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Sunday 14th April
Somalia Information - Page 2
Somalia, with its strategic position in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, has attracted colonization by many nations.

Over a thousand years ago Arabs colonized the Somali coast establishing the Sultanate of Adel.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to visit the area.

In 1875 Egypt occupied towns on the Somali coast and some inland regions.

Britain colonized northwestern Somalia setting up a Protectorate of Somaliland in 1887.

France also colonized parts of the Somali coast. The French Colony of Somaliland became a French Territory in 1946 and in 1977 gained independence as Djibouti.

Italy declared the Protectorate of Italian Somaliland in central Somalia (1889) and Ethiopia moved into the Ogaden region.

Following the Second World War Italian Somaliland became a United Nations Trust Territory administered by Italy. In 1956 Italian Somaliland was granted internal autonomy as Somalia.

The Somali Republic was formed by the Italian and British territories of Somalia in 1960.

The President, Siad Barre, was overthrown in 1991. The country became divided: northwestern Somalia, the former British Protectorate of Somaliland, declared independence and Puntland, in northeastern Somalia, established a parliament and a regional government (1998). Further secessions were announced in the early twenty-first century.

Agriculture is the most important sector in Somalia providing a living for a significant percentage of the population. Many of the people are dependent upon sheep, goats, cattle and camels for their livelihood.

Agricultural products are bananas, coconuts, sorghum, maize, rice, beans, sugarcane, sesame seeds and mangoes. There is also a fishing industry.

Industry includes wireless communication, textiles and sugar refining. (2008)

Somalia has a strong musical tradition, influenced by both African and Arabic music.

Somalia is also known for poetry. The most famous Somali poet was Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, a national hero, who fought against colonialism.

Nuruddin Farah, born in Mogadishu, has written about Somalia in a number of novels including the trilogy "Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship": Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines, and Close Sesame.

Football is a popular sport in Somalia. Other team games played include basketball and volleyball.

The people of Somalia celebrate all Islamic festivals.

News from Somalia is available in Newslink.

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