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Somalia: A chronology of key events

BBC News Online, Tuesday 20 March 2001, 16:32 GMT

600s—Arab tribes establish the sultanate of Adel on the Gulf of Aden coast.

800s—Somali people begin to migrate from Yemen.

1500s—Sultanate of Adel disintegrates into small states.

1875—Egypt occupies towns on Somali coast and parts of the interior.

Foreign rule

1860s—France acquires foothold on the Somali coast, later to become Djibouti.

1887—Britain proclaims protectorate over Somaliland.

1888—Anglo-French agreement defines boundary between Somali possessions of the two countries.

1889—Italy sets up a protectorate in central Somalia, later consolidated with territory in the south ceded by the sultan of Zanzibar.

1925—Territory east of the Jubba river detached from Kenya to become the westernmost part of the Italian protectorate.

1936—Italian Somaliland combined with Somali-speaking parts of Ethiopia to form a province of Italian East Africa.

1940—Italians occupy British Somaliland.

1941—British occupy Italian Somalia.


1950—Italian Somaliland becomes a UN trust territory under Italian control.

1956—Italian Somaliland renamed Somalia and granted internal autonomy.

1960—British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.

1963—Border dispute with Kenya; diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.

1964—Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.

1967—Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.

Drought and war

1969—Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.

[Former President Siad
Former President Barre

1970—Barre declares Somalia a socialist state and nationalises most of the economy.

1974—Somalia joins the Arab League.

1974-75—Severe drought causes widespread starvation.

1977—Somalia invades the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia.

1978—Somali forces pushed out of Ogaden with the help of Soviet advisers and Cuban troops.

1981—Opposition to Barre’s regime begins to emerge after he excludes members of the Mijertyn and Isaq clans from government positions, which are filled with people from his own Marehan clan.

1988—Peace accord with Ethiopia.


1991—Opposition clans oust Barre who is forced to flee the country.

1991—Former British protectorate of Somaliland declares unilateral independence.

1992—US Marines land near Mogadishu ahead of a UN peacekeeping force sent to restore order and safeguard relief supplies.

1995—UN peacekeepers leave, having failed to achieve their mission.

1996—Warlord Muhammad Aidid dies of his wounds and is succeeded by his son, Hussein.

1997—Clan leaders meeting in Cairo agree to convene a conference of rival clan members to elect a new national government.

2000 August—Clan leaders and senior figures meeting in Djibouti elect Abdulkassim Salat Hassan president of Somalia.

2000 October—Hassan and his newly-appointed prime minister, Ali Khalif Gelayadh, arrive in Mogadishu to heroes’ welcomes.

2000 October—Gelayadh announces his government, the first in the country since 1991.

2001 January—Somali rebels seize the southern town of Garbaharey, reportedly with Ethiopian help.

2001 February—The French oil group, TotalFinaElf, signs an agreement with the Somali transitional government to carry out oil exploration in the south of the country.

2001 16 February—One of Somalia’s main faction leaders, Mohamed Qanyareh Afrah, signs accord recognising interim government, reportedly in return for the promise of ministerial posts.