Sheikh Mountains of Somaliland
Present-day Somaliland was part of an Arab sultanate since the seventh century
and became part of Muscat in the seventeenth century. The northern coast was occupied
by Egypt between 1875 and 1887: in that year Britain established the Protectorate of
British Somaliland, subordinate to Aden. In 1905 British Somaliland became a separate
British colony. It was occupied by Italy in 1940, but in 1941 Italy was defeated by Britain.
Meanwhile, rapid progress toward self-government was made in British Somaliland. Elections
for a parliament were held in 1960, and one of the first acts of the new parliament was to
request that Britain grant the area independence so that it could unite with Italian Somalia
when the latter became independent.
The protectorate became independent in 1960 as the State of Somaliland. The dominant party in Somaliland was the Somali National League of Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, who was prime minister in 1960. It merged with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form the Somali Republic. Somalia became a presidential democracy, dominated by the Somali Youth League of Aden Abdullah Osman Dar (president between 1960 and 1967) and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke (president between 1967 and 1969). When Shermarke was assassinated in 1969, the army under Muhammad Siyad Barre seized power. The country, renamed Somali Democratic Republic, was governed by a Supreme Revolutionary Council.
Barre established a socialist one-party state in 1976 when the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party became the sole allowed party. Barre staged the 1977 war with Ethiopia over the Somali populated Ogaden region. Barre's regime confronted insurgencies in the northeast and northwest, whose aim was to overthrow his government. By 1988 Barre was openly at war with sectors of his nation. The warfare in the northwest sped up the decay already evident elsewhere in the republic. Barre was overthrown in 1991.
In 1991, after the collapse of the central government in of S.D.R, the main part of Somaliland territory asserted its independence as the Republic of Somaliland on May 18, 1991. It regarded itself as the successor state to the briefly independent State of Somaliland, but did not receive any international diplomatic recognition.
The late Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur was the first president of Somaliland. Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal was appointed his successor in 1993 by the Grand Conference of National Reconciliation in Boorama (Borama), which met for four months and led not only to a gradual improvement in security, but solidified the fledgling state. Egal was re-appointed in 1997, and remained in power until his death on May 3, 2002. The vice president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, was sworn in as president shortly afterwards, and in 2003 Kahin became the first Somaliland president to be elected in a free and fair election