British Somaliland, officially the British Somaliland Protectorate ( so, Dhulka Maxmiyada Soomaalida ee Biritishka), was a British Empire, British protectorate in present-day Somaliland. For much of its existence, the territory was bordered by Italian Somaliland, French Somaliland and Ethiopia. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Kingdom of Italy, Italians and was part of Italian East Africa. On 26 June 1960, British Somaliland declared independence as the State of Somaliland. Five days later, on 1 July 1960, the State of Somaliland voluntarily political union, united with the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somalia) to form the Somali Republic.Somalia
/ref>Encyclopædia Britannica, ''The New Encyclopædia Britannica'', (Encyclopædia Britannica: 2002), p.835 The government of Somaliland, a self-declared sovereign state that is internationally Diplomatic recognition, recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia, regards itself as the successor state to British Somaliland.


Treaties and establishment

In 1887, after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somalis, Somali Suldaan, Sultans from the Isaaq, Issa (clan), Issa, Gadabursi, and Warsangali clans the British established a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland. The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden Province, Aden and administered it from their British Indian Empire, British India colony until 1898. British Somaliland was then administered by the Foreign Office until 1905 and afterwards by the Colonial Office. Generally, the British did not have much interest in the resource-barren region. The stated purposes of the establishment of the protectorate were to "secure a supply market, check the traffic in slaves, and to exclude the interference of foreign powers." The British principally viewed the protectorate as a source for supplies of meat for their British Indian outpost in Colony of Aden, Aden through the maintenance of order in the coastal areas and protection of the caravan routes from the interior. Hence, the region's nickname of "Aden's butcher's shop". Colonial administration during this period did not extend administrative infrastructure beyond the coast, and contrasted with the more interventionist colonial experience of Italian Somalia.

Dervish Uprising

Beginning in 1899, the British were forced to expend considerable human and military capital to contain a decades-long resistance movement mounted by the Dervish movement (Somali), Dervish resistance movement. The movement was led by Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, a Somali religious leader referred to colloquially by the British as the "Mad Mullah". Repeated military expeditions were unsuccessfully launched against Hassan and his Dervishes before World War I. On 9 August 1913, the Somaliland Camel Constabulary suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Dul Madoba at the hands of the Dervishes. Hassan had already evaded several attempts to capture him. At Dul Madoba, his forces killed or wounded 57 members of the 110-man Constabulary unit, including the British commander, Colonel Richard Corfield. In 1914, the British created the Somaliland Camel Corps to assist in maintaining order in British Somaliland. In 1920, the British launched their 1920 conflict between British forces and Somaliland dervishes, fifth and final expedition against Hassan and his followers. Employing the then-new technology of military aircraft, the British finally managed to quell Hassan's twenty-year-long struggle. The aerial attack on the Dervish capital, Taleh, killed many members of Hassan's family who had been lured there by the British for an official visit. Hassan and his Dervish supporters fled into the Ogaden, where Hassan died in 1921.

Somaliland Camel Corps

The Somaliland Camel Corps, also referred to as the Somali Camel Corps, was a unit of the British Army based in British Somaliland. It lasted from the early 20th century until 1944. The troopers of the Somaliland Camel Corps had a distinctive dress. It was based on the standard British Army khaki drill but included a knitted woollen pullover and drill patches on the shoulders. Shorts were worn with woollen socks on puttees and "chaplis", boots or bare feet. Equipment consisted of leather ammunition bandolier and a leather waist belt. The officers wore pith helmets and khaki drill uniforms. Other ranks wore a "kullah" with "pugree, puggree" which ended in a long tail which hung down the back. A "chaplis" is typically a colourful sandal. A "kullah" is a type of cap. A "puggree" is typically a strip of cloth wound around the upper portion of a hat or helmet, particularly a pith helmet, and falling down behind to act as a shade for the back of the neck.

British Somaliland 1920–1930

Following the defeat of the Dervish resistance, the two fundamental goals of British policy in British Somaliland were the preservation of stability and the economic self-sufficiency of the protectorate. The second goal remained particularly elusive because of local resistance to taxation that might have been used to support the protectorate's administration. By the 1930s, the British presence had extended to other parts of British Somaliland. Growth in commercial trade motivated some livestock herders to subsequently leave the pastoral economy and settle in urban areas. Customs, Customs taxes also helped pay for British India's patrol of Somalia's Red Sea Coast.

Italian invasion

In August 1940, during the East African Campaign (World War II), East African Campaign in World War II, British Somaliland was invaded by Italy. The few British forces that were present attempted to defend the main road to Berbera, but were dislodged from their positions and retreated after losing the Battle of Tug Argan. During this period, the British rounded up soldiers and governmental officials to evacuate them from the territory through Berbera. In total, 7,000 people, including civilians, were evacuated.Playfair (1954), p. 178 The Somalis serving in the Somaliland Camel Corps were given the choice of evacuation or disbandment; the majority chose to remain and were allowed to retain their arms.Wavell
p. 2724
/ref> In March 1941, after a six-month Italian occupation, the British Imperial forces recaptured the protectorate during Operation Appearance. The final remnants of the Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia, Italian guerrilla movement discontinued all resistance in British Somaliland by the autumn of 1943.

Independence and union with the Trust Territory of Somaliland

File:The Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference, London.png, upright=0.8, left, The Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference, London, May 1960 in which it was decide that 26 June be the day of Independence, and so signed on 12 May 1960. Somaliland Delegation: Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Ahmed Haji Dualeh, Ali Garad Jama and Haji Ibrahim Nur. From the Colonial Office: Ian Macleod, Sir Douglas Hall, 14th Baronet, D. B. Hall, H. C. F. Wilks (Secretary) In 1947, the entire budget for the administration of the British Somaliland protectorate was only £213,139. In May 1960, the British Government stated that it would be prepared to grant independence to the then Somaliland protectorate. The Legislative Council of British Somaliland passed a resolution in April 1960 requesting independence. The legislative councils of the territory agreed to this proposal. In April 1960, leaders of the two territories met in Mogadishu and agreed to form a unitary state. An elected president was to be head of state. Full executive powers would be held by a prime minister answerable to an elected National Assembly of 123 members representing the two territories. On 26 June 1960, the British Somaliland protectorate gained independence as the State of Somaliland before uniting five days later with the Trust Territory of Somalia to form the Somali Republic (Somalia) on 1 July 1960. The legislature appointed the speaker Hagi Bashir Ismail Yousuf as first President of the Somali National Assembly and, the same day, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar become President of the Somali Republic.


In 1991, after a bloody civil war for independence in the northern part of Somali Democratic Republic, the area which formerly encompassed British Somaliland declared independence. In May 1991, the formation of the "Republic of Somaliland" was proclaimed, with the local government regarding it as the successor to the former British Somaliland as well as to the State of Somaliland. However, the Somaliland region's self-declared independence remains Diplomatic recognition, unrecognised by any country.UN in Action: Reforming Somaliland's Judiciary
/ref> It is however recognised as one of the Administrative divisions of Somalia, federal states of Somalia.

See also

* Postage stamps of British Somaliland


{{Authority control British Somaliland, States and territories established in 1884 1884 establishments in Somalia Former British protectorates, Somaliland, British 1884 establishments in the British Empire, Somaliland History of Somaliland 1960 disestablishments in Somalia 1960 disestablishments in the British Empire, Somaliland Somaliland–United Kingdom relations Former British colonies and protectorates in Africa, Somaliland, British States and territories disestablished in 1960 Former polities of the Cold War