British Somaliland

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British Somaliland was a British protectorate in the northern part of present-day Somalia. Its territory is now Somaliland, a de facto independent republic which is recognized as a part of Somalia. For much of its existence, British Somaliland was bordered by French Somaliland, the Ogaden, and Italian Somaliland. From 1940 to 1941, it was occupied by the Italians and was part of Italian East Africa.


Somali-British treaties and creation of the protectorate

In 1888, after signing successive treaties with the then ruling Somali Sultans such as Mohamoud Ali Shire of the Warsangali Sultanate, the British established a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland.[1] The British garrisoned the protectorate from Aden and administered it from their 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.[2] 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." [3] The British principally viewed the protectorate as a source for supplies of meat for their British Indian outpost in Aden through the maintenance of order in the coastal areas and protection of the caravan routes from the interior.[4] Hence, the region's nickname of "Aden's butcher's shop".[5] Colonial administration during this period did not extend administrative infrastructure beyond the coast,[6] and contrasted with the more interventionist colonial experience of Italian Somaliland.[7]

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