009. Beat the 31 year old Swedish record in 2007.
  • Omar Abdi Ali
    Omar A. Ali
    Omar Abdi Ali is a Somali entrepreneur, accountant, financial consultant, philanthropist, and a leading specialist on Islamic finance. From 1986 to 1999, Omar was CEO of Dar al-Maal al-Islami Trust , a Middle Eastern financial and banking group, which under his management increased it assets from...

     – Somali entrepreneur, accountant, financial consultant, philanthropist, and leading specialist on Islamic finance. Was formerly CEO of Dar al-Maal al-Islami
    DMI Trust
    Dar al-Maal al-Islami Trust , founded in 1981, is a leading Islamic financial institution with affiliates on four continents and assets under management of over $3.6 billion USD, operating in accordance with Zakat principles of Islamic banking...

     (DMI Trust), which under his management increased its assets from $1.6 billion USD to $4.0 billion USD. He is currently the chairman and founder of the multinational
    Multinational corporation
    A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

     real estate
    Real estate
    In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

     corporation Integrated Property Investments Limited and its sister company Quadron investments.
  • Rageh Omaar
    Rageh Omaar
    Rageh Omaar , is a Somali born British journalist and writer. His latest book Only Half of Me deals with the tensions between these two sides of his identity. He used to be a BBC world affairs correspondent, where he made his name reporting from Iraq...

     – Somali-British television news presenter and writer. Formerly a BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     news correspondent in 2009, he moved to a new post at Al Jazeera English, where he currently presents the nightly weekday documentary series Witness.
  • Yasmin Warsame
    Yasmin Warsame
    Yasmin Abshir Warsame is a Somali-Canadian model and activist. In 2004, she was named "The Most Alluring Canadian" in a poll by Fashion magazine.-Biography:...

     – Somali-Canadian
    Somali Canadians
    Somali Canadians are naturalized citizens and residents of Canada who were born in, or with ancestors from Somalia.-Overview:Canada has one of the largest Somali populations in the western world, with the census reporting 37,785 people claiming Somali descent, though unofficial estimates place the...

     model. In 2004, she was named "The Most Alluring Canadian" in a poll by Fashion magazine.
  • Zahra Abdulla
    Zahra Abdulla
    Zahra Abdulla is a Somali-born Finnish politician. She is a member of the Helsinki City Council, representing the Green League.-Biography:Zahra was born in Somalia in 1966. She spent her early years in Egypt and Kenya....

     – Somali politician in Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    . She is a member of the Helsinki City Council, representing the Green League
    Green League
    The Green League is a centrist green liberal political party in Finland. It has ten seats in the Finnish Parliament and two in the European Parliament. The current chairperson is Ville Niinistö....

    .
  • Katja Shchekina
    Katja Shchekina
    Katja Shchekina is a Somali-Russian model.-Biography:Shchekina was born in Perm, Russia to a Somali mother and a Russian father...

     - a Somali-Russian model who has appeared on Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

Language


The Somali language
Somali language
The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

 is a member of the Cushitic
Cushitic languages
The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family spoken in the Horn of Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Egypt. They are named after the Biblical character Cush, who was identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as AD 947...

 branch of the Afro-Asiatic
Afro-Asiatic languages
The Afroasiatic languages , also known as Hamito-Semitic, constitute one of the world's largest language families, with about 375 living languages...

 language family. Its nearest relatives are the Afar
Afar language
Afar is a Lowland East Cushitic language spoken in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti. It is believed to have 1.5 million speakers, the Afar. The basic word order in Afar, like in other East Cushitic languages, is subject–object–verb. Its speakers have a literacy rate of between one and three per cent...

 and Saho
Saho language
The Saho language is a Cushitic language of Eritrea and Ethiopia.-Overview:It is spoken natively by the Saho people who traditionally inhabit territory in Eritrea bounded by the bay of Arafali in the east, the Laasi Ghedé valleys in the south, and the Eritrea highlands to the west .This speech area...

 languages. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies of it dating from before 1900.

The exact number of speakers of Somali is unknown. One source estimates that there are 7.78 million speakers of Somali in Somalia itself and 12.65 million speakers globally.

The Somali language is spoken by ethnic Somalis in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, and by the Somali diaspora
Somali diaspora
The Somali diaspora refers to expatriate Somalis who reside in areas of the world that have traditionally not been inhabited by their ethnic group...

.

Somali dialects are divided into three main groups: Northern, Benaadir and Maay
Af-Maay
Maay Maay is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family and is written using the Latin alphabet. It is spoken mostly in Somalia and adjacent parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Its speakers are known as Sab Somalis...

. Northern Somali (or Northern-Central Somali) forms the basis for Standard Somali. Benaadir (also known as Coastal Somali) is spoken on the Benadir
Benadir
Benadir is a coastal region of Somalia. It covers most of the Indian Ocean coast of the country, from the Gulf of Aden to the Juba River, containing the capital of Mogadishu. The name comes from Persian bandar, which means port , a fact that reflects the region's importance to Persian and Arab...

 coast, from Cadaley
Cadaley
Adale is a city in the southern Shabeellaha Hoose administrative region of Somalia. It sits at a latitude of 2° 45' 0N and a longitude of 46° 19' 0E. The town is the center of the Adale District.-References:*...

 to south of Merca
Merca
Merca is a port city on the coast of southern Somalia, facing the Indian Ocean. It is the main town in the Shabeellaha Hoose region, and is located approximately southwest of the nation's capital, Mogadishu.-History:...

 including Mogadishu, as well as in the immediate hinterland. The coastal dialects have additional phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s which do not exist in Standard Somali. Maay is principally spoken by the Digil and Mirifle (Rahanweyn
Rahanweyn
The Rahanweyn is a Somali clan, composed of two major sub-clans, the Digil and the Mirifle. It makes up about 17% of the population of Somalia, and is one of the five major Somali clans residing in the Horn of Africa.-Overview:The Digil sub-clan mainly consists of farmers and coastal people, while...

) clans in the southern areas of Somalia.

Since Somali had long lost its ancient script, a number of writing system
Writing system
A writing system is a symbolic system used to represent elements or statements expressible in language.-General properties:Writing systems are distinguished from other possible symbolic communication systems in that the reader must usually understand something of the associated spoken language to...

s have been used over the years for transcribing the language. Of these, the Somali alphabet
Somali alphabet
The Somali Latin alphabet has been the official writing script in Somalia since 1972. It was developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed specifically for transcribing the Somali language, and is based on the Latin script. The Somali Latin alphabet uses all letters of the English Latin...

 is the most widely-used, and has been the official writing script in Somalia since the government of former President of Somalia Mohamed Siad Barre formally introduced it in October 1972. The script was developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed
Shire Jama Ahmed
Shire Jama Ahmed was a Somali linguist who is credited with having devised a unique Latin script for transcribing the Somali language. Shire Jama's winning Somali Orthoraphy was chosen from eighteen competing new orthographies in 1972 by the Language Committee and the ruling party...

 specifically for the Somali language, and uses all letters of the English Latin alphabet except p, v and z. Besides Ahmed's Latin script, other orthographies that have been used for centuries for writing Somali include the long-established Arabic script
Arabic alphabet
The Arabic alphabet or Arabic abjad is the Arabic script as it is codified for writing the Arabic language. It is written from right to left, in a cursive style, and includes 28 letters. Because letters usually stand for consonants, it is classified as an abjad.-Consonants:The Arabic alphabet has...

 and Wadaad's writing
Wadaad's writing
Wadaad's writing is the Somali language written with the Arabic script. Originally, it referred to "an ungrammatical Arabic containing some Somali words," as used by Somali religious men to write qasidas, and by merchants for business, letter writing, and to draft petitions...

. Indigenous writing systems developed in the twentieth century include the Osmanya, Borama
Borama script
The Borama script is a writing script for the Somali language. It was devised around 1933 by Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur of the Gadabuursi clan.-History:...

 and Kaddare
Kaddare script
The Kaddare script is a writing script created to transcribe the Somali language.-History:The orthography was invented in 1952 by Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare of the Abgaal Hawiye clan....

 scripts, which were invented by Osman Yusuf Kenadid
Osman Yusuf Kenadid
-Biography:In the early 1920s, in response to a national campaign to settle on a standard orthography for the Somali language , Kenadid, a leader in the Majeerteen Sultanate of Hobyo in Somalia and nephew of Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, devised a phonetically sophisticated alphabet called Osmanya for...

, Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur
Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur
Sheikh Abdurahman Sheikh Nuur was a Somali religious leader and the inventor of the Borama script for the Somali language.-Biography:Nuur was born in Borama, Somalia to a Gadabuursi Dir family...

 and Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare
Hussein Sheikh Ahmed Kaddare
-Biography:Kaddare was born near Mogadishu in the Banaadir region of Somalia to an Abgaal Hawiye family. In 1953, he created the Kaddare script, an orthography named after him that was used to transcribe the Somali language.-See also:* Osmanya script...

, respectively.

Culture


The culture of Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 is an amalgamation of traditions indigenously developed or accumulated over a timeline spanning several millennia of Somali civilization
History of Somalia
Somalia , officially the Republic of Somalia and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya on its southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen on its north, the Indian Ocean at its east, and Ethiopia...

's interaction through cultural diffusion
Cultural diffusion
In cultural anthropology and cultural geography, cultural diffusion, as first conceptualized by Alfred L. Kroeber in his influential 1940 paper Stimulus Diffusion, or trans-cultural diffusion in later reformulations, is the spread of cultural items—such as ideas, styles, religions, technologies,...

 with neighbouring and far away civilizations such as Ethiopia, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Persia.

The textile-making communities in Somalia are a continuation of an ancient textile industry, as is the culture of wood carving
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

, pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

 and monumental architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 that dominates Somali interiors and landscapes. The cultural diffusion of Somali commercial enterprise can be detected in its exotic cuisine, which contains Southeast Asian influences. Due to the Somali people's passionate love for and facility with poetry, Somalia has often been referred to by scholars as a "Nation of Poets" and a "Nation of Bards" including, among others, the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 novelist Margaret Laurence
Margaret Laurence
Jean Margaret Laurence, CC was a Canadian novelist and short story writer, one of the major figures in Canadian literature.- Early years :...

.

All of these traditions, including festival
Festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s, martial arts
Istunka
Istunka is an annual martial arts festival held in the town of Afgooye, Somalia during the Somali new year. It traces itself back to the medieval Ajuuraan State and was centralized under Sultan Ahmed Yusuf during the 19th century Gobroon Dynasty...

, dress, literature, sport and games such as Shax
Shax (board game)
Shax is a board game played in the Horn of Africa . Its origins dating back centuries, it is still popular today....

, have immensely contributed to the enrichment of Somali heritage.

Music


Somalis have a rich musical heritage centered on traditional Somali folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

. Most Somali songs are pentatonic
Pentatonic scale
A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five notes per octave in contrast to a heptatonic scale such as the major scale and minor scale...

; that is, they only use five pitches
Pitch (music)
Pitch is an auditory perceptual property that allows the ordering of sounds on a frequency-related scale.Pitches are compared as "higher" and "lower" in the sense associated with musical melodies,...

 per octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

 in contrast to a heptatonic
Heptatonic scale
A heptatonic scale is a musical scale with seven pitches per octave. Among the most famous of these are the major scale, C D E F G A B C; the melodic minor scale, C D E F G A B C ascending, C B A G F E D C descending; the harmonic minor scale, C D E F G A B C; and a scale variously known as the...

 (seven note) scale such as the major scale
Major scale
In music theory, the major scale or Ionian scale is one of the diatonic scales. It is made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first an octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, ", the "Do" in the parenthesis at...

. At first listen, Somali music might be mistaken for the sounds of nearby regions such as Ethiopia, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 or Arabia, but it is ultimately recognizable by its own unique tunes and styles. Somali songs are usually the product of collaboration between lyricist
Lyricist
A lyricist is a songwriter who specializes in lyrics. A singer who writes the lyrics to songs is a singer-lyricist. This differentiates from a singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.-Collaboration:...

s (midho), songwriters (lahan) and singers (odka or "voice").

Musicians and bands


  • Magool
    Magool
    Magool , born Halima Khaliif Omar , was a Somali singer.-Early years:Magool was born in the city of Dhusa Mareb, the capital of the Galgaduud region in central Somalia. She had four siblings....

     (May 2, 1948 - March 19, 2004) – prominent Somali singer considered in Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
  • Khadija Qalanjo
    Khadija Qalanjo
    Khadija Qalanjo was a popular Somali singer and folklore dancer in the 1970s and 1980s.-Biography:Qalanjo was born in Somalia. She is of the Samaroon sub-division of the Mandaluug sub-clan of the Dir Somali clan....

     – popular Somali singer in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • K'naan
    K'naan
    K'naan , born Keinan Abdi Warsame in 1978, is a Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist.-Biography:Born in Somalia, K'naan spent his childhood in Mogadishu and lived there during the Somali Civil War, which began in 1991. His aunt, Magool, was one of Somalia's most...

     – award-winning Somali-Canadian hip hop artist.
  • Aar Maanta
    Aar Maanta
    -Biography:Maanta moved from his native Somalia to the United Kingdom in the late 1980s due to the civil war there. As a lone child in a new country, he turned to music for comfort, absorbing many genres including pop, rock, hip hop, R&B and house. Maanta started studying music at school and then...

     – UK-based Somali singer, composer, writer and music producer.
  • Ali Feiruz
    Ali Feiruz
    Ali Abdi Feiruz, known as Ali Feiruz, was a prominent Somali musician.-Biography:Feiruz was born in 1931 in Djibouti. He later moved to Hargeisa, Somalia in the late 1950s, and then on to Mogadishu in 1973....

     – Somali musician from Djibouti; part of the Radio Hargeisa
    Hargeisa
    Hargeisa is a city in the northwestern Woqooyi Galbeed region of Somalia. With a population of approximately 2 million residents, it is the second largest city in the country. Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland, a self-declared republic that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region...

     generation of Somali artists.
  • Hasan Adan Samatar
    Hasan Adan Samatar
    Hasan Adan Samatar is a prominent Somali singer, guitarist and theatrical performer.-Biography:Samatar was born to an artistic family in Dinsoor, Somalia in 1953. He grew up in Baidoa, where he attended primary and elementary schools...

     – popular male artist during the 1970s and 80s
  • Maryam Mursal
    Maryam Mursal
    -Biography:Mursal grew up in Somalia in a Muslim family with four daughters. As a teenager, she broke with tradition and began singing professionally in Mogadishu. She performed in nightclubs and her brand of music, featuring a mix of blues, soul, Somali and Arabic influences, and known as Somali...

     (b. 1950) – famous musician from Somalia; composer and vocalist whose work has been produced by the record label Real World
    Real World Records
    Real World Records is a record label started in 1989 by Peter Gabriel to record and produce world music.-Overview:The label grew up alongside the success of the WOMAD festivals and Peter Gabriel's exploration of music from other cultures, and helped push world music into the general public's...

    .
  • Mohammed Mooge
    Mohamed Mooge Liibaan
    Mohammed Mooge Liibaan was a prominent Somali instrumentalist and vocalist.-History:Mooge was born in Somalia. A member of the Waaberi musical ensemble, he started singing at an early age with his brother, Ahmad Mooge Liibaan...

     – Somali artist from the Radio Hargeisa generation.
  • Abdi Sinimo
    Abdi Sinimo
    Abdi Sinimo or Abdi Sinimoo , born Cabdi Deeqsi Warfaa, is a Somali singer and songwriter who established the balwo musical style.-Biography:...

     – prominent Somali artist and inventor of the Balwo
    Balwo
    Balwo is a style of music and poetry practiced in Djibouti as well as Somalia. Its lyrical contents often deal with love and passion. Balwo was founded by Abdi Sinimo....

     musical style.
  • Waaberi
    Waaberi
    -History:The troupe was established by members of the Radio Artists Association. It was supported by the Somali government as part of the Somali National Theater, and made tours throughout several countries in Africa, including Egypt and Sudan. After a coup in 1969, the ensemble was renamed...

     – Somalia's foremost musical group that toured throughout several countries in Africa and Asia, including Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

    , Sudan
    Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

     and China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    .
  • Abdullahi Qarshe
    Abdullahi Qarshe
    Abdullahi Qarshe was a Somali musician, poet and playwright known as the "Father of Somali music".-Biography:Qarshe was born in 1924 in the Somali expatriate community in Moshi, Tanzania. In 1931, at the behest of his family, he left Tanzania and settled in Aden, Yemen for his education...

     – Somali musician, poet and playwright known for his innovative styles of music which included a wide variety of musical instruments such as the guitar, piano and oud
    Oud
    The oud is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern music. The modern oud and the European lute both descend from a common ancestor via diverging paths...

    .

Art


Somali art is the artistic culture of the Somali people, both historic and contemporary. These include artistic traditions in pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

, music, architecture, wood carving
Wood carving
Wood carving is a form of working wood by means of a cutting tool in one hand or a chisel by two hands or with one hand on a chisel and one hand on a mallet, resulting in a wooden figure or figurine, or in the sculptural ornamentation of a wooden object...

 and other genres. Somali art is characterized by its aniconism
Aniconism
Aniconism is the practice or belief in avoiding or shunning images of divine beings, prophets or other respected religious figures, or in different manifestations, any human beings or living creatures. The term aniconic may be used to describe the absence of graphic representations in a particular...

, partly as a result of the vestigial influence of the pre-Islamic mythology
Somali Mythology
Somali mythology covers the beliefs, the myths, the legends and folk tales circulating in Somali society that were passed down to new generations in a timeline spanning several millennia...

 of the Somalis coupled with their ubiquitous Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 beliefs. However, there have been cases in the past of artistic depictions representing living creatures such as the golden birds on the Mogadishan canopies
Canopy (building)
A canopy is an overhead roof or else a structure over which a fabric or metal covering is attached, able to provide shade or shelter. A canopy can also be a tent, generally without a floor....

, the ancient rock paintings in northern Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, and the plant decorations on religious tomb
Tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s in southern Somalia, but these are considered rare. Instead, intricate patterns and geometric designs, bold colors and monumental architecture were the norm.

Cinema and theatre



Growing out of the Somali people's rich storytelling tradition, the first few feature-length Somali films and cinematic festivals emerged in the early 1960s, immediately after independence. Following the creation of the Somali Film Agency
Somali Film Agency
The Somali Film Agency was a film regulatory body based in Mogadishu, Somalia.-History:Following a bloodless military coup d'état in 1969, the production, distribution and importation of films in the country were nationalized by the new-established Supreme Revolutionary Council...

 (SFA) regulatory body in 1975, the local film scene began to expand rapidly. In the 1970s and early 1980s, popular musicals known as Riwaayado were the main driving force behind the Somali movie industry. Epic and period films as well as international co-productions followed suit, facilitated by the proliferation of video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

 technology and national television networks. In the 1990s and 2000s, a new wave of more entertainment-oriented movies emerged. Referred to as Somaliwood
Somaliwood
Somaliwood is an informal name for the Somali-language film industry that has developed in the diaspora community of Columbus, Ohio, centered around the Olol Films production company...

, this upstart, youth-based cinematic movement has energized the Somali film industry and in the process introduced innovative storylines, marketing strategies and production techniques. The young directors Abdisalam Aato of Olol Films and Abdi Malik Isak are at the forefront of this quiet revolution.

Sports



Football is the most popular sport amongst Somalis. The first football teams in Somalia were established in the 1940s. The competitions were basic in structure, and were associated with the anti-colonial movement. The Somali Youth League
Somali Youth League
The Somali Youth League was the first political party in Somalia. It played a key role in the nation's road to independence during the 1950s and 1960s.-History:...

 (SYL), the nation's first political party, had put together a team of local youth to play against the Italian expatriate teams. In 1958, the first commissioner for sport in Somalia was also established. The football squad that the SYL had assembled, which would later change its name to Bondhere, won the first several competitions. However, it was not as successful in its early forays against foreign teams. Important countrywide competitions are the Somalia League
Somalia League
The Somalia League is the top football division in Somalia. It was created in 1961.-Clubs:As of 2011 season:-Previous winners:*1967 : Somali Police *1968 : Hoga...

 and Somalia Cup
Somalia Cup
The Somalia Cup is the top knockout football tournament in Somalia. It was first held in 1977, and is an annual competition.-Winners:*1977 : The Somalia Cup is the top knockout [[football |football]] tournament in [[Somalia]]...

. The Ocean Stars
Somalia national football team
The Somalia national football team, nicknamed The Ocean Stars, is the national football team of Somalia. It is controlled by the Somali Football Federation, and is a member of the Confederation of African Football and the Union of Arab Football Associations . It has never qualified for the final...

, the national team, is popularly known as the "giant killers" because of its underdog status, and the upsets it has achieved during games against better funded and established teams at continental tournaments. A multi-ethnic squad, Somalia first participated at the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 in 1972 and has sent athletes to compete in most Summer Olympic Games since then. The equally diverse Somali beach soccer team
Somalia national beach soccer team
The Somalia national beach soccer team is a football squad, which represents Somalia in international beach soccer competitions. It is controlled by the Somalia Beach Soccer division of the Somali Football Federation, the latter of which is the governing body for professional football in...

 also represents the country in international beach soccer competitions. In addition, several international footballers such as Mohammed Ahamed Jama, Liban Abdi
Liban Abdi
Liban Abdi is a Somali international footballer. He currently plays for Ferencváros in the Hungarian First Division.-Sheffield United:...

, Ayub Daud
Ayub Daud
somalia 11 | goals5 = 7Ayub Daud is a Somali footballer who plays as a forward/attacking midfielder for Juventus -Club career:-Juventus:Born in Somalia, Daud moved to Cuneo, Italy with his family at the age of five...

 and Abdisalam Ibrahim
Abdisalam Ibrahim
Abdisalam Abdulkadir Ibrahim is a Somali-Norwegian footballer who plays for Dutch Eredivisie side NEC on loan from Manchester City....

 play in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an Premiere Leagues.

The FIBA Africa Championship 1981
FIBA Africa Championship 1981
The FIBA Africa Championship 1981 was hosted by Somalia from December 15 to December 23, 1981. The games were played in Mogadishu. Cote d'Ivoire won the tournament, its first African Championship, by beating Egypt in the final...

 was hosted by Somalia from December 15 to December 23, 1981. The games were played in Mogadishu
Mogadishu
Mogadishu , popularly known as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Benadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as an important port for centuries....

, and the Somalian national team received the Bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 prize. Abdi Bile
Abdi Bile
Abdi Bile is a former middle distance runner from Somalia. In 1987 he became world champion in the 1500 metres, the first Somali to do so.-Career:...

, one of the most celebrated Somali athletes, won the 1500 m World Championship in 1987
1987 World Championships in Athletics
The 2nd World Championships in Athletics under the auspices of the International Association of Athletics Federations were held in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy between August 28 and September 6, 1987.-Track:1983 | 1987 | 1991 | 1993 | 1995...

, running the final 800 m of the race in 1:46.0, the fastest final 800 m of any 1,500 meter race in history. He was a two-time Olympian (1984 and 1996) and dominated the event in the late 1980s. Bile was ranked first in the world at the mile distance in 1989. He was World Cup champion
1989 IAAF World Cup
The 5th IAAF World Cup in Athletics was an international track and field sporting event sponsored by the International Association of Athletics Federations, held on September 8–10, 1989, at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona, Spain.-Men:...

 in the 1500 m in 1989 and two-time world Grand Prix final champion. Hussein Ahmed Salah a Somalia born former long-distance runner from Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

, won a bronze medal in the marathon at the 1988 Summer Olympics
1988 Summer Olympics
The 1988 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIV Olympiad, were an all international multi-sport events celebrated from September 17 to October 2, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. They were the second summer Olympic Games to be held in Asia and the first since the 1964 Summer Olympics...

. He also won silver medals in this event at the 1987 and 1991 World Championships. In addition, he won the 1985 IAAF World Marathon Cup.
Many Somalia born athletes have found success in the diaspora. Mohamed Suleiman, who competes for Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, achieved the greatest success of his career when he won the bronze medal in the Barcelona Olympics, becoming the first-ever Olympic medallist for Qatar
Qatar at the Olympics
Qatar has competed in 7 Summer Olympic Games. They have never competed in the Winter Olympic Games. They have so far won 2 bronze medals.Following the 2008 Summer Olympics, Qatar was, along with Saudi Arabia and Brunei, one of only three countries never have sent a female athlete to the Olympic Games...

. Throughout his career, Suleiman ran several Asian records over 1500 m and the mile run
Mile run
The mile run is a middle-distance foot race which is among the more popular events in track running.The history of the mile run event began in England, where it was used as a distance for gambling races...

. He won the gold medal
Gold medal
A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

 in the 1500 m representing Asia at the 1992 IAAF World Cup
1992 IAAF World Cup
The 6th IAAF World Cup in Athletics was an international track and field sporting event sponsored by the International Association of Athletics Federations, held on September 8–10, 1992, at the Estadio Panamericano in Havana, Cuba.-Men:|width="50"| ...

. Suleiman ran for Qatar at two further Olympic Games (in 1996
1996 Summer Olympics
The 1996 Summer Olympics of Atlanta, officially known as the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and unofficially known as the Centennial Olympics, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States....

 and 2000
2000 Summer Olympics
The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games or the Millennium Games/Games of the New Millennium, officially known as the Games of the XXVII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was celebrated between 15 September and 1 October 2000 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

) and reached the event finals, although he did not make the podium. Suleiman's younger brothers Nasser and Abdulrahman Suleiman
Abdulrahman Suleiman
Abdulrahman Suleiman is a Qatari middle-distance runner who specialises in both the 800 metres and 1500 metres. He was the 2002 Asian champion over 1500 m and represented Qatar at the 2004 Summer Olympics....

 have also competed internationally in middle-distance running – Abdulrahman was the 2002 Asian champion for the 1500 m.

Mo Farah holds the European track record for 10,000 metres, the British road record for 10,000 metres, the British indoor record in the 3000 metres
3000 metres
The 3000 metres is a popular amateur middle distance track event where 7.5 laps are completed around a 400 metre track. This event is generally classified as middle distance, but it could be classed as a long distance event in many high schools, since they do not promote races such as the 5000 and...

, the British track record for 5000 metres
5000 metres
The 5000 metres is a popular running distance also known as 5 km or 5K in American English. It is one of the track events in the Olympic Games and the World Championships in Athletics. "5000 metres" refers to racing on a track and "5K" usually refers to a roadrace or cross country event...

 and the European indoor record for 5000 metres. In July 2010, Farah won Britain's first-ever men's European gold medal at 10,000 m. He followed this with a gold in the 5000 m at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics
2011 World Championships in Athletics
The 13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics was an international athletics competition that was held in Daegu, South Korea. It started on 27 August 2011 and finished on 4 September 2011....

, in Daegu
Daegu
Daegu , also known as Taegu, and officially the Daegu Metropolitan City, is a city in South Korea, the fourth largest after Seoul, Busan, and Incheon, and the third largest metropolitan area in the country with over 2.5 million residents. The city is the capital and principal city of the...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, becoming the 5th male athlete to complete the long-distance double at the championships and the first British man to do so. Mustafa Mohamed
Mustafa Mohamed
Mustafa Hassan Mohamed is a Somali-Swedish long-distance runner who mainly competes in the 3000 meter steeplechase.-Biography:Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Mohamed moved to Sweden at the age of 11...

, the Somali-Swedish
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 long-distance runner who mainly competes in the 3000 meter steeplechase
Steeplechase (athletics)
The steeplechase is an obstacle race in athletics, which derives its name from the steeplechase in horse racing.-Rules:The length of the race is usually 3000 m; junior events are 2000 m, as women's events formerly were. The circuit has four ordinary barriers and one water jump. Over 3000 m, each...

. Won gold
Gold medal
A gold medal is typically the medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture...

 in the 2006 Nordic Cross Country Championships
Nordic Cross Country Championships
The Nordic Cross Country Championships is an annual international cross country running competition that is contested between the Nordic countries...

 and at the 1st SPAR European Team Championships in Leiria
Leiria
Leiria is a city in Leiria Municipality in the Centro Region, Portugal. It is the capital of Leiria District. The city proper has 50,200 inhabitants and the entire municipality has nearly 120,000...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 in 2009. He beat the 31 year old Swedish record in 2007. Abdihakem Abdirahman
Abdihakem Abdirahman
Abdihakem Abdirahman is a Somali-American long-distance runner who specializes in the 10,000 metres.-Biography:...

 the Somali-American long-distance runner who specializes in the 10,000 metres, won Gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 for this event at the US Olympic Trials in 2008.

Attire


When not dressed in Westernized clothing such as jeans
Jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim. Some of the earliest American blue jeans were made by Jacob Davis, Calvin Rogers, and Levi Strauss in 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys, became popular among teenagers. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler...

 and t-shirt
T-shirt
A T-shirt is a style of shirt. A T-shirt is buttonless and collarless, with short sleeves and frequently a round neck line....

s, Somali men typically wear the macawis, which is a sarong
Sarong
A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or...

-like garment worn around the waist. On their heads, they often wrap a colorful turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

 or wear the koofiyad, an embroidered fez.

Due to Somalia's proximity to and close ties with the Arabian Peninsula, many Somali men also wear the jellabiya
Jellabiya
The Jellabiya or Jelabiya in Egypt, "Jelebeeya" in Ethiopia and "Jehllubeeya" in Eritrea) is a traditional Egyptian garment native to the Egypt and the Sudan Nile valley....

 (jellabiyad in Somali
Somali language
The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

), a long white garment common in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

.

During regular, day-to-day activities, women usually wear the guntiino, a long stretch of cloth tied over the shoulder and draped around the waist. In more formal settings such as weddings or religious celebrations like Eid
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, women wear the dirac, which is a long, light, diaphanous voile
Voile
Voile is a soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. The term comes from French, and means veil. Because of its light weight, the fabric is mostly used in soft furnishing. Full-length curtains in hot countries are made with voile and used as...

 dress made of cotton or polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

 that is worn over a full-length half-slip
Slip (clothing)
Slip is a woman's undergarment worn beneath a dress or skirt to help it hang smoothly and to prevent chafing of the skin from coarse fabrics such as wool...

 and a brassiere.

Married women tend to sport head-scarves referred to as shash, and also often cover their upper body with a shawl
Shawl
A shawl is a simple item of clothing, loosely worn over the shoulders, upper body and arms, and sometimes also over the head. It is usually a rectangular or square piece of cloth, that is often folded to make a triangle but can also be triangular in shape...

 known as garbasaar. Unmarried or young women, however, do not always cover their heads. Traditional Arabian garb such as the jilbab
Jilbab
The term jilbāb or jilbaab is the plural of the word jilaabah which refers to any long and loose-fit coat or garment worn by some Muslim women. They believe that this definition of jilbab fulfills the Quranic demand for a Hijab...

 is also commonly worn.

Cuisine




Somali cuisine
Somali cuisine
Somali cuisine varies from region to region and is a mixture of native Somali, Ethiopian, Yemeni, Persian, Turkish, Indian and Italian influences. It is the product of Somalia's tradition of trade and commerce. All food is halal.- Breakfast :...

 varies from region to region and consists of an exotic mixture
Fusion cuisine
Fusion cuisine combines elements of various culinary traditions while not being categorized per any one particular cuisine style, and can pertain to innovations in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.-Categories and types:...

 of diverse culinary influences. It is the product of Somalia's rich tradition of trade and commerce. Despite the variety, there remains one thing that unites the various regional cuisines: all food is served halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

. There are therefore no pork dishes, alcohol is not served, nothing that died on its own is eaten, and no blood is incorporated. Qado or lunch is often elaborate. Varieties of bariis (rice), the most popular probably being basmati
Basmati
Basmati is a variety of long grain rice grown in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, notable for its fragrance and delicate, nuanced flavour. Its name means "the fragrant one" in Sanskrit, but it can also mean "the soft rice," and the word coincidentally means "my smile" in Arabic...

, usually serve as the main dish. Spices like cumin
Cumin
Cumin is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native from the east Mediterranean to India. Its seeds are used in the cuisines of many different cultures, in both whole and ground form.-Etymology:...

, cardamom
Cardamom
Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds...

, clove
Clove
Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to the Maluku islands in Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world...

s, cinnamon
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods...

 and sage are used to aromatize these different rice dishes. Somalis eat dinner as late as 9 pm. During Ramadan
Ramadan (calendar month)
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed.Ramadan is the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar, and fasting in this month is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to...

, dinner is often served after Tarawih
Tarawih
Tarawih refers to extra congregational prayers performed by Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. They are not compulsory; however, many Muslims pray these prayers in the night during Ramadan...

 prayers – sometimes as late as 11 pm. Xalwo or halva
Halva
Halva refers to many types of dense, sweet confections, served across the Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Malta and the Jewish world.The term halva ,...

 is a popular confection eaten during special occasions such as Eid
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 celebrations or wedding receptions. It is made from sugar, corn starch, cardamom powder, nutmeg
Nutmeg
The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia...

 powder and ghee
Ghee
Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in South Asia and is commonly used in South Asian cuisine....

. Peanuts are also sometimes added to enhance texture and flavor. After meals, homes are traditionally perfumed using frankincense
Frankincense
Frankincense, also called olibanum , is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia, particularly Boswellia sacra, B. carteri, B. thurifera, B. frereana, and B. bhaw-dajiana...

 (lubaan) or incense
Incense
Incense is composed of aromatic biotic materials, which release fragrant smoke when burned. The term "incense" refers to the substance itself, rather than to the odor that it produces. It is used in religious ceremonies, ritual purification, aromatherapy, meditation, for creating a mood, and for...

 (cuunsi), which is prepared inside an incense burner referred to as a dabqaad
Dabqaad
The dabqaad , also known as idin or girgire, is an incense burner, or censer. With either one or two handles, it is commonly used in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea.-Usage and production:...

.

Literature


Somali scholars have for centuries produced many notable examples of Islamic literature
Islamic literature
Islamic literature is literature written with an Islamic perspective, in any language.The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade...

 ranging from poetry to Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

. With the adoption of the Latin alphabet
Somali alphabet
The Somali Latin alphabet has been the official writing script in Somalia since 1972. It was developed by the Somali linguist Shire Jama Ahmed specifically for transcribing the Somali language, and is based on the Latin script. The Somali Latin alphabet uses all letters of the English Latin...

 in 1972 to transcribe the Somali language, numerous contemporary Somali authors have also released novels, some of which have gone on to receive worldwide acclaim. Of these modern writers, Nuruddin Farah
Nuruddin Farah
Nuruddin Farah is a prominent Somali novelist.-Early years:Born in Baidoa, Somalia, Farah is the son of a merchant father and a poet mother. As a child, he attended school at Kallafo in the Ogaden, and studied English, Arabic, and Amharic. In 1963, three years after Somalia's independence, Farah...

 is probably the most celebrated. Books such as From a Crooked Rib and Links are considered important literary achievements, works which have earned Farah, among other accolades, the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature
Neustadt International Prize for Literature
The Neustadt International Prize for Literature is a biennial award for literature sponsored by the University of Oklahoma and its international literary publication, World Literature Today. It is widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel Prize in...

. Farah Mohamed Jama Awl is another prominent Somali writer who is perhaps best known for his Dervish era novel, Ignorance is the enemy of love.

Authors and poets

  • Mohamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadrawi' – songwriter, philosopher, and Somali Poet Laureate
    Poet Laureate
    A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events...

    ; also dubbed the Somali Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    .
  • Nuruddin Farah
    Nuruddin Farah
    Nuruddin Farah is a prominent Somali novelist.-Early years:Born in Baidoa, Somalia, Farah is the son of a merchant father and a poet mother. As a child, he attended school at Kallafo in the Ogaden, and studied English, Arabic, and Amharic. In 1963, three years after Somalia's independence, Farah...

     (b. 1943) – Somali writer considered one of the greatest contemporary writers in the world.
  • Timacade
    Abdillahi Suldaan Mohammed Timacade
    Abdillahi Suldaan Mohammed 'Timacade was a Somali poet. He was among the most prominent bards of his day.-Biography:Timacade was born in 1920 in the small town of Galooley, situated near Gabiley in the northwestern Somaliland region of Somalia...

     (1920–1973) – prominent Somali poet known for his nationalist poems such as Kana siib Kana Saar.
  • Mohamud Siad Togane
    Mohamud Siad Togane
    Mohamud Siad Togane , born in 1943, is a Somali-Canadian poet, professor, and political activist.-Biography:Born in Somalia, Togane was educated by Mennonite missionaries in his home country, and subsequently moved to the United States. Togane graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1969, where...

     (b. 1943) – Somali-Canadian
    Somali Canadians
    Somali Canadians are naturalized citizens and residents of Canada who were born in, or with ancestors from Somalia.-Overview:Canada has one of the largest Somali populations in the western world, with the census reporting 37,785 people claiming Somali descent, though unofficial estimates place the...

     poet, professor, and political activist.
  • Maxamed Daahir Afrax
    Maxamed Daahir Afrax
    Maxamed Daahir Afrax Ph. D. is a Somali novelist, playwright, journalist and scholar.-Biography:Afrax was born and raised in Somalia. He belongs to the Majerteen sub-clan of the Darod Somali clan.A polyglot, he writes in Somali, Arabic and English...

     – Somali novelist and playwright. Afrax has published several novels and short stories in Somali
    Somali
    Somali can refer to:* Somali people, ethnic group who inhabit the Horn of Africa * Somali language* Somali clan, social grouping of the Somali people* Somali Region, in Ethiopia* Somali , breed of cat* Republic of Somalia...

     and Arabic, and has also written two plays, the first being Durbaan Been ah ("A Deceptive Dream"), which was staged in Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     in 1979. His major contribution in the field of theatre criticism is Somali Drama: Historical and Critical Study (1987).
  • Farah Mohamed Jama Awl – famous Somali author best known for his historical fiction
    Historical fiction
    Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional...

     novels.

Law



Somalis for centuries have practiced a form of customary law, which they call Xeer
Xeer
Xeer, pronounced , is the polycentric legal system of Somalia. Under this system, elders serve as judges and help mediate cases using precedents. It is a good example of how customary law works within a stateless society and is a fair approximation of what is thought of as natural law...

. Xeer is a polycentric
Polycentric law
Polycentric law is a legal structure in which providers of legal systems compete or overlap in a given jurisdiction, as opposed to monopolistic statutory law according to which there is a sole provider of law for each jurisdiction. Devolution of this monopoly occurs by the principle of...

 legal system where there is no monopolistic agent that determines what the law should be or how it should be interpreted.

The Xeer legal system is assumed to have developed exclusively in the Horn of Africa since approximately the 7th century. There is no evidence that it developed elsewhere or was greatly influenced by any foreign legal system. The fact that Somali legal terminology is practically devoid of loan words from foreign languages suggests that Xeer is truly indigenous.

The Xeer legal system also requires a certain amount of specialization
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

 of different functions within the legal framework. Thus, one can find odayal (judges), xeer boggeyaal (jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

s), guurtiyaal (detective
Detective
A detective is an investigator, either a member of a police agency or a private person. The latter may be known as private investigators or "private eyes"...

s), garxajiyaal (attorney
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

s), murkhaatiyal (witnesses) and waranle (police officer
Police officer
A police officer is a warranted employee of a police force...

s) to enforce the law.

Xeer is defined by a few fundamental tenets that are immutable and which closely approximate the principle of jus cogens in international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

:
  • Payment of blood money
    Blood money (term)
    Blood money is money or some sort of compensation paid by an offender or his family group to the family or kin group of the victim.-Particular examples and uses:...

     (locally referred to as diya
    Diyya
    Diyya is compensation paid to the heirs of a victim. In Arabic, the word means both blood money and ransom.-Islamic and Arab tradition:The Qur'an specifies the principle of Qisas Diyya (plural: Diyyat; ) is compensation paid to the heirs of a victim. In Arabic, the word means both blood money and...

    )

  • Assuring good inter-clan
    Clan
    A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

     relations by treating women justly, negotiating with "peace emissaries" in good faith, and sparing the lives of socially-protected groups (e.g. children, women, the pious, poets and guests).

  • Family obligations such as the payment of dowry
    Dowry
    A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

    , and sanctions for eloping.

  • Rules pertaining to the management of resources such as the use of pasture land, water, and other natural resources.

  • Providing financial support to married female relatives and newly-weds.

  • Donating livestock and other assets to the poor.

Architecture


Somali architecture
Architecture of Somalia
Somalian architecture is the engineering and designing of multiple different construction types such as stone cities, castles, citadels, fortresses, mosques, temples, aqueducts, lighthouses, towers and tombs during the ancient, medieval and early modern periods in Somalia, as well as the fusion of...

 is a rich and diverse tradition of engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 and design
Design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

ing involving multiple different construction types, such as stone cities
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

, castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

s, citadel
Citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

s, fortresses, mosques, temples, aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, lighthouse
Lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

s, towers and tomb
Tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

s. Spanning the ancient, medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and early modern periods in Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, it also includes the fusion of Somalo-Islamic architecture with Western designs in contemporary
Contemporary architecture
Contemporary architecture is generally speaking the architecture of the present time.The term contemporary architecture is also applied to a range of styles of recently built structures and space which are optimized for current use....

 times.

In ancient Somalia, pyramidical structures known in Somali
Somali language
The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

 as taalo were a popular burial style, with hundreds of these drystone monuments scattered around the country today. Houses were built of dressed stone
Stonemasonry
The craft of stonemasonry has existed since the dawn of civilization - creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth. These materials have been used to construct many of the long-lasting, ancient monuments, artifacts, cathedrals, and cities in a wide variety of cultures...

 similar to the ones in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, and there are examples of courtyards and large stone walls, such as the Wargaade Wall
Wargaade Wall
Wargaade Wall is an ancient stone construction in Wargaade, Somalia. It enclosed a large historic settlement in the region.-Overview:Graves and unglazed sherds of pottery dating from antiquity have been found during excavations. The Wall's building material consists of rubble set in mud mortar. The...

, enclosing settlements.

The peaceful introduction of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 in the early medieval era of Somalia's history brought Islamic architectural influences
Islamic architecture
Islamic architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture....

 from Arabia and Persia. This had the effect of stimulating a shift in construction from drystone and other related materials to coral stone
Masonry
Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone; concrete block, glass block, stucco, and...

, sundried bricks
Mudbrick
A mudbrick is a firefree brick, made of a mixture of clay, mud, sand, and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw. They use a stiff mixture and let them dry in the sun for 25 days....

, and the widespread use of limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 in Somali architecture. Many of the new architectural designs such as mosques were built on the ruins of older structures, a practice that would continue over and over again throughout the following centuries.

Somali studies


The scholarly term for research concerning Somalis and Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 is known as Somali Studies
Somali Studies
Somali Studies is the scholarly term for research concerning Somalis and Somalia. It consists of several disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, linguistics, historiography and archaeology...

. It consists of several disciplines such as anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, historiography
Historiography
Historiography refers either to the study of the history and methodology of history as a discipline, or to a body of historical work on a specialized topic...

 and archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

. The field draws from old Somali chronicles
Somali literature
Somalian literature ranges from Islamic poetry and prose produced by the region's scholars and Sheikhs of centuries past to works of fiction from contemporary writers.-Islamic literature:...

 and oral literature
Oral literature
Oral literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. It thus forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do...

, in addition to written accounts and traditions about Somalis and Somalia from European explorers
Exploration
Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery of resources or information. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans...

 and neighbouring regions in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Since 1980, prominent Somalist scholars from around the world have gathered annually, either in Somalia or a different country, to hold the International Congress of Somali Studies.

Somalist scholars

  • Said Sheikh Samatar – Prominent Somali scholar and writer. Main areas of interest are linguistics
    Linguistics
    Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

     and sociology
    Sociology
    Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

    .
  • Mohamed Haji Mukhtar
    Mohamed Haji Mukhtar
    -Biography:Mukhtar was born in the town of Koorkoor in the Bakool region of southern Somalia. He is the son of Malak Mukhtar Malak Hassan, a highly respected chief of the Digil and Mirifle Somali clans, and belongs to the Leysan subdivision of the latter....

     – Somali Professor of African & Middle Eastern History at Savannah State University
    Savannah State University
    Savannah State University is a four-year, state-supported, historically black university located in Savannah, Georgia. Savannah State holds the distinction as the oldest public historically black university in Georgia...

    . Has written extensively on the history of Somalia
    History of Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Republic of Somalia and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya on its southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen on its north, the Indian Ocean at its east, and Ethiopia...

     and the Somali language
    Somali language
    The Somali language is a member of the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Its nearest relatives are Afar and Oromo. Somali is the best documented of the Cushitic languages, with academic studies beginning before 1900....

    .
  • Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi
    Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi
    Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi is a Somali-Canadian scholar, linguist, writer and translator.-Biography:Formerly a journalist in his native Somalia, Abdullahi emigrated to Canada, where he earned a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the Université de Montréal in Montreal...

     – Somali scholar, linguist and writer. Published on Somali culture, history, language and ethnogenesis.
  • Ali Jimale Ahmed – Somali poet, essayist, scholar, and short story writer. Published on Somali history and linguistics
  • Abdi Mohamed Kusow
    Abdi Kusow
    -Biography:Kusow studied at Michigan State University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1990. He later earned a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1992. He also holds a Ph. D...

     – Somali Associate Professor of Sociology
    Sociology
    Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

     at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa
    Ames, Iowa
    Ames is a city located in the central part of the U.S. state of Iowa in Story County, and approximately north of Des Moines. The U.S. Census Bureau designates that Ames, Iowa metropolitan statistical area as encompassing all of Story County, and which, when combined with the Boone, Iowa...

    . Has written extensively on Somali sociology and anthropology.
  • Abdisalam Issa-Salwe
    Abdisalam Issa-Salwe
    Dr. Abdisalam Mohamed Issa-Salwe is a Somali writer and scholar.-Career:Issa-Salwe is currently Asst. Professor in Information Systems in the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Taibah University in Medina, Saudi Arabia...

     – Somali Assistant Professor in Information Systems in the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at Taibah University
    Taibah University
    Taibah University is a university located in Medina, Saudi Arabia, established in 2003.-Schools:Taibah University includes 22 colleges. They include:*College of Medicine*College of Dentistry*College of Pharmacy*College of Applied Medical Sciences...

     in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Is a prominent expert on matters pertaining the Horn of Africa
  • Ahmed Ismail Samatar
    Ahmed Ismail Samatar
    Ahmed Ismail Samatar is a prominent Somali writer, professor and dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College. He is the editor of Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies and brother of Abdi Ismail Samatar....

     – Somali professor and dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College
    Macalester College
    Macalester College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was founded in 1874 as a Presbyterian-affiliated but nonsectarian college. Its first class entered September 15, 1885. The college is located on a campus in a historic residential neighborhood...

    . He is the editor of Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies.

External links